Defined as the generation born from the mid-1990s into the recent 2000s, Generation Z is coming into its own. These kids and teens have never lived in a world without the internet, and they incorporate technology and digital access seamlessly into their lives.
According to a report by WP Engine and The Center for Generational Kinetics, Gen Z places a high value on entertainment and is more likely to participate with a brand if its company vision aligns with their own. They want to connect to brands and people digitally, rather than using the internet simply for informational purposes. They also expect their needs to be anticipated, and for their experiences to be personalized.
What does all of this mean for your camp or after school program?
Millennials are the parents now. While you can create programming that appeals to them, it’s their kids–Gen Z–who should ultimately be drawn in and engaged by it.
Notably, while millennials spearheaded the idea that our lives need to have a positive impact on the community, members of Gen Z have taken it a step further. They measure their impact on the world in the choices they make every day, including the brands they associate and interact with. Altruism is important to them, and they are not interested in doing business with big corporations that don’t align with their values.
Look into including a community service component in your programming to include an element of altruism. Team with a local charity or host a series of volunteer events on your own.
Flexibility & Feedback
Gen Z has the world at their fingertips, thanks to the internet. They have more choices than ever before, which means there is an increasing amount of competition for their time.
The best way to attract this busy, ever-connected group is to be flexible with your programs. Offer sessions of varying lengths and types to fit multiple schedules. It’s also key to offer them at various times of day. This will probably mean testing out different session schedules until you find the right combination for your audience.
In addition, make sure you have ample ways for students to leave visible feedback. If they’re fans of your camp or class, word-of-mouth referrals, social media posts and online reviews are excellent recruiting tools.
Beyond offering flexible schedules, you need to offer programming that adds value to your students’ lives. While Gen Z may be looking for entertainment, they’re focusing on the future, as well, by filling their free time with skill-building activities. Millennial parents are also looking for ways to help their children be more competitive in college admissions while learning valuable life skills.
The fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are becoming especially popular and adding classes around these skills will make your programs more attractive. Additional top skills include:
- Home Economics
- Woodworking & Metalworking
- Health & Wellness
- College Planning
- Nature & Environment
- Financial Literacy
Engage & Entertain
Overall, remember to keep your programming engaging and entertaining. While this shouldn’t keep you from presenting in-depth or challenging programming, it can help provide a guideline when considering new offerings and marketing efforts. Adding elements of entertainment can help you compete for the time and attention of Generation Z.