Top Tips for Camps
- 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.
- Create and implement a policy for handling visitors to the camp property.
- Communicate relevant policies and procedures to campers, staff, visitors, and parents.
- 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.
- Develop a relationship with local law enforcement — police, sheriff’s departments, state troopers, etc.
- 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.
- Identify the early warning signs of potentially violent behaviors and procedures for identifying children who exhibit these signs. Train staff accordingly.
- 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.
- 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.
Articles and Advice
- Camp Safety Basics: Tips for Preventing and Controlling Violence at Camp. Camping Magazine
- Characteristics of Youth Who Have Caused School-Associated Violent Deaths. National School Safety Center
- Preventing School Violence: A Plan for Safe and Engaging Schools. National Association of School Psychologists
- Protective Factors for Youth Violence Perpetration. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Violence in My Camp? CampLine
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - STRYVE - Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere
- National Association of School Psychologists
- National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
- National School Safety Center
- Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE)
- All ACA Resources on the Emerging Issue of Public Violence