A Look at Trends in Camp Facilities
In 2014, respondents from camp facilities made up 6.6 percent of all respondents. This includes professionals responding from youth or private camp facilities (67.1 percent of camp respondents), as well as those working for campgrounds or RV parks (32.9 percent).
The largest number of camp respondents reported in from the Midwest. Some 39.7 percent of camp respondents were from the Midwest. They were followed by the Northeast (17.1 percent), and the South Central and Western regions (15.8 percent each). The smallest number of camp respondents—11.6 percent—reported from the South Atlantic states.
As might be expected, the majority of camp respondents were from rural communities. More than three-quarters (75.9 percent) of camp respondents said they were in rural areas. Fewer reported in from suburban communities (17.9 percent) and urban communities (6.2 percent).
More than half (56.8 percent) of camp respondents said they worked for private, nonprofit organizations. Another 26.7 percent said they worked for private, for-profit organizations. And 16.4 percent said they were with public organizations.
On average, camp respondents indicated that they manage 3.9 facilities. They were far more likely than others to report managing just a single facility. Some 64.4 percent of camp respondents manage just one facility, compared with 32.5 percent of non-camp respondents.
Camp respondents were less likely than others to report that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. While 84.6 percent of non-camp respondents had formed such partnerships, 73.1 percent of camp respondents had done so. Their most common partners were: nonprofit organizations (49.7 percent of camp respondents partnered with them); local schools (37.9 percent); colleges and universities (27.6 percent); state government (26.9 percent); and local government (23.4 percent).
Some 38.9 percent of camp respondents reported that they primarily served all ages at their facility. Nearly a third (32.6 percent) said children ages 4 to 12 were their primary audience, and 19.4 percent said teens ages 13 to 18 were their primary audience. Smaller numbers of camp respondents indicated that adults age 19 to 64 (6.9 percent), seniors age 65 and up (1.4 percent) or college students (0.7 percent) were their primary audience.
Revenues & Expenditures
Camp respondents were more likely than others to report that their revenues were higher in 2013 vs. 2012, compared with other respondents. While more than half (52.5 percent) of camp respondents reported their revenues increased in that time period, just 36.7 percent of non-camp respondents saw higher revenues in 2013. At the same time, 16.3 percent of camp respondents said their revenues in 2013 were lower than in 2012.
Looking forward, an increasing percentage of camp respondents expect revenues to continue to grow. Some 56.7 percent said they expect revenues will be higher in 2014 than in 2013, and 64.1 percent expect higher revenues in 2015. Just 9.2 percent expect a decrease in 2014, and 6.9 percent expect a decrease in 2015.
As might be expected, given the nature of their facilities, camp respondents report an average operating expenditure for fiscal 2013 that is 34.5 percent lower than the average for all facility types. In 2013, camp respondents had an average operating expenditure of $938,000. This is 5.8 percent lower than the average operating expenditure reported by camps in fiscal 2012. However, camp respondents expect expenditures to grow by 3.8 percent from 2013 to 2015, when they project an average operating expenditure of $974,000.
Camp respondents were slightly more likely than others to report that they had taken action to reduce their expenditures. Some 86.7 percent camp respondents said they had done so, compared with 80.3 percent of non-camp respondents. The measures camp respondents were most likely to have employed include: improving energy efficiency (58.7 percent of camp respondents had done so); increasing fees (58.7 percent); reducing staff (34.3 percent); or putting construction and renovation plans on hold (32.2 percent).
More than half (51.7 percent) of camp respondents reported that the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2012 to 2013. At the same time, 15.9 percent reported a decrease. Looking forward, an increasing number of camp respondents expect to see growth in the number of people using their facilities. Some 60.1 percent expect to see an increase in 2014, and 65.4 percent expect an increase in 2015. Around a third expect usage to remain consistent in 2014 (33.3 percent) and 2015 (32.3 percent).
Camps are more likely than other respondents to report that they have plans for construction over the next few years. Some 78.1 percent of camp respondents have such plans, compared with 62.7 percent of non-camp respondents. Among camp respondents, 31.5 percent are planning to build new facilities, 37.7 percent are planning additions and 55.5 percent are planning renovations to their existing facilities. Camp respondents plan to spend $801,000, on average, on their construction plans.
The features most commonly found among camp respondents' facilities include: trails (72.6 percent of camps respondents include them); open spaces such as natural areas and gardens (69.2 percent); playgrounds (61.6 percent); park structures such as shelters and restroom buildings (61.6 percent); outdoor sports courts (59.6 percent); campgrounds (54.8 percent); waterfronts, marinas and beaches (54.8 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (50 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (44.5 percent); and challenge courses or ropes courses (43.8 percent).
Some 47.9 percent of camp respondents reported that they are planning to add features to their facilities over the next three years, an increase from 2013, when 46.5 percent had such plans. The 10 features they are most likely planning to add include:
- Disc golf courses (30 percent of camp respondents with plans to add features)
- Trails (21.4 percent)
- Playgrounds (20 percent)
- Climbing walls (20 percent)
- Splash play areas (17.1 percent)
- Park structures (15.7 percent)
- Challenge courses (14.3 percent)
- Nature centers (14.3 percent)
- Classrooms and meeting rooms (11.4 percent)
- Fitness centers (10 percent)
The top programs currently offered by camp respondents include: camping (71.2 percent of camp respondents); arts and crafts (66.4 percent); day camps and summer camps (65.8 percent); educational programs (54.1 percent); holiday events and other special events (47.9 percent); water sports (47.3 percent); teen programming (44.5 percent); environmental education (43.8 percent); trips (35.6 percent); and climbing programs (31.5 percent).
Some 27.4 percent of camp respondents indicated that they have plans to add more programs to their facilities over the next three years. The 10 most commonly planned programs include:
- Educational programs
- Environmental education programs
- Holiday events and other special events
- Day camps and summer camps
- Arts and crafts
- Festivals and concerts
- Water sports such as kayaking and canoeing
- Teen programming
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