Volunteers recruited: check.
Materials ordered: check.
Kids registered: check.
Now all that’s left is to review the items on this safety list to make this summer’s VBS the best ever!
Establish a check-in/check-out system, particularly for younger children, so kids are released only to parents or authorized persons. Some churches use color-coded cards, badges, or bracelets to help with this process. Various online programs are also available. Find out if your current church data management system has this capability.
2. Screen Everyone
While you believe that no one in your VBS program would ever physically or sexually abuse a child, it’s impossible to know the background of every adult and youth that may want to help. Background checks can be a strong deterrent to those who might target a church because they think they can get easy access to children without being screened. Let your entire congregation know that background checks will be mandatory for everyone working with the children in your VBS program.
3. Extra Eyes
Given the increased number of people on your campus, it’s critical to provide an adequate number of trained volunteers who will supervise VBS children. A minimum of two leaders should be assigned to each group of kids. Also, with all the commotion, VBS is a great time to utilize roving supervisors to monitor the building. As with all church activities, avoid isolated settings where one child is left alone with one adult.
4. Info Available
Keep children’s registration forms easily accessible so you can call parents or caregivers in case of serious injury or sickness. Registration forms should list any food or medication allergies. Have alternative snacks available, such as flavored rice cakes, popcorn, fruits, or raw vegetables, to accommodate children with specific food allergies.
5. Neat and Tidy
Many accidents can be prevented by having a well-maintained building. Make sure the areas designated for children are clear of potential hazards. Remove broken or dangerous items, and lock storage areas that contain chemicals, cleaning solutions, or other toxic materials.
Use these tips to ensure the safety of all your summer ministry programs. Most important—have fun!
– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.
(We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!)