Why You Should Start Planning for Your Summer 2018 Youth Program Now
By Emmanuel Sarris,
Director of Continuing Education Strategic Consulting Services
There is no reason to settle on three out of four quarters or two out of three of your semesters bringing in 90% of your annual revenue. The excuse, “summer is just downtime,” should never come from your mouth. Summer 2017 is over and if you didn’t have a youth program, you are probably hearing about all the financial successes of other youth programs around the country. Step-by-step, I’ll let you know what you need to get ready for summer 2018.
Know your competition
First, it is good to know who your competition is and what their summer prices are. Is the local YMCA taking care of sports and swimming camps? Does your institution’s athletic department put on their own programs? Are there third-parties or other departments on campus doing academic camps? Find out all of this information to really understand your direction.
Build your reputation
I’ve created youth programs all over the country and they’re still running successfully with high enrollments and profit margins. Based on this model, I recommend you begin by developing an enrichment program for ages eight through fourteen, from which you can build your reputation in the community as a provider of the best youth programs around.
Recruit future students
From an institutional standpoint, these programs are an excellent way to recruit for future students. I like to use this thought for administration: If these young children come to our campus and take our programs, they will always associate the fun they had with the college , and will be excited to come back here in the future.
Identify your focus
Now you have the buy-in and you have to decide on what programs to offer. There are the forever popular—like coding, sciences, engineering, and art—that you can put together quickly and market to local elementary and middle schools easily. When staffing your program, consider hiring from your pool of recently graduated elementary education majors. Pricing them for your first year to reach the break-even point of all your direct and indirect expenses and hope you can turn a good profit in your first summer.
Market to students and their parents
From there, you can create options for kids and parents to choose from in your catalog. It’s important to market the classes with appealing names and class descriptions. This will help attract children and demonstrate to their parents the academic benefits of these fun classes. In a nutshell? Trick kids into learning throughout their summer break.
So, what are the next steps? Research what is happening around you for kids and identify what you could potentially offer. From there, identify the type of classroom space you have available during normal business hours. From there, we can start the build.