Brands launch virtual summer camps and offerings for kids
For kids, summer camp provides a sense of adventure, arts and crafts, outdoor sports and s’mores by the fire. But because of the pandemic, many camps across the country have gone virtual.
Brands want in on the fun, too. For the first time, brands are hosting virtual summer camps or delivering a camp experience to kids. Mostly, they see an opportunity to give parents a much-needed break. Many experiences request parents' emails to sign-up. For brands like The North Face and Girl Scouts, the idea aligns perfectly with their brands. Others, including Shake Shack and Walmart, just want a spot at the campfire.
You might not think Shake Shack when you think summer camp, but that’s not stopping the fast feeder from launching its own “camp.” Rather than online classes or virtual events as other brands are unveiling, Shake Shack on Wednesday began promoting its “Shack Camp,” a curated box of activities, discounts and Shake Shake merchandise available online for $79. The box includes items to make a lemonade stand, water balloons, bandanas, $75 worth of burger offers and a Shake Shack apron. “This summer looked different, so we asked ourselves how could we serve our guests outside of our four walls,” reads Shake Shack’s web page for the box.
The chain worked with agency Circus Maximus to launch the box and is promoting it on social media. Proceeds are going toward The Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit that provides outdoor activities for children from underserved communities. Shake Shack, Uber Eats, Goldbelly and Oreo are collectively pledging $75,000 to support the nonprofit.
The North Face
A virtual summer camp is definitely on brand for The North Face. The retailer has launched a free two-week program of online and offline events led by athletes to introduce kids and their parents to the “wonders of exploration” with “relatable education on a diverse range of topics,” according to the company. Photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin hosts a photography course, climber Nina Williams teaches about patterns that form in nature and runner Coree Woltering teaches map-making, among other courses.
The effort, which kicks off on July 20, is called “The North Face Summer Base Camp,” and parents are encouraged to sign themselves and their children up on the web page for the camp. The North Face worked with creative agency Sid Lee, and is promoting the effort on social media.
Walmart was one of the first brands to announce a virtual summer camp program at the beginning of July. “Camp by Walmart” was launched July 8 on the Walmart mobile app, with 50 activities led by celebrity “camp counselors” including Drew Barrymore, LeBron James, Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel and Todd Oldham. The camp was announced at the same time as the retailer said it would turn parking lots into drive-in movie theaters.
Read more here.
This week, Amazon announced it has teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America for “Camp Prime,” a series of how-to videos and activities that comes with a Camp Prime Handbook. Kids, and their parents, can sign up for free even if they’re not Prime members, although the activities do pitch Prime Video, Prime Reading and Prime Music options. Instagram influencers like Erica Domesek, Koya Webb and TikTok star Joey Klassan lead sessions on topics like meditation, dancing at home and how to beatbox. Amazon is also donating $500,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs, which will be partially used to create camp kits kids can pickup at select locations.
“With the Boys & Girls Clubs’ 160 years of experience providing youth camps, we’ve created an experience that will help families make the most of this unique summer, building on Prime’s year-round goal to help make people’s lives a little easier, more convenient and more fun every day,” said Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime, in a blog post.
Arm & Hammer
Arm & Hammer is pitching its virtual summer camp for kids to stressed-out parents working from home. Starting on July 27, parents who sign up for the free virtual courses will have access to videos of baking, science and arts and crafts. The brand is promoting the effort on YouTube.
“Our free, on-demand virtual summer camp looks, feels and sounds like it’s all about your kids, but the truth is … it’s also about you,” writes the brand on its web page for the virtual camp. “This summer, we’ve done the prep and the planning so you can kick back and enjoy.”
Apple usually hosts “Apple Camp” at retail locations every summer, at which specialists—assisted by parents—teach kids creative computer skills. Due to the pandemic, Apple has had to move these courses entirely online. The new program is called “Apple Camp at Home.” A new online book maps out a series of online courses taught by Apple’s “Creative Pros,” who educate on video creation, design and coding. The camp, intended for kids 8-12, began on July 11. New sessions are added weekly.
The Girl Scouts
The Girl Scouts has amassed a collection of online sessions from Girl Scout camp counselors around the country. Users can join live sessions including virtual tours of national parks. Registered Girl Scouts also have access to ways they can work toward their badges from home. Girl Scouts are mailed the supplies they need as well as a “S’more Fun” virtual summer camp patch.
“We're making select Girl Scout program resources available to every girl, parent, caregiver, volunteer, and troop leader,” writes Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA on the company’s website. “It's our way of doing our part during these challenging times, and to do what Girl Scouts always do: make the world a better place.”
Camp Tonsafun is Comcast’s Xfinity’s free virtual camp for kids. Videos on YouTube and Xfinity platforms including X1 and Flex feature athletes and celebrities, including Jessie Graff from “American Ninja Warrior,” giving classes on activities like drawing and cooking. The videos are hosted by Jade Catta-Preta of E!’s “The Soup,” and meant for kids 5-12. Comcast worked with Goodby Silverstein & Partners on the virtual camp.
Read more here.
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History—closed during COVID-19 and seeking support—is offering virtual summer courses that do not come cheap. Each online class for children in elementary or middle school cost $375. Kids can expect virtual tours of museum exhibits, offline science projects, and lectures on different topics including space and animals.