Teeter-Totter Effect

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / styf22

Balance! That’s my word for the year, or maybe for the next decade. In other words, where is the balance between building character and risking harm; between overcoming challenges and feeling defeated, or, even between having fun and skinning knees? Perhaps it’s the fear of uncertainty—or harm—that paralyzes our efforts and causes us to swing the pendulum drastically in the other direction. Championing risk and safety always has two opposing sides to every discussion—risks vs. opportunities. So, when activities like youth survival or aviation programs, 3,500-foot zip lines, 200-foot Slip ‘N Slides, and the myriad of other camp director ideas come to the table, we begin to balance those opportunities in consideration of the risks involved to produce excellent camp programs.

Ironically, the risk planning process itself is not without its own threats. The three biggest threats to sabotaging successful risk planning is the lack of knowledge to know what to do, the lack of time to get it done, and the lack of funding to pay for it. Although, as I look at this edition in Camp Business , I am thrilled at the efforts of camp professionals to balance challenge, creativity, and ingenuity with caution, wisdom, and discernment, while not sacrificing fun and excitement. This wisdom may be the tipping point needed for camp leaders to navigate an otherwise challenging future.

Meanwhile, for me, today’s camp agenda involves a dead sycamore tree near the ropes course, a camp suburban involved in a two-car non-injury accident, and a follow-up to a staff injury medical claim that resulted from an epic slide during capture the flag. And, while my childhood camp director from the 1970s would find it comical that I have now become a risk and safety professional, it is a joy to serve the camping community and create great memories for campers along the way.

Rick Braschler

Director of Risk Management/Sr. Risk Consultant

Kanakuk Kamps

Branson, Mo.