Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five columns written by Ron Byler, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. executive director, to mark 100 […]
Marlene Bogard and Jeanette Harder developed this material, and Anna Groff updated it in April 2018. For more camp materials, visit https://dovesnest.net/camps.
1. Model healthy boundaries.
2. Two staff shall always be present with any individual or group of campers. This safeguards both the campers and the staff against inappropriate behavior and accusations.
3. Touch campers with their best interests in mind and only with their permission. Only touch when it is necessary. Ask before you touch, and make your actions public and visible to others. Intentions are irrelevant. Whether a touch is good, bad or confusing is determined by how the receiver experiences it, not by the intentions of the person doing the touching.
4. Use language that is positive and builds up. Do not use sexual innuendo or coarse slang or swearing. It is not OK to comment on a camper’s body or his or her level of physical development. Limit self-disclosure about your own body or development or intimate relationships.
5. Think ahead, consult with others and make a plan. As best as you can, anticipate potentially compromising situations and make a plan for healthy alternatives. Problem solve with the camp director and other staff to come up with creative solutions. Talk to the camp director when a camper shows a pattern of inappropriate behavior that may put him or herself or others at risk.
6. Consider technology and social media. Follow your camp’s policies. Limit one-on-one electronic communication. Communication should be “traceable,” which also protects you as a staff member.
7. Report. Tell the camp director if:
Report suspected child abuse directly to child protective services or law enforcement:
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