For many youth-serving organizations, the arrival of summer signals the beginning of a whirlwind season of youth programs and events. Often, organizations follow formalized monitoring procedures during structured programming. Staff understand defined ratios, engage in zone monitoring, and follow dictated bathroom procedures.
However, outside of structured programming, organizations sometimes do not have similar procedures in place to monitor transition times or free times. During these times, Praesidium finds that staff and volunteers are less likely to be assigned to particular groups of youth to supervise, and as the saying goes “when everyone is supervising everyone then nobody is really supervising anybody.”
To decrease the risks inherent in transition times and free times, Praesidium recommends that organizations:
- Require youth to remain in line-of-site of staff at all times.
- Specify the staff-to-youth ratio.
- Specify narrow geographic boundaries in the program areas.
- Ensure that all staff are assigned specific areas to supervise (“zone monitoring”).
- Include bathroom procedures.
- Require periodic roll calls for each age group.
- Require supervisors to conduct periodic check-ins and sweeps of the entire activity area.