One App, Many Meaningful Experiences
Pali Adventures is an overnight camp in California that is committed to providing memorable experiences in an inclusive community. With 2,864 campers and a staff of 120, they share thousands of photos and field frequent calls from parents. They also face the challenge of slow mail service due to their remote location. They use Campanion to serve their customers better, support their staff by simplifying complex tasks, and implement anxiety-reducing strategies for campers and parents alike.
"When I introduced Campanion to the head counselors, it was about making more of an effort on the front end to provide more comfort on the parent side. That really resonated with them and the impact was huge."
Alicia Gerber, Director, Pali Adventures
When parents see photos of their kids they equate them with happy camp experiences, and FaceFinder with push notifications is a game changer. In a typical summer, Pali's office staff would field frequent calls from parents who didn't spot their children while scrolling through thousands of photos. This would trigger a process that involved sending photographers to track down specific campers and take more photos of them. “Even ten of those calls a week adds a ton of work. Having tagged photos with notifications delivered directly to parents' phones eliminates these calls almost entirely. It is night and day."
“I love this app. Photo recognition is amazing and I don't have to sort through a million photos. I love the letter-writing component too, it’s so cool they can write me handwritten notes! Such a treat to get a notification and see my kids' smiling faces.”
January V., Parent, Pali Adventures
eLetters Help Campers Stay Connected
The eLetters feature helps homesick campers who know their families receive messages the day they're sent, and that they'll get a reply the following day. “They feel that they are being heard.” Pali's counselors also use this feature to write weekly bunk letters to campers' parents, which helps alleviate concerns about campers who don't write home frequently.
The fact that eLetters can be tracked and reported on is helpful for office staff. “We have system records of the letters and we can see which ones are sent and received. It makes customer relations so much easier.”
Counselor Video Intros for Early App Usage
Leading up to summer, Pali's counselors record intro videos which are shared via Campanion. On arrival day, kids already know their counselors. This creates an immediate comfort level for campers and indicates that parents are excited about using the app. "This strategy is a good way to get them on the app early." To streamline this process, counselors receive a video script and only have to fill in their personal details.
Instant Communication Lowers Anxiety
Tagged photos and eLetters are anxiety-reducing features for parents as well. "It helps a lot when their children are away from them and the comforts and safety nets of daily life." Pali staff learn the ins and outs of Campanion quickly and never report that it is overwhelming to use the app. “The benefits are clear.”
"It was so easy to use and I felt at ease being able to see how much fun my child was having."
Krystol H., Parent, Pali Adventures
Mobile Forms Reduce Paperwork
2022 was the first summer that Pali used Campanion's Mobile Forms feature, which allows users to download and upload forms, instead of relying on paper copies. With Covid safety still at the forefront of camp operations, having this tool is key. "We didn't have parents bringing physical copies of vaccine cards and PCR tests. It was really helpful." Using this feature for mobile re-enrollment will only make things easier.
Pali Adventures had never encouraged parents to tip their staff, but they saw an opportunity to test this strategy in 2022. Campanion provides increased visibility into how hard counselors work, and this proved to be a motivator for parents. Counselors shared their Paypal account information and every in-cabin counselor received tips.
In Pali's post-summer survey, 90 of 110 respondents answered that they would be interested in returning the following summer. It's clear that their ability to earn a higher salary is part of this response rate. "I think it does help with retention because any extra money is a huge motivator and we can only go so far."
They Use it, They Love it
Campanion makes a huge difference for Pali Adventures' parent engagement and their admin processes. In 2022, more than 20,000 of their push notifications were opened, 46,000 camp photos were downloaded and shared by their parents, and 95% of Pali's users gave the app a rating of 4 or 5 stars.
"Our parents love it. Knowing how much they are logging in and using it, 100% it helps us run camp more smoothly.”
Alicia Gerber, Director, Pali Adventures