We do a lot of dumb new things every year, and we sometimes stumble on something that works really well. One thing that worked well this summer was our Gatekeeper Form. Once each week we passed out a form with three questions: 1) Have you seen anyone alone or breaking rules with campers? 2) Have you seen any campers having conversations that they did not want you to hear? 3) Have you seen anything else the camp needs to be aware of? We then asked the staff to sign their names to the forms.
The idea was to keep reminding counselors of their roles as gatekeepers and to let would-be abusers know that we would not be letting our guard down.
One key element – it was important to remind counselors that this was about child safety, not catching people coming in after curfew. Yes, it did still feel a little heavy-handed, but everyone agreed that it was heavy handed about the right thing. Most importantly, it reminded us weekly of something that is too quickly forgotten from the fire hydrant of Training Week.