Child & Club Safety
CREATING A MEANINGFUL SAFETY PLAN When you submit an Online Organizational Safety Assessment, the system will return a report with recommendations for improvements. These are the start of your Safety Improvement Plan. As you progress, you may find that using NYOI results, holding focus groups to get input from members and parents, and brainstorming with staff and volunteers are valuable sources for building your plan. Be sure to ask each group for ideas about solutions, including prevention and risk-reduction strategies. The more you involve those invested in Club safety to create your plan, the more relevant and comprehensive a list of safety improvements you’ll get. (When staff at one Club asked members to reveal the best hiding places, they discovered blind spots they never knew about – like a high shelf kids could climb to and hide unnoticed!) Your board-led safety committee adds a “fresh eyes” perspective, of course, and it is important to have them drive plan implementation.
HOW TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS NOW NYOI research shows that augmenting the quality and quantity of adult supervision is the most significant factor that can improve youth perceptions of safety, contribute to a better Club Experience and produce positive member outcomes. With this in mind, there are pitfalls to be alert for as you finalize your plan. These include an insufficient focus on improving Club practices, excluding problems considered too costly or difficult to “fix,” and limiting improvements to a list of facility repairs.
ONLINE SAFETY SUPPORT The following resources are available at BGCA.net to provide Club members a safer and richer Club Experience. What Works for Building a Great Club Experience
Promising practices to improve your Club’s environment and program quality. BGCA.net/Operations/DCM/ProgramDocuments
Online Safety Assessment
Identifies safety gaps, challenges and needs through a comparative safety practice analyses of all your sites. BGCA.net/ChildSafety/Assessment
National Youth Outcomes Initiative
Participate in the annual member survey or access your Club’s most recent member data. BGCA.net/Operations/DCM/YOM
If you think about it, the root causes of most safety incidents are member and staff behaviors. Accidental injuries can often be traced back to horseplay or improper use of sports safety equipment, for instance, reinforcing a need for better supervision and behavior management strategies. Other risks commonly encountered during safety consultations include those associated with front doors, front desks, bathrooms, and blind spots such as stairwells, corners and empty hallways. In these instances, remedies may include installing a surveillance system or remodeling the facility. But there is usually a behavioral solution, too. This is empowering because it enables staff to identify and implement immediate safety improvement strategies by changing their supervision behavior and better managing members behavior. Within an ideal Club Experience, members, families, staff and volunteers collaborate to design, practice and live a culture of safety. The result will provide young people with a space where they are comfortable being themselves, secure in the knowledge they have the necessary support to learn and grow, with trustworthy mentors to guide them. Mitru Ciarlante is a director for BGCA’s Child & Club Safety Department. For more information, please visit
bgca.net / ChildSafet y
Reaching the Summit. National Youth of the Year finalists, a testament to the Club Experience.