Violence — Decreasing the Risks of Violence at Camp

Top Tips for Camps

  1. Create a violence prevention/response plan. This plan must be consistent with federal, state, and local laws. It should include procedures and responsibilities for immediate response to violent crises at camp, a system for documenting violent incidents at camp, and written rules of conduct applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. It should also establish a violence assessment team to conduct formal investigations of incidents reported.
  2. Create and implement a policy for handling visitors to the camp property.
  3. Communicate relevant policies and procedures to campers, staff, visitors, and parents.
  4. Commit to daily risk management. Crises involving sudden violence at camp, at school, or in the workplace are traumatic in part because they are rare and unexpected. Becoming proactive, not reactive, in the prevention of camp violence will assist you in managing the risk of violence.
  5. Develop a relationship with local law enforcement — police, sheriff’s departments, state troopers, etc.
  6. Develop a formal policy statement(s) — Camps should have formal policy statements about violence at camp.  If your camp does not have one, develop one, and consider including a "zero tolerance" policy for illegal possession of weapons, alcohol, or drugs.
  7. Identify the early warning signs of potentially violent behaviors and procedures for identifying children who exhibit these signs. Train staff accordingly.
  8. Train all staff and administrators in the violence prevention and response plan. This training should include, but not be limited to, effective prevention plans, intervention strategies, and a crisis-intervention plan.
  9. Partner with parents. Parents and camps share a common mission develop positive relationships with parents in order to provide exemplary services for children and youth.

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