• Derek Nichols, Co-Founder

It's All In The Family

Updated: Jan 24

The idea for Time For Camp started several years ago, long before we ever began to write a single line of code or debate over how things should look or function. It all started with a simple conversation between brothers, or brothers-in-law, to be exact.

I had been working in the K-12 education field for around 20 years when the idea for Time For Camp first emerged. After spending a few years as a teacher, I began working in the IT department of the same school district that had given me my first job out of college. I eventually worked my way up to a Senior Management position in charge of customer service, and a myriad of other special teams all focused on supporting teachers and administrators and helping them save time and money through the use of technology. Along the way, I learned how to code and developed several online applications to streamline processes, improve data collection, and basically save them time and effort because I knew how precious that was having been a teacher myself.

During that same span of time, my brother-in-law Todd (my sister's husband) had put together a highly successful coaching career that led him to become the head coach for the Samford University Women's Soccer Team. He quickly amassed the most victories in school history and led his team to several Southern Conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances. He established a prominent summer camp program for kindergarten through college-age players that drew attendance from Alabama and surrounding states year after year.

Todd realized early on that he needed to get his camps online in order to expand his marketing reach and simplify the registration process. He started to work with a company that provided that service but found that it lacked features and was cumbersome to use. However, the tipping point boiled down to the simple fact that after years of doing business together, the company had developed nothing more than a cold, distant, corporate-minded relationship with Todd and his program. It was this experience that compelled him to reach out to me and ask if I would be interested in writing an application to manage his online registrations.

I am sorry to say that did not jump at that opportunity when first presented. In fact, Todd would ask me about it for nearly five years before I finally decided to give it a try. But there was one glaring hurdle. Although I had written several applications and felt confident that I could conceptualize how this registration system should work, I knew that I did not have the expertise to develop it or make all of those ideas a reality. I needed help and knew exactly who I would ask for it. I know that not all brothers-in-law get along, but in my family, that is not the case. In fact, I can say that my brothers-in-law are brothers. Todd was the coach who needed a better solution, and I knew that Chris, my other brother-in-law (on my wife's side of the family) was just the person to help me deliver it.

Chris has been a developer for as long as I have known him. Having worked for countless start-ups and medium to large corporations for 20+ years, his knowledge of every aspect of application development was unmatched, and his ability to deliver exceptional results was unquestioned. He has traveled all over the world, working with clients in more places than I will ever visit in my lifetime, and builds friendships and trust at every stop along the way. We began working together on Time For Camp in November 2018, and whatever grand ideas I had for what the application could do quickly paled in comparison to the functionality that Chris seemed to unveil on a daily basis with new features being created one after another.

Like brothers, we argued over nearly every aspect of it. What should it look like? How should it move and act? What should be developed first and why, and so on? But we were making progress, and this concept sprouted legs and was moving forward fast.

Our goal was to have a solution in place that Todd could use in the summer of 2019, but we didn't realize how early he started taking registrations for camps in June and July. That missed opportunity was quickly replaced with the scheduling of a Winter ID camp to be held in December. We made the platform accessible to his campers, and it worked like a charm processing registrations, building rosters, generating reports, and more. A few little bugs popped up here and there, but nothing that prevented a successful camp from taking place. Todd's request came full circle, and fortunately for us, it thrived in our very own family circle.

We started a family-owned business with a heart for delivering that same family vibe to everyone we work with. We remain true to our roots, true to doing anything we can to never letting our customers experience that same distant, cold, corporate-minded relationship that first drove Todd to ask for help.

Although COVID-19 put a quick end to most events and camps in 2020, it did not slow us down from a development standpoint. We added more event types, better integrations, made the platform even easier to use, and even added a fully-functional pop-up store that goes toe-to-toe with other solutions out in the market.

We appreciate the sacrifices that all of our coaches, instructors, team sponsors, advisors, advocates, and teachers make every single day as they work to provide the best events possible no matter the challenges they face. We treat them like family and will do whatever we can to make sure they know it.

It's Time For Camp! Are you ready to join the family?


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