This Summer has been our most successful summer to date and we can't help but look back at our journey since our first camps back in 2018. It would make sense to start on the first uSports camp and go from there, but there was a chapter before uSports...
The First Chapter...
Before starting uSports I worked for another coaching company helping them to expand their schools and holiday camp programme. One of the first camps I started with them was at our busiest venue in Woodford Park. Organising this camp and starting it from scratch for the company gave me restless nights stressing about the low numbers and worrying about how I would grow the numbers. I would spend my weekends walking around local parent hot spots; play parks, paddling pools and town centres were the best places to go. There would be some parents that I would give 5 flyers to in one week!
Our First Camp
Gradually I managed to bring this camp up to around 20 children per day at which point I was asked to leave my old company. Obviously they kept the venue in Woodley for a few holidays and so we ran out of my old Secondary School for our first uSports camp. We had 9 kids on the register on our first day and I had visions of making this camp the biggest in the area! All I remember was doing everything I possibly could to make sure these 9 children had a great time. We know how you parents like to talk!
Growing The Holiday Camps...
Skip forward a few holidays and we had a couple of different venues running each with around 30 children attending per day at each camp. We were over the moon to have multiple camps and a strong team of coaches positively impacting youngsters during the holidays. One of my fondest memories during this time was when we ran our John Farnworth Freestyle camp where we had a big group of kids all come down to watch one of the worlds best freestylers. It felt like a real community between the parents, children and coaches.
Tested by COVID
Just as we were getting ready for our Easter Camps in 2020 we were hit by COVID and so camps were put on hold for most of that year. Where most providers closed, uSports managed to turnaround the last minute guidance from the government in a matter of hours, opening bookings for our "COVID FRIENDLY Summer Holiday Camps" over one very hectic evening. I've always found that being adaptable and quick to the market gives you, as a company, a big advantage over the competitors.
Marcus Rashford Pushes for HAF Camps
My last point was proven no sooner than when Reading Council announced they were looking for providers to deliver holiday camps for children on free school meals in venues across Reading. We soon sent in our application and were granted 120 places per day for children in Caversham and Tilehurst to access free holiday camps alongside a free meal. This wasn't something we had ever done and we knew we had to jump through hoops but when a good opportunity arises, it's always best to say "Yes" and work out the rest later. Windsor and Maidenhead Council soon followed suit and we were delivering 4 more camps than usual with some fantastic numbers! Adding these camps to our already strong set of Football Plus camps has led to us being able to provide over 200 children a day with more opportunities to have a positive experience with sport.