Body Safety & Summer Camp

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Is it already time to start thinking about summer camp? Kudos to this Colorado mom for including body safety in her email exchange with a potential summer camp program. The mom wove it in with her other questions, but here’s just the portion of the exchange on child sexual abuse prevention.

Mom:
“Please tell me about the special training that camp staff, guides, and leaders receive in body-safety rules to maintain sexual safety at the camp.”

Camp Director:
“The camp staff gets fingerprinted and goes through a background check before employment. Staff also go through an extensive ten-day staff training that is focused on topics such as behavior management, engagement with children, bullying and child abuse prevention training. During the child abuse prevention training, we discuss child safety, appropriate interactions, red flags for abusers, and the importance of staff accountability.”

Mom:
“We teach and practice safety rules at home so that our kids are empowered to protect themselves as well. In particular, they know that they are the boss of their own bodies:  No one gets to touch or see any part of them if they don’t want; secrets are not safe; privacy is always allowed; and if they know that a safety rule is being broken they have to tell. I also want any caregiver to understand that we will believe our children if they tell us that a body-safety rule has been broken. Is your Child Abuse Prevention training consistent with ours?”

Camp Director:
“It seems that our child abuse prevention training is consistent with your safety rules. We train our staff on understanding privacy requests and encouraging kids to be the boss of their own bodies and be honest about what is going on at camp. We also train our staff about believing a child when he or she says that a body-safety rule has been broken.”

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