The West End House brand of youth services dates back to 1906. The West End House was a charter member of what is today the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. From the West End House, the West End House Camp for Boys was founded in Parsonsfield, Maine, in 1908. Its sister camp, the West End House Girls Camp (WEHGC), was established nearly a hundred years later in 2008.
Through WEHGC’s mission of providing underprivileged, typically inner city, girls with a free summer camp experience, they positively influence their lives with skills, support, and opportunities needed to grow into healthy, productive, and responsible women.
Obtaining donations and finding new campers are the top priority. However, the challenge is the boy’s camp is such an established organization that there is a lack of general awareness for the girl’s camp. A lack of awareness means, the camp has a hard time reaching potential individual and corporate donors. A lack of awareness also means many people don’t even know it exists, including what could be new campers.
So the objective was two-fold: First, WEHGC needed to distinguish itself from the boys camp. Second, WEHGC needed to tell its story to raise awareness to not only attract donors, but to also reach new campers and their families.
The strategy was to use the campers to help tell WEHGC’s unique story. A story that is about what the girls get out of their summer experience, and what they take with them after they leave camp. At WEHGC, the kids experience everything a summer camp should offer, from kayaking, to swimming, to roasting marshmallows. But, they also learn life skills, like leadership, respect, responsibility, teamwork, sharing, and compassion.
The creative solution was an idea called I Am. This idea fell out of not only putting the girls front and center, but also the name of the camp itself: West End House Girls Camp. Bolding the “I” in Girls and the “AM” in Camp created a platform for not us, but the girls themselves to begin to tell their own personal stories about the role WEHGC plays in their lives: I Am Fearless. I Am Kind. I Am Strong. I Am Brave. The campers literally helped us write the campaign!
This I Am device became the rallying cry for the campaign. Which manifested as branding for the camp itself with a new camp sign, signage around the grounds, t-shirts, posters, and a flag that could be proudly raised up the flagpole every morning. There was also an informational brochure/direct mail piece, along with an anthem video for the website, social channels, and to play for prospective campers and donors.
In the end, there is now an ownable communications and brand platform that is distinctly WEHGC. But, even more importantly, there is a foundation in place to begin conversations with donors and attract new campers.