Eagle's Nest Camp and Hante Adventures
Staff Standards for Conduct and Care
As a youth-serving organization, it is imperative that Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures sets and maintains expectations for behavior of all staff and volunteers working with campers and participants. The purpose of these standards is to convey with clarity and seriousness of purpose the need for appropriate boundaries between staff and campers and participants, and to support a culture in which the protection of youth is valued above all other professional and personal concerns. These structures will enable us to prevent, recognize, and respond effectively to child abuse. Additionally, it is critical to first ensure a safe and nurturing environment in order for staff to pursue the Eagle’s Nest Mission in our work with children.
- To protect Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures staff, volunteers, campers and participants, at no time, both on campus and in the field, should an adult be alone with a child where the adult could not be observed by others.
- In the event that a single adult must drive a single student due to an appointment or evacuation, the driver must utilize a dash camera and provide the memory card to the Director immediately upon returning to campus.
- In a boarding setting, it is impossible to provide active supervision around the clock. Staff will, however, ensure that there is a sufficient staff presence1 on campus or in the field at all times.
1“Sufficient staff presence” is determined both by ENF policy guidelines around ratios and by the real-world needs of a particular group at the moment.
- Adults should only enter the restroom facilities in campers’ cabin spaces if they are alone or there are at least two other people in the bathroom. Remember the rule of threes.
- Adults shall not abuse children or use corporal punishment of any kind. This includes physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, mental and emotional abuse, or neglect. Any type of abuse will result in immediate termination of employment and referral to the appropriate authorities.
- Adults will use only appropriate touch, such as pats on the back or shoulder, side hugs, brief consensual frontal hugs that avoid intimate or prolonged contact, handshakes, and high fives. Adults will also seek to ascertain students’ comfort levels so as to respect and uphold a student’s right not to be touched.
- Adults will not force a child into a hug without the child’s consent, massage a child, drape an arm over their shoulders, or engage in other forms of touch that might make a child uncomfortable.
- In addressing a child’s behavior, adults will use positive techniques, including feedback, redirection, positive reinforcement, and encouragement rather than competition, comparison, shouting, sarcasm, criticism, shaming, or threatening.
- Adults will not give gifts (with the exception of Giving Day gifts) or special favors to individual campers, participants or Junior Counselors or show preferential treatment to campers, participants or Junior Counselors or group of participants to the exclusion of others.
- Mentoring, advising, and guiding participants as they confront challenging and sometimes-intense matters of inter-/intrapersonal growth is encouraged. It is, however, inappropriate to act in the place of a mental health professional, to encourage a feeling of dependence on a counselor or staff member, or to schedule extended private “check-in” times to discuss such matters with a participant. Adults should refer concerns related to mental and/or emotional health to the Camp Director or Executive Director.
- It is inappropriate for an adult to give the appearance of forming a friendship with a participant outside the confines of an appropriate counselor - participant relationship, which is distinguished from a friendship by the inherent imbalance of power that exists between counselor and camper. Appropriate professional relationships can be based on humor, kindness, mutual trust, admiration, intellectual connection, and shared interests without being friendships.
- Adults will respond to participants with respect and consideration and treat all youth equally regardless of gender identification, race, religion, sexual identity and orientation, beliefs, or culture.
- Adults will refrain from inappropriate displays of affection with other adults when in the presence of participants.
- Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol, tobacco products, vape products, illegal drugs, or another individual’s prescription medications in the presence of participants is grounds for immediate termination of employment and potential referral to law enforcement. See ENF Staff handbook for specific policies regarding use of substances.
- Profanity, inappropriate jokes, sharing intimate sexual or romantic details of one’s personal life, using participants as an outlet to vent about personal or mental health matters, any form of harassment, or crossing other such boundaries are prohibited and will lead to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.
- Adults should never transport participants in their own vehicles unless there is a life- or limb-threatening emergency and no other options are readily available. In the front country, emergency services should be called in such situations.
- Under no circumstances should an adult release participants to anyone other than the parent, guardian, or other adult authorized by the parent or guardian. Authorization should be written.
- Adults will not have private interactions through social media, computer, or handheld devices with participants or alums prior to the participant reaching the age of 18. Appropriate avenues for communication of a professional nature after a session at camp are outlined in the ENF Technology Policy.
- Staff may not be alone with Eagle’s Nest Camp or Hante Adventures alumni who are minors after the conclusion of a session. A meeting with a participant following the conclusion of a session should only be accepted if the arrangements are appropriate (i.e. in public or with parents). It should not be social in nature, and staff should not initiate such meetings. It is appropriate to join camp sponsored get togethers for a visit if the invitation is extended to the staff member.
- Adults may not date participants or former participants.
- All staff and volunteers at ENF are legally-mandated reporters and are required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse to the proper authoritie
- Annually, all staff will attend trainings for child abuse prevention, response, and reporting.
- Volunteers without a background check may never be alone with participants, even if there are multiple participants present. Volunteers may never drive an ENF vehicle or drive participants in a personal vehicle.
- On-campus guests of staff are never allowed to be alone with participants, and they should avoid wandering campus without their host present. Guests should sign in at the office.
- Participants should never enter staff housing spaces.
- Given the dynamic nature of a residential camp program a real-world scenario might require a degree of flexibility with some of these expectations. In those instances, adults should think carefully about ways to mitigate risks and avoid crossing boundaries so as to act in the spirit, if not the letter, of this document. Staff should record any deviations in writing and immediately follow up with the Camp Director.