Top Tips for Camps
- Create a crisis response plan. Prior to your camp season, develop your plan. With the proper resources and planning, you can minimize many of the emotional and physical traumas that may occur during a crisis.
- Include the right people. The people you involve in your planning process will dramatically influence the scope and strength of your plan. Key camp staff to include are the director, camp medical director, maintenance supervisor, and off-site trip leaders. Suggested outside resources include personnel from your state’s emergency management agency, the local rescue squad and sheriff’s department, child protective services, camp doctor, child psychologist, local insurance agent or company, and a public relations advisor. By utilizing these people in the planning stages, all participating will have an opportunity to address many issues that could result in conflict or confusion during a real crisis.
- Gather resources. Assemble reference resources, including building layouts and topographic maps of your site and the surrounding areas. You might also want to visit any off-site trip locations. Have the crisis response planners walk through the site and review the communications systems, medical equipment, maintenance equipment, and other resources such as camp vehicles that might be used.
- Train by doing. The earlier your camp can identify a crisis situation, the sooner you and your staff can start acting. Consider how your staff will detect the onset of a crisis. Also, determine the factors that would make a staff member classify a situation as a crisis. These “triggers” to identifying a crisis could be used in staff training scenarios throughout the summer to reinforce the importance of constant awareness.
- In a crisis, craft a meaningful and appropriate message of response. Two rules should come into play for decision making in the face of a crisis: protect the people in your care; and perform actions that demonstrate that your camp cares for those who are emotionally or physically impacted even after they have departed.