Guide to Starting a Kids Youth Sports Camp
Kids sports clinics and camps are all the rage these days. My little cousins spend pretty much their entire school year and summer in some type of fitness or hockey camp, either to get better ready for the upcoming Minnesota high school hockey season, or prepare for the Wisconsin youth wrestling season. Youth sports camps are both a great way for kids to make friends AND a great way for fitness businesses owners to put a little extra money into their pockets each year. If you’re a parent, I bet you’re quite familiar with your kids asking to go to the hockey camp with their friends, or the summer basketball camp at the local high school. If you were a successful athlete during high school or college, there’s a good chance that you could start a profitable kids sports clinic in a matter of a few weeks to a month.
Make Sure You Have the Necessary Permits
One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is that they don’t go through all the necessary steps to start a legal business. Owning a business doesn’t just mean cashing checks and making money, it means registering with your state’s proper office, getting permits, paying taxes, and more. One of the most important things you’ll need to get is the endorsement of your city. If you don’t have the necessary permits, they’ll shut you down, plain and simple. Do the work and get the permits and be done with it.
Have Lawyer Draft a Liability Waiver
Someone’s going to get hurt at your skills clinic, it’s almost guaranteed. Plus, for you South Florida businesses, people are sue happy! That being said, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary legal protection before you can start your sports clinic. Get a good legal referral(from a friend or relative) and then get started drafting the liability waiver. You might be able to use a website like LegalZoom or something similar, but having a real attorney draft your documents and guarantee them is also nice.
Purchase Insurance to Cover Any Injuries
What if one of your students breaks a piece of equipment at the facility where you have your skills clinic? What if the toilet overflows and floods the basement level of the facility you rented out? You can’t prepare for these things, but you can mitigate risk by purchasing a one-time insurance policy. This will save you a lot of money in the long run when you’re not paying out of pocket for a stupid expense that could have been otherwise avoided.
Create a Day-by-Day Schedule of Drills/Events
Now comes the fun part; creating the curriculum for your youth skills clinic. Since you’re the athlete, we’re sure you already have a full curriculum in your head. Make sure it incorporates a bit of learning with a bit of fun. Kids want to have fun, and as soon as they get bored, they get hard to handle.
Build/Buy a Website for your Sports Clinic
Though this step might not be totally necessary, it’s a good idea of have a website for your business. It lends a professional feel to your business and will make people more trusting in your business. Creating a website isn’t too hard. Check out WebFlow; they’re an easy to use website building company that has good prices and is run by a bunch of cool guys. My friend Mat Vogels also makes websites, but he charges at least $1000 for most clients. Either way, get a website up and you’ll be set. A word of warming, a poorly-built website with bad graphics will due you more harm than good. Make sure you find a worthwhile designer to create your website and flyers.
Start Advertising Your Sports Clinic
We’ll get right to the point; FitnessTexter is a great way to advertise sports clinics. We have clients all over the United States who are using their texting code on various forms of advertising. FitnessTexter gives people a super simple way to get in contact with your business, and you’ll get a new lead out of the situation too! Besides FitnessTexter, you could look into doing some Google AdWords to get the word out about your business. We don’t provide any AdWords assistance, but a company like WordStream would be a good place to start. Don’t fall for high SEO/PPC prices that local companies will try to charge you. They’re all full of hot air. WordStream is the real deal.
Prepare Food and/or Snacks
This one is a little touchy, but it’s something you need to think about. The best option is to have your students bring a bag lunch with them when they come to your youth sports camp. This lets parents take care of feeding their child and will help remove a bit of stress from the planning process. With the amount of food-based allergies these days, you don’t want to take the risk of providing peanut butter sandwiches to someone with a nut allergy. If you’re going to go with the “we provide food” method, make sure you clearly state exactly what you’ll be providing for food. Get sandwiches and chips from a local deli and bottled water. Safe, simple, and easy.
Recruit More Coaches to Increase Sign Ups
This is going to be the best possible problem; you have so many students at your sports clinic that you need to hire some additional trainers and coaches to keep up with all the students. The first place you can look is at your local college. If they have a sports program featuring the same sport of your camp, you might be able to get some athletes to volunteer their time. Most college athletes can’t accept financial contributions, but many need to do community service as part of their scholarship. Keep in mind, it’s always good to speak with the college athletic director before approaching athletes. If you don’t have a college nearby, ask your sports buddies if they’d be interested. Offer them a case of case or a bit of cash and you should have no problem getting them on board.