Summer is here, and so are summer camp and VBS

If you are a parent, guardian, or just someone who cares about youth there are things to think about this time of year. Are you sending a youth off to camp, VBS, or day camp? Are you participating as a volunteer? Take a minute to think about safety.

Questions to as yourself:

  1. Are all leaders background checked, vetted, and trained? Is the organization willing to share its policies on adults engaged with youth? If you are a volunteer insist that background checks and training are done. A trustworthy organization will not have a generic policy but one specific to the location and activity base in which they are engaged. They will share it freely. Ask.
  2. Are the older youth who help or staff trained as well? Are they alone with younger youth? What is the policy? Youth-on-youth abuse is a concern that must be addressed. Training and monitoring are required.
  3. What is the policy on bathrooms, changing spaces, and privacy?
  4. How does a participant report a problem? What is the reporting policy for the organization?
  5. Have you talked with your youth about what is appropriate behavior and not? Do they know who to talk to if they experience a problem?
  6. When were the policies last updated? Safety is never a one-and-done.

The General Commission on United Methodist Men encourages you to take safety to heart. A week of camp can be a life changing experience for the better. It can also be the crushing experience that leaves scars. Much like buckling the seat belt, checking out the youth policies or safe sanctuary policies of the organization is critical to a safe experience.

Published by Steven Scheid

Dir. Center for Scouting Ministries

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