So last week we finished up our 3 day summer camp.
18 students attended the camp that ran 4 hours per day from 9am – 1pm. The camp was a huge success, with all the junior attendees raving to other class mates about how much fun it was, and telling them about what they learned.
It was enormous fun teaching it too – it was a little more relaxed than regular class, and all students were pretty much equal when it came to the content. Basically I taught 9 hours of judo and grappling technique and 3 hours of escrima.
By the end of the 3 days, my students learned valuable techniques outside the scope of their usual curriculum, that complemented their karate striking skills. They now have a basic understanding of how to throw, pin, and lock up an opponent. Plus add in a few strikes and counter measures with a stick and they’re starting to develop some excellent martial art skills.
From a business point of view what was most interesting was the BOND my junior students formed with each other over those 12 hours. Higher grades interacted well with beginners in a different environment where they all were pretty much of the same skill level. New friendships formed and existing friendships were strengthened. I got to know my students better too and we all had a great time.
This is key to long term retention of students – i.e. The emotional bond they have with you as an instructor and the bond they have with fellow students.
Look for ways to always increase the comradery between your students and offer special programs every now and again to develop those relationships. Each year I do several special events with my students that gives them the feeling that they belong to something more than just a gym where they train.
Get to know your students and families, and you’ll develop a strong club with a great reputation.