Position Your Club as Family-Friendly and Welcome the Kids

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Positioning your club as family-friendly is essential in today’s child-focused world.  It is no surprise that if you do a basic Google search of programs geared toward children in your area, you will see that the possibilities are endless. From DJ school to cooking classes to rock climbing clinics, kids can participate in almost any activity imaginable. 
 
While so many options can be effective in “offering something for everyone” it can also be overwhelming for parents. This is where your club can provide a service for your members that they really want and need. Your members have actively chosen to be a part of your club; they feel comfortable with the convenient and secure setting, responsible management team and their fellow members. Why not take advantage of this and welcome their children into your club? Faced with the decision of enrolling a child in an activity run by unfamiliar staff in an unfamiliar location versus one organized to the standards of your club on club grounds, the choice for parents becomes clear. Your members want to spend time at your club – give them a new reason to be there by offering children’s programming.
 
The benefits of family-friendly programs are many. From a sales standpoint, there is an opportunity to acquire new membership as a result of kid-friendly offerings. As parents search the internet for local programming and your options show up in their search, this may spark a general interest in your club overall. Secondly, if you allow members to have guests accompany them to kids’ activities such as gingerbread house decorating during the winter holidays or a Memorial Day pool party, guests can sample your club, which may in turn result in the acquisition of new members. Additionally, the more family-friendly activities you offer, the more likely you are to have increased participation in club events. For example, a couple will be able to sign up for Lobster Night if they know they can bring their children with them for Kids’ Movie Night and not have to find a babysitter.
 
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For your current membership, new family-focused offerings are sure to be a welcome addition.  While dues are likely increasing from year to year or every few years, the programming you offer should be expanding as well. Not only will you keep your activity list fresh and competitive, you will be giving the children of your members a reason to feel more connected to your club. In turn, their parents will see an increased value in their membership.
 
Of all the child-focused activities you could potentially offer, the one that is sure to impress is a summer camp. Whether you manage the program in-house or outsource the work to a professional camp operator, the benefits are numerous:

•    Offering a summer camp experience that includes golf and tennis instruction will expose the children of your members to these life-long sports. This exposure can lead to increased enrollment in your junior golf and tennis programs and will benefit your club pros with an increase in private lessons.
•    A summer camp will benefit your club staff by giving them a chance to get involved with something fun and unique. Perhaps the club’s fitness instructors can lead a group fitness program for the campers, or maybe your chef can host a children’s cooking class. These “extras” are opportunities for your staff to connect and build lasting relationships with your members.
•    Your summer camp can have the bonus effect of increasing the amount of time parents are spending at the club (dropping off children and the morning and picking up in the afternoon) therefore, increasing the amount of club services of which they will take advantage.  
•    Most importantly, your members want this! If you ask most any parent what their main criteria is in choosing enrichment activities for their child, safety will surely top their list. The comfort offered in knowing that their kids are having fun while within the confines of the club, surrounded by familiar faces in a protected setting, is invaluable.   
While offering periodic child-centered events throughout the year like kids’ nights and holiday parties is an important first step, offering consistent and long-term programming is what will make your club shine as family-friendly. Summer camp is a perfect place to begin that effort.

The many benefits of having a family-friendly club are not to be undervalued. However, one of the most important advantages is one that cannot be measured in time spent at the club, revenue or membership numbers. A family-friendly atmosphere creates a shared experience between members and a sense of community within the club. In today’s increasingly digital world, face-to-face interactions are becoming less and less frequent. Give your members a new reason to spend time together at your facility by welcoming in the kids!
 
Dan SchmitzDan Schmitz along with his wife, Ashley, has owned and operated KECamps for the past four years. Prior to working with day camps in the club industry, Dan was the Associate Director at a prestigious sleep-away camp in the Poconos and was a health and physical education teacher and athletic director at a private school in Washington, D.C. He has been working with children in many different capacities for over 20 years and truly enjoys bringing his passion for summer camp to country clubs.  
 
Hayley ZweigHayley Zweig has been the Director of Operations at KECamps since 2011.  Previously, Hayley worked in the event planning industry.  She spent her summers from the young age of three at day and sleep-away camps and is truly passionate about the benefits of the summer camp experience.  Her attention to detail, organizational skills and knowledge of summer camp programming is essential to the operation of country club day camps.
 
Established in 1999, KECamps provides exceptional weekly and daily children’s camps for country clubs. KECamps began as a small operation with just three club camps in Las Vegas. Fourteen years later, they are now proud to operate 70 plus camps across the country in 27 states.