Safety First: Tools for Creating a Safe and Nurturing Environment at Camp

Provide a Fun and Safe Summer to All Campers with ACA Safety Resources

Featured Book and DVD Resources

Don't Get Caught With Your Preparedness Pants Down!
Linda Ebner Erceg
DVD $49.95
Don’t Get Caught With Your Preparedness Pants Down! explores strategies that camps can adopt to position themselves for more effective responses to health challenges that may occur in the future. The DVD details health-related threats currently facing the United States and offers take-away points concerning how these issues should be addressed by camps. The DVD also looks at what has been gleaned from the experiences of others, as well as reviews the country’s preparedness initiative and how the nation’s camps should/can be part of the grand scheme of things.

Camp Mandatory Reporting and Related Issues
Charles R. (Reb) Gregg and Catherine Hansen-Stamp
DVD $49.95
A camper tells a counselor of events at home, which the counselor believes might constitute physical abuse, beyond reasonable punishment. A counselor finds female campers are filming each other “goofing around” naked in the shower-house. The question arises concerning whether these events are reportable under child abuse or other reporting laws. In other words, when does punishment become abuse, and when does sexual activity, for example, exceed teasing, experimentation, and curiosity? Camp Mandatory Reporting and Related Issues provides an overview of how camps can address such important issues.

The Safety Zone: Guidelines for Maintaining a Safe Environment When Working With Children
Bob Ditter
DVD $49.95
The Safety Zone: Guidelines for Maintaining a Safe Environment When Working With Children is a remake of the video Bob did a few years ago titled, Maintaining an Envelope of Safety. This invaluable DVD features updated material designed to make it more relevant than ever. The DVD covers factors such as how children become over-stimulated, what the best ways are for counselors to discipline children, and the “five golden rules” of supervising campers. Bob also specifies what behaviors are appropriate for staff to use with children, what the “three safe places” are to touch a child (along with the benefits of using touch), protocols for trips out of camp, and new material on Internet safety. A must have DVD for every camp operating in North America.

Risk and Crisis Management Planning: A Workbook for Organization and Program Administrators
Connie Coutellier
Book/CD-ROM $49.95
Risk and Crisis Management Planning is a tool to help administrators create a plan that will fit the circumstances of managing their organizations and the sites and programs they provide. The worksheets included in the book and on the CD are divided into two main categories: those that address the overall crisis and risk management of the organization and those that address the crisis and risk management of each program.

Who Will Care When I'm Not There?
American Camp Association
Book/DVD $19.95
Use this emotionally charged video to impress upon your new staff the level of responsibility each member needs to feel. There is no greater responsibility a camp staff member could have than to take someone else’s child by the hand and lead them safely through the camp experience. Children are irreplaceable. Make sure your staff fully understands and respects their responsibility. Part 1 offers a number of practices that can be undertaken by camp staff to enhance the safety of those for whom they are most responsible—the campers. Part 2 details how the DVD that accompanies this guide can be used to increase the awareness of camp staff to relevant risk-management issues at camp.

Find additional safety resources in the ACA bookstore.

Forms and Logs

Accident/Incident Report Form
American Camp Association
100 count package of the Accident/Incident Report Form designed for recording all accidents/incidents that occur at camp. The form provides space for detailing what happened, the procedures followed, and what could have been done differently to prevent the incident. Recommended for all camps.
*ACA members can download this and other forms for free at

Checklist of Possible Indicators of Abuse
American Camp Association
100 count package of the Checklist of Possible Indicators of Abuse form. This form is used to record possible indicators of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. Recommended for all camps to have on hand.

Camp Vehicle Log
American Camp Association
This handy 8.5” x 11” logbook meets all ACA standards for accurate records on camp vehicles. This logbook is designed to be used to document the maintenance and service to vehicles. A separate log should be kept in each vehicle. Enough pages are included for at least twelve months of service, and in some cases for the life of the vehicle. Included are vehicle condition reports, maintenance records, gas and oil records, and trip logs.


ACA/NRPA Crisis Response Planning Webinar
Thursday, March 31, 2011
2:00-3:30 p.m. (EST)
Many organizations are ill-prepared to respond to a significant crisis or emergency, particularly situations that force a program or site to be closed or evacuated. Experiences with severe weather events like forest fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes and illness outbreaks like H1N1 in the summer of 2009 have taught organizations that developing proactive crisis response plans is critical. This webinar will address the steps that your organization needs to consider before, during, and after a crisis event.

View the 2011 webinar schedule.

e-Institute Courses

Criminal Background Checks: Dispelling the Myths, Confronting the Realities
Screening and hiring practices for paid and volunteer staff should include criminal background checks. However, there is much confusion about the kinds of background checks, both criminal and non-criminal, that are available to youth-serving organizations. This course provides an overview of criminal background checks critical for anyone in a human resources or staff hiring role.

Health and Safety: Preventing Injuries and Illnesses (Four Part Series)
Based on the results of the Healthy Camp Studay, these courses highlight the importance of preventative behaviors and practices for camps. These four mini-courses target prevention strategies that camps can use to reduce the likelihood of camper and staff injuries and illness. Learn how to minimize the spread of communicable diseases, reduce slips and falls through the use of proper footwear, increase the use of protective equipment in youth activities, and improve safe knife-handling techniques.

View the e-Institute course catalog.


The Healthy Camp Study Impact Report 2006-2010
From 2006 to 2010, hundreds of day and resident camps participated in the Healthy Camp Study, monitoring illness and injury at camp. Health care staff at each participating camp entered weekly health data about camper and staff injuries and illnesses using an online data entry system called CAMP RIO™ (Reporting Information Online). This study is the first ever long-term illness and injury surveillance study conducted with a representative sample of U.S. summer camps. 

In addition to providing descriptive data about the who, what, when, where, and why of camper and staff injuries and illness, the report also provides recommendations for improved health and safety practices in camps based on the study findings.

Knowledge Center

Health and Wellness Page
Find first aid and safety resources, among a wealth of other health and wellness resources at this page. Features: comprehensive planning for camp health and wellness programs, including the scope and limits of services provided, authority of the health care administrator, and the techniques necessary to analyze the effectiveness of the camp's procedures and systems, and child health and safety resources.
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The more we progress into the

The more we progress into the future the more the "safety" concept becomes more and more challenging. People are more prone to break the rules and today as an adult I don't feel safe for myself, not to mention about my children. I should be thankful for the possibility of using the criminal checks, this brings me a bit of comfort when I think about my children.