Play Video

Health & Safety at Word of Life

For nearly 60 years, God has blessed us with an excellent track record of health and safety. Though no one can totally prevent some injuries or emergencies, we believe that, by God’s grace, and by the continual, focused implementation of the following levels of protection, we can ensure an overall camp experience that is safe and fun for all.

We would recommend that every parent/youth leader spend some time with their camper talking about our Code of Conduct, the camper’s right to say “no”, and the camper’s right to report inappropriate behavior. It is proven that having open discussion about these matters empowers a camper to know what is right and how to respond. We will discuss our Code of Conduct at camp and explain to campers that they can report any concerns.

Screening

WOL Bible Institute Application

The majority of our counselors are students and graduates of the Word of Life Bible Institute. Before ever enrolling at WOLBI, each applicant’s background is carefully screened.

Summer Staff Selection

Prior to the summer, our camp staff reviews the accumulated experience of each student, interviews each applicant, and consults with the Dean’s Office to place students into their most effective role and remove students who do not meet our rigorous camp standards.

Reference Checks

As part of our hiring process, Word of Life questions several adults who know the applicant and can attest to their character and integrity

NY Sex Offender Registry

Prior to the summer, every member of our summer staff is screened by state authorities against the National and New York State Sex Offender Registry.

Training

Summer Institute of Counseling (SIC) Training

Camper and Staff Counselors pass through an intensive, on-site, 10-day training course covering issues of leadership, counseling, safety and first aid, children and teen issues, spiritual preparation, camp program, team building, and other topics.

Bible Training

As students and graduates of W.O.L.B.I., our students have spent the school year learning the Bible in one of the strongest Bible training schools in the country. The unique curriculum balances classroom knowledge with practical ministry and life growth.

Child Protection Training

Specific training is provided to every employee covering not only our own camp’s Child Protection Policy, but also best practices of working with children and teens. Topics cover awareness, prevention, reporting, response, and more.

Ongoing In-Service Training

Throughout the summer, ongoing in-service training is conducted in both individual and group settings.

Supervision

360 Degree Supervision

At each of our camps we have a Child Protection Program called 360 Degree Supervision. We train every counselor on 3-T¹s, 3-W¹s and 3-R¹s. The 3 T¹s are; touch, talk and territory, we have clearly defined for each of these what is appropriate and not appropriate behavior. The 3-T’s are clearly defined in our Code of Conduct that each staff member must understand and abide by (link to document) The 3-W’s are for who, what and where. Who – every person at every location will be properly identified as staff, camper or visitor. What – what is the person doing? Are their actions consistent with our Code of Conduct. Where – where is the person located and are they violating the private, non-private areas. At no time should a camper, and staff member be in a non-private area. The 3-R’s are for Recognize, Resist and Report. Every camper and staff member needs to be able to recognize what is appropriate and not appropriate and they have the right to resist the behavior and report it.

Never Alone Direct Supervision

At Word of Life, campers are never alone. Campers are directly supervised by at least one, but usually several, counselors at all times. Campers do not go anywhere or do anything unsupervised.

Unique Location

Our campus is located in a sparsely-populated, resort region of the Adirondacks. However, we are less than 3 miles from the nearest Fire/EMS station, and 30 minutes or less to public hospitals and Health Centers.

 

Low Camper-to-Counselor Ratios

New York State mandates a maximum camper-to-counselor ratio of 1:10, however we routinely operate at a ratio of 1:6 on the Island and 1:4 at the Ranch.

Campus Security

Our campus security staff identifies and registers all visitors to the property. Visitors must check-in and wear identifying bracelets while on property.

ID Bracelets

All Word of Life staff and all campers wear identifying bracelets. Every visitor must wear an ID Bracelet, and entry and exit of property is logged and recorded.

Health Center

We have our own Health Center on property, staffed and stocked for both emergencies and routine health care.

Certified Health Center Staff

In addition to our registered nurses, we also have a crew of certified RTE’s (Red Cross, Responding to Emergency Certification) who assist the Health Center staff and provide first aid around the property.

Nursing Staff

Our two, full-time registered nurses are complimented each week by two or three additional registered nurses for round-the-clock health care.

Certified Activity Staff

Staff who serve in special activity areas such as the Beach, Climbing Tower, and Horsemanship instruction are trained and certified in their respective areas. Many are also certified RTE’s.

Comprehensive Safety Plan

Our Camp Safety Plan, is reviewed and approved annually by the New York State Department of Health. This comprehensive plan, including both prevention and response, guides our overall safety program.

Nighttime Security

Our campus security patrols the property through the night.

Dorm Security

Each of our cabins/dormitories is locked each night and when not in use.

Accountability

Zero Tolerance Policy

Word of Life holds to a zero-tolerance policy. All accusations and questionable behavior are pursued immediately. All accused parties are investigated to the fullest extent and are removed from service until a complete investigation is completed. Once the investigation is completed, if innocent the staff member is returned to service, if found guilty our termination and enforcement policy is enacted and all local authorities are informed of findings.

Daily and Weekly Accountability

Each counselor and staff member meets regularly with a supervisor for specific feedback and improvement strategies. Counselors meet with their supervisor both daily and weekly. This additional layer of accountability is helpful to both the staff member and the entire program.

Multiple Counselors

Although campers are always directly supervised by at least one counselor, each cabin unit is supervised by three to five counselors, creating great cross-over supervision and accountability.

Reporting

Reporting an Incident

Each of our camping locations are equipped with a Safebox. A Safebox is similar to a mailbox where students can report any actions or situations that they feel are innapropriate or make them feel uncomfortable. We also have a phone number that is availible for campers, staff, parents, youth leaders, and guests to report any innapropriate behavior they may see or experience. That number is 518-494-6300. If you prefer email you can email safety@wol.org

Policy

We take every report, mention or inappropriate action very seriously. We have a written policy and procedural manual for incident reporting and investigation. All local authorities are involved and engaged in the process.

Local Agency Relationships

Law Enforcement

Word of Life strives to maintain excellent relationships with local and state law enforcement agencies.  Various Police training exercises have been conducted on Word of Life properties to learn how to effectively respond in the event of an emergency.  These training exercises have been conducted with the New York State Police Special Operations Unit.  We are pleased to have such a positive and rewarding relationship with this unit of professionals and look forward toward continued growth with this relationship.


Get away and join us for an experience you’ll never forget!