Safety first with Camp Coordinator Sarah Forand

IMG_3728My name is Sarah and I am the coordinator for Footie Camp.  I have been working with summer camps for the past 3 years in various roles, and I am very excited to be a part of Footie Camp!  

This fall, I will begin my third year in the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program at the University of Alberta.  The program focuses on exercise physiology, sport injury management, fitness assessment, and ways to increase health and fitness in a variety of people.  

I strongly believe that physical activity is very important in childhood development and Footie Camp has been an excellent opportunity for me to promote physical activity for kids who may not have other means of achieving it. 

One of the first aspects of Footie Camp that intrigued me was that all of the funds from it are used to enhance Free Footie, an after-school soccer league that is provided for schools in at-risk areas of Edmonton.  I was amazed at the amount of kids playing and having fun at the first Free Footie game I attended.  The stark contrast of the run-down neighbourhood surrounding hundreds of children in bright jerseys and colourful balls, cheering as the played, was truly an awesome sight.

For the past two months, however, my main focus has not been on Free Footie, but on Footie Camp.  As this is Footie Camp’s maiden voyage, so to speak, I have started from scratch in creating the camp’s program.

My main task was to create a policy manual. This manual outlines all of the policies at Footie Camp, from a camper code of conduct, to site inspections, to lunch procedures.  To ensure the manual was strong we pulled the best practices from camps all across the country. We also researched even further to fill in gaps that we felt were still glaring in how other camps operate. We then had this document peer reviewed to ensure we’re on the right track for running a fun and safe camp. 

After the policy manual was created, I made our Emergency Action Plans (EAPs).  Essentially, EAPs outline who does what job, where each person goes, and who is contacted in the event of an emergency.  Footie Camp now has an EAP for a variety of emergencies, such as fire and injury.  During our training days, each member of our leadership team will be trained on their specific role in the EAPs.  We will also do practice runs of emergency situations to make sure each person is able to conduct emergency policy effectively.

As the first camp is now just a few weeks away, I am becoming quite excited for Footie Camp to begin!  I cannot wait to see our campers learn skills in soccer and leadership, gain confidence, make friends, and most importantly…have FUN!  At the end of the day, I just want the kids to have a great time and be safe at camp.  With this is as our goal, I am sure that Footie Camp will be a success!