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4 Oct 2020
When our four kids were teenagers, they loved going away on church camps every summer. It presented them with the opportunity to be without their parents, to enjoy time away with their cousins, their friends, make new friends and hear the Gospel in a different setting. For many children and young people, camps have been a formative experience and have a significant impact on their faith journey.
When choosing a Christian camp for your child there is plenty you can do to ensure your child is in a safe environment while away from home. The more informed you are the better. So what is it that you should be looking for?
❗️If you are choosing a camp provider, such as a summer camp, it is important that you feel completely confident in the organisation you have chosen. Many organisations over the past number of years, have worked very hard to ensure that their safeguarding processes are sound and robust which is really positive. Recommendations from other parents around which camp to choose may be helpful, but still do your own homework. Read about the staff who will be taking care of your child.
❗️It is a good idea to involve your child in the research process, look at the destination’s website, research the activities they will be taking part in and show them plenty of photos and videos, this will help you both to familiarise yourself with the place they will be staying and get excited about the trip especially if its your child's first time away from home.
❗️Look for the safeguarding policies and procedures on their website. Does it name a Designated Safeguarding Lead and their contact details? Does it name a lead trustee for Safeguarding from the organisation and their contact details? Do they have risk assessments in place for their activities, even for just games on the beach or on the grass and in the water?
❗️Does everyone have a current DBS/PVG check in place?
❗️Make sure you know what the sleeping arrangements will be during your child’s stay. Leaders should not be sleeping in the same rooms as the children or young people, and if you’re not sure, ask. It is important that you and your child know what to expect when they get there.
❗️Do the safeguarding procedures have clear processes in place for managing concerns about a volunteers/camp leader and how do they manage a child's concerns or worries during camp?
❗️Ensure your child knows exactly who they can speak to on camp if they have any worries or concerns or if they are made to feel uncomfortable in any way. If you don't know, don't expect your child to know.