Programming can be tricky. You want camp activities to be safe, fun and within your budget. Many of us program camp activities around what WE think would be enjoyable. We figure, “Hey, if we think it would be fun then the campers will think it’s fun, too.

There’s more to it than that, though. The next time you program an activity, event, extravaganza, special outing or other function try looking at it through a variety of lenses.

Let’s take an archery program for example. You want to spice up archery a bit so you feel like adding in some new archery activities might be just the thing. You have 3 ideas…

  1. Archery Golf
  2. Balloon Targets with Prizes Inside
  3. Dinosaur Archery Targets

Lets look at each of these ideas through a few different lenses. Put on the imaginary sunglasses and imagine you are that person.

New Camper
As a camper I think they all sound pretty cool. I have never used a bow and arrow so I am afraid I won’t be able to shoot an arrow too far, which makes Archery Golf my third choice. I really like the idea of getting a prize. Shooting at dinosaurs would be really cool, too.

Archery Instructor
Archery Golf seems to be a lot of hard work to ensure safety. Plus, I don’t know where we would be able to play. I like staying at my range. The balloon idea is cool as long as I don’t have to be the one blowing up the balloons. I really don’t want to do that. Now the dinosaur targets are great. I set them up and it’s done, plus I can create a story around it.

Parent
Archery golf sounds dangerous. Balloons with prizes sound fun, but what if my daughter doesn’t pop a balloon? She’ll be heart-broken. the dinosaur one sounds fine.

Return Camper
Anything would be better than just doing the same thing again this year. I have been to the archery range many times and I’m bored. I don’t care what you do just do something different. I’ll let you know what I think about it afterwards.

Board Member
Archery Golf sounds dangerous. Don’t do it unless you can convince me it’s safe. Balloons and small prizes are fine. How much is the dinosaur target? $2000? No way, we are NOT spending that kind of money on themed targets.

CONCLUSION

  • After looking through the lenses I decided to eliminate the Archery Golf.
  • I like the balloon idea, but I need to figure out how I can get someone other than the archery leader to blow them up. That is a lot of balloons to inflate each week. Maybe if the counselor of the group did it. Then they are only blowing up 10-20 balloons over the course of the activity.
  • Everyone (through the lenses) seems to like the idea of the dinosaur target but we don’t have the budget for them. So I think I’ll approach the arts and crafts leader to see if she’ll help me make dino targets out of butcher paper.

This is just one example of how you can work through programming by looking through a variety of lenses. It can save you time, headache and future run-ins with parents, campers, staff and board members.