For kids, summer camp means spending time with friends, swimming, campfires, and outdoor activities. For churches and districts however, it means a higher level of risk. The two most common risks associated with camps are personal injuries and sexual abuse. Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate these risks and plan for a safe summer.
Although injuries can happen during many camp activities, the most severe are often associated with inflatables, golf carts, and swimming activities. It’s important to limit the use of golf carts to adults only. As for inflatables, be sure to carefully follow manufacturers’ instructions, especially with floating lake blobs. And make sure you evaluate each child’s swimming* ability. We recommend using color-coded bands (Church Mutual offers these color-coded bands free of charge for their customers):
Yellow: Shallow water only
Green: Qualified swimmers
*Swimming should be supervised at all times by a CPR-certified lifeguard.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a consent form on file documenting parental permission for the activities the child is allowed to participate in. This form should include emergency contact information and a release to provide medical care if a camper gets injured while proper precautions are followed.
SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION
Screen every adult who will be involved in any capacity with minors. Proper screening procedures include a criminal records check, a national sex offender registry check, and the contacting and documentation of two references. In addition to this, we recommend having a six-month church membership policy for workers as well as maintaining a two-adult rule during camp. That means no one minor is ever alone with only one adult. As a best practice, benchmark all procedures with the public schools in your area, as they will be required to meet or exceed state standards of reasonable care.
To learn additional best practices for these risk areas, watch this riskmgmtLIVE:
We hope your church enjoys a safe and exciting summer filled with ministry opportunities. As attorney and church law expert Richard Hammar says, “Risk doesn’t mean we don’t engage in ministry. It means we manage the risk.”
For more information about church risk management and insurance, call 866.621.1787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.