Just got back from a sushi dinner with my wife and kids. The restaurant was OK, nothing spectacular...yet we go there all the time.
Why do we choose this particular sushi place when there's so many other options with better food?
Tradition. Let me explain.
My kids -- ALL kids -- LOVE this sushi place because the restaurant encourages them to draw pictures (of anything) on napkins, then tape the napkins to the restaurant wall.
There's pictures of dragons, buildings, cars, robots, boats, people, airplanes, you name it. Some of the pictures are pretty good, some aren't. But just the fact the restaurant plasters its walls with kids' drawings gives it a warm, personal, neighborhood feel. And it makes kids feel important and included in the restaurant's traditional pastime of allowing them to draw their own pictures and put them on the wall for all to see.
In fact my kids refer to this place as, "the restaurant that lets us draw on napkins and put them on the walls."
It's funny, each time we go, they look forward to seeing their previous drawings and making new ones while we're there.
I wish I had my phone or camera with me tonight. I'd have taken pictures to show you. There must be over 1,000 different napkins and drawings kids have made through the years.
I was just wondering, do you have any traditions at your summer camp? I'll bet you do, and I'll bet they're so cool! And I'll bet your campers look forward to participating in them all year long.
I Googled "summer camp traditions" tonight and found one from Rockbrook Girls Summer camp so moving it almost brought a tear to my eye.
Whether you realize it or not, your camp traditions are very much a part of your marketing activities. Participating in camp traditions can be one of the most important ways kids feel connected to your program.
I'll tell you what though. I wouldn't use camp traditions as an overt promotional tactic. Some camp traditions are downright sacred. They should stay so far under the marketing radar you wouldn't even include them in your marketing plan.
I hope you'll share your camp traditions with all of us here.