What is a security plan, and why you should have one.

A security plan is the policies and procedures outlining your strategies to prevent and respond to crime at camp. 

What is Your Plan?

Do you have emergency procedures at your camp? Do you know what to do in case of a fire, flood, medical trauma, or tornado? Do you know some preventative measures to keep campers from hurting themselves or camp property? If you answered yes, (and goodness let’s hope you did), then you should have a security plan at your camp. Just like any other procedure at camp, a security plan helps you react to unforeseeable events. Our camper parents trust us to care for and protect their children, our owners trust us to care for and protect camp property, and our staff trust us to care for and protect them. So, let’s make that happen.

So, what should your plan look like? Well, for starters, it doesn’t have to be complicated like the plans to the Death Star. You simply need to answer two questions: What are you protecting? How are you going to protect it?

What are you protecting?

There are 3 types of assets you should consider when creating a security plan. The first is people (obviously, but let’s be more specific). This can include campers, staff members, visitors - at my camp we include animals. The second is facilities: buildings, equipment, nature, etc. Third is information: records, files, confidential information, passwords, etc. I encourage you to go into great detail when listing your assets, the more you know about what you’re protecting, the better you can figure out how.

How are you going to protect it?

Okay, now that we’ve decided (and prioritized) the things that need guarding, we can determine how we’re going to do so. With people, you may consider communication techniques (walkie talkies), visitor check-in, staff trainings, safety drills, etc. For facilities, think of locking doors, lighting dark paths, managing equipment logs, signing responsibility waivers. Lastly, for information a simple lock or password will do but maybe you can develop ways to train staff about confidentiality in the workplace. 

More Than Just Words on Paper

Sometimes, security plans are more than just words on paper. We must extract these meanings and put them into action: share your plans with staff, share it with your camper parents, get input from other camps and experts. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to take a member of your local law enforcement agency to lunch. Have a discussion about your plan, ask for advice, and give them a tour of camp (I cannot express how important this last one is). 

When creating a security plan, one thing is for sure: something is better than nothing! Don’t worry about creating the most crime-proof camp possible, just worry about getting started to protect what you love most <3


Katie Dougherty
Program Director
Heart O' the Hills Camp

Criminal Justice has been a passion my whole life! My dad was a military police officer in investigations, so I was always surrounded by cop shows and police life. I have a Criminal Justice Degree from the University of Central Florida with two certificates: Crime Scene Investigation & Criminal Profiling. At UCF I was a member of Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice Honor Society) as well as Lambda Alpha Epsilon (National Criminal Justice Fraternity). During college I was a 911 Operator for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and involved in many volunteer programs for the local Orlando police & fire departments.

I am currently the Program Director at Heart O’ the Hills camp for girls. I spent every summer between 2003 – 2013 at this beautiful place. In January 2018, I moved to Texas from Florida to begin my position as a full-time staff member here at The Heart.