Behavior Management in Camps

April 28, 2016

An oxymoron?

Shannon Vaccaro

Assistant Director for Sport Clubs & Youth Activities

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Behavior management is the hardest yet one of the most important components of running a day camp, summer camp, overnight camp or any activity involving youth. What is behavior management? How do you affectively administer behavior management?

The answer to those questions are different based on your experiences and philosophies. There is no ONE way to do behavior management, in other words, it is most definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ policy. It comes in many shapes and sizes and should be tailored to fit the population of youth you are working with as well as the philosophy of your program.

Finding a starting place for your behavior management program, or even looking to change an existing one, can feel like an overwhelming process. But there is good news! There are many resources available to help you find the behavior management program that will best suit your needs.

A good place to start when looking for a specific program is your local school system. They often have behavior management plans in place that can be adjusted to fit your camp program. If you are a local day camp this can be a great tool as the youth participating in your program will already be familiar with the behavior management strategies.

Another great resource is to look to national programs that specialize in youth programming, like the American Camp Association or McGregor & Associates SportRisk Youth Camps component. Many of these organizations will offer online webinars, resource lists and classes that will begin to outline varying behavior management programs. For example, SportRisk has developed a new behavior management Webinar that outlines 2 different approaches allowing the viewer to pick and choose the pieces that work best for their program.
See Webinar G5:

At the end of the day, as we mentioned before, there is no one right way. Take some time to do the research and put into practice the best behavior management program for your program and you will be guaranteed to have a summer of fun!



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