4 Essentials of Vacation Bible School Safety
Summertime means that school is out of session – which means that kids of all ages have days to fill with all kinds of activities and pursuits. For parents in the faith-based community especially, summer is the perfect opportunity to send their kids to church camps or Vacation Bible School (VBS), which gives them an ideal alternative to secular groups and day camps. Packed with Bible-themed adventures, activities and sometimes field trips, Vacation Bible School is a great way to provide Christian education at the same time as keeping kids engaged with others their own age. But there are still some very important safety essentials for Vacation Bible School.
Building a Team
Essential number one is having ample staff and a team of volunteers who can keep track of all kids in attendance and maintain order in Vacation Bible School activities. The previous year’s attendance records are helpful in calculating the number of capable adults and those in leadership positions, plus 20 percent. It’s also wise to have a team of as-needed volunteers who can fill in when the need arises.
Vetting Your Staff
Background checks are essential for any situation in which children or minors are in the care of others. Running full background checks on all Vacation Bible School volunteers and staff members will ensure that they have no prior criminal records or questionable history. During the search, include a national criminal search and a national sex offender search in addition to verifying Social Security Numbers and tracing address histories.
Preparing for Emergencies
Vacation Bible School is a time filled with the potential of unforeseen issues, and everything from severe weather to severe behavioral upsets can arise. Equipping staff members and volunteers to handle the situations in an appropriate manner is key to maintaining order. Volunteers and staff need to have a working knowledge of first aid as well as handling weather and disaster emergencies, working with children who have discipline problems and recognizing the warning signs of abuse. It’s also highly advisable to have all VBS team members complete an official Red Cross Ready Rating Program to fully educate them on how to navigate emergency situations.
Volunteers and staff should know how to handle minor injuries as well as serious health emergencies. A dedicated first-aid room equipped with portable first aid kits as well as any of the medical supplies needed by specific children is highly beneficial to keeping everyone safe.
Getting Proper Registration
Having full knowledge of each kid attending Vacation Bible School is absolutely essential. During registration, each parent should complete and return a packet of forms including:
- Mandatory release forms
- Liability waivers
- Full history of each child’s medical needs, health concerns and any allergies
- Consent forms for participation in all VBS activities
- Media releases for featuring children in any videos or photographs published by the church
- Consent for emergency medical treatment in the instance that a parent cannot be reached
As an insurance provider focused on meeting the needs of churches, we at Beacon Insurance Agency have formed relationships with GuideOne Insurance and Church Mutual. Two of the most highly regarded insurance providers in the nation, these partners strengthen our ability to serve the many needs of our clients and provide them with invaluable safety resources that guide them along in their service to the community. We know that Vacation Bible School is an important ministry within those communities and so we offer our guidance to ensure that this time is not only fun, but also safe.
Vacation Bible School safety is a summer essential! Call the experienced agents at Beacon Insurance Agency to learn more about the insurance coverage and safety resources we offer today!