Every year, churches around the world creatively plan and provide Vacation Bible Schools for children within their communities to build relationships and learn more about God. This year as your church prepares to host families, it is imperative that you have taken precautions for safety and security. The following steps can provide your church with added protection as you create your safety program.
1. Background Screenings for VBS Workers
Taking the steps to build a strong volunteer team before your Vacation Bible School is just as important as preparing for your day of events. Make sure that every person who will be working with you has undergone background screenings. This provides you with a team of people that parents can feel confident in having their children around.
2. Alert your Staff on Safety Precautions
Having Safety Kits, Emergency Maps and Emergency Plans are not enough. Making all volunteers and leaders aware of safety precautions and the location of first aid kits before the start of Vacation Bible School will provide necessary preparation.
3. Clear Identification of Volunteers
Be sure to provide some type of identification such as name tags, lanyards or wristbands for volunteers and those working your Vacation Bible School. By doing this, all volunteers can clearly be recognized by each other, staff and by parents.
4. Two-by-two Rule
An added level of security and comfort can be provided to parents, children, staff members and volunteers when a two-by-two rule is created. Two-by-two guarantees that at all times there are at least two adults with children. This is especially recommended when escorting children on bathroom breaks.
5. Organized Check-in and Check-out
One of the most intricate and important areas of Vacation Bible School are the check-in and check-out booths. If done incorrectly, churches run the risk of losing children, handing children over to the wrong person or overall disorder. It is important to make a plan of action for how students are checked in and how/who they are checked out to at the end of the day. An overarching rule to enforce would be that all students must be picked up by the guardian placed on their registration paperwork. If someone else is picking them up, it must be placed in writing by the morning of so that your church has a record of it.
Above all, planning and preparing for Vacation Bible School is imperative for a smooth running and safe environment for children. Additionally, the size of your church will ultimately influence the safety and security precautions that are taken. These steps, in addition to the ones created by your church and required by law, will help to provide you with a cohesive safety and security plan that will allow your Vacation Bible School to thrive!