Boost Youth Workers’ Safety Mindset
Keep the fun in youth ministry by keeping kids safe.
As summer turns to fall, students are returning from summer trips, camps & family vacations. Are you ready to welcome them back? Whether you kick off the new school year with a fun-filled weekend or hop right into your normal programming, the back-to-school season is a great time to build momentum for your youth program and transition new students to youth group.
It’s also an ideal time to review the safety mindset of youth group leaders; a new school year also means new challenges to consider and new volunteers to train. Brotherhood Mutual’s Safety Library has great free resources to get you started.
Train and Screen Volunteers
Volunteers are valuable because they have a desire to see students grow, and they give up their free time to make that happen. But even the most enthusiastic volunteer might not be the best volunteer. Select all youth leaders or youth workers carefully. Conducting background screening, providing adequate training, and having an appropriate number of adults in relation to the number of students are important points to consider as the youth program unfolds.
By screening and training volunteers, churches can ensure that volunteers are the right fit for the ministry. Brotherhood Mutual has these free resources to help you find and develop great volunteers.
- Background Screening Checklist – Do you know what to look for when considering new volunteers? This sample checklist will assist you.
- Guidelines for Ministry Workers – Check out page 24 of this resource for a great sample youth volunteer application.
- Volunteer Renewal Application – Keep up-to-date records by having volunteers from previous years fill out a renewal application.
- The Youth Leader Mindset – This article shares helpful reminders about safety principles that youth leaders should always be on the lookout to promote.
Be Serious About Supervision
Enlist volunteers who can maintain control of the group. The ability to exert the appropriate amount of authority is essential to maintaining a safe and fun atmosphere for everyone. Someone who gives in easily to pressure or lacks confrontational skills might be challenged by teens, who often test the limits of authority.
Read more on the importance of supervision:
- Supervising Church Activities – Knowing what to look for to stay safe can go a long way. Following these guidelines can help youth leaders stay ahead of danger.
- Supervising Activities Checklist and Supervision & Discipline Checklist – Consider these questions to make sure you have considered all of the challenges that come with supervising students.
Activity Participation Agreements
To protect themselves from liability, ministries should have students and parents sign an activity participation agreement. Such an agreement will help them know what to expect and agree to take responsibility for any risk that an activity may pose.
For more information on activity participation agreements, check out these resources:
- Choosing and Using an Activity Participation Agreement – This article helps answer the questions of, “what should our agreement include?”
- Activity Participation Agreement – This sample form will help you develop a similar agreement form for your ministry.
Keep Games Safe
Any activity has the possibility of being dangerous. That’s why it’s important to think through each one before you make it part of the youth group activities list. Great activities are a perfect way to get students interested in youth group, but safety will help keep them coming back.
- Crazy Games at Youth Group – Games are a great way to get kids moving, but leaders may not be aware of the dangers of activities that may seem harmless in the beginning.
- Youth Activities Checklist – This checklist will help you consider more ways to keep kids safe.
- Manage High-Risk Youth Activities – Youth group is a great place to challenge students, but make sure your ministry has done all it can to avoid the dangers of high-risk activities.