Last Summer we attended a team camp for Varsity and JV at a High School about 30 minutes away… it cost $75 per kid. With about 50 or so kids total between our two teams we ended up giving that school over $3,000.
There were only 3 varsity teams competing total and 2 JV teams. The drills prior to scrimmaging were unorganized and pointless. The scrimmage sessions themselves were fairly unorganized and there was never a solid schedule set for the day. They gave us a t shirt, and provided meals each day, but nothing special.
After this past season I moved from JV HC, to Varsity Assistant HC. We originally planned on going to a college camp in the Summer, but the one we planned on going to conflicted with Summer School here so it wasn’t an option.
One day I had an idea… why pay someone else for a crappy camp, when I can run one myself.
- A better quality camp
- Charge our kids much less
- Actually turn a profit from the other teams
I brought this idea up to the head coach and he was slightly hesitant at first, I promised that I could handle it all and that we could pull it off and eventually he gave me the green light.
On Monday July 25-Thursday July 28 we are hosting the 1st Annual Battle of the Bay Football Camp at Antioch High School. We have 5 varsity teams in attendance, and 2 JV teams. It is a 4 day camp, 4.5 hours per day, everyone gets a shirt, and everyone gets fed 1 meal per day.
I am more excited for this camp than I have ever been for a camp in my coaching career.
Here are the steps to planning a team camp I used, and that others can use in the future to run their own team camps:
1. Administrative Support
The first thing I did was to speak to the AD about this. He is a former coach and has been very supportive. He presented the idea to the principal and they said as long as we handled all of the legal aspects of putting on the camp we had their blessing. Having an AD and principal who supported this Camp from Day 1 has been beneficial because they helped us in step 2…
2. Secure your facilities
One might think that using your own football stadium for a camp would be pretty easy but our district makes it all difficult. We have to fill out all kinds of forms, get district approval, and then pay for a custodian. Our principal went to bat for us and made sure we got the facility use permit approved, and agreed to pay the bill for custodial over time and getting the field lined.
3. Find Teams!
I knew I had to find teams to attend our camp. I have built up a lot of contacts in my phone from coaching in this area for so long but I got help from an equipment vendor. I received a mass email sent to me by an equipment vendor and I looked through all of the emails he had sent it to as well. They were all coaches in Northern CA. So I copied all of the email addresses, and sent out a mass email to them asking to come to our first annual camp. I received a lot of “No Thanks” and “we are already going somewhere else”… But I was able to get 3 teams committed from this email, it was definitely worth the 10 minutes it took. I called the Head Coach at my Alma mater, and the school I coached at for 4 years… he needed a cheap camp, and I was able to provide that for him. So I now had 4 schools, plus my own making 5 … which is where my HC and myself decided to cut our camp off for this first year.
We were able to hook these schools by offering them tremendous value for the price. 4 day camp, with t shirts, and food everyday for just $40 per kid (compare that to 40 we paid the year before for the same things).
Cover Your @SS… Plain and simple. That was the biggest caveat the principal/AD/District gave us, is that we had to have insurance for the camp since we were bringing in so many outside participants. This step took a while, simply because I shopped around. I must have checked out 100 insurance companies… I finally settled on a company based here in Northern CA, Gagliardi Insurance. They have a football camp package for just under $4 per kid for a week long camp. The great thing about this company is once we have a policy set up through them, and now that they have my credit card on file, I can add participants on to the policy with just an email and it is active. We purchased camp insurance for 150 participants, we low balled it at first, but this was just to have proof of insurance to secure our facility and get district approval. Now that I know the exact number of kids more precisely I just send en email to the insurance agent I dealt with authorizing them to charge another $400 to my card to cover 100 more participants.
5. T Shirts
We told our equipment rep about our camp… told him it would be a great networking opportunity for him, with 4 other programs here, he could talk to head coaches, pass out brochures and attract more business for himself. He agreed to provide the t shirts for our camp at a discounted rate in exchange for us letting him come and set up a booth at our camp. We actually have a very cool t shirt design… Battle of the Bay Football Camp… with a Big Pic of the state of CA on it, with a STAR located over the bay area… I will be sure to post a picture once we have the shirts this week.
I knew I had to find food for roughly 300 people for 4 days… That is a lot of food.
Our team moms have been great at helping out this. My suggestion is to look for as many donations as possible and buy in bulk. I found someone to donate 600 hot dogs and buns, one day of camp food was done. A team mom’s husband works for a restaurant supply company and got us more hot dogs and hamburgers at a severely discounted price. One of our players mom’s works for a bread company and got us more buns and dinner rolls for free. And Finally we are going to purchase a ton of pasta and pre made sauce from Costco and 2 coaches wives have agreed to cook it all for the pasta night.
We will end up with 2 days of 2 Hot dogs each for everyone
1 day of hamburgers for everyone
1 day of pasta for everyone
7. Get Volunteers!
We have a crew of team moms and coaches wives helping with all of the food cooking and prep work. A dad has volunteered to handle barbecuing, and the entire cheerleading team will be there all 4 days of camp to help out with whatever we need. We have gotten a great deal of support and my goal is for this camp to run without any hitches.
8. Make the Schedule
The last step, and maybe most important from the football aspect of camp is planning the daily schedule. This step took a while because with 5 teams , we will always have 4 teams playing at a time, and 1 team out with a bye. I had to organize the 7 on 7 and scrimmage time so that we all had equal rest periods, played each other equally, and no one got short changed in any one area. It took me a few hours of messing around with the schedule on excel but eventually I found something I liked.
One thing I really like that I am doing is with the OL/DL. When everyone else is doing 7 on 7, the OL/DL will be with me on a practice field doing 1 on 1s. We will have a different challenge type drill each day in which 5 members of each team will compete in events for points representing their school. One event a day, tire flips, obstacle course, farmers walk, tug o war. At the end of the week I will award a Thick Golden Chain for the winning team.
After the competition, OL and DL will do drive block and pass pro 1 on 1s against each other until the 7 on 7s are done.
The rest of the time will be spent scrimmaging and each day will finish with a goal line challenge period.
I am incredibly excited to get this camp underway and see how it goes. I will post some pics/videos and my post camp reflection when camp is over.