Local Expert: Summer 365

Hidden in the residential buildings of Tribeca are hundreds of folks running businesses that, without storefronts, are hidden from view. Some are brand new, some have been around for a while, and all are contributing to the hive of expertise we have buzzing down here. From time to time I will feature one of them in this series.

The expert: Lauren Kasnett Nearpass
The business: One-on-one summer camp consulting
Founded: 2013

Lauren Nearpass’ mother was a dyed-in-the-wool, bred-in-the-bone camper, so when Lauren hit 7 years old as a kid in suburban D.C., there was no question she was going to sleepaway camp. Lauren ended up spending 12 (formative) summers at a place called Tyler Hill and after four years at Emory and stints here in marketing, decided to make camp a profession (that’s her and some of her staff hard at work in the picture above). The move to Tribeca and two kids came a couple years after that.

This is a family business. Lauren’s mother had worked as a camp consultant for 16 years starting in the late ‘90s, you know, when the internet didn’t exist, so Lauren was versed in the concept but knew she needed to tweak the business model (her mother is her co-founder). So Summer 365 would not only have to operate differently, it would also provide a different service. There’s really no need for a search directory anymore. Lauren wanted to take what her mother started and launch into our online lives.

“My mom taught me everything I know, but I wanted to make a business for the modern parent,” said Lauren (above on right). (Her own kids aren’t quite ready for camp, at ages 3 and 10 months.) The company (16 women in mostly Northeast markets, but also in LA, Miami and Chicago) works one-on-one with families to sort between the 500 camps and overnight programs not just in the US but all over the globe.

Here’s the good part for readers in the sleepaway camp market: the fees are paid by the camps, not the campers, as in the travel business. And Lauren promises – really promises – that the company is paid by the camps equally; she has no stake in one camp over the other. The company’s goal more than anything is for the kid to be happy once they get there, otherwise known as a “successful placement.” Her only real push is to get kids to go away (well, you know what I mean), get outside, unplug and get some time away from their parents.

“We are preaching our message,” Lauren says. “We are advocates of that kind of independence, especially in a world where connecting and unplugging is needed more than ever.”

Summer 365