Rockmont is committed to the growth and well-being of children, and I have begun a series to let you know more about how we work to foster health and safety. Last week I focused on our accreditation with the American Camp Association (ACA), and how ACA standards help inform the multiple practices and overlapping procedures we employ to foster health and wellness at camp.
This week I want to focus specifically on how we work to prevent sexual misconduct and abuse.
It is not easy to talk about sexual abuse, but it is important to talk about it because awareness and education are the first steps toward any plan of prevention. We talk about it because we are committed to the growth and well-being of children. We want you to know how we operate because we are all in this work together.
We require that all of our counseling staff be interviewed by two full-time staff members, and submit four references from different areas of their lives. No hiring decision is made in isolation. Every staff member also undergoes two background checks on two national registries. International staff members are recruited through a reputable national agency that requires the highest level of background check available in each country, and those staff members are then additionally interviewed at the U.S. embassy before receiving a visa.
Once hired, every Rockmont staff member is required to undergo training in the recognition, prevention, and reporting of child sexual abuse. We do not allow any adult to work with children without being fully screened and trained to protect all children. Two year-round staff members are certified to administer the “Stewards of Children” training that was developed by Darkness to Light, a nationally-available program that we engage in order to increase knowledge, and further develop and strengthen child-protective behaviors.
We work to create a culture of safety at Camp Rockmont. We begin by holding each other accountable to our commitments. Everyone in camp, including campers, is taught what is appropriate behavior and encouraged to speak up for themselves and one another. We train our staff to become advocates for the health and safety of children in all of their communities.
We have learned that child safety is best fostered in partnership with parents, teachers, and other community leaders. Beginning in their initial interview, we instruct all staff to refrain from contacting campers via social media, or through any other means that is not first addressed to you, the parent. Your partnership with us is a key way that we fulfill our commitment to the safety of children.
We welcome any questions you have about our practices of child protection. Also, Darkness to Light offers resources for parents, including a guide for selecting youth serving organizations and additional training for parents in talking to children about these issues. Go to www.d2l.org/resources for a list of other resources for parents.
We are keenly aware of the trust you place in us each summer, and we are grateful for your partnership as we work together to foster the health and safety of all children.