Summer is the time that kids across the state head out to church camp for outdoor adventure and fun. Church camp is usually a fun and safe experience for kids, and as a Georgia church insurance group, we want to help you keep it that way. As with any church activity, there are a few things you can do to make sure your camp is conducted safely and properly supervised. The last thing you want is to put your kids and youth at risk!
Here are 5 things you can do to ensure your kids and adult volunteers enjoy themselves safely this summer.
1. Make sure staff are qualified. The camp director should be certified or hold a degree with at least two years of experience. Camp counselors should be at least 18 years old and should be trained in conducting high risk camp activities. Make sure that all camp staff have passed a criminal background check.
2. Is the camp nationally accredited? There are two major associations that provide national accreditation for church camps: the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) and the American Camp Association (ACA). If your camp is accredited through one of these associations, it means they’ve met rigorous standards, particularly those related the safety and health of participants. A national accreditation isn’t a necessity, but it’s a very good sign!
3. Does the camp provide basic health services? Any camp worth its salt should have health care professionals on staff. This should include a registered nurse and access to a physician (a physician on staff is even better). Enquire about procedures for dispensing medications, handling allergies and special diets, food preparation techniques, and sanitation.
4. Ask about emergency procedures. Make sure the staff is trained for both onsite and offsite emergencies. They should have written emergency procedures that you look at.
5. Ensure the safety of challenge courses. A popular feature of many camps is the challenge course. They can be a great activity for kids, but they can also be dangerous if not operated properly. Make sure your camp’s challenge course is professionally designed and meets the standards set forth by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). Staff should be trained and certified annually.
Let your parents feel safe sending their kids to camp by checking a few of these items off your list. What else do you look for in a church camp facility?