ST. LOUIS — “What should my kids do this summer?” is the question on all parents’ minds this time of year for those with school-aged children.
Luckily, not knowing what’s available or finding out about a camp once it’s full are no longer worries for local parents thanks to the free web and mobile app Blueprint4SummerSTL. The app makes summer in St. Louis productive for children and stress-free for parents. The resource is accessible from anywhere on any device at www.blueprint4summer.com.
Blueprint4SummerSTL first launched in February 2015 and quickly became the go-to resource for St. Louis metropolitan-region parents seeking educational, engaging and fun activities for their children during the summer months. By aggregating information about area programs, Blueprint4SummerSTL gives all Illinois and Missouri parents access to local summer offerings.
New this year, Blueprint4SummerSTL will help even more families find camps by expanding in scope, including parts of Illinois, and listing more camps within St. Louis City and County, St. Charles County and Jefferson County.
Blueprint4SummerSTL is spearheaded by Maxine Clark, CEO of the Clark-Fox Family Foundation and founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop. Clark intends to keep last year’s momentum going and anticipates the app being parents’ number-one resource as it continues to expand in reach this year.
“In our first year of operation, Blueprint4SummerSTL presented more than 3,500 local summer camps and activities in an easy-to-use platform that was accessed by parents all across the greater St. Louis area,” Clark said. “Blueprint4SummerSTL is the most robust program information database — and best of all it’s completely free for all families to use. As the app grows its footprint, our goal is to make sure all children have equal opportunity to enroll in these important and impactful summer programs.”
Using the app, a parent or guardian can quickly find programs and resources that may work for the needs of their family and each individual child. Activities can be searched based on any number of preferences such as age, gender, interests, cost and zip code — even special considerations, such as sessions for special needs students or gifted students, offerings before and after care, or scholarship-based. The app provides information about day camps, sleep-away camps and sports camps; art, music and science programs; and academic enrichment courses in STEM.
“There were 72,000 searches on Blueprint4SummerSTL in its first year, and 64 percent of users chose highly personalized, targeted searches with four or more criteria,” said Programs Manager Allie Cicotte. “That’s how we know just how valuable this app is for parents. Blueprint4SummerSTL is the only summer camp database that allows users to generate highly personalized, granular search results based on multiple criteria.”
Currently more than 2,500 summer sessions are already listed, and the database is growing daily as enrollment periods begin and more organizations learn about the Blueprint4SummerSTL app.
The app also offers summer programs the opportunity to easily submit their camps for free. An organizer can simply create a free account on Blueprint4SummerSTL and then send an email to email@example.com with the name of the camp they are representing. Blueprint4SummerSTL will link the account, allowing the organizer to edit, update and add new program information.
Tasmyn Front, executive director at Challenger Learning Center in Ferguson, Missouri, said attendance levels at their 2015 summer camps spiked thanks to the free exposure offered by Blueprint4SummerSTL.
“The Challenger Learning Center benefited tremendously from Blueprint4SummerSTL. As a result of their marketing outreach through schools and media, we have seen an increase in the number of families contacting us to find out about our programs and enroll their children,” Front said.
Summer activities are a crucial part of intellectual development that enable children to spend their vacation time constructively, develop their passions and creativity, advance their learning and, of course, have fun. Blueprint4SummerSTL truly is a blueprint that parents can use to build an enriching summer for kids and a less-stressful planning cycle for themselves.”
Blueprint4SummerSTL was made possible by the generous support of a wide variety of financial and business partners.
For more information about Blueprint4SummerSTL, to learn about programs and to connect with other parents online, “like” Blueprint4SummerSTL on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Blueprint4SummerSTL or follow Blueprint4SummerSTL on Twitter @B4SSTL.