by Greg Keresztury, Director of Operations
YMCA of the Pines has joined with other YMCAs all across the country to take action and raise awareness about how to prevent child sexual abuse. We want you to join us. We know you share the Y’s commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. You can share our commitment to protecting children in our community too, by learning more about how to prevent child sexual abuse and helping us get the word out to others. That’s why we’re writing to you. If you’d like to learn more, visit these experts in the field:
At YMCA of the Pines, the safety and protection of children and teens in our care is our top priority. Here are just a few of the steps our summer camps and School’s Out program take to protect our campers/program participants:
- Each staff member is interviewed and submits to a background check (staff over the age of 18). We utilize a vendor to perform a Social Security Number identity trace, a county criminal search, and an enhanced nationwide criminal and sex offender search. All staff members are required to have a cleared background check prior to being hired. Our School’s Out personnel are finger-printed by the State of New Jersey, and the results of the check are provided to us by the Department of Human Services, in accordance with New Jersey licensing requirements.
- For international staff, we partner with agencies that conduct background checks in the staff member’s home country prior to the individual being eligible for hire by our organization. Returning international staff submit a background check in the US as well.
- Summer Camp employees participate in a week-long orientation, which addresses camp procedures related to staff to camper ratios, safety protocols and procedures, youth development, counseling techniques, bullying resolution and more. School’s Out employees receive similar training in late August before the start of the school year. Staff hired after training is complete go through an on-boarding process and receive mandatory trainings as well.
- Staff members are not permitted to be alone with a camper. Rather, we follow the “Rule of 3”: 2 staff members with 1 camper, or 1 staff member with 2 or more campers, including during bathroom and shower visits. During bathroom/shower visits, our staff stay within earshot of campers/program participants.
- During hikes or when camper groups are moving between program areas, our counselors are stationed in the front, back and in the middle of the group of campers to ensure adequate staff coverage and line-of-sight of all campers.
- We are ACA (American Camp Association) accredited which means that certain, essential policies and procedures are reviewed annually by the ACA, and we submit to an on-site inspection every 5 years to ensure that we’re meeting ACA standards.
If you have questions about our child protection policies and practices, please contact me directly at 609-678-1515 or by email to: email@example.com. And to learn more about how you can do your part, find resources at https://www.fivedaysofaction.org/.
Thank you for joining us in raising awareness to keep children safe!