Youth Camps

Preventing Child Abuse

April 17, 2013

Beyond the Background Check

Jeff C. Heiser
Senior Assistant Director, Recreation
UC Davis

Purpose:
It’s spring time and chances are program coordinators and directors are gearing up for another great summer of recreation and athletic camps on colleges and universities across the country. By now, hiring is probably in full swing as directors are interviewing and finding top quality counselors and instructors for their programs.

An integral piece of the hiring and screening process involves ensuring that all staff histories are appropriate for working with youth; this most likely includes a fingerprint background check to eliminate those with criminal histories. Another commonly used screening tool is the National Sex Offender Public Website. This is a free service that lists all registered sex offenders across the country and can be searched by name or neighborhood.

Although fingerprint background checks and use of the National Sex Offender Public Website are important steps in discovering staff histories, they cannot be our sole source of information. Unfortunately, most child molesters do not have a criminal background record. If you are relying on a criminal background check to be your only defense against child abuse, you may not be doing everything you can to prevent child molesters and abusers from being hired, gaining access to your participants and causing irreversible damage to individuals, your program and University.

Fortunately, there are several other defense measures we can utilize as hiring managers to prevent child abusers from gaining access to our program. Procedures and strategies should be developed to guide hiring, training, supervision and response practices.
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It’s Not All Fun & Games!

March 22, 2012

Risk Management for Summer Day Camps

Jen Rose
Assistant Director, Sports and Youth & Family Programs
Southeast Missouri State University

Risk management is a hot topic in the world of campus recreation. Whether we are running sport programs, managing facilities, hosting special events or operating an aquatics center we deal with high-risk situations on a daily basis. It is our responsibility in this profession to be proactive in our risk management procedures and for most departments this is a regular topic of discussion. In the mix of everything we do in campus recreation there is one program area that poses some very serious risks, but is often not even thought about when discussing campus recreation risk management. Youth summer day camps is that often overlooked and systematically run program that holds some serious risks for programs. These camps are just a small part of what we do and are often put on the calendar to make revenue or get the community in the door, but are we protecting ourselves and the participants as much as we can or should?

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Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

March 22, 2012

Jen Rose
Assistant Director, Sports and Youth & Family Programs
Southeast Missouri State University

Many people involved with the operation of camps and youth programs feel an obligation to protect and support the kids who become involved in their programs, but it is important to know that for most of us it is also a legal obligation.
“Approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment” as stated in the Child Welfare Information Gateway in 2010. If your camp falls into one of the above mentioned geographical areas the counselors are most likely required, by law, to report issues. The US Department of Health & Human Services points out that although laws vary from state to state, typically a report must be made when during the course of your job you suspect a child has been abused or neglected, or you observe or have knowledge of a situation in which conditions could result in harm to the child. Mandated reporters can be held legally responsible if they ignore this obligation.

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Preparing for this year’s Youth Camps Program

November 23, 2011

New Year, New Resolutions

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

Many administrators and/or programmers approach the New Year with the same thoughts.
This year …

  • I will be prepared
  • I will be organized
  • I will feel confident my programs are offered safely

Maybe not everyone lists the last objective, but the SportRisk ‘Youth Camps Online Course’ will provide those professionals administrating a youth camp program, summer or otherwise, a sense of confidence.

Whether you are a newcomer to camp operations or a veteran camp administrator, the Youth Camps Online Course presents materials in a unique fashion – an audit based approach which tells you how well you are doing in all aspects of your program. The planning skills you’ll learn, and the extensive resources offered are designed to give you that peace of mind when the first day of camp arrives.

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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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