DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm a girl’s camp supervisor, and lately things have been getting a little weird at our campsite. There have been rumors about a potential threat on our site, and it has put a lot of us supervisors on alert. We hold events most weekends in the spring and through the summer. Our job is to look after our kids and return them safe and sound to their parents at the end of the weekend, but our kids have been getting worried and too afraid to show up for camp. I don’t want them to be alarmed, but I also don’t know how to bring up such a harsh topic to 10-year-olds. What should I do? -- On Alert, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR ON ALERT: Your first responsibility is to research the threat thoroughly so that you can be clear about what the concern is. Figure that out with the camp leadership. Determine how you will safeguard the children and what measures they should be told to take to ensure their safety. Next, the parents need to be contacted so that they are fully informed about whatever the threat is. Even if it is a baseless threat, parents should be informed and told what you have done to verify its existence or lack thereof. Explain to the parents how you will protect their daughters when they come to camp.
You will have some parents choose to pull their children out of the camp, but many will stay if they feel that you have taken the proper steps to keep their children safe.