Camp Programming and Risk Management

October 18, 2015

Having Fun is Being Safe

Zach Wood
School of Kinesiology
Louisiana State University

Matthew Boyer
Assistant Director, Sport & Camp Programs
LSU University Recreation (UREC)
Louisiana State University


Managing a camp is an intensive and highly nuanced experience that requires a great deal of careful planning and preparation. Ultimately, your goal is to keep campers engaged and safe for the duration of their time with you. With that in mind, everything you do in camp management has a risk management component. In this article, we will discuss some methods and strategies to assist in the preparation of your camp.
• Section One revolves around the development of a strong theoretical foundation for your camp, including the development of philosophy, mission, and values, and will also discuss methods for developing and training staff to best uphold these foundational elements.
• Section Two gives an overview of programming and activity development ideas and reviews the importance of schedule templates.
• Section Three discusses the necessity of external research and becoming comfortable with state, local, and university standards on childcare.
• Section Four illustrates principles of the shared responsibilities of risk management, including the crucial component of transparency and interaction with parents. Read more

Residual Risk

October 18, 2015

How much is too much?

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
President, SportRisk

In Part I of this two-part series on Risk Profile the concepts of ‘Risk Matrix’ and ‘Risk Profile’ were introduced.

Using the Risk Matrix approach provides a ‘gut level’ assessment of the amount of risk attached to an activity (the qualitative approach), while the Risk Profile process provides a measurable numerical value of the actual risk level (the quantitative approach).

In many situations, the Risk Matrix’s red/amber/grey/green approach is sufficient, and can be particularly useful in assessing a new and immediate potential danger or crisis. For example, if an incident occurs during an Intramural game, it can be useful to have staff ask themselves ‘is this a potential red zone situation?’ If the answer is yes, then it is a call to immediate action.

However, from a risk management planning perspective, the Risk Profile approach has some distinct advantages in that it provides staff with a really good handle on just how ‘big’ the risk of an activity or facility is. While assigning P (probability) and S (severity) values to activities can be somewhat subjective, it is an observed fact that consensus among staff is surprisingly easy to achieve when developing risk profiles for different activities. Read more

Emergency Preparation – good practices vs. overkill (Part 2)

October 18, 2015

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series.

Staff training and expectations
How trained is your staff to respond in an emergency and then who do you protect? In a recreation setting what would you say to an employee if they just flatly refused to come to work because of a weather alert? Be it winter weather or tornados, you know at some point you’ll be faced with “It’s not safe for me to come in, so I’m not…” Do you have a policy ready for that? If you don’t, think about this situation for a minute.
In February of 2009, we had a massive ice storm that literally shut us down. We had NOTHING – we had totally taken for granted how critical power is; it provides the heat for our living spaces, warms our water, keeps our food at the proper temperature, allows the gas stations to pump gas, allows us to get money out of the ATM, and provides us basic communication. We had no TV, no internet and no cell phone service. I’ve never felt so prehistoric in all my life and I grew up before Internet, remote controls, good cable and cell phones!
Read more

Eating Disorders and Over-Exercise in Collegiate Recreation (Part II)

October 18, 2015

A Reflection on the Last 15 Years

Adrian A. Shepard, MS, RCRSP
Recreation Management Program Faculty, Madison College

Editor’s Note: this is part 2 in the series

It’s essential for recreation professionals to know and understand their scope of practice. Unless qualified to do so, recreation professionals can’t diagnose eating disorders. However, they can look for observable signs that may signify eating disorders. The following table provides behaviors and symptoms associated with eating disorders as provided by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED). Read more

Because One CPR Class is Not Enough – Part II

October 18, 2015

Looking beyond into student learning, preparedness, and assessment.

Shannon Dere
University of Arkansas
Julie Saldiva
Texas State University

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two parts.

In the first part of this series, we looked at the development and implementation of mock emergency drills. In Part II, we’ll look at the importance of debriefing and assessment.

Mock scenario drills are a great learning tool, so make sure you plan to make the drill as effective as possible. Ensure that your department’s EAP is fully followed in the drill and take time to debrief the student(s) involved in the drill. Debriefing should take place immediately following the drill where the evaluator(s) asks the student-employee(s) involved how they believe they did and what they could do to improve or what they have learned about themselves. This is very valuable as many student-employees will realize that they are not as prepared as they should be or are not as confident in their skills as they believed. Additionally, a debrief should be conducted with the student-employees in the program area in which the mock scenario drill was conducted. This allows all students to learn from the drill and refresh them on the specific scenario drilled. As the professional staff member, make sure you do not necessarily draw attention to the student(s) involved in the drill when debriefing as a group, especially if the student-employee had difficulty in completing the drill. Read more

Concussion – My first-hand/ forehead experience

October 18, 2015

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

We’ve committed several articles to this topic, but this one comes from my ironic first-hand experience just last month.

I took one of my classes to Memphis for a tour of St. Jude and Ronald McDonald House at the culmination of a semester long service learning project. Because Memphis is a three hour drive from Murray, we rented a shuttle bus for our day trip, which began at 7:30 am.

Sitting in the front row, about 30 minutes into the trip, I bent down to get some paperwork off the floor board and the bus driver hit the brakes. As he did, I face planted into the partition bar in front of me – right at the bridge of my nose / forehead. Read more

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