Where the Camping Industry Meets the Deaf World: A Business Plan

Breanna Dargel, Gardner-Webb University


Excerpt from Introduction:

Every year in America, over ten million children and youth attend summer camp, creating an industry worth over $15 billion and countless opportunities to impact young lives. With these statistics, it is difficult to recognize a market of children unreached. However, for many Deaf children, the problem of going unnoticed is a common reality, leaving over half a million individuals with hearing loss under the age of eighteen to find alternative outlets.

What if these children no longer had to try to adapt to the confines of a hearing world, trying to fit in or giving up? What if a place existed that could provide Deaf children with opportunities to grow emotionally, socially, and spiritually, all while experiencing their own culture in a summer camp environment? Would a camp with this design even be a possibility or a financially sound investment?

The search for answers to these questions developed more than simple clarity; it developed an opportunity—Sky Ranch Appalachia. Through introducing a hypothetical camp, I hope to demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing business strategies in the camping industry to propose solutions for the unmet psychological needs of young D/deaf children.