Behavior Check

• “I will remove my child from camp because it appears to be a no-win situation for my child and your camp.”

• “It must be a case of mistaken identity. Please further investigate the alleged problem!”

• “Other campers or staff members must be provoking their inappropriate behavior.”

• “My child’s behavior is your camp’s responsibility. I paid the tuition, therefore you deal with them as best you can!”

• “I will not remove my child from camp because it’s your fault… We’re on vacation and cannot return…”

When parents deny, resist, or are uncooperative during the director’s effort to resolve the camper’s problem, the following statement may expedite appropriate closure…

“The camp can no longer assume, manage or take further responsibility for the child’s behavior and welfare without your full support and intervention. If it is not forthcoming the camp has the prerogative to transfer the camper to the jurisdiction of the local or state division of youth services.”

Hopefully, the director will not have to utilize this court of last resort statement in order to expedite parents constructive participation in resolving their child’s problematic behavior.

Prevention is the Cure

The intrusion of inappropriate behavior is found in the outside world, and when demonstrated at camp can pose a potential number of problem areas.

Ambivalence, complacency and the denial of inappropriate behavior at camp are quite unrealistic. This result can cause major problems for the director if the parents of other campers do not allow their children to return to camp the following season because of what happened the previous summer.

The director’s and administrator’s competence, effectiveness and responsibility to provide constructive experiences at camp must be publicized and reinforced. Parents and campers want to know up front that their expectations of trust and competent and effective supervision will be available, implemented and maintained at camp.

Denial, wishful thinking, or a laissez-faire attitude can result in the loss of the camp’s reputation, litigation and financial disaster if all of the above contingencies are not taken into consideration and planned for well in advance of each camping season.

An ounce of prevention can be worth more than a pound of cure — Anonymous

Charles B. Rotman is Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is the author of “Camp is Business, Customer Satisfaction” and “Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in Camp Management” (1998. Babson College Press), and is president of CBR Associates Inc., a mental health consulting service utilizing principles of applied psychology in the camp environment. For questions, Rotman can be reached at (508) 651-1132 or

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Related posts:

  1. Problem Behavior at Camp
  2. Post-Camp Check-Up
  3. Preparing Campers — A Checklist
  4. Preparing Parents
  5. Universally Direct

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