Six Free (or Low-cost) Field Trips to Implement in your Summer Camp Program!


“If your goal is exceeding parent expectations and surpassing local competitors, adding quality field trips to your weekly martial arts summer camp is a necessity.”

-Unparalleled Martial Arts 

Field trips are by and large one of the easiest ways to add real and perceived value to your martial arts summer camp program. Your students aren’t cramped up in the gym for the entire day and field trips provide endless educational opportunities. As an added bonus, they save you from planning 12-15 hours per week of in-gym activities.

Kids love them! Parents love them! You love happy campers and parents! 

You may be worried that adding field trips will increase your overhead costs of summer camp. In actuality, these trips enable you to charge more while costing just an average of $5 per student each day. 

The Math:

Let’s say your summer camp program costs $250 per week, and you enroll 25 students each week. Those same parents are more than willing to pay $300 per week if their children receive the added bonus of four built-in field trips. That turns into an extra $1250 in profit each week for you! 

Now, let’s imagine you don’t even use the three absolutely free field trips mentioned later in this article. Each of the four field trips cost $5 per student. That is $125 per day, $500 total in costs for the week. When subtracting the cost, you still profit $750! 

The real magic of utilizing field trips lies in your ability to minimize expenditures, scheduling free or low-cost trips, while simultaneously demonstrating real value to current and prospective members. 

So, where shall we go?!

Check out this list of 6 Free or Low-Cost Summer Camp Field Trips for you to implement immediately! 

1) The Park (Cost: $0)

This one is a no-brainer. You bring sports balls, basic art supplies, and a vehicle full of kids with boundless energy. Everyone has fun and you incur literally zero cost. Make sure to go to a park with a bathroom and water fountain.

Unparalleled Tip: Have your summer camp team lead a structured group activity such as soccer game, yoga, or mindfulness session with campers while at the park. Other parents at the park will be begging your counselors for information on how to sign up their child!

2) Art Museum (Cost: $0)

Your students will love wandering a museum in small groups with their counselors! It will open up their artistic minds and teach them something at the same time. Creativity is important to foster in younger students and their parents will thank you for it. 

Unparalleled Tip: To prepare for the trip, engage students in an art activity that morning. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Pull out the construction paper, paints, and brushes, then observe as masterpieces emerge.  

3) The Zoo (Cost: $0)

What kid doesn’t enjoy going on safari? On this trip, your students will learn all about the animal kingdom and won’t be able to contain their excitement when relaying their amazing day to their parents at pick up time. 

Unparalleled Tip: The morning of this trip, stage a game of animal charades to unleash the beasts within your campers and exercise their imaginations.   

4) Bowling (Cost: $5)

For many young students, this could be their first bowling trip, and a memorable experience to share that night at dinner. Even though scoring is done individually, the group activity builds rapport among the students and strengthens their bonds. If campers fell included they will beg their parents to come back to your summer camp week after week to spend time with their friends. 

Unparalleled Tip: Make sure you ask the bowling alley staff to put up the bumpers!    

5) Waterpark (Cost: $5)

It’s summertime and your students have earned a bit of fun in the sun after all their hard training. Take them to your local waterpark at least once a week. Make sure to monitor each student’s swimming ability and help the lifeguards keep an eye on your students. 

Unparalleled Tip: Make this trip on the same day each week so parents can get used to packing bathing suits, towels, and sunscreen. “Water Wednesdays” work well!

6) Laser Tag (Cost: $7)

We always save the best for last! Laser tag is a favorite for kids of all ages. While not the most educational, it is an effective team building game that will work your students’  communication skills as they strategize.

Unparalleled Tip: Debrief with your students after each game to discuss how they worked as a team. Then, lead a brainstorming session on how they can improve their teamwork next time!

*Important Note: Field Trip costs vary based on location. 

Many local businesses and attractions will offer group discounts, especially if you build a relationship with the owner. Offer repeated business throughout the summer months, and watch your group rate decrease. Do some research on Google to find additional nearby field trips that could benefit your summer camp students. 

Scheduling Secrets 

Let’s look at a typical summer camp field trip schedule and break down the costs: 

Monday = The Park (Cost $0 per camper)
Tuesday = Local Art Museum (Cost $0 per camper)
Wednesday = Waterpark (Cost $5 per camper)
Thursday = The Zoo (Cost $0 per camper)
Friday = No Field Trip

Unparalleled Tip: Give students and staff one day of downtime at the gym. Friday is best used to wind down after a long exploratory week of learning!

Getting back to the cost-benefit analysis…

Based on the above schedule, you spend $125 total on field trip costs for all 25 summer campers. This makes you a whopping $1125 of increased revenue! Multiply this by 10 summer camp weeks and you make your gym an extra $11250 for the summer.   

With 50 summer campers, this increase in revenue boosts to $22,500 over the course of a summer. You can tweak the number of campers enrolled and cost of camp to achieve any income level you desire. 

Breakdown of Steps to Implementation: 

  1. Add Field Trips to your Summer Camp Program.
  2. Raise your weekly prices.
  3. Market your new, improved summer camp program to prospective parents.
  4. Have a blast on field trips with your students! 
  5. Sit back and watch as your waitlist for summer camp grows.
  6. Talk to current parents who can’t wait to sign up for additional weeks of your camp! 
  7. Decide how you will invest back into your gym with that extra $25k!! 

It’s that simple! 

And that’s only one method to offset the absence of monthly after-school membership payments during the summer!

For more unparalleled summer camp insights and after-school program coaching, join the Unparalleled Martial Arts mailing list.  

Do you take field trips with your summer campers? Which trips tend to be favorites? Leave us a comment below to share your field trip success stories! 

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