At Sheldon Calvary Camp we are committed to ensuring the physical and emotional safety of everyone who joins us. This includes protecting children from sexual misconduct and abuse. The following policies and practices have been created in compliance with American Camp Association Accreditation Standards (v.2019) and in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and legal counsel. We take the following steps to ensure a safe environment for children:
Background Checks Prior to beginning work at the camp, any employee of the camp and any other person having regular unsupervised contact with campers shall be subject to a background check. In addition, each staff member is checked annually against the National Sex Offender Public Registry (www.nsopr.gov). Full time staff members and Directors having continuous year-round employment at the camp are subject to criminal and sexual offender checks every five (5) years.
Annually, every staff member, new or returning, must complete and sign a voluntary disclosure statement indicating past criminal records and pending judicial cases.
In the case of clergy, an inquiry is made of all bishops having past or present canonical authority over the individual for the past five (5) years.
No person shall ever be a member of the camp’s staff or otherwise have one-on-one contact with campers who has a civil or criminal record of violence, child sexual abuse or child abuse, or sexual misconduct of any sort; or who has admitted to prior sexual abuse; or is known to have paraphiliac diagnosis as defined by the American Psychiatric Association.
Any person failing to provide the information or cooperation necessary to complete the background check shall not be hired. Every person must successfully complete a background check before the beginning of each camp season and cannot rely upon the successful completion of a background check in a previous year.
References Three letters of reference are required on behalf of all new applicants who were not employed by the camp during the previous summer. Returning applicants who worked at camp the previous summer are not required to submit letters of reference. However, any applicant who has worked for camp before but missed the previous summer season(s) is required to provide three letters of reference.
Staff Training and Policies
Safeguarding God’s Children Safeguarding God’s Children is an in-depth training and educational program established by the Episcopal Church for preventing and responding to child sexual abuse. This training is conducted in-person at camp for all first-year staff and every three years for returning staff.
Staff-camper romantic or sexual relationships are strictly prohibited. (from Personnel Policies and Practices)
Staff members are not to put themselves in situations where they are one-on-one with campers but work within a community setting or one-to-many conversation. This protects the child and the staff member from any possible misconduct and is further emphasized during staff training with Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training. (from Staff Manual under Behavior Management)
Staff members may not proactively seek out communications or romantic relationships with campers on social networking sites, apps and games or via text messaging, email or other messaging services. Additionally, staff members should ensure that overtures seeking relationships, romantic or otherwise, with other staff members or former campers are consensual. (from Staff Manual under Social Media)
The camp adheres to the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse and includes these policies in staff training. Section I: Guidelines for Appropriate Affection (p.8) includes definitions and examples of appropriate and inappropriate forms of affection. The list below is a sample of a more extensive list:
Appropriate forms of affection
Pats on the shoulder or back
Arms around shoulders
Kneeling or bending down for hugs with small children
Inappropriate forms of affection
Inappropriate or lengthy embraces
Holding children over three years old on the lap
Touching knees or legs of children or youth
Any type of massage given by a child or youth to an adult
Any type of massage given by an adult to a child or youth
If any allegations of child abuse are reported to any member of camp staff, we will immediately contact civil authorities.
The Episcopal Church – Safe Church.