Summer is a busy time for Christian camps. Some facilities may have visitors year-round, but most have downtime during the fall, winter, and spring, allowing time for updates and repairs to the facilities and equipment.
Quality maintenance is important for the safety of both visiting campers and the camp itself. Injuries and accidents are possible in the best conditions, but by forming a thorough maintenance plan, camps can reduce the risk of accidents that occur because of maintenance issues.
Just about every camp could use the help of volunteers for maintenance before and during the camping season, but it’s a good idea to hire paid professionals to head up the building and grounds team.
“My experience suggests that it is more effective, and no more costly, to bring in two to four skilled, local workers when the snow clears, and then a precamp crew of eight to 10 staff several weeks before orientation. This prevents extra workers from distracting those who do the best job,” says Daniel Zenkle, a consult and partner from The Camp Professionals, in the March/April 2010 issue of Camping Magazine.
Using professionals also keeps the camp up to date with state and federal regulations. Volunteers may be well intentioned, but if they aren’t professionals in the field, it’s more likely that they could miss something that might make a big difference when campers are on site.
Routine maintenance is important for all of your maintenance equipment?mowers, tractors, and weed eaters. Do a thorough inspection of tires, lights, oil, and other working parts before taking equipment out of winter storage for use.
It’s also important to maintain non-electric gear. Generally, here’s what to look for in tools like blades, ladders, and even rakes and shovels.
If any equipment doesn’t pass inspection, it should be repaired or replaced. This will save money in the long run, and prevent injury when it’s time to clean up the camp.
No structure will last forever, but annual inspections of camp facilities will go a long way toward keeping costs down and buildings up to date and safe. Sites that budget for preventive maintenance to preserve their facilities save more money than sites that make “bandage repairs” to make it through each camping season, according to the American Camping Association.
Staying a step ahead of maintenance also signals a safety mindset that looks for ways campers might be hurt, and reduces the risk before they happen. Here are a few important building maintenance jobs to keep in mind before campers arrive:
Remember that grounds are just as important to maintain as buildings are, especially at camps, where many activities take place outside. Sport fields and courts, landscaping, sidewalks, and beachfronts could all use a check-up before campers arrive.
Slip-and-fall incidents are one of the most common causes of twisted ankles and broken legs. When the snow melts and the ground is visible again, take the time to repair or clean up:
Also make these other property updates as needed:
If your camp doesn’t already have a comprehensive maintenance plan, get started by doing some research or hire a qualified professional to consult on the status of your camp facilities. The possibilities for maintenance are endless, but it is important to know what really needs attention, and that whatever you do is done correctly.
Brotherhood Mutual has many resources to help assess maintenance issues. Check out the Buildings and Property section of the safety library for additional articles and checklists.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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