Safeguarding at summer camps

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Many clubs and organisations, from grassroots all the way up to elite clubs, offer summer camps and programmes. These programmes usually involve children and young adults of school age and often take place within fairly large groups without parents or guardians being present.

Summer camps are an excellent way for children and young adults to develop socially, learn new skills, interact with new peer groups and make new friends. As most parents or guardians continue to have work commitments over the summer months, it is likely that these camps will be set up and run by community centres and sporting clubs and organisations. 

Summer camps can offer children and young adults excellent developmental opportunities, and given the right safeguarding regime is in place.  

Whilst most summer camps have a relaxed informal approach, it is important to remember that all children and young adults should at all times be properly supervised, protected and kept safe from all forms of abuse. 

How to ensure a summer camp has a robust safeguarding regime in place

If you are an organisation running a summer camp or an employed or volunteer coach taking part in a summer camp, it is important to make sure you are asking the following questions and ensuring that the camp has a robust safeguarding regime in place. 

  • Are all coaches and adults involved in the camp DBS checked to the appropriate level and are these DBS checks up to date?
  • Are all adults (employed or volunteers, including volunteer parents) in receipt of appropriate safeguarding training and has this been documented and reviewed?
  • Does the summer camp have an appropriate safeguarding policy?
  • Does the summer camp have a Designated Safeguarding Lead and additional Safeguarding Officers if numbers require?
  • Is there a safeguarding regulatory framework in place which includes risk assessments, template parental consent forms, online social media policies, photograph policies, video policies etc?
  • Do you, as an organisation, have a recognised process should a safeguarding complaint be made during the summer camp?
  • Do you, as a coach, know how to deal with a safeguarding complaint if one is raised? 
  • Will the summer camp educate the children and young adults attending from the outset regarding safeguarding and how you will deal with any safeguarding issues or complaints at the summer camp? 

If all of the above issues and questions have been asked prior to the summer camp commencing then it will put you, as a coach, or an organisation in the best possible position should any safeguarding complaints arise.

Would you like further advice regarding safeguarding at summer camps?

If you would like any further bespoke advice, please get in touch with the specialist safeguarding team at Gateley, you can also find out more on our Safeguarding offering and toolkits by visiting our safeguarding service page.

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