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Bible summer camp hazing sees two staffers dismissed

Should You Send Your Child to Camp? Not before you consider these 13 tips!!!

Read this first:  August 2020. Bible camp fires two staffers.

Harvest Bible Chapel has fired two workers and suspended two others over hazing accusations involving campers at its Camp Harvest in Michigan.

The church announced the measures in a post on its website Wednesday. It did not name the workers.

From Hank Nuwer:

Unless you’ve been living in a media-free cave the past few weeks, you’re aware that
a California mother, outraged by her son’s humiliation by a counselor, has urged parents to do their homework before sending a child to camp.

Last year the adult son of an Arizona state senator was accused of sexual-hazing acts against 18 boys as young as 11 such as pushing a broomstock against their covered buttocks.

The fact that camp hazings of a sexual nature are so few and far between should comfort a parent, but the few bad apples among camps (including football camps run by high schools) should make you wary–though not paranoid. Here are 13 things every parent should ask before leaving your camper and jumping into your van for home:

1) Has this camp been accredited by the American Camping Association? If so, it’s already agreed to adhere to a higher standard of care.

2) What training has been in place to prevent initiations, horseplay, hazing (There, you said it!) and hanky panky by campers or counselors? Can they DEFINE hazing?

3) Are there any rituals performed that the camp would rather not have videotaped and shown to a parent? Do they play Truth or Dare? If so, head out of there.

4) How does the camp treat a homesick camper?

5) What are the principles and values that guide the camp? Are these specifically stated in a mission statement or policy?

6) Is there a printed list of procedures and policies you can read? After stuffing that over-hyped brochure back into your pocket?

7) Is there adult supervision EVERYWHERE in camp, including the bathhouse, locker rooms, cabins, tents, swim area and buses used for field trips? Do the adults actively check or are they socializing?

8) Have any counselors or camp directors been terminated the last three years? What for?

9) Have any campers been sent home for disciplinary reasons the past three years? How many and for what reason?  (It’s not necessarily a BAD thing if the camp seems to have zero tolerance for serious transgressions.)

10) As you tour the premises, does anything in your gut bother you?  Check out everything. A good camp director answers questions openly.

11) How does the camp’s personnel feel about an unannounced visit from a parent? Not that you necessarily will do that, but see what you’re told and respond appropriately.

12) Visit the nurse and first-aid station. How savvy are the medical team members about recognizing signs of abuse?

13) See any neighbors living near the camp?  Stop and ask a few direct questions about their view of what’s happening down the road.  If they have a few stories, get back in that van and return to the director.

And, of course, there is the chance YOUR veteran son or daughter camper may be planning to haze someone else. Check what they pack. If they’re packing flour, whipped cream, eggs and alcohol, you need to take a proactive stance and prohibit these from ending up at camp. And you need to give other parents and the camp director a heads-up.

–Hank Nuwer, copyrighted 2006.  Free to link. And you may reprint or broadcast so long as you cite.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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