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Youth advisor series chaperoning

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  • 1. The Workshop Will Begin in a Moment
  • 2. MidAmerica Youth Advisor Series April 17, 2012 Chaperoning Youth Nancy Combs-Morgan MidAmerica Coordinator for Emerging Models in Youth and Young Adult Ministries, ncombsmorgan@uua.org
  • 3. Introductions
  • 4. You’ve been asked to chaperone….• Important question to consider: “Do you have clarity of the expectations for chaperoning youth from your congregation?• As adults chaperoning youth we must be aware of and to practice appropriate boundaries
  • 5. What are “appropriate boundaries?”• Appropriate boundaries with youth involve:• Maintaining awareness• Having a clear sense of accountability (personal and institutional)• Keeping a balance of responsibility and protection. “Balancing Compassion and Protection,” Debra Haffner, http://www.uua.org/safe/handbook/reand/165937.shtml
  • 6. The bigger picture…• Chaperones are our first line in promoting and protecting the health, safety, and well- being of the youth.• It is every chaperones duty to be a reliable, positive, role model whom youth can turn to…
  • 7. “Why is safety so important?”• Youth in Unitarian Universalist congregations need a safe environment in which they can share themselves in a genuine way and develop as leaders.• Rev. Sarah Gibb, “Creating Policies in Youth Groups”,http:www.uua.org/safe/handbook/reand/165938. shtml
  • 8. As a Chaperone, “Practice the “Balance”• Seek a balance of maintaining good boundaries and being youth empowering.• Be explicit and transparent about your responsibilities around confidentiality.• When you have a “red flag,” or a sense of uncertainity arises about a particular situation, use a team approach with other chaperones!
  • 9. Practicing the Balance• Share early and often with youth that you use a “team approach,” and that any information shared that the youth is at risk of being a danger to themselves or others will be shared.• Keep conversation friendly, but not of a personal matter…• “Balancing Acts,” http://www.uua.org/safe/children/index.shtml
  • 10. Good Policies Serve the Health and Well-Being ofour youth Does your congregation have a written policy on chaperoning youth? If so, have you agreed to this policy? What policies apply to transporting youth? Chaperones should be in pairs, whether traveling, or at a fixed site.
  • 11. Good Communication Before the event or trip, chaperones should take part in an orientation session At the session, review your congregation’s Code of Ethics for persons working with youth Anticipate and discuss unexpected issues – youth departing without permission; illness or emergencies, and severe weather responses
  • 12. Be mindful… Strive to always work in pairs with another chaperone Never publicly discipline a youth before speaking with them one on one Even upon invitation, “step back” from direct physical activities with youth
  • 13. Be Mindful, cont…. Keep copies of emergency medical forms with you at all times Have emergency contact numbers, more than one, for each youth Ask that youth also keep a copy of their emergency forms and contact information with them, just in case…
  • 14. Good Boundaries and Safety GuidelinesWhen we set up clear limitations, expectations, responsibilities and accountability, then we…model the expectation that adults working with youth will be, “faith-keepers, trust builders and care-givers.”**(“Upholding Trust in the Religious Education Community.”)
  • 15. When there isn’t explicit clarity of next steps… There will always be those situations where clear next steps are not evident. Respond by first trusting your instincts. “If it feels uncomfortable, move towards gathering more information, not taking immediate action”. Marie Fortune, http://www.uua.org/safe/handbook/justice/165972.shtml
  • 16. When next steps are clearly indicated…. Review with other chaperones the shared expectations of when next steps must be taken. Action is required when issues of safety, abuse, drug or alcohol use are indicated. Chaperones should act and report on issues that indicate that the youth is a danger to themselves or others .
  • 17. Remember…. “Our responsibility to spiritually and emotionally nurture our children and youth is everpresent and siginificant… We can significantly “reduce the risk” by creating and following preventative policies For, when we create explicit guidelines for appropriate behavior we define the values that are important to us.” http://www.uua.org/safe/handbook/reand/165827.shtml
  • 18. Why and When Youth Test Limits… WBoredom There are no limits or clear guidelines T Activities lack group participation T Lack of understanding from leader T Want a role in planning - empower T Fear of failure – discouragement* http://orange.ifas.ufl.edu/4h/pdffiles/Clubs/Orange%20County%20Chaperone%20Training.pdf
  • 19. Keep in mind to: Enjoy, accept, and encourage youth. Model the behavior you want youth to emulate. Clarify expectations (strive for consistency). Don’t expect youth to do everything the way you would. Display tolerance and flexibility.
  • 20. Keep in mind, cont… Assist youth in making decisions Do not direct or manipulate, but be available as a coach and mentor. Show by behavior that youth input is valued. Give away ownership and power Communicate clearly and often.
  • 21. Chaperoning Resources Rev. Sarah Gibb, “Creating Policies in Youth Groups”,http:www.uua.org/safe/handbook/reand/165938.shtml Safe Congregations Handbook: http://www.uua.org/safe/handbook/reand/165827.shtml “Chaperoning” http://4h.missouri.edu/resources/materials/docs/chaperons.pdf “Balancing Acts,” http://www.uua.org/safe/children/index.shtml Church Mutual, Safety resources: http://www.churchmutual.com/index.php/choice/risk/page/intro/id/21
  • 22. Q&A
  • 23. Thank You