Sexual Predators at Camp
Going to camp is almost a rite of passage for some kids. The experience of being away from home is often a wonderful one. It gives them a sense of independence and responsibility. Seldom do parents consider that there may be sexual predators on staff. Parents send their kids off to enjoy nature hikes, swimming at the lake, arts and crafts and songs and s’mores by the campfire. But for some children, that experience becomes a nightmare.
Background Checks Are Required
Fortunately, Florida is one of the many states that do require background checks for summer camp personnel. The camp owners, operators and all employees working at the camp must have background checks. Volunteers for these camps may also be required to have background checks if they work more than ten hours with the kids, or if they are expected to work on their own without direct visible supervision of a qualified staff person. Solid, extensive background checks screen out sexual predators.
Some camps hire individuals from foreign countries as camp counselors. Sometimes these are college students who are working for the summer, and some camps may have professional exchange programs. Either way, international camp counselors must complete a level 2 background screening when they first arrive in Florida. A background check from their home country is not required but it is advised.
Parents should find out if camp counselors for foreign countries are working at the camp. If they are, ask if background checks have been completed. Many organizations that help foreigners find these positions also provide background checks on the people.
Protecting Your Child from Sexual Predators
Talking with your child about what is okay and what is not okay can be challenging; however, it is a very necessary conversation to have with your child, especially when he or she is going to be out of your sight and with other adults, whom you may or may not know. Regardless of the age of your child, you need to have a conversation about what is permissible or not.
The camp experience should be fun and exciting. You do not want to frighten your kids, but you do want to protect them. They need to know that there are certain areas of their bodies that should not be touched under any circumstances. Both boys and girls are vulnerable to sexual predators.
Older kids can fall victim as well. Crushes on camp counselors are common for pre-teens and teens. Boys and girls can get emotionally attached to a good-looking or kind camp counselor. It is important to let your teen or pre-teen know that relationships between campers and camp counselors are not okay. In some situations, the counselors themselves may be teenagers and it would appear that a little fling may not be so bad; however, camp counselors are there for a reason and putting their hands on your child is not one of them.
Your Due Diligence
Before sending your child off to camp make sure you do your part to vet the camp. Make sure accreditations are up to date and that background checks have been completed. A big part of a positive camp experience is making sure the camp and its personnel are safe.
A bad experience at camp can have a long lasting negative impact on your child. Tison Law Group handles personal injury cases. We provide excellent representation with honesty and integrity, putting the needs of our clients first. Contact us for legal representation when you have a personal injury case. Tison Law Group also provides a variety of other legal services. Contact us for more information.