Summer camps and activities are a hallmark of summertime. And schools, in their role as activity hubs in our communities, have traditionally provided critical infrastructure for these programs. Not only that, oftentimes school personnel, teachers and coaches, run the camps, which support students between academic years and supplement teacher and coach incomes.
And who better to run such programs than the actual teachers and coaches of a school themselves? These usually well-known members of a school’s staff already know many of the participants and have knowledge of and sometimes access to district facilities. Yet these activities can be problematic for school districts because of liability concerns and board policy restrictions that may even prevent these activities from taking place.
Using a familiar tool to differentiate between school events and summer camps
The two high schools of Norman Public Schools in Norman Oklahoma, Norman High and North Norman High, addressed the problem by using a familiar tool, Facilitron, to help meet all requirements. The district partnered with Facilitron in early 2019 and has used the technology platform’s scheduling and reservations system as the master calendar for all activities across all schools.
During the school year, the athletic director and coaches become familiar with the system entering all their facility use schedules—games, practices and meetings—into the Facilitron calendar. The public is then able to request from the remaining inventory of dates and times through the public-facing Facilitron portal.
School events, the aforementioned games, practices and meetings, are covered under district insurance policies in line with National High School Athletics Association guidelines and are supported by paid site staff who run the events in an official capacity. However summer camps are not covered by district insurance and event staff running the programs are not paid by the district.
Because summer camps are not school events, even if run by district employees, they are subject to different rules and requirements—requirements that protect the district from liability and allow it to recover the costs of operating.
Making it easy to comply with district policies and report on activities
To help the coaches and district to meet the requirements necessary to maintain the integrity of the district’s facility use program, Norman North High School created a renter organization called “Norman North HS Athletic Camps” and uploaded the entire coaching staff as “renters” or users for the account. Norman High followed suit creating a similarly named organization with all the coaches attached as users.
Coaches from both school were then able to place reservation requests through Facilitron’s community-facing request portal agreeing to the board approved rates for youth summer activities and purchasing insurance through Facilitron’s third party insurance provider.
By creating renter organizations for the coaching staff, requests are able to be easily submitted and approved by the district allowing them to report separately on school-sponsored events versus coach-run summer camps, show separate insurance and properly accessed rates, and preserve the integrity of the facility and athletic programs.
If your district would like to hear more best practices from districts across the country or would like to create a summer camp renter organization for use by school site staff, contact your account manager or call 800-272-2962.