It is that time of year where a camp’s focus turns to the next season, analyzing what went well and what needs changing in their camp management software. Session configuration, options and prices are all reviewed closely and you prepare your database accordingly. In our locally-based version, we call it “configuration”. In our web-based version, we call it “the builder”. Either way, we are referring to the concept of setting up your camps, sessions, options, prices, extras, taxes, etc. The number of things that you can configure in a piece of camp software is actually very large and diverse: items in custom drop-down boxes, list of cities, list of cabins, etc. But, the really critical element is getting your core camp management software’s registration configuration “correct”.
We consider it one of the most important steps (if not the most important) in any implementation or yearly re-analysis. Making sure that you categorize and organize your various offerings into appropriate camps, sessions and options has long-lasting implications:
Put simply, if you get this right, you will be very happy and will likely not realize how easy you have made your life in many associated ways; get this wrong and you will continue to pay the price over and over, frustrated that you cannot extract the info you need. “Right” and “wrong” here are potentially different for each camp! It’s what you want that matters, there is no universal perfect set up.
A simple example might be knowing whether you need to view transportation revenue by session or for the whole summer. If you need to analyse transportation revenue by session, then you need to configure (or build) it to do so at the beginning. If you wait until mid-way through registration or until after the summer to consider this question, you may be out of luck. The structure needs to be established up-front. Similarly, configuring after care for a day camp to be registered on a daily basis is quite different from a weekly basis. The hard thinking needs to be done at the beginning of the season before registration begins.
You just knew this analogy was coming. It is like building a house. Your camp’s registration setup information is the house’s foundation. It is the core of the structure and everything else gets built on top of it. Good foundation means strong, flexible house.
It is time to prepare your system for the next season and considering whether your configuration requires any changing is part of that process, whether you use CampBrain or another system. Some questions you should consider:
Sometimes, an adjustment to your configuration structure is an easy change and can provide many dividends (e.g. less manual work, more detailed information and reports, better analysis). So, take this time to consider if your configuration needs any tweaking.
If you use CampBrain, just give us a shout to chat about configuration – happy to help optimize this part of things!