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Joan at 4-H Camp

Campers show resilience at stormy 4-H camp

I took a break from work to spend four days volunteering on the waterfront at Camp Bird. I built sand castles, judged cannonball contests, canoed among the water lilies, and sang stupid songs at the top of my lungs. Throughout it all, I worked with and supported youth to enrich their camping experience.

Memory making

On a scale of 1 to 10 on the memory-maker meter, Oconto County’s 4-H Summer Camp 2017 rates as an 11. Blame it on the weather. With my whole heart, I never want to see the inside of the camp’s storm shelter ever again. Two trips underground were enough, though I have to admit, the aftermath of the storm (downed trees and branches) was a sure sign we had been in the right place.

I’d think we left camp with confidence gained only by persevering through a tough situation. When we registered for camp we opened ourselves to new opportunities and adventure. But beyond that, we proved our resilience by weathering the unexpected challenges thrown at us by the storm.

No electricity!

The rainstorm knocked out the power on the second day of camp. That’s a really big deal when you have 90 people who need to take a shower! One little girl said she was certain her mom would put her in the bathtub for three days after camp was over. I’m not sure what felt sweeter when I got home: flipping on a light or taking a shower. I missed both of these during my days without electricity.
I bet the campers and counselors felt the same way.

Learning something new

We arrived home Tuesday afternoon with more than sunburn, mosquito bites, and sand in our suitcases. We had memories to last a lifetime. We learned new games, songs, crafts, and ways to entertain ourselves in storm shelters. I saw kids learn to dance the Macarena, row a boat and weave a bracelet. They gained independence by spending a few days away from the comforts of home and the security of mom and dad. I hope the wisdom they earned sticks with them.

Boy, do we have stories to tell!

Website content in browser

Questionnaire for website content

Content writing for websites is a little bit like going on a blind date.
Anyone who has been on blind date knows the importance of asking good questions – because the alternative is awkward silence. Good questions lead to good rapport, good conversation, and perhaps, a meaningful relationship.
Here is a list of questions I developed as a starting point for writing website content, especially for the Home page and About Us page.

1. Name of business?
2. Meaning behind the name?
3. Name of Owner/s?Website content in browser
4. History of the business?
5. What problem do your clients face?
6. What solution do you provide?
7. Owner’s experience?
8. Certifications?
9. Training/Education?
10. Insured and bonded?
11. Mission statement/goals?
12. Motto or catchphrase?
13. Advertising messages?
14. Key words people might use in online searches?
15. Selling point: why different than competition?
16. What’s the approach you take with clients?
17. Primary target audience?
18. Secondary target audience?
19. Service area?
20. Locations (home office, branches)?
21. Directions to home office/branches?
22. What do you want customers to do? Call? Email? Visit you in person? Something else?
23. Number of staff members?
24. Selling point of staff members: What makes the staff stand out?
25. Service/product offered? What are their four top benefits or features?
26. What’s your price point? How does your price compare to the competition?
27. Advantages of working with you (quality product, save time, better than do-it-yourself, etc.)?
28. Hours or by appointment only?
29. Awards and recognition?
30. What did I forget that’s important?

I’ve found this questionnaire to be a great place to start when I develop website content for a client. Follow-up questions help to clarify the information, and additional research helps to add detail and industry-specific language. My goal is to engage readers in content that’s meaningful to them, making them more likely to act in a way that meets my clients’ business objectives. Good content can increase traffic to a website and reduce bounce rates.