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Behavior Guidelines

We expect all participants to adhere to the YMCA of the North's core values of Caring, Honesty, Equity, Respect, and Responsibility. Our behavior guidelines are anchored in these values, and all participants, staff, and volunteers are expected to uphold the values while spending time with us.

All Locations
Bullying Policy

At YMCA of the North, bullying is inexcusable, and we have a firm policy against all types of bullying. Each participant is expected to treat all other participants respectfully and help each other achieve the best possible experience.

Parents and guardians may be called upon if a participant has difficulty meeting this expectation.

Our leadership addresses all incidents of bullying seriously. Our staff is trained to uphold our core values and follow proper communication channels to report and respond to bullying. Our staff work with their groups to ensure that all participants receive safe and equitable programming opportunities.

Safety First

It is our goal that Day Camp staff make every effort to ensure all campers have a safe and positive camp experience. We believe our success at camp stems from a safety-first mentality. Day Camp is designed to be a fun and unique outdoor experience for kids, but we recognize that small and large group activities may not always be the best fit for all campers.

Social Emotional Learning

To best support the safety and enjoyment of camp, we approach Social Emotional Learning as a strategy for systemic improvement for all, as it supports adults to strengthen practices that promote equity.  Social Emotional Learning is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. We believe that our campers have the opportunity for growth and support within the five pillars of Social Emotional Learning and development- self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.

Individual Camper Care Plans

At the Y, we believe every family and child should have access to camp.  We aspire to create a camp community that is safe, inclusive, and welcoming and exemplifies the Y's core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, and Equity. We recognize that campers come to us with various backgrounds, experiences, and histories and that this may be reflected in their mental or behavioral health while at camp. While working with children at camp, our goal is to collaborate with families.

To help in this effort, we utilize an Individual Camper Care Plan to help us inform and prepare our staff. We ask families to fill out this form only if there are special concerns or situations they feel we need to know about. The more detailed information and helpful “tips” you can give, the better prepared we are to work with your child.

Care Plan Form (PDF)launch
Action Plans

While working toward our goals of providing a safe and positive camp experience, we may implement Action Plans. Action Plans are tailored to children and their specific needs. We work with campers, families, and camp staff to determine appropriate action plans for a camper. When determining action plans, we strive to partner with families and meet campers where they are in their development, all while keeping safety at the forefront.

We train and empower camp counselors to support campers’ individual needs by implementing action plans. These action plans are designed to work with campers on a personal basis to reach success while ensuring we meet each camper where they are.

Harmful Situations

When a situation becomes harmful to an individual or the group or cannot be resolved, we will bring in additional support from the Camp Leadership team.  Examples of this could be a camper running away from their group or not staying within sight and hearing range of their staff members, endangering the health and safety of themselves, other children, or staff, purposefully hurting themselves, another camper, or a staff, physical violence, or bullying toward another camper or staff. Our Y Camping teams hold a range of compassion and expertise in certain areas, but we are not mental health professionals, social workers, or 1:1 camper-to-staff support.

Program Removal

We will support your child the best we can to make camp as successful as possible. Suppose change has not been made after a thorough action plan. Should a camper need support that goes beyond what we can safely provide — or should a situation escalate to a level where we can no longer safely find a resolution for the camper —an action plan may determine the need to remove a child from a program for any amount of time, including the remainder of the summer season.

Overnight Camp
Acceptable Behavior

Actions should reflect the YMCA core values:

  • Caring
  • Equity
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Responsibility

When in doubt ...

  • Ask for Help – Participants should talk to a counselor or any YMCA staff member if they are uncomfortable with any experiences or need assistance while at camp.
  • Be Nice – Include everyone, do your chores, leave other people’s stuff alone, and listen to Counselors.
  • Use Kind Words – No name-calling, teasing, or put-downs. No swearing. And no gossip.
  • Keep Your Hands to Yourself – Hitting, pushing, shoving, and unwanted physical contact should be avoided.
Unacceptable Behavior

The following actions have consequences:

  • Refusing to follow behavior guidelines or YMCA rules
  • Using profanity, vulgarity, or obscenity
  • Stealing or damaging property (personal or YMCA property)
  • Refusal to participate in activities or cooperate with staff
  • Disrupting a program
  • Leaving a program without permission
  • Endangering the health, safety, or wellbeing of children and staff
  • Use of illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco, or sexual conduct of any kind
  • Teasing, making fun, or bullying other participants or staff
  • Unacceptable Behavior
  • Physical violence and fighting of any kind

When a participant does not follow the behavior guidelines, we will take the following action steps as behavior problems progress.

Level 1: Arguing, swearing, refusing to listen, being inappropriate, personal space issues

The first incident occurs:

  • Immediate consequence: time out, removal from activity, or loss of privileges, followed by debriefing.

The second incident occurs:

  • Immediate consequence: time out, removal from activity, or loss of privileges, followed by debriefing.
  • Meeting with the Unit Leader and Camp Director. Brainstorm possible solutions.
  • Phone call home to update parents and guardians to work on solutions together.

The third incident occurs:

  • Immediate consequences: time out, removal from activity, or loss of privileges, followed by debriefing.
  • Phone call home by Camp Director and likely removal from camp.

Level 2: Violence (i.e. hurting others, self, or property); stealing or threatening violence

The first incident occurs:

  • Meeting with the Unit Leader and Camp Director to brainstorm possible solutions.
  • Phone call home to parents and guardians and to work on solutions.
  • Consequence and behavior contract or removal from camp.

If removal is required ...

Participant fees are non-refundable if a participant is sent home for behavior or disciplinary reasons. Physical violence or bullying toward another participant or staff member will result in immediate dismissal from the camp program.

Family Camp
Community Standards
  • Be Kind – We ask that when interacting with staff and other campers alike that we always use the lens of kindness 

  • Be Respectful – Treat staff, others, yourself, and the environment with respect. 

  • Be Safe – Follow our guidelines to not only have a fun session at camp, but also a safe time. 

Unacceptable Behavior
  • Refusing to follow the behavior guidelines or adventure center rules 

  • Using profanity, vulgarity, or obscenity 

  • Stealing or damaging property (personal or YMCA property) 

  • Endangering the health and safety of campers and/or staff 

  • Physical violence or bullying/teasing toward another participant or staff 

  • Tobacco use inside structures or on Camp property. There are smoking areas nearby at both Camps. 

  • Use of illegal drugs on property 

  • Bringing any guns and/or any weapons 

Staff Response
  • Staff will redirect the participant to more appropriate behavior. 
  • If inappropriate behavior continues, the participant will be reminded of behavior guidelines and YMCA rules and the participant will be asked to decide on action steps to correct his/her behavior. 
  • Staff will document the situation, the inappropriate behavior, and action is taken. Parents will be notified if this takes place during age groups 
  • If the situation is not resolved and inappropriate behavior continues, as a final action step, the participant will be dismissed from camp. 

If removal is required ... 

Participant fees are non-refundable if a participant is sent home for behavior or disciplinary reasons. Physical violence, bullying toward another participant or staff member, or endangering the camp community and not adhering to unacceptable behaviors above could all result in immediate dismissal from the camp program.

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