Staff and Volunteer Handbook (part 2)

Staff and Volunteer Handbook (part 2)

Last updated 12/10

Table of Contents

Behavior Management
Toileting and Showering
Destruction of Camp Property
Non-Discrimination Policy
Sexual Harassment
Child Protection Laws and Child Abuse Notification
Camper Release
Emergency Transportation


Behavior Management

In addition to obtaining extensive medical, psychological and behavioral histories on our campers, we also obtain copies of campers’ IEP, 504 and/or Positive Behavior Support Plans. All of this information, along with the following behavior management policies, is utilized to provide a positive and safe environment for all campers.
Five Finger Contract
Camp Discovery’s code of conduct for campers is called The Five Finger Contract. This contract sets the campers and staff up for a successful week at camp by clearly communicating expected behaviors.
It is called the Five Finger Contract because each finger represents one of the five codes of conduct.
  1. Encourage (this is represented by the thumb) – Notice the little accomplishments and praise others around you for their efforts.
  2. Don’t Blame (this is represented by the index finger) –
    1. Respect others feelings and belongings.
    2. Communicate your feelings with “I” statements (“I feel . . . . because. . . .”)
  3. Be Kind (this is represented by the middle finger) –
    1. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
    2. No put downs
  4. Be Committed (this is represented by the ring finger) –
    1. To forming friendships
    2. Participating in all activities
  5. Safety (this is represented by the pinkie finger) – think safety at all times
    1. Stay with your assigned group at all times
    2. Follow directions of staff
    3. Keep your cabin clean and neat
      1. Keep beds made and neat
      2. Wet towels and clothing should be hung on a hook
      3. Keep the floor free of debris
      4. Closed toe shoes MUST be worn at all times outside of cabins
To help manage behavior beyond this Five Finger Contract, the Three Strike Policy should be implemented.
Three Strike Policy
This policy is for campers who have exhibited a negative behavior that affects the contentment of themselves and/or others. The first time the behavior is exhibited, talk with the camper aside from the group and redirect them letting them know this is their first strike. The second time the camper exhibits the same negative behavior, remind them of the expectations/appropriate behavior and tell them this is strike two. Warn them that the next instance will mean they will have to meet with the Behavior Specialist, Camp Coordinator or Camp Director to discuss the behavior. The third time the camper exhibits the same negative behavior, tell the camper that this is their third strike and call a Behavior Code 2. The camper will meet with the Behavior Specialist to discuss their behavior and possible solutions.

Behavior that endangers a camper’s safety or another person’s safety receives immediate attention. In the case of a camper's behavior being out of control (examples: throwing chairs, hitting other people or objects, etc.), staff members will attempt to verbally control a camper's behavior with calm, neutral and firm commands. If the camper is completely unresponsive, the staff member must consider the possibility that the behavior is seizure-related. In this instance, a Seizure Code 1 should be called (see Seizure Management section). If the behavior is thought to be seizure-related, the appropriate first aid procedure will be followed. If the behavior is not determined to be seizure related and verbal commands are ineffective, a Behavior Code 1 should be called. One staff member should take all other campers to another area. Two staff members should stay with the camper until administration arrives. If the staff member's safety is in question, the staff person will leave the immediate area and go to the closest possible safe area where he/she is able to visually observe the camper.
At NO point is a staff member authorized to physically control a camper's behavior. Camp Discovery DOES NOT subscribe to corporal punishment as a means to discipline campers. At no time will camper discipline include depriving a camper of food or sleep; placing a camper alone without supervision; or subjecting a camper to ridicule, threat, corporal punishment, excessive physical exercise, or excessive restraint.
Whenever possible, staff members will praise positive camper behavior.
Periodic evaluation of programming, staff, and camper groups will take place by camp administrators to ensure that the camp environment is not contributing to negative behaviors.
Emergency Intervention Policy
This policy is for campers who have exhibited a behavior that poses an imminent risk to the safety of themselves or others. In this case, a Behavior Code 1 should be called. The Camp Director and/or the Camp Coordinator will respond immediately to assess the situation and the needs of the camper. In the most severe cases, after all other support techniques have been exhausted, emergency restraint may be necessary. Emergency restraint is to be implemented by the Support Team ONLY. The Support Team has been trained by certified trainers in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, which includes preventative techniques and therapeutic physical intervention. When emergency restraint is necessary, the following procedure will be followed:
Emergency Restraint Policy
  1. Emergency restraint shall be performed in a manner that is:
    1. safe;
    2. appropriate;
    3. proportionate to and sensitive to the camper’s:
      1. severity of behavior
      2. chronological and developmental age
      3. physical size
      4. gender
      5. physical condition
      6. medical condition
      7. psychiatric condition
      8. personal history, including any history of physical or sexual abuse
  2. Emergency restraint should not be used:
    1. any longer than necessary to allow campers to regain control of their behavior; and
    2. generally no longer than ten minutes.
If an emergency restraint lasts longer than ten minutes, the following are required:
  • additional support (e.g., change in staff, introducing medical staff, obtaining additional expertise); and
  • documentation to explain the extension beyond the time limit.
Emergency restraint involves direct physical contact that prevents or significantly restricts a camper’s movement. Restraint is a last resort emergency safety intervention. Restraint is an opportunity for the camper to regain self-control. Emergency restraint will NOT, at any time, include:
  • mechanical restraint;
  • chemical restraint;
  • corporal punishment;
  • the deprivation of basic needs;
  • anything constituting child abuse;
  • prone restraint; or
  • the intentional application of any noxious substance(s) or stimuli which results in physical pain or extreme discomfort.
It is essential to this policy that restraint be used only in response to an emergency, and not as a planned response for the convenience of staff, discipline or punishment, or as a substitute for a less restrictive alternative.

In the event that emergency restraint is necessary, the camper's parents or legal guardian will be contacted by the Camp Director as soon as the situation allows. If the parent cannot be contacted, the emergency contact will be notified. If s/he cannot be contacted, we will keep trying to contact the parent/legal guardian and/or the emergency notification number until someone is reached and notified of the situation.

If at any time during emergency restraint it becomes apparent that the camper is not or will not be able to regain self-control, 911 will be called at the discretion of the Camp Director.
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Staff and campers will receive three full meals per day. Meal times are as follows:
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Camp Counselors will sit with the campers from their assigned cabin for all meals, and will be responsible for monitoring campers while they eat. Counselors are required to make sure that each camper is offered his/her share of the available food at the table. Furthermore, Counselors should make a concerted effort to ensure that campers eat a well-balanced meal.
General Menu Components Needed for USDA Regulation
Milk, fluid   1 cup (1/2 pint)
Juice or fruits or vegetables   1/2 cup total
Bread or bread alternates including cold, dry cereal or hot, cooked cereal   1 slice or serving
Lunch or Supper    
Milk, fluid   1 cup (1/2 pint)
Meat or poultry or fish   2 ounces
Vegetables and/or fruits (2 or more)   3/4 cup
Bread or bread alternates   1 slice or serving
or cooked pasta, noodles or rice   1/2 cup
For vegetarians, 2 ounces of beans, soy products, milk products, nuts or nut butters, or eggs may be substituted for meat/poultry/fish.
Special diets and dietary restrictions will be handled by Dietary Aides. The Dietary Aides will be responsible to insure that provisions are being made for individuals with special diets and if possible, that substitutions are acceptable with the USDA-SFSP guidelines.

Camp Discovery is operated in accordance with USDA policy that does not permit discrimination because of race, color, age, sex, handicap or national origin. Any person who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in any USDA related activity should write immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., 20250.

Toileting and Showering

If a camper has to use the toilet at any point during the day or night, s/he will be accompanied by two people (one MUST be a staff member). The default procedure will be that the two people will wait outside the bathroom until the camper is done and then escort the camper back to his or her activity group. If the camper requires assistance, the staff member will assist accordingly while the other person stands within hearing distance.
During showering times, there will be three people (one MUST be a staff member) in the bathhouse at all times. If a camper requires assistance with showering, the staff member will assist accordingly while the other person stands within hearing distance. For campers that require assistance, showers may be taken in the cabin.


Personal cell phones among campers are prohibited. Camp staff may bring personal cell phones, but they may only be used during scheduled break times. In the case of a family emergency, family and friends should be directed to contact Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center at (269) 731-3030. Callers may have to leave a message on voice mail, but messages are checked several times during the business hours of 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.


Staff Visitors
No visitors are allowed.
Parents of Campers
At no time are parents allowed to visit campers. In the event that a camper needs to leave camp early, his/her parents will be contacted by a member of the camp administration and asked to pick their camper up at camp. As soon as needed paperwork is completed, the parent(s) and camper will be asked to leave.
Under no circumstances is a camper to be released from the Camp Discovery program until the Camp Director gives full authorization for his/her release.
Outside Contracted Labor or Deliveries
(Examples: waste removal, food deliveries, laundry, fuel deliveries, or repairs). Any person who is contracted by Camp Discovery to work for Camp Discovery may be on camp property to complete the job that he/she was contracted to do. After the work is completed, he/she will be asked to leave the property.
General Public
If any other individual would like to visit the camp property or observe the camp program, he/she must contact and receive clearance from the Camp Director prior to the planned visit.

As a staff member, if you see a visitor on camp property, you need to greet them and escort them to Kellogg Hall. Then, contact the Camp Director via the camp communication system.

Destruction of Camp Property

Any visitor, volunteer, or employee of Camp Discovery who accidentally or purposely destroys camp property is responsible for the replacement cost of the property. The employee will be required to sign a “contract of owing” to the camp.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Camp Discovery shall comply with all federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination. In accordance with these laws and regulations, Camp Discovery shall not discriminate in employment or any of its programs or services on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, familial status, marital status, or disability.

Sexual Harassment

It is illegal and against Camp Discovery policy for any employee, guest, camper, or anyone else, male or female, to sexually harass another person.
For definition purposes, sexual harassment would include the following:
  1. Making unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors.
  2. Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature used as a basis for continued employment or promotion.
  3. Creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment due to such conduct.
Anyone who feels that they have been sexually harassed should report the incident to the Camp Director immediately. If the complaint is against the Camp Director, the incident should be reported to a member of Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan’s Board of Directors.

Any employee who has been found to have sexually harassed another employee (after an appropriate investigation) will be subject to employee discipline. Discipline could range from a warning to termination of employment, depending on the circumstance.

Child Protection Laws and Child Abuse Notification

Act number 238, Public acts of 1975 as amended, is known as the Child Protection Law. This act requires that certain individuals and organizations report all suspected cases of child abuse to the Michigan Department of Social Services. Camp Discovery and all employees are expected to comply fully with this law in the reporting of suspected child abuse and/or child neglect.
Child abuse means harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare, which occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or maltreatment.

Child neglect means to harm a child's health or welfare by a person responsible for the child's health or welfare which occurs through negligent treatment, including failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional or medical care.
Staff procedures
During the first 24 hours, the Medical Staff Coordinator and other camp staff will document any bruises or cuts noted on campers. All staff members shall watch for signs of camper abuse/neglect as trained during staff training.

Any staff member who suspects that a camper has been abused or neglected will report the suspected case to the Camp Coordinator, who will involve the Camp Director and Medical Staff Coordinator. The suspected case will then be reported to Children’s Protective Services, MFIA, within 24 hours of first being informed by the Camp Coordinator.

Information concerning any camper is confidential and is not to be discussed with anyone other than the administration of the camp and Child Protective Services.

If the abuse or neglect is alleged to have been caused by a current staff member, the staff member will be isolated and may not have contact with campers until the matter is fully investigated.
The camper must never be informed of this notification process. Their knowledge of this report could endanger them when they return home. Only the Camp Director will make exceptions to this after consulting with the Camp Coordinator.
Reporting Procedures
With in 72 hours, a written report shall be made to the Department. The written report shall contain the name of the camper and the description of the abuse or neglect. If possible, the report shall contain the names and addresses of the camper’s authorized person and other information which might be used to establish the cause of abuse or neglect and the manner it occurred.

If the camper is injured, medical treatment will be provided by the nearest hospital or clinic.

Reporting is handled as follows: contact the local county Protective Service Unit for a situation which did not occur at camp.

Camper Release

If a camper is released during session, the following procedure will be used:
  1. When the camper's parent or guardian arrives on camp property, he/she will be escorted to the Kellogg Hall. The Camp Director will be notified via the camp communication system.
  2. The parent or guardian must present formal identification that will be checked against the camper's registration card and release forms.
    1. The camper will be released to the person only if information matches forms submitted prior to the camper's arrival. The person must then sign the camper “out” (using the camper release form) and leave property as soon as the needed paperwork is completed.
    2. Any future contact made by the camper’s parent or legal guardian with the camp will be referred to the Camp Director.

Emergency Transportation

If a camper or campers need to be transported off of campgrounds, at least two adult staff members must accompany the camper in a vehicle approved by the Camp Director. The driver must possess a valid driver's license. This will be done only in the case of transportation to a medical center or hospital. All vehicle occupants will wear seat belts.

If it is determined by the Camp Director and Medical Staff Coordinator that it would be inappropriate for a camper to be transported in a car, emergency medical services will be contacted for transportation of the camper.

Staff Code of Ethics: Staff and Volunteers are required to sign and return this form prior to camp.