YMCAs use an incredible number of volunteers, and their energetic service is a real blessing. However, it can be a challenge to ensure that kids supervised by volunteers operate in the same safe environment as kids supervised by employees. A comprehensive volunteer supervision system that includes initial screening training and on-going monitoring for every volunteer involved with kids can provide that assurance. The following guidelines are suitable for sports and similar programs. Programs that have longer or less supervised periods of interaction, e.g., mentoring, have greater risk and warrant more diligent screening, supervision, and monitoring. Those will be discussed in more detail in a later Risk Management Alert.
We recommend that all YMCAs work toward establishing policies and procedures that include
a strict standard of reporting, supervision and monitoring that
a deadline for all volunteer enlistment and screening that is one week before the program's start date; any team not conforming is dropped without exception. (There is verification of predators actually counseling one another to wait until the last minute because screening typically is looser.)
peer monitoring, both in general and by pairing volunteers together as co-coaches.
Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.