///How I Had 80% Of My Students Register For Camp On The First Day

How I Had 80% Of My Students Register For Camp On The First Day

Post by Frank Gil

We have all been there. You launch your camp, retreat, or mission trip registration only to have a handful of people register in the first month. Then when the deadlines hit, you have kids flooding your registration or even worse, they are begging for a spot after the registration is closed. So frustrating, right?!


A couple of years ago, my pastor-buddy, Nick Farr, did something I had never seen before. He gave incentives for the first few people who signed up for his camp. I was blown away by that idea and immediately tried to apply this idea to my group for camp. What happened next was something that has never happened in the history of my Youth Ministry life. Over 80% of all the students who ended up going to camp that year registered on the first day!


Here is how it happened:


I announced that camp registration would be open online on a Sunday at noon. I gave them over a month of promotion to make sure they could be by a computer to register when it was time. In the promotion of camp we announced that the first five people who register for camp will be a part of the FUSE Camp Five. The FUSE Camp Five receive all kinds of special promotions that no one else gets and the best part about it, it cost me almost nothing! Let me tell you about what the FUSE Camp Five receive.


The first five people who register for camp get to:

  • Choose where they want to sit on the bus

  • Choose who they want to sit with on the bus

  • Choose the bunk they want to sleep in before anyone else

  • Skip the line at every meal to get their food first

  • A special shirt that only the first five people recieve


The only thing that cost me any money was the shirts. There are all kinds of incentives you can offer to get students registered early. You could offer the student an option of a discount to the next event, choose what activities they may want to do before anyone else, or to design the next shirt for the whole group. I love doing this because I don’t have to run around getting kids to register at the last minute. I was able to turn in all the names for registration and order shirts and supplies with plenty of time.


What will you do for your next registration sign up? What incentives will you offer?

By |2018-02-02T12:25:02+00:00February 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|6 Comments

About the Author:

Justin Knowles has been a pastor for the last 10 years and is the Student Ministries Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. He hosts Youth Ministry Hacks Podcast, loves to write about his ministry journey and teach at all sorts of camps or retreats. He and his wife Kristin have a son named Graham and a cat named CATalie Portman. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @justinknowles3


  1. Erik w/a “k” February 6, 2018 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Yup, I’m doing it for summer camp. The culture here is to register the week of. I’ve been trying a few tricks. “Early bird” “super early bird” both nice ways of saying regular rate and then the others are late fees.
    I will be employing this idea right away for summer camp. Winter camp is this weekend so it’s too late. Today I will be taking calls, texts and emails begging to get in on the early bird rate because they didn’t realize they missed the deadline or they had no idea they could register online or….
    Thanx Justin!

  2. Brandon hadley February 6, 2018 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I did this and had over half our students sign up early and were at church early to turn them in.

  3. […] How I Had 80% of My Students Register for Camp on the First Day […]

  4. Eric Opton May 3, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Great idea! Will have to try this. Our mission trip fills quickly but it has taken years to get to that point. We have limited spaces and we have let kids know that it will probably fill quickly. Our summer camp fills painfully slow but the registration goes straight to the camp. Maybe we can get them to help us make this happen!

  5. Help Me With... Camp - DYM Blog May 29, 2018 at 1:02 am - Reply

    […] How I Had 80% of My Students Register for Camp on the First Day […]

  6. Matt May 29, 2018 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Awesome! Last year I did something similar for the first 52 who signed up. Those students (and leaders for that matter) were included on a limited edition of playing cards along with their photo on the card in the order in which they registered. The ace of spades was the first person who registered, and the two of clubs was the 52nd. It created a ton of buzz and excitement. The only drawback was that I thought students would actually PLAY with the cards, but they were all so proud of them that they keep them in their box and nobody plays with their own deck, so the only time we see them are when we play with my deck. Still a cool idea. 🙂

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