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A Culture of Safety

By Jon Deren
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As the owners of this program, we accept full responsibility for doing everything possible to ensure that our camp has selected appropriate staff with only healthy intentions.

The 21st Century has taught us that too many inappropriate adults continue their efforts to get close to children at congregate care programs, including camps. Please understand that no one is given a “pass” and permitted to work here, simply because they happen to be:

  • Family members including children
  • Old and valued friends
  • Former Camp Directors
  • Previous staff who have demonstrated questionable behaviors with campers
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Barriers to Employment

If your life includes any of the nine statements below, please consider employment elsewhere that does not include work with children.

  • Criminal record involving children
  • History of any violent behaviors
  • Ever listed in an abuse registry
  • Suicide attempts or ideation
  • Drug addiction at any age
  • Domestic violence
  • Fired from any congregate care work
  • Watches child pornography
  • Contacts children online without parental permission

Ask Yourself

Staff applying for any position at my camp need to read the following questions and carefully answer them.

  • Have you ever been terminated from camp employment?
  • Have you ever been accused or arrested for any inappropriate sexual behaviors?
  • Is there anything on social media about you that would be upsetting to a parent or camp leadership?
  • What would you do if you witnessed your best friend abuse a child at camp?
  • How do you feel about a 19-year-old counselor who has had sex with a 15-year-old camper who was consenting?
  • Under what conditions would you excuse child abuse at camp?
  • What issues of privacy are campers entitled to at camp?
  • What do you know about child abuse?
  • What role do you think you have in the prevention of child sexual abuse?
  • Under what condition should a known child molester be permitted to work at camp?
  • What would make you suspicious about a staff person with regard to this issue?
  • What would you do if you thought your supervisor was sexually involved with a camper?
  • How do you feel about the laws that track child molesters?
  • Do you know the name of the Law?
  • Do you watch child pornography?

During our staff orientation and training, we invite well-known and respected experts to alert our staff to the behaviors of adults with unhealthy motivations regarding children.

Mandated Reporting

We are Mandated Reporters at camp and have zero tolerance for child molesters and/or pedophiles.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Equity & Inclusion

Camp Manitou strives to provide a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for our campers, staff and extended community. We are committed to creating a sense of belonging through respectful curiosity, personal responsibility, and continual improvement.

We will not accept racism or intolerance.

We strive to create better systemic opportunities in camping and in our world by amplifying and supporting the members of under-represented and historically marginalized identity groups and by educating our campers to be allies and advocates of social justice.

And we believe that statements like these must be followed by progress, action, and accountability. We recognize that our efforts will be imperfect, ongoing, and evolving as we continue to grow, learn, collaborate, and move towards a more equitable future.

Land Acknowledgment & Indigenous Respect

Camp Manitou appreciates the history and native symbolism of Indigenous tribes. We acknowledge that we are on the ancestral lands and traditional territories of the Wabanaki People. We endeavor to continually investigate the language, physical symbols, and camp traditions that misappropriate Indigenous culture.


S’more Melanin Facebook Group – A destination for resources, historical context, and connectivity centered around the BIPOC experience in the camp world.


Staff FAQs