Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

How to Choose a Safe Holiday Camp

  • Sugar Bay
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

Sending your kids to overnight camp can be nerve-racking if you’re going to be stressing about their safety. It’s important that you choose a camp that has trustworthy staff and safe facilities.

To put your mind at ease, here are some suggested questions that you should ask concerning the safety policy of a sleepover camp for your kids:

What is the ratio of staff to children? 

Staff ratios are very important. The higher the number of counselors to campers, the more supervised your children will be. A higher staff to child ratio means a more controlled environment and will ensure that your kids are getting the quality supervision and attention they require.

How have the staff been trained?

Your children should be in the care of staff that are at least qualified to render basic first aid, also known as Emergency First Response. You need to also question their psychological training in terms of how they would handle a case of bullying or homesickness at camp.

What is the camp’s policy on parental contact during camp? 

A camp that is running ethically will not completely cut-off ties between parents and their children. The camp must allow some sort of contact between the campers and their parents during camp, like an occasional email home or a telephone line that allows parents to speak directly to their kids in a case of emergency. Some camps post pictures of the campers on their social media platforms so that parents can become a part of their children’s experiences too.

Does the camp have a policy for screening visitors? 

A camp that places great emphasis on who can and who cannot enter the property is a camp that you can trust. Proper safety precautions should be implemented when visitors come to camp, such as CCTV surveillance and proper sign-in and sign-out facilities.

Does the camp prevent two people from ever being alone together?

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), it’s inappropriate for a camp employee to be alone and out of sight with a camper, as well as a camper to be alone with another camper regardless of gender. There should always be at least three people present in these rare cases of seclusion, and one of those people must be the child’s supervising counselor. This safety policy is commonly known as a “Buddy System”.

Does the camp conduct background checks on staff and counselors?

It is of utmost importance that the camp conducts background checks and a police clearance on their staff and counselors. This is vital as their employees will be working with children who are vulnerable and require safe and specialized care.

Asking the right questions before selecting a camp will ensure your children are well cared for in a controlled and safe environment, and it will further help put your mind at ease while they are away from home.

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