Our highest goal is the emotional safety of your campers. This includes an extensive abuse prevention program as well as systems to daily monitor campers to ensure their experience is the best it can be.
Abuse Prevention (back to top)
At RVR, abuse prevention is of the highest importance. Abuse prevention is more than just doing background checks. We weave abuse prevention into our entire camp environment, through training, monitoring, and feedback systems.
Our abuse prevention training begins before our staff arrives. We require all hired staff to receive online abuse training from Ministry Safe, a company who specializes in abuse prevention and training. Each staff member must pass an online test from Ministry Safe before being hired by RVR. In addition, we review monitoring procedures and sign-offs specifically for each camp, with maps showing our monitoring zones, copies of our sign-off sheets, and copies of our monitoring log forms.
As part of our summer staff training for our entire staff, we train everyone on abuse prevention and specific rules and procedures we have in place. Some key concepts and procedures we teach our staff are:
THE RULE OF THREE
Summer staff are encouraged to never be alone with a camper in a private place*. While one to one conversations are an important part of our ministry, they should always be done in public places with other people around. Staff are also trained on the following:
- Appropriate and inappropriate physical and verbal interactions
- Appropriate and inappropriate camper contact outside of camp
- What to do if you encounter abuse of any kind
*There are exceptions to this rule which are for the safety of the child and other children/workers. These situations include housing a sick camper, tending to an injured or distressed camper, etc.
Abuse of any kind needs opportunity. Monitoring is an important abuse prevention tool because it decreases the opportunity for abuse to happen. During the summer, our Program Directors perform camp wide sweeps to look for any questionable situations.
It is important to have multiple ways to report abuse, both anonymous and not anonymous. If a camper or staffer is in a situation where he/she feels threatened, abused, or unsafe, we encourage them to either talk with their counselor or head counselor, or to use the “Voice Box.” Every camp has a Voice Box available to collect anonymous or signed notes at any point in the week. We also encourage campers to use the Voice Box for ideas or ways to improve camp so that putting a note in the Voice Box does not automatically identify you as reporting a possible abuse or bullying situation. The Voice Box is checked daily by two people at the same time.
In compliance with Maryland State law, if any of our staff become aware of potential or actual abuse, we report any suspicions and information we have to the appropriate agency.
Ministry Safe Accreditation
Don’t just take our word for it! RVR partners with Ministry Safe, an industry leader in abuse risk management to train all of our staff on abuse prevention. Staff are required to watch a series of detailed videos (1:45 minutes in total) that increase awareness and give tools for prevention. They must pass an online test to receive their accreditation. Find out more about Ministry Safe at www.ministrysafe.com
Crisis Prevention Training
RVR is committed to providing the safest possible relational camp environment by properly dealing with potential conflicts between campers. In order to do this, RVR has created a Crisis Prevention Team who have been professionally trained by the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) in crisis and intervention techniques. This training is designed to empower childcare professionals to create a safe and respectful environment by giving them skills to effectively respond to anxious or hostile behavior while balancing the responsibly of care. Learn more about CPI here.
Neglect Prevention (back to top)
In addition to abuse monitoring, we have developed a Daily Camper Report that is designed to record how each camper is doing physically, emotionally and spiritually. Each day our counselors fill a report out for each of their campers and turn them into their Program Director who monitors them for any situations of concern. Situations that are monitored include: making sure each camper is eating, sleeping, showering, participating in activities, getting along with others, etc. Here’s a copy of the form:
Bullying Prevention (back to top)
At RVR, we take the issue of bullying very seriously. We recognize that this issue can have a profound negative impact on a student in a variety of social situations including school, camp and even the internet. We have established a bullying prevention and monitoring plan to identify and prevent bullying.
Bullying prevention begins with good training. We have a 4 page section in our staff manual designed to educate our staff on how to spot and prevent bullying among their campers. We also run through some scenarios that help prepare them for possibly bullying situations.
Upon arrival, campers break out into their cabin groups and go over various rules and expectations for the week. One of the first issues discussed is bullying and what to do if you are bullied and what will happen to you if you are the bully. Anyone involved in any kind of physical bullying or contact receives a “quick ticket home”. Campers are also informed about our “Voice Box”, a locked box in the center of camp that allows campers to anonymously (if they choose) drop comments or concerns for RVR leadership to read. The Voice Box is checked daily.
Counselors also fill out a Daily Camper Report each day which is designed to document how each camper is doing physically, emotionally and spiritually. If any camper seems to be having any issues, they are documented and reported to camp leadership.