Do you assume your child’s camp is safe? Every summer we send our children off to what we think will be a fun and safe camp. Why do we assume the camp we chose for our kids will be safe? Have we asked the appropriate questions that would give us confidence in the camp? Most parents report being more concerned with what activities their children will be experiencing than the camps risk assessment for safety.
If you had prior knowledge that the camp you are sending your child to had a revolving door of counselors through the years and a counselor that had harmed a child – wouldn’t you want to know? I think we all can agree that most parents with this information would choose to send their child to a different camp. We asked a number of mothers why they signed their child up for a particular camp. Here were their answers: A friend is going, there is great sports program, an emphasis on tennis, a fellow mom recommended it. We spend more time trying to find out the safety rating of the car we drive then we do the safety of the camp we are sending our precious children to.
We want to challenge you to take the safety of your child to a new level. Ask the director of the camp the following questions: Are criminal background checks performed on all your employees? Is each person checked through the National Sex offender registry? Do you conduct interviews and reference checks on all employees? How do you screen for possible sex offenders? During your interview process do you discuss boundaries – appropriate or inappropriate touches? Do you offer your employees clear policies about sexual misconduct and consequences, and are they in an employee handbook? What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of sexual abuse at your camp? What steps are you taking to decrease the risk of bullying at camp? What type of training do you offer your staff? Do you offer training to staff to prevent sexual abuse and bullying? Are you licensed by the state? Your children deserve to go to a camp that takes their personal safety as seriously as you do.
Take the Time
Take the time to ask your Camp Director these questions. You will be satisfied and confident that the camp you are sending your child to is doing everything they can to ensure your child’s safety. We owe it to our children to send them to a camp we feel confident has done its best to educate and train their staff on prevention education so that your child will have a safe and happy summer. After all, don’t you think your children are worth it?
For more information on our camp counselor trainings visit our web site at www.kidsafefoundation.org
About the Authors
Cherie and Sally are two professional moms on a mission to help keep children safe. They are the creators of KidSafe- a personal safety education program for parents, teachers and children, which provides seminars and trainings to parents, teachers and Counselors, as well as an 8 week in school program for children ages 4 -12. Sally and Cherie are the authors of the children’s book, Jack Teaches His Friends to be KidSafe- their second book in a series they are writing- My Body is Special and Belongs to Me is due out August 2010. Their philosophy is to teach children personal safety life skills from a place of fun not fear, using role play, song, art books and discussion. For more info on KidSafe – go to http://www.kidsafefoundation.org/