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.

Areas that you may want to consider including in the Guide are as follows:

  • Parent Open House & Tours
  • Material to Be Returned
  • What to Bring Everyday
  • Facilities
  • Arriving at Camp
  • Departing from Camp
  • Extended Program
  • Late Fees for Pick Up
  • Payment Information
  • Cancellations & Refunds
  • Medication
  • Accidents and Emergencies
  • Illness
  • Food
  • Summer Camp Souvenir T-shirt
  • Activities
  • Discipline
  • Activity Groups
  • Communications

Having the above categories of information in a concise, easy to utilize booklet creates a resource with all the information in one place. The parent is not searching through mailings and various forms of publication to find out what they need to know and when they need to know it.

For example, outlining exactly what the parent and camper need to do in case medicine needs to be administered at camp can prevent a conflict during the season. Telling parents right up front how an accident or emergency is handled and how a situation would be communicated keeps everyone on the same page.

By spending some up-front time to develop the ‘survival guide’, you free up staff time later on (responding to some of the most frequently asked questions you or your staff receive) allowing you to concentrate on the programming and not the administration.

When developing the ‘survival guide’ take the approach that you are a brand new participant to the program — what type of questions would you want addressed? Call some of the first year campers who are planning to return for this season and ask them what they wished they had known or what information would have been helpful last year to improve the camping season.

A copy of the Survival Guide for Husker Kids and Husker Adventures may be referenced at

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