Safety at camp is of utmost importance. We desire for all of our campers to have the experience of a lifetime, pursuing adventure and new challenges. We want them to have the opportunity to do all of this in a safe, managed environment.
PA System:Our Camps are equipped with a PA system that can instantly communicate with the entire property. With a receptionist on duty 15 hours a day, we can quickly play a pre-recorded message, campus-wide fire alarm, or just a friendly announcement asking a camper to come join his cabin in the dining hall. These systems are equipped with battery backups in the event camp should lose power.
Handheld Radio Communications:With over 50 radios in use across Ridgecrest Summer Camps, all of Camp's leadership and many of our summer staff are equipped with radios that connect not only each area of camp, but also both of our Camp properties. These radios, paired with "Repeaters" that boost their signal for miles, provide quick and efficient communication between staff.
Security CamerasBoth camp properties are monitored 24 hours a day with up to 30 security cameras, protecting entrances and other key areas.
Automatic GatesAll of our Camp entrances are secured with automatic gates that remain closed to the general public. Access is gained by contacting the camp office or entering a personal security code.
Overnight SecurityAs our campers and staff head off to bed after an action packed day at camp, one of our contracted police officers quietly patrols the campus, without the knowledge of campers, until the camp wakes up again the next morning.
Healthcare & Medical SafetyOur health care staff consists chiefly of three registered nurses, who are responsible for the overall health of our campers and camp as a whole. For most of our sessions, there is a Doctor that resides on property as well. An off-site physician reviews and approves in writing all standing orders which are revised and updated annually prior to each summer’s opening. Medical care is available on a 24-hour basis by our Doctors and Nurses. A web based log is kept of any and all treatment provided which can be reviewed by camp's leadership at any time. At Camp Ridgecrest we also have an EMT on site as well as a Medical Assistant to ensure that we are over prepared for any scenario that should arise.
Campers are not required to have a physical or health screening prior to their arrival at camp. However, there is a required Health History form that must be filled out by a parent or guardian. Please visit our Download Forms page (after March) to find this form. All medications are distributed through "bubble packs" that are prepackaged by the Pharmacist that is a part of our Medical Team. This pharmacist will contact each camp family by phone to discuss the details of your camper's medication before you arrive.
To learn more about nursing opportunities with our camps, call us at 800-968-1630 or email us at email@example.com. You can also learn more in the Staff section of our web site.
For trips out of camp, our experienced staff are trained to meet the medical needs of our campers. All counselors are Red Cross certified in CPR & AED, as well as Wilderness and Remote First Aid. Waterfront staff maintain Lifeguard and Waterfront Module certification as well as CPR for the Professional Rescuer. Trip staff hold a minimum Wilderness First-Aid certification and some are trained Wilderness First Responders.
Almost all of our staff on property are certified in NC to administer Epinephrine (Epi-Pens) if necessary. Furthermore, EMS and other first responders are only 3 miles away.
Safety Through Staff Screening and HiringEnsuring that your children are safe is our top priority. We believe this begins with our staff. Here are some ways we keep your child safe through the team we cultivate:
1) The way we recruit, screen, and hire our staff. Most of our staff are referred to us by existing or former staff. This is an advantage because there is already a contact that we trust who knows the applicant personally. Furthermore, there is an extensive application process with four references that are checked before we every conduct an interview. In addition to the application, a background check is conducted as well as a check on the National Sex Offender Registry. Once an applicant passes this round of the process, we conduct a hour long interview, as well as a follow up interview with our Assistant Director. By the time summer arrives we will have between 300-400 applicants that we will not hire, showing that serving with Ridgecrest Summer Camps is an opportunity that we don't take lightly.
2) The policies we put into place that are designed to protect both campers and staff. As we create policies and foster our camp culture, we keep the protection and safety of our campers in mind. There are policies that ensure one-on-one talks with campers and staff take place in our open common areas. Our campers and staff move in groups rather than pairs throughout the property. And campers are to always be within "ear-shot" of multiple staff. These policies, and others like them, exist to protect both our campers and the staff as well.
3) The training our staff receive. Before any of our staff ever step foot on our property, they must complete multiple online courses including quizzes that are designed to educate and equip them in a number of important areas pertaining to their role with children. Each staff person is also required to complete Abuse Prevention Training that will empower all of our staff to, as a team, actively protect the campers that are in our care. Once the staff arrive, we conduct a 9-12 day hands on training period (depending on their position.) A large amount of time is spend making sure that our staff are prepared to keep your children safe while in our care. (More details below.)
Activity SafetyWe believe that camp should include opportunities for campers to experience activitites and challenges that they can't enjoy anywhere else. We also believe that these adventures can be experienced in a culture of safety. Below are some of the ways we work to keep campers safe in their day to day activities.
Pool and Waterfront SafetyThere is always a lifeguard on duty when anyone uses the Pool, Lake Swim Area, Water slides, Glacier, Blob, or any of our Boats. We assure that there is at least one guard for every 25 swimmers. All boaters, swimmers using the Blob, and anyone playing on the Glacier is required to wear a Lifejacket. All guards hold current Lifeguard Certifications as well as AED & CPR for the Professional Rescuer. Our Waterfront Director is a certified Water Safety Instructor as well as a certified Lifeguard Manager. We have an AED present at our Pool and accessible from our Waterfronts at both Camps. All campers participate in "First Swim" on Opening Day where our guards observe each camper swim a measured distance to ensure that they feel comfortable swimming in the water without a lifejacket. We make an effort for this experience to be as stress free as possible with about 10 campers at a time, and up to 10 guards present, to ensure that each swimmer is always within reach of a guard. Campers who don't "pass" First Swim still have access to all the fun on the waterfront. They will simply be required to wear a lifejacket.
Horse SafetyWe require every camper on a horse to wear a helmet as well as long plants and close toed shoes. Our Horseback Directors hold an Instructor Certification and are extensively trained in horse safety.
Adventure and High Ropes SafetyWhether it's our Zip Line into the Lake, Climbing Walls, Bouldering Bungalow, Giant Swing, Leap of Faith or High Ropes or Low Ropes elements, we want to ensure that each one of these activities are as safe as possible. An independent contractor, Signature Research, inspects and certifies all of our ropes courses and equipment each year to ensure that they are in proper working order. We do extensive training with staff on course safety, and and additional independent contractor instructs and approves our staff to run these elements.
In an effort to exceed industry standards, we installed a new state of the art High Ropes course in 2016 that includes the Kong Continuos Belay System. This system ensures that a participant cannot unclip from any of the elements while on the course, removing the threat of operator error.
Emotional SafetyHere at Camp Ridgecrest, we want to know that campers are not simply physically safe, but that they actually FEEL safe as well. We have systems in place that prevent physical, mental, social and emotional abuse. Some of those systems include:
Abuse PreventionRidgecrest Summer Camps has been championing abuse prevention systems for many years. Preventing abuse is more than a background check, it is a culture. We have spent decades developing systems, policies and procedures to protect our campers and our staff.
Ministry Safe AccreditationRidgecrest Summer Camps partners with Ministry Safe, an industry leader in abuse risk management to train all of our staff on abuse prevention. Staff are required to watch a series of detailed videos (1:45 minutes in total) that increase awareness and give tools for prevention. They must pass an online test to receive their accreditation. Find out more about Ministry Safe at www.ministrysafe.com
Staff TrainingEach staff will complete a series of about 10 hours of online training courses that address some of the most helpful topics for camp counselors to feel confident in before campers arrive. The online training is coupled with additional 12 days of face-to-face training with the entire summer team. We adhear to strick policies including:
The Rule of ThreeAll of our staff are trained to never be alone with a camper in a private place. While one on one conversations are an important part of our ministry, they should always be done in public places with other people around. Our campus is designed with this in mind, providing ample locations for private conversations in plain site.
Staff are encouraged to hold others responsible for abiding by these rules. They are specifically encouraged to actively ensure that their supervisors (2 levels up) and their direct reports (one level down) are creating this culture of safety. All suspicious behavior is expected to be reported.
Two Up, One Down
Suggestion BoxA suggestion box is located in a central location. Campers are encouraged to suggest changes to menus, activities etc. However, on Opening Day we highlight this Box as a location where they can anonymously report a situation that appeared suspicious or simply made them uncomfortable.
Incident ReportsStaff daily fill out Incident Reports regarding anything that appears out of the ordinary. This could include an argument, a crying child, or simply a situation that made the staffer uncomfortable. These reports are reviewed by the majority of the leadership team daily, and are also logged to investigate trends in our culture.
Staff are also trained on appropriate and inappropriate physical and verbal interactions, as well as acceptable contact with campers outside of camp. We also prepare our staff on what to do if they encounter abuse of any kind.
Weather SafetyRidgecrest Summer Camps is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, backing up to the Pisgah National Forest. With hundreds of acres at our disposal, it is an immaculate setting to experience life and learn about our Creator. We do understand that with this opportunity sometimes means interacting with inclement weather. Therefore, we have extensive weather systems in place to ensure that our campers and our staff remain as safe as possible. Here are some of the safeguards in place to protect us as we interact with mother nature.
On Site Lightening Detection System:All of our Campuses are monitored by ThorGuard, and on site lightening prediction and warning system that measures the electromagnetic disruptions in the atmosphere and not only predicts when lightening will strike, but also notifies our leadership in advance so that we can proactively move campers to safety, rather than react to a storm as it is happening.
PA System:Our Camps are equipped with a PA system that can instantly communicate with the entire property. With a receptionist on duty 15 hours a day, we can quickly play a pre-recorded message, campus-wide fire alarm, or just a friendly announcement asking a camper to come join his cabin in the dining hall. This system is used regularly throughout the day and is a great asset in communicating with everyone quickly. These systems are equipped with battery backups in the event camp should lose power.
Handheld Radio Communications:With over 50 radios in use across Ridgecrest Summer Camps, all of Camp's leadership and many of our summer staff are equipped with radios that connect not only each property, but also the Conference Center down the road. These radios, paired with "Repeaters" that boost their signal for miles, provide quick and efficient communication to our leadership, Medical Team, Maintenance, and Safety Team anywhere on our property and the surrounding areas. Local first responding agencies also have access to our private channels should they ever need to this access in an emergency event.
These policies and practices are reviewed each year to ensure that we do everything within our power to protect the campers and staff that are on our property and a part of our camp family.