Host: What can parents do to check out the people in their children s camps and summer programs?
Nancy McBride: It is really important that parents or guardians do their due diligence on people who are going to be supervising their kids, whether it is in a camp or some sort of a summer program and the best way to do that is to check references, talk to people who have had experiences with these individuals and check the sex offender registries in your state, just to make sure that the person is not on the registry, that is one safeguard that you can do yourself just to make sure that this is somebody who should have access to kids. Most of the people who have access to children, who supervise them in these different kinds of contexts are very good people and they do not have a problem, but we also know that perpetrators want to gain access and opportunity to children.
So, it is possible that somebody may get a position at a camp or in a specific program to have that access and opportunity and the other things that parents and guardians can do is to be involved. If you are going to leave your child in a camp, investigate the camp ahead of time, talk to the people who run the camp, the same with the summer programs, make sure you feel comfortable with the people who are going to be supervising your children and then at the end of the day or the end of whatever experience this is, talk to your children about it, how do they like it? How do they like the people there? Was there anything about it that made them feel uncomfortable? You as a parent or guardian may have to ask these types of questions because often times, kids will not necessarily come out with this information without being prompted. So, listen carefully to your children s responses, if they do not want to go somewhere or they do not want to be around somebody, find out why, because you are the best safeguard in helping your kids stay safer.