Our full-time volunteers have gone through extensive training and background checks for the safety of the children, and to make sure they can adequately handle the needs of the children all week at camp. As a part-time volunteer, we want you to know there are a few essential things that you need to be aware of, and that there are some limitations in how you participate because of your part-time status. Our goal is for the children to be safe and have a life-changing experience at camp. Here are some things you need to know:
1. Most of these children are from foster homes. ALL of the children come from backgrounds of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
2. They may look like your kids, but their backgrounds are not common and therefore, some of their behaviors may not be common. They may be anxious, scared, timid, aggressive, outspoken, even use foul language or act out in ways other children would not.
3. Be extra patient, be kind & smile a lot. Expect them to have a great week. They just want to have fun, so be fun. Treat them like royalty!
4. Speak words of encouragement, words of hope and words of affirmation. Do not talk down to them in any way, shape or form. No sarcasm. If you see evidence of past abuse or overhear stories of abuse, don’t overreact.
5. Be very careful how and where you touch them. Some campers don’t like to be touched due to their abuse. Others might throw themselves all over you, also because of their abusive background. Only side hugs are to be used and only after asking their permission.
6. If you don’t understand what the campers are doing or why, ask another adult. If you don’t understand some area of your function as a volunteer, please ask.
7. You may not make any promises to them or share any personal information with them, i.e. name, address, phone number, email, Facebook, etc.
8. The counselors and camp staff do not carry cell phones during camp in order to give the campers their full attention and also to keep the campers from contacting people they may not have the freedom to contact. Please keep your phone put away while visiting the campground or at Registration.
9. Only our camp photographers are authorized to take photos. No picture-taking is allowed to protect the children’s privacy.
10. Please do not give out the campground location or post this information on social media for the children’s safety.
11. Anyone involved with camp is asked to follow a simple dress code due to possible triggers in the children and also to be an example in modesty. Please no cut-off or bicycle shorts, leggings, or spaghetti straps. Necklines & shorts lengths should be modest. For safety purposes, all campers and volunteers must wear close-toed shoes while at camp.
12. If your role involves coming to the campground, you must check-in with one of the staff & get your name tag before joining the activities. You will be notified ahead of time where to go once you get to camp.
13. One of our safety rules states that there can NEVER be only one adult with a child or children. There must always be TWO adults present. As a part-time volunteer without the full training, you are NOT allowed to be a “Two-Deep” person in these situations. You can help in groups and in open areas with other adults present, but you are not allowed to be in any secluded area with a camper alone or with only one other additional adult. Always stay in open areas or make sure there are three adults present.