Any time you pull a bunch of teens together you are at risk of something happening. Something good, that’s what we all hope will happen, something bad, we don’t want that to happen but it does and sometimes it is our own fault as leaders.
Who has your back should something go wrong on a youth event or activity? Preparation and planning can be your best friend.
- Insurance – unless your church is stuck in 1850 you should have a liability policy that covers injuries and protects you and your church.
- Medical releases and permission forms. Ever take a kid out of town and his parents didn’t know he was gone? Can you say, “kidnap”? Ever show up to a hospital without “proper paperwork” including insurance numbers? I try to put them in a folder alphabetically so you can find a form quickly if needed.
- Staffing – When going on a trip or having an activity it is important to have more than enough adults on hand. I personally like the ratio of 1 adult to 8 students. Don’t have enough staff? Don’t have the event. It’s a safety issue.
- Understandings – Make sure the staff understands, up front, what is expected from them. The last thing I need on a trip is a 35 year old who thinks he is 16. What I need are caring adults who are wanting to impact student’s lives.
- Understandings #2 – Make sure students and their parents understand what is expected of them.
- Driving – Don’t drive like a goob. Be responsible. “Hey, I saw this in a cartoon once and I think I can do it.”
- Policies are our friends - Have some clearly defined policies in advance that cover any situation you can think of. When a situation arises that you haven’t thought about add it to your list. (I’m working on this)
- The Big “No No” – Never be alone with a student of the same or opposite sex. If it is in a counseling session leave the door cracked or be in eyeshot of another adult leader.
- Home Alone – Never leave students alone and unsupervised. Example: "You kids stay here by the tents while I run up the road to the grocery store with the other adult leaders."
- First Aid – it helps to have someone along with some first aid training.