When campers, counselors, instructors and camp directors make their to way to Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum the second week of June next year, their beloved Ohio Forestry & Wildlife Conservation Camp will have a new name and corresponding brand that pays homage to its inception in 1950, and its growth and success since then.
Camp Canopy is set to debut June 10-15, 2018 and will feature the same learning topics, traditions and fun as the previously-named camp, just with a different look and feel, said Jeremy Scherf, camp co-director and service forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.
“It’s still the same camp focusing on the many elements of forestry and wildlife that we all know and love, but with a fresh facelift on the outside,” said Scherf. “Camp Canopy is the new and improved Ohio Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp.”
In a day and age where the endless list of summer activities for high schoolers continues to grow, the camp found itself competing for the time, money and interest of its target audience - incoming freshmen through graduating seniors.
“We knew that if we wanted to stay true to our mission [of introducing campers to the world of natural resources], but at the same time attract new campers that are looking for a traditional summer camp experience, we needed to make a change,” said Marne Titchenell, camp co-director and a wildlife program specialist with Ohio State University Extension.
The camp’s rebranding process started with research conducted by an outside firm, Shift•ology Communication, consisting of a review of past camper evaluations and a blind focus group of high school students.
“Obviously we wanted a new name and brand that would appeal to our target audience, but we also wanted something that had special meaning and didn’t stray too far from the aspects of forestry and wildlife that this camp was founded on,” said Titchenell. “At the same time, we wanted to convey that this camp also offers a variety of other activities - like night hikes and campfires – that our campers love to participate in year after year.”
The new name and brand of Camp Canopy does just that.
“When I’m working with campers, everything I discuss relates back to the canopy of the forest,” said Scherf. “From young seedlings growing in the understory, to birds nesting in the trees, the canopy and the sunlight coming through it directly affects what happens below it, so the word ‘canopy’ has a great deal of meaning in both the forestry and wildlife disciplines.”
“At the same time, the name Camp Canopy has that old-fashioned-summer-camp nostalgic feel to it that appeals to a lot of high school kids,” he said.
Creating a brand and camp experience that teaches campers about topic areas within the two disciplines while also offering the fun activities of a traditional summer camp - like swimming in the lake, hanging out around the campfire, meals in the mess hall, etc. - was key in this endeavor.
“We’ve always incorporated the more traditional activities of a summer camp into ours, which is possible because of the beautiful grounds and awesome amenities of Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum, but a lot of potential campers may not have realized that or may have been misled by our former name,” said Scherf. “At the end of the day, we want our campers to discover forestry and to discover wildlife; but most importantly, we want them to discover adventure.”
Each year, Holmes SWCD offers several scholarships to students interested in attending Camp Canopy. Download a scholarship application here, and for more information on Camp Canopy, check out their website.
A Holmes County native, Jane joined the Holmes SWCD staff in 2015 after spending 16 years in public relations for a land-grant university. She holds a BS with distinction in agricultural communication from Purdue University and her master's program in mass communication at Purdue focused on science and risk communication. Jane has a passion for educating youth about the science of conservation and agriculture and is an active volunteer in local 4-H and Scout programs. She is excited to bring that passion back to Holmes County where she manages educational outreach programs, social media, and fiscal administration for the district. Jane raises horses and sheep on the family farm where she was raised south of Nashville along with her husband Craig and her three children: Aubree, Garrett & Tristan. You can reach Jane at 330-674-2811 or firstname.lastname@example.org