A. Definitions and Procedures Applying to Adults Working with Children & Youth
- Adults directly supervising or leading children and/or youth are here referred to as “c/y worker”. As per Phase I of this policy, it is required that all c/y workers be screened and approved as adult volunteers.
- Additional screened and approved adult volunteers may be used in a variety of ways within the children and youth program, including: security, cooks & kitchen staff, teachers, drivers, clean-up, etc.
- “Deans” provide overall administrative and ministerial supervision of an event. Deans are responsible for insuring that the Procedures and Safety Standards for Children and Youth Programs (this document, abbreviated throughout as “Procedures”) are followed during an event. It is assumed that conference, regional, or district coordinators for children and youth will typically serve as deans for events. However, another individual may be designated by the coordinator(s) to serve as dean for any particular event if they are an approved adult volunteer and have been properly prepared by the coordinator(s). A Dean must be at least 25 years old.
- The Dean of any event has the authority to act on behalf of OIMC in making decisions that enforce the Procedures stated herein, including the decision to cancel an event if c/y worker to participant ratio falls below that required within this document.
- “Camp,” “campground” or “event site” does not exclusively apply to a United Methodist facility. These guidelines, therefore, are in effect for any local church, region, district, or Conference-level children or youth activity wherever that activity might take place, including locations for field trips (movie theaters, skating rinks, swimming pools, cultural events, etc.).
- The possession or use of tobacco products in any form by c/y workers and all other approved adult volunteers is prohibited at all children and youth activities. This prohibition applies to all hours that the event/activity is in session and includes the leader’s free time.
- Adult volunteers are prohibited from bringing to or using at an event any of the following:
- firearms (loaded or unloaded; whether in the trunk of the car or any other so-called secure place),
- knives (of any length) except when used under adult supervision as a part of a youth or children’s event,
- other weapons,
- alcoholic beverages,
- illicit drugs
- Every person serving as a c/y worker is to be 23 years of age or older and at least five years older than the oldest in the age group with which they are working.
- Deans shall provide a written report of any incidents of concern involving any c/y worker or adult volunteers. (For example: the breaking of these policies; doing any act that puts a child or youth at risk; acting inappropriately or as a bad example for the children/youth under their care, etc). These reports will become part of the official file kept on each volunteer and could lead to the withdrawal of approved status as a volunteer. Reports shall be provided to the Director of Interpretation and Programs/Connectional Ministries within two weeks of the incident and shall be kept confidential.
B. C/Y Worker/Participant Ratios & Age-Related Policies
- These minimum adult to children and youth ratios must be reflected in both the “small group experience as well as in the overall event. Staff employed at a campground or facility where an event is taking place cannot be counted as c/y workers.
- Entering or in grades 1 to 2 1 leader to 4 children
- Entering or in grades 3 to 5 (or 6) 1 leader to 5 children
- Entering or in grades 6 to 8 (or 9) 1 leader to 5 youth
- Entering or in grades 9 to 12 1 leader to 5 youth
Children under the age of 6 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who takes complete responsibility for their child(ren) during the entirety of the event. C/Y workers bringing their own children under age 6 years cannot be counted as workers for the worker/participant ratio.
- For children or youth with special physical, medical or behavioral needs, the following ratios should be used (leaders must be 22 or older):
- Needing constant and individual assistance or supervision — 1 leader to 1 child/youth
- Needing close, but not constant, assistance or supervision — 1 leader to 2 children/youth
- Needing occasional assistance — 1 leader to 4 children/youth
- Needing minimal assistance — 1 leader to 5 children/youth
- Local churches shall provide 1 approved c/y worker for every 5 (or portion thereof) youth attending children and youth events. Should the local church not be able to provide a sufficient number of c/y workers for the amount of children/youth from their church, the local church children/youth coordinator must contact the Dean of the event at least 24 hours before the event. The Dean will determine whether sufficient additional c/y workers will be available to assist with supervision.
- Age-level groupings in small groups are strongly recommended at each event, particularly for younger and older elementary children.
- Children and youth events shall be restricted to one of the following age groups:
<elementary> <junior high or middle school> <senior high>
- For children’s events, youth (age 12 and over) shall not be allowed to be present. Example: Workers are not allowed to bring youth aged children with them.
- For youth events, only fully participating youth ages 12-19 or high school senior shall be permitted to attend. (No casual observers, youth dropping-in & out, etc)
C. Supervisory Guidelines for Events
- For lock-ins, camps, or motel arrangements it is recommended that youth/children be assigned to rooms and adults be assigned to separate rooms. Adult rooms are to be situated between two youth/children’s rooms.
- Children and youth must always have 24-hour supervision, including at least one adult volunteer per building used who provides security to camp during sleeping hours.
- When transportation is provided to participants as part of any children or youth event, drivers must be approved adult volunteers with valid Oklahoma drivers’ license. When any female participants are present in a vehicle, a female c/y worker must be present either as driver or passenger. Seatbelts must be provided for every participant and adult in a vehicle. Evidence of insurance for vehicles transporting participants must be provided to the event dean.
- When swimming is included as part of the event, deans must either: use facilities that have certified lifeguards on duty, or have among their adult workers at least one certified lifeguard for every 20 persons swimming.
- For lock-ins that last 24 hours or less, participants shall not take showers during the event. For camps that last more than one night, participants will be supervised during shower-time by c/y workers of the same sex.
- Event deans have the authority to require any adult volunteer to leave the event site, or child/youth participant be removed from the event site if the safety of self/others and/or security of the event is at risk.
- Children/youth become the responsibility of the c/y workers at the event site when it is determined by the event dean that all required registration forms have been signed by parent/guardian.
D. Applicability of these Policies to Entities outside OIMC
- When involved in any OIMC local church, region, district, conference, ecumenical, interfaith or multi-conference children or youth event, adult leaders drawn from outside the conference or from other faiths and denominations shall be screened.Screening through other agencies will be acceptable if the screening procedure approximates the OIMC process in the opinion of region, district and conference children and youth coordinators, and the Director of Connectional Ministries. In lieu of non-existent or sub-standard screening procedures, the OIMC policy shall be followed.VIM teams wishing to conduct VBS or other events for children and youth while working on building projects within OIMC must receive prior approval from the region’s children or youth coordinator, and the Director of Connectional Ministries. The VIM team must submit a copy of their policies early enough for review by OIMC (a minimum of two months prior to their arrival date).
E. Guidelines for Leadership Acceptance
- Applicant must be a confirmed active member of an OIMC church (or a church in communion with the United Methodist Church) for at least two years and have exhibited positive Christian values and uphold the moral teachings of the church. (Confirmed meaning they have taken the vows of the church and are a full member recorded on the church membership roll.)
- If an applicant has ever been convicted of and/or plead guilty to a violent crime, that person will not be considered as a c/y worker within the OIMC.
- If an applicant has been convicted of a non-violent crime and has completed all probationary requirements and has had no other offenses within the past ten (10) years, they will be assigned an approved adult volunteer to mentor them for two years. Upon the completion of these two years the applicant will then be considered for full-fledged Approved Adult Volunteer status.
I have read and went over with my pastor/District Superintendent the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Procedures and Safety Standards for Children and Youth Programs Phase II and will abide by these standards for the safety of our children/youth.