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Use your staff meetings to focus on safety

You and your staff are wildly busy during the camp season. You know safety is a vital topic to keep top of mind, but sometimes it’s hard to spare time and resources to call everyone together for weekly safety meetings, in addition to regular staff meetings. Maybe the solution is to combine the two, gaining some efficiencies while fostering a safety-first mindset in the process. 

If you already have standing staff meetings, dedicate a portion of the agenda to reviewing incident reports, near misses or areas of concern related to safety. By setting aside at least 10 minutes to focus on safety at each staff meeting, you are weaving a continuous thread of safety into your camp culture.  

When incorporating safety topics into your staff meeting, make sure the information is relevant and engaging so your staff will retain it and put it into practice.  

Make sharing safety news interesting. 

Use storytelling to grab their attention and make it memorable. Remember the time, as a young camp counselor, you got a van full of campers stuck and didn’t know how to use the radio to call for help? Tell that story to your staff and weave in a lesson about safety. What did you do right in that situation? What did you do wrong? What training could have helped prevent it from happening in the first place? Stories are easy to remember and having a real-life reference point - not just a printed policy they need to read - will help information stick. When talking about safety, you can draw on your own experiences and lessons learned to connect with your staff. 

Practice quick scenarios or case studies. 

Rehearsal and practice are key to reinforcing the learning and development of your staff. Ask staff members how they can take action to prevent abuse, accidents and injuries in their role. Leadership might manage specific safety tasks, but safety is strongest when everyone equally contributes to minimizing accidents and injuries. For a simple exercise, create a checklist of typical safety concerns and apply them to specific areas on a camp map. Getting them to identify the risks themselves will help your staff remember what to watch out for when conducting activities around the camp. 

Encourage open dialogue. 

Staff should feel comfortable asking questions, sharing perspectives and contributing insights. Empowering staff to advocate for safety in a meaningful way is dependent upon supervisors being open to dialog on their ideas or input. This helps build respect and trust. After all, a camp culture built on safety cannot be fully realized unless everyone is involved. 

With everyone in the same room, your staff meetings are a great opportunity to incorporate conversations about safety. Even if you have an established safety committee and crisis team, including safety topics in your staff meetings makes it clear that everyone is responsible for safety. 

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