Mar 6, 2007, 11:50 AM
Post #1 of 1
The central precept of business and industry is - competition.
Summer Camp Caring Competes
The economic theory behind competitiveness is to improve goods and services and to create greater diversity.
As industries go, summer camps compete on a relatively friendly and collegial level. That's the nature of summer camps - fun, safe, child-centered businesses that seek the good will of parents and the outlying community.
On the surface, camps compete as fun-providers, promoting the best, most diverse activities, offering bunk compositions to achieve a perfect mix of kids for summer periods of 2 to 8 weeks.
Camps can point to new innovations, like monster wall climbing and rappelling towers, a new fleet of kayaks and windsurfing boards, a slick archery range, a multi-purpose arts & crafts center . . .
But, the first question that parents have in mind is not: ‘will my children have fun?’ but ‘will my children be safe?’
Parents look to summer camps as safe havens so they can enjoy their free time together. The central legal concept that binds camps and parents is in loco parentis, a Latin term for "in the place of the parent," giving camps similar functions and responsibilities of parents.
In loco parentis means summer camps must focus on care and safety, not just fun and camp spirit. The cliché - safety first – compels camps to seek a competitive edge. Parents who see signs of a safe summer for their children will gravitate towards those camps.
The competition of caring insures that the summer camp industry will improve in order to allay parental concerns.
Here are several ways to encourage that safety becomes the top priority at summer camp:
Camping is fun, but like any business, it's highly competitive. It's ironic that safety is the highest commodity in demand.
- improvement and supervision of key safety areas and procedures: water docks, motor boat areas, cabins, climbing walls, outbound trips . . .
- a central, well-equipped health center with a trained nurse, and, if possible, a camp doctor
- new approaches to food preparation to counteract the rise of child food allergies and other dietary concerns. Camp administrators face the inevitability of serving alternative meals to campers with allergies. At first, this process will be difficult, but in the competition of caring, parents will consider the safest camp for an allergic child
- teenage camp counselors take on heavy responsibilities for safeguarding campers. Many camps strive to retain campers and staff for several years through a dynamic process of teambuilding and camp spirit. Familiar faces through the years help to alleviate parental concerns. Still, many camps are featuring instantaneous, internet, background checks for staff. Camp administrators and parents can know with certainty that their staff is clean of criminal records. (See Background Scout)
- Injuries, sickness, and family reasons may lead to children missing all or part of summer camp. Many camp owners are opting for summer camp cancellation insurance to reimburse parents for their children’s camp costs when emergencies arise. (See Camp Protector)
All summer camp administrators understand their legal position as summer substitute parents.
So stay competitive . . . be safe for summer 07.
Stephen Winbaum is the Communications Coordinator for MySummerCamps.com
(This post was edited by stephenwinbaum on Mar 8, 2007, 7:22 AM)