We had the good fortune of connecting with Mr. Awesome and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mr. Awesome, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I believe the success of Camp Awesome relies on three important factors, rather than just one. First is the people that work at our camp. We try really hard to find people that love what they do and want to make a difference in the community. Sometimes we can go through several hundred applications each year in order to recruit the ideal candidates. Having staff that truly enjoy having fun and getting to know the campers is one of the most important things that keeps kids coming back each year. Second, we pride ourselves on providing a positive customer experience, and delivering a friendly and flexible program that can work for parents who are looking for an affordable camp. Lastly, we strive to create value at an affordable price. We want all parents to be able to send their kids to camp, whether you’re a single parent, working parent, or have other circumstances. Camps, where kids learn to play productively with others and run around outside should be looked at as a necessity, and as vital as education rather than just a privilege for some.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I started Camp Awesome, I entered a summer camp industry that is extremely competitive in the South Bay, making it a challenge to stand out. One of the questions I had to ask myself was how can I make Camp Awesome stand out and earn the trust of its potential participants? I wanted to offer a camp that was honest and sincere to its participants. I didn’t want to have gimmicks, flashy ads or whatever was trendy. Here at Camp Awesome, we focus on hiring quality staff, running games and activities everyone can participate in no matter what skill level they are. Last but not least we try to provide the greatest customer service experience. I have learned it’s hard to make everyone happy because everyone’s expectations and needs are different. We pride ourselves on being flexible, accommodating, and always evolving our program into what our participants want and need during summer. Every year, we try to provide an updated version of the program that is newer and better than the last focusing on being more environmentally friendly. I believe this is why we have been able to grow so successfully over the past 9 years.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Here in LA there are so many diverse places to visit and things to do, and what I like to focus on is the food! We have people from all over the world who live here and have brought parts of that world with them. I would definitely suggest stepping out your comfort zone and exploring all the different cuisines LA has to offer. When I take people out or suggest places to eat, I don’t like mentioning standard franchises, and instead recommend any of the many mom and pop shops nearby. Not only is it better for the local economy but the expertise and experience at these places tend to last a lifetime. As a small business owner myself, I understand the struggle and passion that many of these mom and pop shops put into their own businesses. Right now, my go-to places include a little shop in Torrance called Curryfornia for the BEST Japanese curry, Pursue Coffee in Redondo for the perfect real vanilla bean latte, and Alejos Presto in Westchester for their mozzarella marina. If you happen to stop by any of these places, please make sure to leave a positive review to help these small businesses flourish! Word of mouth is still one of the greatest ways to build awareness!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To be honest, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my family, friends, and colleagues. People tend to credit one person to the success of a business or program, but in reality the success comes from a group of people collaborating and working together. There are many people in my life that helped me make my dream of having my own camp a reality. Just to name a few, first and foremost I would like to thank my wife Adela Cornejo who has been by my side through this wonderful journey of ups and downs and never letting me give up. I would also like to thank Jessica McAvinue, our Executive Secretary, for her amazing dedication in communicating with our families and addressing their needs in order to run camp smoothly. I want to thank Diana Banuelos, our Redondo Site Supervisor for making Redondo as awesome as our Playa del Rey location. Redondo Camp Awesome wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without her hard work and dedication. Last but not least I would like to thank Courtney Lew, our Program Coordinator. The newest member of the team but just as important as every other member. She has helped expand and manage our goals so that camp can continue to grow and expand into future. There are many people who have helped me through this journey that I wasn’t able to mention at this moment however their hard work and dedication is always appreciated and remembered.