Model Policy: Camps and Clinics

Note: Do not use this sample policy without customizing it for your institution and, if necessary, having the document reviewed by institutional legal counsel or higher administration to ensure consistency with local, state, and federal laws and institutional policy.

1.0    General. Coaches are permitted to supplement their operating budgets, make additional income, and provide a community service by hosting sports camps or clinics for children and young adults. Because these camps and clinics usually take place on campus, coaches shall minimize risk by following the institutional procedures and policies that are in place for team events such as provision of athletic trainers, protocols for injury prevention and care, equipment and facility safety, and standards of professional coach behavior. Coaches are expected to anticipate and provide for the instructional needs of younger participants.  They are also expected to exercise a higher level of supervision, and provide a high level of control of employees, student-athletes, parents, and volunteers who are helping to conduct the camp or clinic.

2.0    Parent Information Packets. The camp or clinic director shall be required to prepare a parents camp or clinic information packet that shall be published online and distributed to those who inquire about registration. The packet shall contain all forms required for participation and shall also include the following:

  • Letter from the camp director
  • Statement of the instructional philosophy and purpose of the camp or clinic
  • Daily camp schedule
  • Campus map indicating pick-up and drop-off areas, the office for public safety, and the camp director’s office
  • Times at which parents are invited to observe instruction or competition
  • List of the camp director’s phone number and other important contact numbers
  • Residence hall policies (if the camp includes an overnight experience)
  • Athletic department camp or clinic policies (this policy)
  • General information form containing information on participant attire, footwear, towels, bathing suits, sunscreen, cash for concessions or apparel, required personal sports equipment, sunscreen, and so on
  • List of camp or clinic fees and refund policies

The contents of the packet must be approved by the assistant director for operations.

3.0    Required Consent, Authorization, and Information Forms. For any participant to be permitted to participate in a summer camp or clinic, the following consent, authorization, and information forms must be completed and submitted: (1) summer camp or clinic participant insurance acknowledgment, medical and health treatment authorization, and informed consent and release of liability; (2) proof of insurance; and (3) medical information and physician clearance for participation. In addition, parents shall be expected to submit signed forms acknowledging that they have read and understand camp or clinic drop-off and pick-up policies and expectations of participant behavior.

4.0    Staff Members. All staff members (paid or volunteer) must have the necessary credentials and experience to teach the skills and strategies included in the camp or clinic safely and efficiently, establish practice environments that minimize the potential for harm, and implement protocols for injury prevention and treatment. No staff member shall be under the age of 18 years old and all staff members must have completed high school.

5.0    Background Check. Any staff member who is not either a current high school or college employee or a current or former (within the past three years) college student-athlete shall be subject to a background check. Before they are hired, all staff members who are not affiliated the institution must submit a complete resume with three references.

6.0    Required Staff Training. Before the start of the camp or clinic, all staff members are required to attend a workshop that reviews pertinent institutional policies, camp or clinic policies, venue emergency medical plans, and descriptions of duties by position. Policies mandated for distribution and review at this meeting are: (1) professional coach behavior, (2) equipment safety, (3) facility safety, (4) missing child protocol, (5) training room and sports medicine policies, (6) description of general staff duties and by position for the camp, (7) official camp or clinic schedule, (8) camp or clinic policies (this policy), (9) responsibility for participant experience and safety, (10) expectations of participant behavior, and, if an overnight camp, (11) residence hall policies. A senior staff member shall be assigned to review state child welfare laws to determine definitions, mandatory reporters, and reporting procedures in the case of allegations of child abuse. Applicable individuals shall be informed of these responsibilities by distribution of a summary document. At the end of the staff training session, each staff member must sign the Camp or Clinic Staff Acknowledgment of Policy Review form and the Responsibility for Participant Experience and Safety form.

7.0    Cell Phone Requirement. All staff members must provide and carry a working cell phone at all times and have the camp director’s phone number in their contact list.

8.0    Professionalism. All staff interactions with participants and staff members must be professional and appropriate. Teasing, joking, or discussing personal issues with a participant can be easily misconstrued and could have detrimental effects on the participant. In addition, staff members engaging in such behavior may expose themselves to allegations of impropriety.

9.0    Advancing a Culture of Respect. All staff members must exhibit and demand a mutual culture of respect among staff members and participants.

10.0    Written Duty Assignment. Each member of the staff will receive a description of their duties as well as a detailed schedule of daily camp activities. Staff members must not act outside of those duties or change the schedule unless an emergency arises that poses imminent risk and demands immediate action. Staff members must never spend needless additional time with participants, take a participant to an isolated place, or transport a participant in their personal automobiles.

11.0    Duty to Report Improprieties. If a staff member views or hears about an allegation of impropriety, a failure to adhere to a policy, or perceives any action that seems inconsistent with the purpose, values, or functions of the [institutional name and camp or clinic name], he or she must report it to the camp director immediately and follow up with written documentation. In addition, any time a child goes missing, the staff member must immediately initiate the missing child protocol.

12.0    Parent Involvement and Support
12.1    General. Because the participants at most camps and clinics are minors, the parents or legal guardians of participants must work with the camp staff to maximize the positive experience and safety of their children. During the time of camp or clinic registration, a parent or legal guardian must sign a form attesting that the participant has been seen by a physician and that he or she is physically capable of participating in the rigors of the camp or clinic activities. In addition, the parent must provide proof of health insurance, permission to use such insurance to have the participant treated if injured or ill, and a list of all medications and allergies. Parents or legal guardians must also read and sign an assumption of risk form that describes the possibility of injury or death from participating in camp or clinic activities.
12.2    Participant Behavior Policy. Parents, guardians, and participants shall receive a set of policies and procedures that address the expectations of participant behavior along with sanctions for participants’ failure to adhere. Parents and legal guardians are required to review this document with their children and sign the Parent Acknowledgment of Participant Behavior Expectations form, which will minimize their ability to challenge the sanctions if the participant does not adhere to these policies and procedures.
12.3    Reporting Parent Concerns. If a parent or a guardian views or hears about any occurrence that he or she believes is inconsistent with the purpose, values, or functions of the camp or clinic, he or she shall be encouraged to report the concern to the camp director immediately.

13.0    Drop-Off and Pick-Up of Participants. Parents or legal guardians have designated adults who are authorized to sign in, sign out, and pick up their child or ward. Parents shall receive and must diligently adhere to the policies regarding the times and places for dropping their child off and picking him or her up. If an emergency arises that will cause a delay, an early drop-off or pick-up, or the need for an alternative person to pick up the participant, the parent or guardian must inform the camp director at the number provided. Staff members assigned to supervise pick-ups may not leave until every child has been picked up by an authorized adult.

Excerpt from:
Lopiano, D. and Zotos, C.  (2013)  Athletic Director’s Desk Reference.  Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics.
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