The purpose of every Apostolic Faith Youth Camp is to provide a secure, nurturing environment where a strong spiritual foundation can be established in the lives of the young people who attend our Sunday schools. Youth camps build on relationships already established within the church family. They allow staff members to address spiritual needs that are already known, and provide an opportunity for young people to learn how to seek God, ask questions regarding their walk with Him, and worship together. Over the years, many young people have been saved and received their foundational Christian experiences at youth camps.
The camp director, under the supervision of the pastor and in collaboration with camp owners and/or assisting ministers, is responsible for administration of the youth camp. Staff typically consists of a director of security, cabin counselors, safety and medical personnel, audio/video coordinator(s), music leader(s), sports and recreation directors, craft supervisors, transportation providers, and kitchen staff (if food service is not provided by the camp). The camp director, an assistant director, or a minister in charge must be present at all times while the camp is in operation.
All Apostolic Faith Youth Camp staff members must be born-again Christians and be living by the Biblical standards of integrity and morality. They should uphold the doctrines of the Bible as taught by this organization, and adhere to the procedures, policies, and guidelines of the Apostolic Faith work. Staff members should be carefully selected based on their spiritual qualifications, experience with young people, and interpersonal skills.
We require youth camp staff members to have been in regular attendance at our church for at least one year, and to be at least eighteen years of age (twenty-one years of age is preferable). The camp director, in conjunction with the pastor, also has the right to restrict involvement of individuals who are in a relationship with an underage camper.
Prior to assisting at Youth Camp, staff members will be expected to:
These requirements must be completed and recorded in the church office before an applicant assists at an Apostolic Faith youth camp. Application and certification records will be kept on file for insurance purposes.
In addition, we recommend that all youth camp personnel read the document “What You Can Do About Child Abuse,” published by the Oregon Department of Human Services, publication #DHS 9061. It is available at https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/de9061.pdf.
Anyone who has ever been convicted of child abuse will not be allowed to work with children. Other criminal offenses may also disqualify an individual from serving as part of the youth camp staff.
Staff members are expected to set a good example in behavior and adherence to camp guidelines. They are asked to refrain from pairing off with a staff member of the opposite gender. Adult leaders are examples to the young people as to what constitutes acceptable dress for a Christian, so their apparel should exemplify modesty, including appropriately modest sleepwear for those who stay in the cabins with young people. They should be fully aware of and careful to follow the established organizational policies regarding supervision of attendees, communication, guidance and discipline, physical contact, and abuse prevention and reporting.
The curriculum and/or theme chosen each year must be pre-approved by the pastor, and align with Biblical doctrines and the teachings of this organization. If a purchased curriculum is used, the staff should be cautioned to watch for wording that does not align with Biblical doctrine and the teachings upheld by this organization, and modify it as needed.
A Youth Activity Permission Form must be filled out for every camper under the age of eighteen at an Apostolic Faith youth camp. (Some Apostolic Faith youth camps permit young people over the age of eighteen to attend as campers rather than staff; these individuals must fill out a Youth Activity Application Form prior to attending.) These forms will be kept on file at the site while the youth camp is in session. At the conclusion of the event, these records must be retained in the local church office.
A record must be kept of adult staff members who were present at each youth camp. This record also should be retained in the local church office at the close of the youth camp.
All visitors to the camp must register by filling out a Youth Camp Visitor Form, even if they plan to be present for only a few hours. This information should be retained in the camp records for each year.
Drivers providing transportation to and from an Apostolic Faith Church youth camp must meet the requirements for transportation providers established in the Apostolic Faith Volunteer Handbook.
An all-campers meeting should be held at the beginning of the youth camp. At this time, security measures, property boundaries, and general safety rules should be clearly outlined for everyone present. The best way to avoid potential problems is to discuss guidelines and expectations beforehand.
Staff must be fully aware of their responsibility to provide adequate supervision of camp activities, observe proper fire and safety precautions, ensure safe use of recreational and other equipment, maintain proper water safety procedures, and monitor any other safety challenges specific to the camp location and facilities.
The safety of those attending our youth camps is of prime importance. Facility owners are responsible to meet state requirements regarding sanitation, insurance liability, equipment maintenance, and items of this nature. However, it is the responsibility of the Apostolic Faith camp director to ensure that those in attendance are well-informed of all camp regulations and guidelines. Staff members are expected to follow the same regulations as campers regarding water activities, swim times, etc.
A first aid area should be designated and suitably equipped, and all campers and staff made aware of its location. All prescription drugs in the first aid area must be kept in a locked cabinet or container.
If there is a body of water or swimming pool at the youth camp, water safety must be an important focus. Prior to the youth camp session, the camp director should obtain the facility owner/manager’s guidelines regarding water safety, and those must be strictly adhered to. In addition, Apostolic Faith youth camps must abide by certain guidelines that our organization has established for the protection of those who engage in water activities at our youth camps.
Athletic Activities Safety
The camp director or his appointee should inspect the grounds and athletic fields for unsafe objects and general conditions at the beginning of the youth camp session. All games and athletic activities should be planned with safety in mind, and carefully supervised to make sure they take place in a responsible manner. Staff members should ensure that the proper equipment is used for each activity, and that the equipment is in a safe-to-use condition.
Children should be grouped for sporting activities according to age, size, and playing ability. Any games that carry the risk of a head-on collision with another person or object must be avoided.
Food Handling Safety
In cases where Apostolic Faith staff members prepare and/or serve meals to the campers, equipment must be in place to maintain proper storage or transportation temperatures, proper sanitation, and food handling.
All camp food preparation and service facilities must comply with the provisions of state law. We recommend that church workers who assist in the camp kitchen be asked to read the document Procedure Guidelines for Kitchen Staff and Food Handlers, produced by the Apostolic Faith organization, and follow those guidelines.
Every camp should have a camp medic trained in CPR and basic first aid on site during the camp session. Non-emergency injuries, illnesses, and conditions which may be treated by the camp medic include, but are not limited to stomach upset, headaches, nose bleeds, minor abrasions, poison oak or ivy, insect bites, minor sprains and strains, and sunburn. A log should be kept recording any medications or treatments administered.
If a camper has a medical condition that could put him at risk, the child’s cabin counselor and the camp medic must be informed. The camp director should give the camp sports and activity directors a list of those who have restrictions in terms of physical activities such as swimming.
To make sure that camp attendees stay safe and well, the camp medic should maintain a list of students with medication needs. No prescription medications are to be kept in the cabins—the camp medic is responsible to administer these. In order to protect his/her medical certification, the camp medic cannot administer any over-the-counter (OTC) medications. However, parents may request that the camp medic supervise their child taking needed medications, so that a record can be kept of when doses were taken. All medications supervised by the camp medic must be in their original packaging, including OTC medications.
In a situation where a child needs an OTC medication for a non-emergency condition such as a headache, the camp medic should ask another staff member to administer the correct dosage in their presence. That staff member should then enter the dosage and time in the medical log, rather than the camp medic. OTC medications must always be given in accordance with the designated dosage unless otherwise directed by a prescribing health care provider’s directions, or a parent/guardian’s signed instruction.
The camp medic should also carefully review all Youth Activity Permission Forms, paying special attention to any noted allergies. If a child has allergies or medical conditions that could put him at risk, the child’s cabin counselor and the kitchen staff must be aware. (The camp director should provide the food preparation staff with a list of students with food allergies ahead of time, so substitutions can be made.) It is the staff’s responsibility to make sure that children who have identified allergies are not offered food that could cause a reaction. However, the camp medic should have an appropriate emergency action plan is in place, because some allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
The Apostolic Faith organization has a code of conduct for campers. It is the responsibility of the camp director to make sure that those who attend are aware of this code at the beginning of the camp, and to stress that all rules and regulations must be upheld by all attendees. The camp director, in conjunction with the pastor and/or ministerial staff, has the authority to deem what behavior or attire is inappropriate, and how violations will be handled.
The Apostolic Faith organization has a zero tolerance policy for any sexually inappropriate behavior; this includes any physical, verbal, or visual misconduct. Lewd speech, inappropriate touching or gestures, and possession of sexually-oriented materials such as magazines, books, cards, images, videos, etc. are strictly prohibited. All attendees at the camp must be fully aware that even borderline sexually inappropriate conduct—either by a staff member or attendee—will result in immediate removal from the camp.
In addition, campers are expected to:
The following actions are not acceptable, and could result in removal from the youth camp.
Because we are a Christian organization, a dress code has been established for our youth camps; attendees should be notified of expectations when the application materials are distributed.
We ask that those who attend Apostolic Faith youth camps wear only modest swimwear. Immodest suits are not allowed for girls; extremely brief or tight swim trunks are not allowed for boys. Swimsuits are permitted only for swimming, and are not to be worn as play clothes. Shorter shorts and tank tops are only allowed for swimming. When students are finished swimming, they should change back into other recreational clothing.
We also ask that our campers do not wear items such as halter tops, tops that expose the midriff, spandex-type shorts, short shorts, tight or revealing clothing, sleeveless t-shirts, or t-shirts with logos that display or promote tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, or inappropriate language or pictures. All shorts and dresses should be of a modest length. Campers are instructed to bring appropriate clothes for chapel (a skirt for girls and pants rather than shorts for boys), recognizing that this is a church youth camp, not a recreational summer camp.
A camper “count” should take place twice each day for security purposes. All campers and counselors should be required to be present and accounted for.
Youth camp staff members are required to follow the Apostolic Faith policies concerning supervision, communication, guidance and discipline, and physical contact. These are summarized below:
The presence of trained and watchful staff and volunteers is a fundamental component of a successful security and safety plan. All those in the Apostolic Faith Church who work with minors in church-sponsored activities are required to know and follow the established policy guidelines.
All communication between church workers and minors must be appropriate, discreet, and positive. Children should never be addressed in a manner that could be construed as harsh, unreasonable, shaming, or derogatory in any way. No swearing or abusive language is tolerated.
One-on-one conversations between staff and youth camp attendees must be held in full view of others: the guideline is that all such conversations be “observable and interruptible.” Staff members should find a location where they can be seen but removed enough from general activities that the young person does not feel restrained by others listening in.
Staff members are prohibited from engaging in any private sexually-oriented conversations with campers, and are not permitted to share any inappropriate or explicit information about their own personal relationships, dating experiences, or sexual activities with any camp attendee. This prohibition against sexually-oriented conversations does not prohibit group discussions related to morality, proper boundaries in relationships, the importance of maintaining sexual purity, and other similar topics related to Christian growth and maturity. Nor does it prevent a staff member from answering a direct question regarding one of these topics. However, all such discussions should be cautious, and give no cause for embarrassment or concern if the details were presented to the camp director or to the students’ parents.
Guidance and Discipline Policy
All staff and volunteers who work with children in Apostolic Faith Church programs are expected to follow established procedures for dealing with behavior concerns, and to treat every child with dignity and respect. Disciplinary action will be carried out only by adult staff members. No one may spank, hit, or use any type of physical discipline with children. When a child misbehaves, time-outs and other non-physical methods of behavior management are to be used for redirection.
Those who work with children should:
Staff members should discuss with the youth camp director any child who exhibits uncontrollable or unusual behavior. If chronic behavior concerns develop, the director will communicate with the parent/guardian.
Physical Contact Policy
The Apostolic Faith organization has a physical contact policy which promotes positive, nurturing relationships with the young people in our care while offering protection as well. The following guidelines must be followed by anyone serving in church-sponsored activities for children and youth.
Youth camp counselors are encouraged to learn the spiritual condition of each camper in their cabin. They should watch for opportunities to engage students, and be alert for areas where they can offer spiritual help or guidance. Staff members should do all they can to pray with and support young people who are seeking the Lord. Our goal is that the young campers will emulate the staff’s consistent example of Christianity in action. One of their most lasting memories of youth camp should be the loving example staff members set before them each day during the camp.
The Apostolic Faith organization is committed to providing a safe, secure environment for children and their families, so we make every effort to safeguard the children who have been entrusted to our care. We have zero tolerance for abuse in church programs and activities. It is the responsibility of every staff member and volunteer in the Apostolic Faith work to act in the best interest of all children in every program.
While suspicions or knowledge of abuse are extremely difficult situations, we do not have discretion in this matter: we are legally obligated to immediately fulfill our responsibilities in accordance with state requirements. According to Oregon law (the state in which this organization is registered as a corporation), mandatory reporters include ministers and school teachers, along with law enforcement personnel and medical professionals. (Oregon Statutes: ORS 419B.005, ORS 12.117) For that reason, staff members or volunteers who observe any policy violations or suspected abuse, or receive an allegation of abuse, must immediately report the matter to their ministry supervisor or the pastor.
Definition of Abuse
In general, the term “child abuse” refers to any injury to a minor not caused by accident, which results in observable and substantial impairment of a child’s ability to function, including any injury which appears to be at variance with the explanation given of the injury. This includes sexual abuse or exploitation, negligence, maltreatment, or threatened harm to a child.
Staff members and volunteers should have a basic understanding of the characteristics of sexual predators and their behaviors in “grooming” a child for sexual abuse. Grooming is the process used by an abuser to select a child, win the child’s trust (and the trust of the child’s parent or “gatekeeper”), manipulate the child into sexual activity, and keep the child from disclosing the abuse.
The Apostolic Faith maintains and enforces a legally-approved risk management policy regarding children and youth. The following procedures are strictly enforced:
The Apostolic Faith reserves the right to immediately dismiss any volunteer or employee who is accused of violating the procedures and guidelines established by the organization.
Failure to report a prohibited act to the designated person is a violation of policy and grounds for termination of employment of an employee of the church. Volunteers who fail to report a prohibited act may be restricted from participation in any church activities involving children or youth.
What to Report
Reasonable grounds to report suspected abuse exist if:
Steps in Reporting
If a child or young person discloses that he/she is being abused, or his/her actions suggest that abuse is occurring, staff and volunteers are instructed to take the following steps:
Organizational Response to Allegations of Abuse
When the pastor receives credible information suggesting that abuse has occurred, he will immediately contact Children’s Services Division or the appropriate law enforcement agency in the state. He will also inform the Superintendent General of the allegation. The church will coordinate its internal investigation with the governmental entity involved.
A designated church representative will interact with legal counsel and insurance representatives, and will respond as directed to questions from the media concerning allegations of abuse or neglect. Other staff members should refrain from comment. During the investigation, the alleged abuser will not participate in any church activities involving minors.
If the internal or external investigation results in credible evidence supporting the allegations, the pastor will impose appropriate disciplinary restrictions, which may range from dismissal from duty to barring from church attendance.
The youth camp loud speaker system should be used for instructions in emergency situations such as a fire or imminent hazardous weather conditions. Camp attendees must understand the importance of immediately complying with instructions delivered in this manner.
An accident victim should not be moved unless his or her situation presents an immediate, serious hazard. A staff member should make the victim as comfortable as possible, and delegate someone to summon the camp director and/or camp medic. First aid should only be administered by those who have proper training.
The camp director and/or camp medic will determine if local emergency assistance should be summoned. If a 911 call is made, the initiator of the call should be prepared to state clearly the camp address, location, phone number, and approximate location of the injured party. The one making the call should not hang up until instructed to do so by the dispatcher.
The camp director should provide the Youth Activity Permission Form to emergency response personnel who come to the scene. This form provides parent/guardian contact information, insurance information, and any known pre-existing medical or allergic conditions.
The camp director should also notify the accident victim’s family. He should explain the situation calmly and accurately but make no attempt to offer a diagnosis. The family should be told which hospital the patient is being taken to, and the nature of care being provided.
Any injury-causing accident which occurs during a youth camp must be documented on the Accident/Incident Report form and kept on file after the youth camp in the church office. Any accident that requires professional medical assistance or could precipitate an insurance claim must be reported to the Portland headquarters office.
A camper with a communicable disease or one who is suspected of such illness must be isolated to ensure the safety of other campers and staff. Any child who is isolated must have adult supervision. Generally in such cases it is advisable to contact the parent/guardian and arrange for the sick camper to be taken home.
Staff members should do their best to ensure that campers stay hydrated, especially those who are engaged in sporting activities in hot weather. They should be watchful for symptoms of heatstroke and heat prostration in the campers they are supervising. These include: headache, dizziness, nausea or abdominal discomfort, rapid increase or decrease in pulse rate, and fainting.
If a staff member suspects that a camper is suffering from heatstroke or heat prostration, he/she should have the camper lay down face up in a cool place out of the sun. The staff member should delegate someone to get the camp medic. Sponge the face and arms of the affected camper with cool water and offer cool liquids (unless the individual is vomiting).
If a child is discovered to be missing from the youth camp, campers and staff should be summoned via the PA system a centrally-located meeting place for a head count. If the missing child does not respond to that summons, staff members should be sent to areas around the camp to do a “sweep” for the missing child. Everyone else should remain at the meeting place until dismissed.
In the event of a violent intruder entering the camp, staff members should be prepared to implement a “lock-down” procedure in which all camp attendees and staff members enter the nearest building (chapel, gym, cafeteria, etc.), close and secure all doors and windows, and stay inside until otherwise directed an all clear is given by law enforcement officials.
Following the youth camp, staff members should make an effort to keep in contact with the young people they established a connection with during the camp. As attendees move into a new school year, staff members should look for opportunities to capitalize on the spiritual momentum generated by youth camp by following up with the students who were in their cabins. There is probably not another time of year when young people are more enthused about the Gospel and ripe for spiritual growth, and staff members are encouraged to do their best to make the most of it.
Any follow-up via electronic methods of communication must be discreet, limited in frequency, and give no cause for embarrassment or concern if reviewed by the pastor, staff member’s supervisor, or the youth’s parent/guardian. For more detail on this topic, see the guidelines presented under Internet Safety in the Volunteer Handbook.