Huron Lake, PA—With the camp season hitting its second stretch, Camp Huron Lake is in full swing offering tours to a slew of five, six, and seven-year-olds future campers. The prospective camper tour, a staple of recruitment process, is the gateway to entice children to choose a lifelong camp. Camp Huron Lake Director Marty Feldstein has had to offer few new tricks, including a helicopter ride to tour the camp from a bird’s eye view in hopes of luring families to his $13,000+ a year camp.
The new aerial tour is a whirlwind ten minute ride in an eight-seat chopper at approximately one thousand feet giving parents and their young Jakes and Madysyns a startling view of the camp’s turf soccer field, three-hole golf course with putting green, and circus trapeze just to name a few of the amenities sprawled over the two hundred acre oasis. Once safely on the ground, Feldstein escorts the families to one of two tour cabins replete with Italian marble bathrooms featuring commercial grade Toto toilets, reclaimed bamboo flooring, and semi-private living quarters including queen-sized beds.
Feldstein noted that when he was just starting out in the camping industry in the 1980s, being able to offer both a VHS and Betamax version of his camp video put Camp Huron Lake in a position to recruit as many campers as possible. In the ‘90’s, Feldstein added the DVD and LaserDisc to cater to the technologically advanced (financially well off) families. With parents now visiting multiple camps over a three-day weekend, Feldstein knows that he needs to differentiate the Huron Lake camp tour from his competition.
“Kids don’t give a crap about the drawstring bag or a t-shirt. They have enough. The helicopter puts us in position to show parents that we’re serious about our camp,” noted Feldstein. “It also gives the parents a feeling that they’re on a date on ‘The Bachelor’. They like that.”
Mindy Schlotzstein, president of camp placement firm “Campz for Kidz” said placing the child in the camp used to be about a phone call and sending over a few glossy brochures. Now Schlotzstein works with a dedicated travel agency to set up weekend trips to the Poconos or Adirondacks packed with as many tours as humanly possible. More than a handful of parents will rule out a camp, Schlotzstein claims, based on the hotel accommodations in the camp’s surrounding area. One family in particular nixed Camp Huron Lake purely due to the fact that the closest name-brand hotel was a Best Western and the twelve hours before Visiting Day they may stay there would not meet their lofty standards.
“I’ve heard of parents rejecting a camp because the waffle iron at the free breakfast buffet where they stayed wasn’t up to par,” claims Schlotzstein. “Another wasn’t impressed with the thread count of the bed linens.”
Feldstein, who plans on using the helicopter to break out Color War by tossing the split sheets from the air for the next thirty years since he has no budget left for a pricey celebrity, proudly notes, “We think our Helicopter Tour is first in the camp industry. What is a better way for today’s helicopter mom to see camp than a helicopter ride?”
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