To ensure that everyone has this positive experience, we need our camp families to understand that the physical and emotional safety of each of our campers is our number one priority. Therefore, at VBYC, bullying is inexcusable and could be grounds for immediate dismissal from camp.
“Bullying happens when a person or group of people want to have power over another and use their power to get their way, at the expense of someone else. This is a repetitive and intentional behavior – possibly involving multiple targets. It comes in many forms and unfortunately can occur during a stay at Camp or after a camper leaves through social media, texting or email. We understand that boys and girls bully in different manners and the physical bullying that boys sometimes use (pushing, hitting, kicking) often pales in comparison to the emotional bullying and exclusion that girls use (teasing, gossiping, taunting).”
Each week of Camp we work as a group to set the expectations of how each camper should demonstrate respect for self and others. We are committed to offering a Camp program that promotes individuality and acceptance of all. We know the best way to reduce negative behaviors is to create a positive community from the start! Our opening day schedule is created to provide many opportunities for group and camp unity.
Our campers tell us that VBYC is a safe place where they can be accepted for who they are. Our policy is not in reaction to a problem at Camp. Rather, it is a proactive approach to offering a healthy Camp experience. During staff training and throughout the summer, we work with our staff to identify and stop any incidents that may occur.
We can successfully discourage bullying issues with excellent staff training and follow through, solid communication regarding our expectations to campers, and a strong partnership with our Camp parents. Our leadership team encourages you to let us know about any concerns that you have regarding bullying at Camp. When a dispute arises, we listen to all sides and weigh the situation to decide the consequences that should be applied. For many, Camp is a unique opportunity to discover some new things on their own. As often as possible we want to encourage growth and development of strategies to deal with anger and emotions.
Please read with your child and sign the Friendship Agreement on the next page and bring with you to camp on the first day. Feel free to contact us with feedback, questions, or concerns. We look forward to creating a positive Camp experience for you and your child.
In the spirit of Camp,
Van Buren Youth Camp Summer Camp Friendship Agreement
Camper Name:__________________________ Session(s): _____________________________
Parents: Please take a moment to review the following agreement with your camper. Signify that you both understand and agree to each statement by initialing the line.
_____ I will arrive and remain at Camp with a positive attitude, open to meeting new people and trying new activities.
_____ I will work with my counselors and bunk mates towards creating a cabin environment that is safe and welcoming for each of us.
_____ I will work with my counselors and bunk mates to set expectations for our cabin behavior and will adhere to these expectations.
_____ I understand that doing intentional harm or bullying another camper, either physically or emotionally, is wrong and could result in my dismissal from camp.
_____ I understand that although I may be able to solve some conflicts on my own, my counselor is always ready to listen and assist if there is a problem. I understand that my counselor and the Camp staff need and want to help but can only do so if I am willing to share any concerns with them.
_____ I will remain with my cabin or activity group whenever it is required.
_____ I will use appropriate language and understand that the use of excessive or deliberately profane language will not be tolerated.
_____ I will leave my cell phone at home, understanding that if there is an emergency the Camp staff will be happy to allow me to use the phone. The Office Manager will pass on any urgent messages from home.
_____ I will be respectful of the property and personal space of other campers. I will use my camera in appropriate areas only and will not bring any video recording devices to Camp.
_____ I believe that it is possible to spend my time at Camp “electronics free” and will leave any video games, music systems or other digital media at home. I might, however, bring a good book!
_____ I will not possess/use smoking materials, lighters, matches, illegal drugs, alcohol or weapons of any kind during my stay at Camp. I understand that if I am suspected of possessing any of these items I will be asked by staff to turn them in or staff will seek permission to search my belongings. (See Health Care and Behavior Management Policy)
We have read, and agree to, the above Friendship Agreement and understand that not following these policies may result in dismissal from camp. (Camper & Parent) _____ _____
I will support the camp staff and work with them to educate my child on behaviors that support this agreement and the overall experience they should be looking forward to at Van Buren Youth Camp. (Parent) _____
Parent Signature__________________________ Camper Signature _____________________________