Youth Camps

Youth Camps Checklist

April 28, 2016

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
President, SportRisk

Since Youth Camps participants are minors, these unique programs should automatically be classified as ‘high-risk’. Since the standard of care for minors is very high (the reasonable parent test), program planners need to pay extra attention and sound risk management principles incorporated into all planning efforts.

The following checklist is designed to help professionals focus on the key risk management issues that need to be addressed when planning a Youth Camps program. For more detail in each of the identified areas, consult the text: ‘SportRisk Planning Manual’.

Camp Director position
Qualifications and Training
Position descriptions and roles
Background checks
Minimum age for staff hiring

Camper Ratios
Lesson Plans with progressions
Transition/ Washroom/ Lunch supervision (Peanut Club?)
Participant matching
Strategies for different age groups
Behavior Management
Pre-post camp activities/ programs
Residence supervision (overnight camps)

Pre-camp training/ orientation
Onsite (in-service) training
Emergency Response; First Aid/ CPR etc.
Dealing with Heat and Sun
Mandated Reporter
Behavior Management

Parental Consent
To participate/ allow emergency care/ EpiPen admin./ taking photos
Medical questionnaire
Allergies/ medical problems/ medications/ behavioral issues
Pick-up/ Drop-off procedures
/ sign-out checklist; Procedures for late pick-up
Risk Information
Medical insurance information
Emergency contact information
‘Parents Survival Guide’ (search for article on this in the Newsletter archives)

Emergency Response Plan
Missing campers
Fire/ evacuation/ weather/ medical emergency procedures
Safety and communication equipment
Accident follow-up; accident reports

Facilities & Equipment
Facilities/ Facility-related Equipment/ Activity Equipment/ Protective Equipment
Inspections and Checklists

Employee Issues
Sexual harassment/ child abuse/ sexual misconduct

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. Read more

Communication with Parents before Camps Start

October 18, 2015

Getting Off on the Right Foot

Shannon Vaccaro
Assistant Director of Sport Clubs & Youth Activities
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Creating a solid foundation for parent communication is a priority task that should be accomplished prior to your program starting date. Relationships built with parents can set the tone for your entire summer camp experience, making any advance work done in this area well worth the time.

The first communication aimed at parents is the initial marketing piece designed to attract participants (in reality – parents!) to your program. Examples of those first messages might be an ad in the local paper, a poster or flyer at a local business, an ad placed in a school newspaper, any type of publication your program distributes such as a brochure, or your website with your camp information (to be found after a quick Google search). This initial piece of information is what will grab the parents’ attention and a decision will be made on your program in a matter of a few seconds. It is therefore important to have all the basic information included in this media including: dates, times, location, cost and how to sign up. A brief description is also a must so that parents get to know the overall theme of your program. Read more

Operating multi-site Camps

October 18, 2015

The need for consistency

Jeff C. Heiser
Senior Assistant Director, Recreation
UC Davis

Operating youth camps on campus comes with a number of risk management concerns. There are numerous considerations to address prior to bringing youth on campus including staff recruitment and training, emergency response procedures, facility management, and program quality and routines. These issues are multiplied if you are considering running youth camps at multiple sites across campus or at off-campus sites. While this would allow you to diversify your program offerings and serve more participants, you have the additional responsibility of ensuring that all program sites are up to the same standard of operation. To ensure that the quality of your program is of the highest level, conduct some initial research and assessment, regardless of the location of your program. Read more

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

Youth Camps: Scary Stuff!

April 17, 2013

Priority areas for managing risk

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
President, Ian McGregor & Associates Inc.

Guess which Campus Recreation program has the highest risk profile? That’s right – Youth Camps!

Since your clients are MINORS, the standard of care is very high. The ‘reasonable parent test’ requires you to take care of minors as if they are your own children. That’s a pretty high standard!! Hence program planners need to pay extra attention and apply sound risk management principles when planning camps.

The recent ‘Freeh Report’ has brought into sharp focus the enormous duty universities accept when minors venture onto campus to participate in an amazing variety of programs and activities aimed specifically at minors. (How has your school reacted to the Freeh report? You may want to find out!)

Your planning list is long e.g. staffing, supervision, training, documentation, emergency response — to name only a few issues. This article focuses on what you MUST take care of as a top priority.
Read more

For more information on our Online Courses,
contact us now!