The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s first core value is safety. The care of children with serious illnesses is both a serious responsibility and a serious privilege. Here is an overview of how we provide physical and emotional safety at Camp.
Staff and Volunteer Recruitment
All staff and volunteers working directly with children are required to:
- Complete a detailed application including three professional references.
- Participate in a comprehensive interview with Camp leadership.
- Perform the following nationally accredited background checks: County Criminal Record Search, US-SOR Combo National Criminal Record Search, NPSOR National Public Sex Offender Registry, and Social Security Number Trace.
Mandatory Staff Training
A comprehensive orientation is provided for all staff and volunteers including:
- Yale Child Sexual Abuse Clinic training on identification and mandated reporting requirements.
- Drills for staff and volunteers including those related to lost campers, intruders, fires, evacuations, medical emergencies and weather warnings.
- Additional levels of training and certification are required including CPR, waterfront safety, lifeguard certification, archery, ropes course, and equestrian for camp leadership and specific program staff.
- Required formal Therapeutic Crisis Intervention training for summer staff leadership.
- Members of Camp’s leadership team review children’s applications, which include a medical and psych-social evaluation, prior to Camp. Doing so allows staff members to anticipate behavioral concerns and plan accordingly. Camp never tolerates bullying of any kind.
- Highly trained staff work closely with Campers at all times and intervene behaviorally, when necessary.
- If behavior modification plans are not successful, a child may be sent home.
Key Staff Requirements
- Every effort is made to ensure that campers and staff are not left alone together. In the rare instance that a staff member or volunteer needs to accompany a child for short period of time, a supervisor’s approval is necessary.
- All staff and volunteers wear a visible name badge indicating that they are part of the Camp family.
- Two adult staff members are required to sleep in the camper room every night.
- The supervision ratio for activities is typically one adult for every two children.
Emergency Accessibility and Communications
- Camp hosts a fully equipped infirmary staffed by up to 5 physicians and between 10-15 nurses in the summer. The weekend sessions are staffed with 1 physician and between 2-5 nurses.
- All program areas and cabins have phone systems for communicating emergencies.
- There is a camp-wide public address system that quickly broadcasts urgent messages.
- Camp’s fire alarm system is directly linked to the fire department.
- Camp has a strong relationship with a general hospital 20 minutes away and a nationally ranked children’s hospital 30 minutes away.
- Camp has three helicopter landing zones in the event that air transport is required.
- Throughout the summer, leadership staff members communicate constantly via a two-way radio system.
- Camp’s front gate is locked from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM. A guard is on duty during business and evening hours during the summer. The rear gate is locked at all times.
- Any staff/volunteer interested in an in-person visit must be approved by Camp leadership.
- If staff/volunteers are going to email, text, telephone or exchange letters with a camper, the staff/volunteer must first contact the parent/guardian and obtain permission.
- Staff/volunteers are not permitted to initiate an invitation to connect to a camper via any social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, Vine, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
- It is not recommended that staff/volunteers accept invitations from campers to connect via social networking sites.
- Camp is accredited by the American Camping Association and licensed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Youth Camps Division.
- Russell Phillips & Associates, a firm specializing in health care risk management, has audited and formalized emergency plans.