The safety of campers, young and old, is a very high priority for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference camping and children's ministry.
Every adult (persons 18 and older) who is given responsibility for oversight of campers is background-checked by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. The background checks provide a record of criminal activity based on records provided by counties and states. These background checks are conducted once a year on hired and volunteer staff.
Every applicant is required to provide a work history and at least three references. These are read and reviewed, and any indication of unsafe behavior disqualifies the applicant for a position with children.
Each prospective employee or volunteer is interviewed in person by program and/or site managers, at which time a variety of questions are posed about the applicant's motivations, experience, and gifts, and relational abilities evaluated.
Four Years Older Rule:
All volunteers and adults must be at least four years older than the oldest participant. Also, if the volunteer is age 14-16, they must be paired with an adult. Minors are not permitted to have sole responsibility for campers at any time, even if they meet the four years older rule.
Two Supervisors Rule:
There must be at least two unrelated persons with children at all times, one of whom must be an adult. This adult supervises any workers who are age 14-17. In cabins and lodges, two adults (18 or older) are of the same gender of campers bunking together.
Minors and vulnerable adults are within eyesight or earshot of the adults at all times. Campers need privacy (e.g., showering) and semi-privacy (being treated medically) from time to time, but adults are stationed in such a way that they can see and/or hear the camper. Leaving doors open is often a solution as well as holding activities in wide open public spaces.
Adult to Child Ratios:
Not only are there to be two supervisors with campers at all times, there are certain ratios required depending on the size of the group and whether it is day or night. Younger children have a greater adult-to-child ratio than older children, and greater ratios of adult-to-child are in place overnight.
All employees and volunteers are trained in child abuse prevention, as well as various safety procedures and expectations of leadership. They are educated about various types of abuse, as well as signs and symptoms. They are taught conflict management skills, observation of boundaries, and how to handle bullying. They know how and where to get help with problems campers may be experiencing.