Summer Camp Safety Concerns All Should Know About
Summer camps can provide safe, adult or trained professional-supervised activities and explorations designed to keep children entertained, happy, and most importantly, out of danger. The safety of our children is of upmost importance, a sentiment that should be shared by those individuals we leave to supervise.
You should be wary of the type of people hired at the summer camp your child is attending, the culture surrounding the camp, and its procedures on how to deal with dangerous events and occurrences. You should know how background checks are handled by the summer camp’s program director and how he or she screens employees of the camp and volunteers. Make sure you are asking the right questions.
Criminal Background Checks
Ask the program’s director about the process for hiring and if employees and volunteers must pass a criminal background check before they are hired. More than likely, because the job entails working with children, the clearance of such a requirement is essential to the hiring process, but there is nothing wrong with double checking this.
Sex Offender and the National Sex Offender Registry
Be cautious and inquisitive when it comes to volunteers and teen counselors. You have the right to know if voluntary staff members have been checked and cleared under the National Sex Offender registry, even if you have been told that paid employees must be screened for such offenses. Knowledge of all persons that may interact with your child is your right as a parent.
Rules and Regulations
Ask program supervisors for a handbook or pamphlet detailing all rules and regulations regarding the safety and well being of campers. The regulations should go into detail about river and lake safety, outdoor activities, and forest animal interaction. Summer outdoor safety guidelines should be afforded to you before your child is registered to attend the camp.
Inquiries about the prevention of bullying, sexual abuse, accidental poisoning, broken bones, etc. should go through your mind when sending your child to a summer camp. Be sure to ask program director’s about the steps taken to train and educate staff and employees on how to prevent accidents, sexual misconduct, the consequences if rules concerning sexual misconduct is violated, and if and when accidents occur, are staff members trained in first aid and medical care.
Ask about all training procedures staff members must go through in order to awarded a position at the summer camp. For instance, New York summer camp counselors must receive 8 days of intensive pre-camp staff training, interactive seminars, and must study modern concepts in child care and motivational techniques. The more you know about the camp and its staff, the safer you will feel about sending your child to the camp.
Ascertain that the summer camp is certified by the state, have passed all necessary tests and trainings, and have received all licenses to operate.
Summer camps and their employees should be considerate of your concerns regarding the care of your child and the preventative steps they have taken to ensure the campers’ safety. Not until you are completely satisfied and content with the answers you have received from the program coordinator should you sign your child up for the summer camp.
Additionally, talk with your child about your safety concerns and what they should do in the event that they feel threatened or unsafe. Discuss their concerns, as well. Children may be apprehensive towards attending summer camp for the first time so address their questions and concerns openly and honestly.
All steps by each party involved that can be taken to ensure the safety of your child are necessary to take. Establish a piece of mind and send your child to a summer camp you both feel is a safe environment.
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