Have VBS in Your Church? 9 Ways to Keep Kids Safe
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Summer is a really fun time of year in churches, especially when they are buzzing with the excitement of Vacation Bible School. Churches come alive when children and youth are engaged in activities designed especially for them.
But with this energy and excitement also comes some added preparation. With so many children and youth running around your church facility—many of whom may be visitors or guests of members—as well as an increased number of volunteers, church staff and VBS leaders need to pay especially close attention to security and safety.
Here are some things to think about to help keep the children and youth safe during the exciting week of VBS:
- 1. Everyone should have ID, including participants. It can be nametags, t-shirts, lanyards, or buttons, but everyone should be identifiable with their role in the week’s activities.
- 2. All volunteers should be screened and trained before serving in activities involving children and youth. This includes abuse prevention training in accordance with your church’s policies.
3. Two-deep leadership: Two adults with a child or youth at all times. This applies during regular Sunday activities and in all activities throughout the summer. If you do not have this policy at your church, start it now.
4. Get permission to use photography of children. Some churches make special VBS CDs or post pictures on the church website or during church services on the big screen. Make sure you have permission to use photography, and do not identify children on social media (even with permission).
5. Register every child or youth. No young person should be in the building participating in activities without having filled out a registration form with emergency contact information. This should include information about allergies and/or other medical needs.
6. Make sure all volunteers are prepared. Let them know of fire safety policies and extreme weather policies in case of emergency.
7. Check your first aid kits to make sure they are fully stocked and accessible to all volunteers and classrooms.
8. Communicate with parents about your security and safety policies. Send information home or have information on your website about the measures you’ve taken to keep children and youth secure. Your parents will appreciate this peace of mind!
9. Signage should be abundant. Make sure everyone knows where to go and how to get there. For the first couple of days (or the whole week if you can spare some volunteers), keep people posted at doors to direct anyone who is unsure. The fewer people wandering the halls, the more secure you will feel.