“Code Adam!” These two spine-chilling words—synonymous with “missing child”—could spell potential disaster. And not only for the camper, but also for you, your department, and your university.

Think about it. What are the worst case scenarios running through the mind of a campus recreation director or camp coordinator? A missing camper has to be at the top of the list. Imagine the potential damage—to the child, the family, yourself (did you just lose your job?), department, and university. There is serious potential for reputation damage.

Code Adam was originally created in 1994 by Walmart in memory of Adam Walsh, the six-year-old son of John Walsh, host of the TV show America’s Most Wanted. Adam was abducted from a Sears department store in HollywoodFlorida in 1981. A search was undertaken by Adam’s mother, grandmother, and store employees, and public address calls were made for him every ten to fifteen minutes. After approximately 90 minutes of fruitless searching, local law enforcement was called.

Adam’s severed head was found sixteen days later. His body was never recovered. Today, many department stores, retail shops, shopping mallssupermarketsamusement parkshospitals, and museums participate in the Code Adam program.

Many universities have also adopted a Code Adam protocol, sometimes referred to as a “Missing Camper” protocol. In some cases, these protocols were developed when university presidents stepped up their search for preventative protocols after the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

So what do you need to do?

It’s straightforward: develop and implement “Missing Child” protocols. Then train the appropriate staff.

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. You can start by reviewing the new “Missing Child” training video developed by SportRisk. The video will walk you through a step-by-step process  how to develop a protocol that fits your organization.

For more information on this video, visit the SportRisk website.

Why McGregor & Associates?

We have been in the campus recreation risk management business for over 20 years. We have a proven track record, are widely known, and are cited across North America as the go-to company for risk management expertise. It’s why NIRSA has partnered with McGregor & Associates in promoting the training videos and the ‘Best Practices’ initiative.

  • To learn more, contact President of McGregor & Associates, Ian McGregor.

Ian McGregor, PhD, is currently the President of Ian McGregor & Associates.