Camp Ithiel is committed to the safety of all campers on our property. Our safety plan covers many areas of safety such as weather safety, staff screening, abuse prevention, bullying prevention, activity safety and medical care. As we train our resident and summer staff on safety, you also can help make camp a safe environment simply by carefully reviewing these policies with your child before they arrive at camp.
Camp Ithiel trains resident and summer staff to recognize whether situations and to protect our campers and staff. We monitor the weather, and we have the ability to notify staff members of any need to take shelter. The safety of staff and campers is our top priority and we will never take chances with the weather. In the event of bad weather, we will move everyone indoors while monitoring the weather until all storms have passed. However, the fun does not stop just because everyone is indoors. We have rainy-day activities to keep campers occupied and happy.
The selection and screening of our staff is an important part of our safety plan. We do not take lightly the call to find the best and safest staff. First we tell all applicants that our camp has a zero tolerance policy for bullying and/or abuse. Applicants must fill out an extensive essay style application along with providing basic information about self (name, address, citizenship, etc.). All applications are thoroughly reviewed by our Camp Director and/or Program Director before interviews are scheduled, being intentional about looking for red flags and preparing follow-up questions for interviews if necessary. Every applicant must have a minimum of three references, one of which their pastor. References are specifically asked to share strengths, weaknesses, and history of those applying. All applicants are interviewed and asked questions based upon applications. We run background checks on every staff member (resident and summer) through an outside company.
Abuse prevention is more than just performing background checks. Camp Ithiel’s summer staff leadership go through a weekend of training. Part of their training is a review of our abuse prevention policies, new information on how we watch and monitor everybody around us, and what to do in situations when abuse is suspected. As part of our training weekend we discuss specific rules and procedures we have in place. Some key concepts and procedures we teach our staff are:
- The Rule of Three: Summer staff should never be alone with a camper in a private place. While one-on-one conversations are important to our ministry, they should always be done in public places with other people around. Trips to the bathroom involve three people, which can be a mix of campers or staff and campers.
- Appropriate and inappropriate physical and verbal tough.
- Appropriate and inappropriate camper contact outside of camp.
What to do if you encounter abuse of any kind:
Reporting: It is important to set in place multiple ways for individuals to report abuse, both anonymous and not anonymous. If a camper or staffer is in a situation where they felt abused, or felt unsafe, we encourage them to talk to their counselor, Dean or Chaplain or any resident staff, or use the “Talk Box.” Our camp has a Talk Box available to collect anonymous or signed notes at any point throughout the week. We also encourage campers to use the Talk Box for ideas for activities and ways to improve camp so that putting a note in the Talk Box does not automatically identify you as reporting a possible abuse situation. The Talk Box is checked daily by our Program Director and Dean. In compliance with Florida law, if our staff become aware of potential or actual abuse, we report any suspicions and information we have to the appropriate agency.
Bullying is a serious issue for campers when they are at school or other social settings outside of camp. Camp Ithiel is committed to creating a safe, bullying-free environment for campers while they are under our care. We believe bullying prevention begins with proper monitoring. At our camp, campers are always being monitored. Campers are with their family groups for half of the day and with the whole group for the rest. All activities during Rec.Choice (free time) are monitored by counselors and support staff. On the first day, counselors talk directly with their cabins about inappropriate behavior, camp’s zero tolerance policy on bullying, and encourage campers to report any violations throughout their time at camp. During the all-camp discussion of rules and expectations, the Program Director or Dean will inform all campers about the Talk Box. Each camper signs a covenant at the beginning of the week agreeing to the rules and expectations of the week.
Depending on whether the incident is a first, second or third offense, the camper who bullied will receive a verbal warning, will have their parent contacted to inform them of the bullying, or will have their parent called and asked to immediately pick up their camper. In this case, the camper will stay with a summer staff member or a resident staff member until they are picked up. No refunds are given to campers who are dismissed because of behavior problems.
Our desire is that activities are fun and exciting for our campers! While we have a blast all week enjoying different activities, the safety of every camper is our number one priority for every activity.
Pool: There is always a lifeguard (sometimes two depending on the size of the group) on duty whenever campers are swimming in the pool. Every lifeguard is Lifeguard and CPR certified. In addition, all lifeguards are trained on how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Campers must pass a swim test the first day of camp to determine their strength as a swimmer. Non-swimmers wear wrist bands in the pool to alert lifeguards on duty that they cannot swim well and must remain in the shallow end of the pool at all times. The pool is tested routinely to ensure the water is in safe swimming condition. Because of the strong presence of amebas during the summer season, we do not allow campers and staff to swim in the lake.
Canoeing & Kayaking: During canoeing and kayaking times in the lake, two lifeguards are always on duty. Our lifeguards are trained on how to respond to situations, like, what to do when a camper’s canoe flips over. All Campers including staff are required to wear appropriately sized life jackets when out in the lake.
Climbing Wall: Camp Ithiel does not own a climbing wall of our own. We have a vendor bring their own wall equipped with well trained staff and safety equipment.
Archery: We also outsource archery. A trained and licensed vendor comes to camp with equipment and facilitates the activity during our program. The instructors teach campers good safety practices.
We care about the health and safety of our camper. Our camp property is located one mile from Orlando Central Health Hospital and two miles from the walk-in clinic.
Our Camp Director, Program Director or Nurse administer all medication to campers. We do not allow medication in the cabins. On opening day, all campers must checkin their meds upon arriving and inform appropriate staff persons of their routine schedule for taking meds.
Hand-washing is an important part of our illness prevention efforts. During summer camp we require campers to wash their hands before meals. In addition, a bottle of hand sanitizer is made available on each table in the dining hall.
For each camper:
- Accident and sickness insurance is provided as a supplement to the camper’s personal coverage.
- All medication will be kept and distributed by the Camp Director.
- All campers will be screened by the Camp Director at check-in.
- In the event of an emergency, a reasonable effort will be made to contact parents/guardians.
- Ill or injured campers will be taken to one of several nearby medical facilities.