Date of Project
This Trek Included
Outdoor Attraction Strategic Campaign
The Laurel Highlands Council (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Council) is southwestern Pennsylvania’s foremost regional organization providing Boy Scout programming for youth ages six through eighteen.
Trailhead: Where We Started
The council operates three camps – one Cub Scout and two Boy Scout camps – at Heritage Reservation, a 2,000-acre facility in Farmington, PA. These three camps offer eight weeks of summer programming designed for youth of all ages.
With increased competition for summer youth programming and a decrease in total available youth of program age, LHC experienced a multi-year decline in summer camp participation. Although a large number of volunteers were already working diligently to promote LHC’s summer programs to Scouting units across the region, a decline in participation was still expected.
Trek: Steps We’ve Taken
To curb their decline, the Laurel Highlands Council engaged TrailBlaze Creative to help establish an outdoor marketing campaign designed to promote summer programming to youth and parents throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. TrailBlaze worked with Council staff and key stakeholders to conceptualize the RoadTrip Campaign, which focused on catalyzing interest in a “planned road trip to camp.” The campaign had elements targeted at youth, parents, and volunteers at various levels.
For youth, a customized, target-specific direct mail campaign was developed, including the dissemination of camp information, planning details, and reservation instructions. The centerpiece of this mailer was a roadmap and a die-cut truck. The map highlighted accounting milestones for the youth to save for camp; for each $10 saved, the youth would move the truck closer down the road to camp. These incremental goals generated excitement for approaching camp while teaching the importance of fiscal responsibility.
For parents, the direct mail piece included a letter outlining the benefits and importance of facilitating outdoor experiences for young people. The communication also highlighted a parent’s role in getting their child to participate in this important programming. Later in the year, parents were targeted again, encouraging them to give the gift of camp as a holiday gift. This helped families better plan for the expense of camp by rolling it into existing spending cycles.
Lastly, for volunteers, the RoadTrip campaign provided hard hats and life-sized, self-standing road signs for the team to take to promotional rallies, each including a camp-related message, such as “Yield to Adventure.” Letterhead, electronic presentations, t-shirts, notepads, and patches were all created to assist the promotions team in delivering a consistent and exciting message.
Summit: Vision Realized
The RoadTrip campaign ran for two years. The first year the campaign ran, the summer programs saw a stabilization of camp attendance from the previous year. The following year, the summer programs drew an attendance increase for the first time in more than six years. This improvement was directly attributed to the communication and education message of the RoadTrip campaign. The excitement generated by the campaign throughout the service area of the council was palpable. In both years, youth participants thought about camp earlier and began saving earlier in anticipation of the summer events and programming. Simultaneously, parents were better informed regarding the range and quality of summer experiences, and volunteers were armed with strategic direction, knowledge, enthusiasm, and the physical and digital resources necessary to promote LHC’s summer programming in a compelling way.
In further recognition of the successful collaboration between Laurel Highlands Council and TrailBlaze, the RoadTrip campaign won the President’s Award for Marketing from the national BSA organization.