Newsletter Articles

Parent Survival Guide

July 19, 2011

Amy Lanham
Senior Assistant Director
Campus Recreation
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Good Communication is fundamental when administering any type of programming. It is especially important when that program involves minors. The many challenges in running a great Summer Camp program are compounded by the fact that your primary communication link is not with the participant, but with the parent.

And since the parent has entrusted their most precious possession (their child) to the program staff, good communication becomes vital. Trying to alleviate some of the worry and confusion and making sure all participants have the same information can be a daunting task.

Creating and using a ‘Parent Survival Guide’ may be the answer.

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Parent Open House

July 19, 2011

Amy Lanham
Senior Assistant Director
Campus Recreation
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

One component in the Parent Survival Guide is promoting a Camp Open House held prior to the first camp session.

Since communication plays such a crucial role in the success of the summer camp, offering an open house not only provides a easy enhancement to your program but also begins the relationship building process with patrons. Positive outcomes that come from offering an camp open house include:

  • Brings campers and parent/guardians to the facility to familiarize themselves with activity locations, increase their comfort level and reduce first time anxiety.
  • Allows seasonal staff to meet incoming participants in an open and fun environment.
  • Components of the Parent Survival Guide can be featured at information tables to make sure the information was communicated even if not read by the participants.
  • Provides the opportunity to review the first day documentation checklist with campers to ensure seamless registration on check-in day.

Missing Persons Plan

July 19, 2011

Kyle Hansen
Coordinator for Outdoor Adventures
Campus Recreation
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

An effective ‘Missing Person’ plan is essential in the Campus Recreation setting. Summer Camps, Outdoor Programs and Aquatics are three examples of Campus Recreation programs where missing persons are a constant reality — and unless you have a real plan to deal with this situation, the consequences can be disasterous.

The following plan was adapted from a plan developed for an Adventure Trip at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It can be adapted for any situation, in any location.

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NOT A MINOR DETAIL

July 19, 2011

AN OUTLINE TO THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF YOUTH PROGRAMMING

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

In a time where most campus recreation programs are laboring to produce revenue, youth programming offers an economically viable and administratively practical option. Most youth programming is run during off-peak times for campus recreation, namely the summer months and holiday breaks when student usage is less. However, youth programming also entails unique and, in most instances, greater legal responsibility – namely the supervision of minors. This article will lay out basic issues from starting a youth program, selecting a staff, and running the program.

The term “minor” itself is a legal term differentiated from child, kid, adolescent, or youth. The term minor is defined as “someone who has yet to reach the legal age at which [they are] responsible for his/her own actions.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed. 2008). Since a minor is not of sufficient age to be responsible for their own actions that means that the responsibility will shift to some other person or entity to be responsible for them. Under the American common law, this responsibility shifts to the parent/guardian. A legal relationship exists between a parent/guardian and a child where the parent/guardian is responsible for the health, safety, well-being, support, and control of the minor. But what happens when the parent is not in control of the child? This legal relationship then shifts to the provider of care when the provider has stepped into the role of parent, commonly referred to as “in loco parentis.” West’s Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed. 2008). The question of whether a person/entity acting in place of the parent has these responsibilities is contingent upon whether the person/entity intended to undertake them. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed. 2008). Under this standard, it would appear that youth programming taking place in a recreation center would qualify as in loco parentis.

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Sport Club Athletic Trainers: Part I

July 18, 2011

We Can No Longer Afford Not to Afford Them!

Tom Roberts
Director Recreation and Wellness
University of Richmond

In the fall of 2007 a university rugby club member suffered a concussion during an away game. Ignoring the headaches, the rugby player continued to participate in club practices, only seeking medical attention once they became unbearable. The medical diagnoses was a fractured skull, a severe injury that could have lead to brain damage or death, had it not been treated. This university dodged a bullet, a near tragedy, and most likely very costly litigation that could have been avoided with the presence of an athletic trainer. This near fatal incident involving a rugby player was a wake-up call for the administration at Oberlin College, where the incident occurred. Several months after the incident, the Dean of Students at Oberlin College announced, “the protection of student athlete’s safety is a priority.” The university was taking important first steps to ensure the continued safety of its club sport athletes by hiring a sports medicine professional, an athletic trainer.

The administration of sport clubs requires a proactive approach to risk management in order to provide a safe environment for the participants and reduce the likelihood of injury and litigation. Although there may be no absolute protection from lawsuits, a well-trained staff, safe and well-maintained facilities and equipment, and carefully planned and executed risk management plans will reduce the likelihood of injuries and avoid legal entanglements. This can best be accomplished by having certified athletic trainers responsible for managing risk and providing medical attention at all sport club practices and home competitions. It’s paramount that recreational sports administrators take whatever steps are necessary to justify and provide vital medical coverage and services for our sport club athletes. The risk is too great for our sport club athletes and the legal responsibility and protection of our universities. Universities can no longer afford not to afford sport club athletic trainers, especially for contact and high risk sports.

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Sport Club Athletic Trainers: Part 2

July 18, 2011

We Can No Longer Afford Not to Afford Them!

Tom Roberts
Director Recreation and Wellness
University of Richmond

“I have coached college rugby for eight years now, and I have a long list of things that we would love to have to make our club better, and more competitive, but to be honest, athletic trainers at home and away matches is the single most important thing the University could provide our club. After all, the welfare of the students should come first before everything else”. (Carl Schmitt, President of the Virginia Rugby Union and University of Richmond Rugby Coach)

High schools have made the safety of athletes a priority. Passing legislation and mandating better concussion training and medical services, public high schools now require full-time certified athletic trainers at high risk sporting events. The NCAA has provided a set of guidelines that have become recognized as the standard of care. These guidelines ensure that athletic trainers are available at almost all NCAA athletic team practices and competitions. So why are there not athletic trainers at university sport club practices and competitions? Ask most sport club administrators, coaches, and athletes and the answer you’re likely to get is “we cannot afford to pay for athletic trainers”. Well it’s time we recognize we can no longer afford not to afford them! The risk is too great for our sport club athletes and the legal responsibility and protection of our universities, especially for contact and high risk sports.

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