Watch the "Because of Camp" PSA.
Expect to see this and other images on TV and the Web, as part of two public service announcements (PSAs) in which 14 celebrities talk about how going to camp changed their lives.
The Because of Camp ... PSAs, launched by the American Camp Association (ACA), feature actress Emma Roberts, former Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug, (also a program officer at the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice) actor Blair Underwood and others talking about what they learned at camp, against a backdrop of photos taken of them as children at camp.
The PSAs stress that "the benefits of camp extend further than just childhood development," said ACA Chief Executive Officer Peg L. Smith.
In a letter distributed electronically in May to ACA members, Smith wrote that the purpose of the PSAs is to "familiarize the non-camp, general population with the benefits of camp," "gain brand recognition with the public" and "ultimately assist in meeting ACA's 20/20 Vision by reaching a large population of parents of camp-aged children."
20/20 Vision is a goal set by ACA that its member camps serve 20 million youth by the year 2020. Although approximately 10 million children attend camp each year, only 3 million attended ACA member camps in 2008.
Camps are taking steps to ward off a downturn in attendance this summer. (See "Camp Cope," May.) "Especially in these difficult times, spreading the positive message of the camp experience is critical," Smith wrote.
Although the PSA has been marketed to more than 5,000 traditional media outlets, it was first virally launched on the ACA website, on social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook, and through electronic newsletters. The ACA asked its members to either embed the video on their own sites, or to feature a link to the Because of Camp ... site (www.ACAcamps.org/becauseofcamp).
The media campaign was financed in part by the Lilly Endowment and the Legacy Fund of the Association of Independent Camps, which is supported by private donors.
Contact: ACA (765) 349-3317, www.ACAcamps.org.