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On one of my email round tables, Philip Drake, of Mt. Lou Bible Camp, submitted the idea of creating and selling trading cards of the camp staff. I thought this was a fantastic idea. After I got some help from Philip on how to make this happen, I went to work on creating our own trading cards.
Step 1 – The Template
The first thing I had to do was create a template for each of our theme weeks. The basic template came from Philip and allows me to print 9 cards on one sheet of card stock paper.
I pulled the basic template into Photoshop and add the logo I made for each theme week. Then I added the camp names of each staff member.
Step 2 – The Photos
During staff training I set aside some time for the staff to pose for each week’s photos. I told them ahead of time what the weekly themes would be and asked them to bring in clothing and props if they had them.
We also used the clothes and props we already have for camp skits. We have nine weeks of camp which means nine different themes.
Step 3 – Add the Photos
After all the photos were taken I went back into Photoshop and, after cropping and sizing each photo, I added them to the templates.
At first I came up with clever names to put on the cards. After a few weeks I couldn’t come up with anymore fun and exciting character names so I just went with each staff members camp name. The staff liked having their camp names on the cards much more. I also printed the name of our camp on the back of each card from another template I created. Other than that the back was blank.
Step 4 – The Paper
I used the heaviest white card stock I could get at the local office supply store which was 110lb.
While you can use a lighter card stock, it won’t give it that sports trading card feel as much as a heavier weight will.
Step 5 – Cut
Cutting was a bit of a challenge.
It was hard to make sure I got right on the line of each card. In the future I will create a template with white space around each card/image so I don’t have to be so exact on the cuts.
Step 6 – Packaging
I purchased small clear sleeves and placed the deck of cards, which included the whole staff and a few “bonus” cards, into each one.
We have a small staff so the 2.5″ x 3.5″ sleeves were just the right size. If you have a large staff you will have to package them another way or break the cards up into multiple decks.
Step 7 – Sell Them
If you work at a resident camp, simply sell them in your camp store. They will go like wild-fire. For day camps, I suggest you send out an email on Thursday and sell them on Friday. The email will let parents know that you have staff trading cards for sale and that you are using the funds for an end of season staff party. Let the parents know that it is a great way to support the staff and the wonderful job they do.
On Friday morning one of my staff is stationed at the check-in area with a cash box with change and the available card decks.
I sold the decks for $5 each and 25%-40% of the campers purchased them the weeks I sent out the email. That number dropped to 10%-15% if I didn’t send out an email. At first I was nervous about charging so much but I didn’t have one parent tell me it was too much, especially since it was going towards a staff party. In fact I had parents tell me that it was a clever idea and thanking me for offering such a neat memento.
Step 8 – Signing
Many of the campers wanted the staff to sign the back of the cards. Make sure your staff have pens ready.
Some staff that would just sign their camp name, some wrote little personalized messages, and a couple drew little pictures with their signature. I had one counselor tell me that she was going to have a stamp made for next year.
Step 9 – Milestone
For campers and CITs that have been coming to camp for 5 years, I made a trading card for them and placed it in an Ultra Pro One Touch Magnetic Card Holder.
Then I presented the card in front of the whole camp. You can imagine how excited the 5-year campers got.
This was a huge success. It was very time-consuming each week but so worth it. I will be doing this again, but I plan on creating completely different templates for each theme. Thanks to Philip for a great idea. There are many ideas like this that come out of our email round tables. If you would like to be notified of the next round table, make sure you opt-in to my email list by using the form in the sidebar or footer.