Monday, April 7, 2014
The Cabinizer. I have always loved it. The simplicity, the usefulness, the efficiency. Most camps, overnight and day, have some form of grouping to do, either putting the campers into their cabins or their weekly groups. And, for most camps, it is an extremely important task, wanting to get just the right mix in each cabin or group.
I am sure many of us recall camper cards (think rolodex cards with camper details on them) being shuffled around on the floor or cork board to capture the appropriate grouping. There was a need to see the whole picture, all of the cabins at once, and easily move campers around. So many camper requests to consider…and some “dis-requests” to ensure!
When we first introduced the Cabinizer in our Desktop version many, many years ago, there were fears of “I can’t do this without my camper cards and my cork board!” from some corners and tears of pure joy from others. Without a doubt, the Cabinizer has become a truly beloved part of CampBrain.
When it was time to bring it to the Web-based version, the pressure was on to bring the same love to the table. Many of the features remain the same:
- Sorting the unassigned campers in a variety of ways
- Choosing which of the camper and household fields you want to see
- Dragging and dropping the campers into their cabins and groups, either one at a time or in groups
- Checking for gender and capacity issues
- Copying assignments from one session to another (perfect for campers in multiple sessions)
- Moving campers up and down between cabins and groups
- Creating awesome reports from your hard work in the Cabinizer
There are a few things that we enhanced for the Web-based version, based on feedback from you:
- You can view all cabins/groups open at the same time so you can get that “big picture” view, making it easier to drag and drop between cabins/groups
- We created a “limbo” area so you can drag campers there as a temporary step and then move them to cabins and groups once ready
- The specific cabins and groups are tailored for each session or “set” – only see the ones you are using for that time period, set a different capacity, establish a different gender
- Campers can be in more than one cabin or group per session (think about a camper staying the whole summer but switching cabins half way through)
That last point deserves some elaboration. In the Desktop version, you can only have one cabin/group assignment per session. In the Web-based version, there is no limit. We created an extra tier to remove this per session limitation. Personally, I think the real benefit of this particular feature goes far beyond cabin and group assignment. It means you can use the Cabinizer for any type of grouping you want – create teams, colour war groups, dining table assignments, anything! You can take a session (or sessions) of campers, name a new “set” in the Cabinizer and drag and drop everyone into their groups/teams/tables/cabins. It is one of those features that is so flexible and powerful, that we will look back in a year and say “Wow, our camps are really creative in the way they have used the Cabinizer!” Frankly, the “Cabinizer” is probably a little limiting as a name…we may need to consider something like the “Groupinator”. :)
Can you see some other ways you like to separate and group your campers beyond just cabins and groups?
Whether on Desktop or Web-based, I wish you happy Cabinizing in the days ahead!
Love your Software,