Martial Arts Summer Camp or Weekend Retreat?

Summer is usually a slower time for martial arts schools. Kids are getting out of school, and business tends to slow down a bit for school owners. If you’re up for the challenge, however, summer also presents an opportunity for school owners to profit by hosting a summer camp.

Parents are always looking for a way to cut the boredom of those long summer days for their kids. And, kids are always looking for a way to have fun, hang out with their friends, and experience new adventures. In fact, according to a recent article printed in Inc. Magazine, more than 5 million kids attend an estimated 8,500 day and overnight youth camps nationwide each summer.

Hard work? Yes. Profitable? You bet. Many school owners say, that by hosting a successful camp, or series of camps, they earn anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000.

The two main choices are a Martial Arts Summer Camp and a Weekend Retreat.

Get Prepared

First, the key to hosting a successful summer camp is to be prepared. Of course, this isn’t going to be a Marine boot camp, so plan to have challenging, enjoyable activities mixed in with a healthy dose of free time that the kids can use to just hang out.

Don’t forget to include Murphy’s Law in your planning. In a group of kids, if it can happen… it will. Be sure to have a contingency plan for any emergency.

The Six-Week Camp
Let’s begin with selecting a camp supervisor. Preferably this would be you or someone from within your school. If that’s not possible, you’ll need to interview extensively to find someone who works well with children, has experience working with groups of children, and whose ideas of discipline and control are similar to your own. Make sure the person you hire is someone that you feel comfortable with.

The martial arts instructor needs to be very good. Remember your ultimate goal is to convince camp attendees to enroll in your school program. So you’ll want to have good representation in this area.

Leadership teens make excellent, enthusiastic assistants and mentors—and will work for minimum wage. You should have a minimum of one supervisor to every eight students. Labor costs should not exceed 30 percent of your gross intake.

Finally, you’ll want to hire a bus and driver to provide transportation.

Weekend Retreat
While everything is on a smaller scale at the weekend retreat, a couple rules still apply. For instance, your student to supervisor ratio should not exceed 5 to 1; and your labor costs should not exceed 30 percent of the gross.

Each leader, wearing a colored t-shirt, is provided with a schedule of activities, whistle, digital watch, clipboard, and their team’s roster. Walkie-talkies or headsets are particularly handy when attempting to communicate among group leaders, camp supervisors and maintenance personnel.

Again, you’ll need to hire a bus and driver to transport the kids, volunteers, and parents to and from camp.