Yesterday (Monday, 6 June 2022) marked the beginning of Minecraft Camp 2022. I’ve been doing Minecraft Camp since 2014, when a former colleague of mine created the camp and brought me on as his assistant. That first camp—eight long years ago!—was announced on Friday, 6 June 2014 (it started on Monday, 9 June 2014) so there’s a nice symmetry there. The cycle of time—and Minecraft—marches on.
My former colleague created a little blog for Minecraft Camp, Minecrafting at 5001, way back then, but I did not do a great job of keeping it updated last year. That’s in part because we had something like sixteen campers, which made keeping up with the blog difficult.
I’m hoping to keep it updated a bit more frequently this time around. I’m actually running two sessions of camp this year: one this week, and another next week. At the time of writing, I have eight campers confirmed, with a possible ninth. I just have three campers for the second session, but I look for that to change—Thursday of last week I just had five campers enrolled in the morning; by that afternoon, I had three more last-minute sign-ups. One of my campers is doing both sessions.
I decided to try two sessions because we had such huge enrollment last year. I managed to get our ancient version of MinecraftEDU working on twenty of the school’s aging computers, which ended up being exactly what we needed—sixteen for campers, three for my counselors, and one for me. The problem with running at peak efficiency is that if anything goes wrong—a computer crashes, a game file gets corrupted, etc.—there’s no backup. I could put a student on my computer to play as their character, but it’d make it more difficult for me to distribute items to the students on an on-demand basis.
As such, I figured that two sessions would help break up the enrollment a bit. That seems to be the case, though I’d rather have the eleven or twelve students in one week from an efficiency standpoint. Nevertheless, it will make both sessions easier to manage overall, and if we do get more campers for the second session, it will balance out nicely.
I also jacked up the price this year from $175 per camper to $200. I did that primarily because the camp is so popular, and I’ve been wanting to hit that price point for some time. In retrospect, I think I should have offered a deal along the lines of $50 or $100 off if campers did both weeks (so the cost would be $300-$350, rather than $400). I’m look at a gross of around $2200-2400, with shirts costing a little less than $250. Assuming no new campers, and assuming I pay my one counselor this year $100 a week, I’m looking at a cost of around $450. I’ll round that to $50, as I always get some goodies and bottled water from Sam’s Club for extra snacks.
As such, $2200 less $500 comes to about $1700. The school takes a cut of the gross, somewhere around 15%-20%. Assuming 20%, that’s another $440 to the school, so $1700 less $440 is around $1260 net for me. I think the school’s cut is actually less than 20%, but I want to err on the side of caution with these calculations.
Anyway you slice it, you can see why this camp is important financially for yours portly—it accounts for a large chunk of my supplemental summertime income.
Based on a conversation with our new Director of Technology, we’re getting something like forty new computers for next school year, and the new MinecraftEDU is just $5 per license per year, so it sounds like we might be getting an upgrade after this summer. It’s bittersweet—I’ll miss the old-school Java version, but it will be great to have all the crazy additions to the game since 2014 (I hear there are whales or sharks or something now).
Eight years is a good run, though. Like presidents, maybe an ancient, un-updated version of Minecraft needs an update after eight years of faithful service (and lining my pockets).
Anyway, here’s to crafting!