The ever-growing popularity of sports and athletics nationwide has expanded into an interesting new market. To some degree there has always been a place for fitness and athletics in after-school or summer programs such as the YMCA, Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America, Boy/Girl Scouts, and myriads of other local seasonal camps for youth. But in the last several years that role has expanded into far more prominence for the most popular and successful camps and programs. An emphasis on arts and crafts in these camps, while still present, has faded somewhat. Every conceivable activity can be found – archery, canoeing, soccer, basketball, flag football, softball, and more. These programs aren’t just for kids anymore, either. Many camps also accept families who want to do these activities together with their children.
When First Lady Michelle Obama announced her campaign to end childhood obesity on 2010, $500 million of public money was allocated for that cause. Many private health care firms, hospitals and other institutions have followed suit, establishing campaigns of their own. This combination has created more opportunities than ever before for programs with sports and other physical activities to qualify for grants under these programs. For camp and program administrators it’s an easy choice: increasing the prominence of sports and physical recreational activities means more participants, more profits, and perhaps even the chance to qualify for a grant.
Naturally, running a successful camp or program like this requires a lot of sports-related equipment and products. Having an established relationship with a large-scale, one-stop vendor like BSN Sports provides access to an enormous inventory to choose from; not just the balls and flags and cones, but also safety equipment, like mouthpieces, knee pads, life vests and helmets. Qualified for one of those grants? Then you will need heart-rate monitors, body-fat calculators, and more. Offering a “pro shop” for participants and their families to shop in, focused on the activities offered at that particular site, is another potential source of revenue. The flexibility that a large-scale vendor like BSN Sports can offer will also allow administrators the versatility to change what sports and activities they focus on from season to season. The possibilities are endless. The question administrators should ask themselves is: “What do I want to get out of my program?” Once that is answered, syllabi and schedules tend to write themselves, and they will know which products and equipment to focus on obtaining.
Many of the sports summer camp programs described herein have mottos that espouse building friendships and memories, but also building a better mind and body. The ideals that sport teaches – teamwork, fitness, sportsmanship and fair play – so closely mirror those slogans that it is no wonder sports have found a home in so many camps and programs around America today.
1 See www.letsmove.org for more information