Sample Crisis Communications Talking Points

Key messages relating to a car accident in XXXX. The camp was not an ACA-accredited camp.

Key Message #1
Camp XXX is deeply saddened by any tragedy that affects a family. ACA offers its deepest condolences to the family members.

Key Message #2
We cannot speculate on what happened; The XXXX Camp in XXXX is not an accredited camp.

Key Message #3
The safety of individuals at camp is all camp professionals’ number one priority. Over 11 million children and adults attend camp each year, many of them attend the over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps nationwide. ACA is the only national association that accredits all types of camps, based upon 290 national standards for health and safety. The American Camp Association has nearly a century of experience as a national community of camp professionals, dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults through the camp experience.

  • ACA accreditation indicates that a camp has voluntarily allowed its practices to be compared with standards established by professionals in the camp industry.
  • American Camp Association standards are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp industry.

Key messages relating to a boating accident

Key Message #1
The American Camp Association is deeply saddened when we learn of any injury that occurs at camp.

Key Message #2
The American Camp Association has developed professional standards to be followed by ACA-accredited camps. Safety is at the core of ACA’s accreditation system, and safety of campers and staff is paramount within ACA-accredited camps. Aquatic activities at camp require certified, trained staff in appropriate ratios, skill testing, safety systems, rescue equipment, rehearsed emergency procedures, and other guidelines to reinforce risk management and safety during water sports.

Staff training

  • ACA standards recommend that camps implement a system to provide each camp staff member, prior to assuming job responsibilities, training that is specific to his or her individual job functions, including clear expectations for acceptable job performance.
  • All boating activities in day and resident camps must have an appropriately certified person on duty with rescue skills appropriate to the activity and the aquatic location.
  • Camps should supply written evidence that all operators and drivers are provided training prior to use of motor boats.

Key Message #3
XXX Camp is an ACA-accredited camp and has voluntarily undergone a rigorous risk management process to prevent illness or injury to campers and is required by ACA standards to have written emergency procedures in effect for crisis situations. XXX Camp offered immediate response time when administering first aid. XXX Camp had an attending physician address all campers about the incident, debrief them, and determine whether further consultation was needed.

Key messages regarding an allegation of child abuse by male counselor at Camp XXXX. The alleged victim is an 11-year-old boy.

Key Message #1
Camp XXXX is committed to collaborative efforts that can reduce the abuse of children. As an ACA-accredited camp, we work with licensing boards, regulatory bodies, and developers of camp standards to continue to seek ways to promote safety.

Key Message #2
We acknowledge that no state licensing program and no set of regulations or laws can guarantee an accident-free environment; thus, we strives to compliment such programs with sound risk management training and ongoing program assessment and improvement.

  • Staff screening standards include the use of application forms, reference checks, personal interviews, work history reviews, and background checks.
  • Staff training standards include educating camp staff on the recognition, prevention and reporting method for child abuse; age-appropriate behavior management techniques to help create a physically and emotionally safe environment; supervision of campers; safety considerations; emergency procedures; and more.
  • Staff and camper supervision standards recommend observation of all staff while on duty, training for supervisors, and specific performance guidelines.

Key Message #3
The cumulative effects of ACA's child protection standards are more reliable and practical than the varied state-to-state criminal background checks, which are only one facet of a comprehensive staff screening process. This more comprehensive approach to screening is recommended by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center and the report of the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law.

Key Messages regarding the death of a camper

Key Message #1
Camp XXXX is deeply saddened when we learn of any tragedy that affects the life of a child. We extend our deepest regret and concern for the family members.

Key Message #2
Camp XXXX is an ACA-accredited camp and has voluntarily undergone a rigorous risk management process and is required by ACA standards to have written emergency procedures in effect for crisis situations. [leave out if camp is not accredited]

  • We are continuing to cooperate with authorities pertaining to this matter.
  • We do not have all the details at this time since authorities are still in the midst of investigating the situation.

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