Newsletter Articles

Swim with a Buddy — Don’t Guard with One

September 28, 2011

Jennifer Knights
Program Coordinator — Aquatics
The University of Western Ontario

Lifeguards are social creatures. Pool decks are warm. Guards are often lulled by the mellow sounds of swimmers rhythmically making their way from one end of the pool to another. Types of swims vary as do the number of swimmers in the pool. The pool deck can be exciting. It can also be considered boring at times. These things combined may lead to situations where lifeguards gravitate towards each other and end up guarding side by side.

The term often used for this type of guarding is “buddy guarding” – although if you ask most aquatic supervisors what they would call it you would probably hear them let out an exasperated cry. It is definitely not something that is taught in lifeguard certification courses, yet most supervisors will tell you they have had to deal with it on at least one occasion — and that is an understatement. Even facilities with the best training, the most comprehensive policy and procedures manual, and the most hands-on aquatic supervisors can experience the buddy guarding phenomenon.

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The Myth around closing Indoor Pools when there’s Lightning

August 05, 2011

Tom Griffiths, Ed.D.
Director of Aquatics and Safety Officer
Department of Athletics
Penn State University

Closing Indoor Pools during Lightning Storms is THE Great Urban Myth in Aquatics. It rates right up there with Blacks can’t Swim, Snapple supports the KKK, McDonalds put worms in Big Macs, Coca-Cola rots your bones and the Kentucky Fried Rat.

Why then do so may water safety professionals and organizations prescribe to this myth?
According to Heath and Heath in their popular and informative book, ‘Making it Stick’, Urban Myths stick like this one, because they have five important elements: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible and emotional. When it comes to the indoor lightning myth, credibility and emotion based on fear are two important and predominant traits making this particular myth stick.
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The Scariest Four Letter Word in Campus Recreation: Part I

July 19, 2011

Matt Campbell, J.D.
Assistant Director, Campus Recreation
Marshall University

Acknowledging the most feared four letter word in Campus Recreation is the first step in understanding it : R-I-S-K.

Risk…there, it’s out in the open. And now that it has been acknowledged, perhaps we can move beyond the knee-jerk reaction and discuss how risk is controlled, or in legal terms, mitigated. Because as scary as risk may be, nothing is more terrifying than finding out your plan to control that risk is inadequate or outdated.

This article will explore why risk is such an ominous topic for recreation professionals, what the current standard is for mitigating risk in campus recreation, and where the legal decisions are trending with regard to mitigating risk.

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The Scariest Four Letter Word in Campus Recreation: Part II

July 19, 2011

Matt Campbell, J.D.
Assistant Director, Campus Recreation
Marshall University

In Part I of this article, we discussed the risk assessment tool developed by Peter Sandman dubbed the “Outrage Model.” In the Outrage Model, Sandman defines risk as hazard plus outrage. Applying this model to risk in campus recreation, we can assign hazard as the objective factor, such as the safety of a playing surface or wear and tear to equipment, and outrage as the subjective factor, such as the criticism and emotional reaction to these hazards. These criticisms and emotional reactions have lead to an increase in litigation and a paradigm change regarding assumption of risk. In Part I, a table showing which jurisdictions are likely to uphold a waiver or assumption of risk clause and which are not was produced. In this article we will outline how to move away from legal jargon and develop an effective, dynamic waiver document.

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Insurance Considerations for Youth Camps

July 19, 2011

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Risk Management Design
San Luis Obispo
joerisser@gmail.com

Insurance should always be the solution of last resort for managing risk. It is far more important to prevent, control, and reduce potential losses to protect the campers, staff, camp and operators/owners.

A camp program should be based upon industry principles and practices, compliant with applicable regulations and laws and meeting or exceeding standards of reasonable and appropriate professional care. Development of a comprehensive and cost beneficial insurance program should be based upon thorough description of the camp program (campers, staffing, activities, facilities, location, policies and procedures, etc.) to the insurance agent/broker.

Insurance for a camp operated by college or university department or program may be provided all or in part by the institution. It is critical that the activities and exposures of the camp are reviewed in detail with the campus Risk Manager not only to ensure that the camp is conducted according to campus policies and procedures, but also to identify gaps and obtain insurance which the campus may not have in place.

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Back to Basics: Redefining Your Camp Program to Survive in a Down Economy

July 19, 2011

Christina Reddick
Aquatics Coordinator
Florida International University

We are all feeling the crunch of the economy. Families are still in need of child care and youth oriented activities during the summer months but are now much more selective about the program they choose. More than ever in the past two decades, price determines where they enroll their children. With this as the new reality, how can we have camp and turn a profit?

In the past five years, numerous camps have responded to a growing economy by offering to teach every talent or hobby under the sun. Many have added activities and hired instructors in any specialty thought to add value, or rather increase revenue and turn a profit. Some facilities basically outsource their instruction – offering a combination of instruction and traditional day camp activities in unusual places. Examples include the karate camp that offers dance and drama, and the recreation camp that now specializes in robotics and math improvement through ‘hands-on fun’.

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