Summer camps are a great way for children to enjoy the freedom the summer months offer while making friends and experiencing new things. While many people run summer camps as a business venture, there are nonprofit summer camps that exist for children. This makes it possible for kids to get the same experiences as their peers regardless of whether they have a disability, illness or lack of funding. You can help children experience the excitement of attending summer camp by starting a nonprofit summer camp of your own.
Things You Will NeedCampground
Step 1Determine the purpose of the nonprofit summer camp. Nonprofits cater to a specific population or problem, and you need to determine what the purpose of your summer camp and your organization is. You might want to provide a summer camp as a relief to children with cancer, or your purpose might be to provide summer camp opportunities for low-income, inner-city youth.
Step 2Establish a board of directors. While you may want to run the nonprofit summer camp yourself, you are required to have a board of directors govern the overall organization in order to be established as a nonprofit. Find individuals who are committed children or particular causes your camp will cater to.
Step 3Create the bylaws and other governing documents for your nonprofit. Once you have a board of directors, you need to meet and establish the documents that provide guidance to your organization. These are usually the bylaws which indicate how people are chosen or elected to serve on the board as well as the purpose or mission of the nonprofit.
Step 4Register for nonprofit and tax exempt status. You need the bylaws you created for your organization to register with the federal government for 501(c)3 status which makes you tax exempt at the national level. However you still need to file for tax exempt status with your state and local government once you've been approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Step 5Secure funding. Starting a nonprofit summer camp can be expensive if you must build the camp from scratch or purchase an existing one. In addition the activities and supplies needed to run the camp can be costly if you have a large number of campers you serve. This is why it's important to secure funding for your camp in the beginning. Seek out donations from local companies, private individuals and foundations as well as apply for grants.
Step 6Find an outdoor space to house the camp. Summer camps are usually conducted in a remote location away from major cities as this provides more space and a multitude of different activities for children to participate in. As an organization you need to find a large enough section of land to create a summer camp or purchase land and facilities already used as a camp.
Step 7Establish housing areas for summer campers. Cabins or housing buildings need to be located somewhere in the campground as this is the place where campers will rest during the night. You can use small buildings with one big, open room to accommodate multiple beds, or you can provide campers with more private sleeping rooms that only accommodate one or two. In addition to where they will sleep, housing areas need to have a built-in bathroom or be close to a community show and bathroom facility.
Step 8Develop other facilities needed for your camp. While cabins to house campers are a major component of the campground, there are other facilities you might need for your summer camp. Dining halls, staff housing and an activity center are just a few of the buildings you might need depending upon the size of your camp. In addition consider what outdoor activities you might need to develop such as a small fishing or swimming area, a nature trail or a bonfire area.
Step 9Create activities and a camp schedule. Campers enjoy the variety of different activities summer camp offers, which is why it's important that you develop numerous activities for them to participate in. You also may find it beneficial to create a schedule for the camp to ensure that campers get meals on time and have the opportunity to experience all the activities your nonprofit summer camp has to offer.
Step 10Hire staff or find volunteers. As a nonprofit organization you can choose to hire staff to run your camp or get volunteers who are willing to donate their time. You do need to assess the different activities at your camp to ensure you have qualified staff or volunteers though. For example lifeguards should be certified and individuals preparing meals need to have training in food handling. In addition you may need a registered nurse on duty to care for any campers that become injured or ill.