Staffing / Health / Safety

Hiring

Camp Winnarainbow takes seriously our charge to care for other people’s children. Sending your camper to live with us for one or two weeks is a big decision for families. Our Staff hiring and screening practices reflect our commitment to the safety of your camper. Over the years we have had several parents call our office to ask about our hiring policies.

At Camp Winnarainbow, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it — for the benefit of our staff, campers, and families. Camp Winnarainbow is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, political affiliation, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, physical ability, genetic information, age, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

FACT: Our Staff have a 95 – 97% return rate. What this means is that out of 150 Staff members who are hired or volunteer every summer, 97% of them have been a camper, progressed through our Teen Leadership Program, and we know them very well. Any brand new staff are recommended to us by current and former Camp Staff. Several senior Staff have returned every summer for the past 20 years!

FACT: Every person hired, whether we know them previously or not, goes through our rigorous ACA, federal and state mandated screening processes.

FACT: Every summer, every person working at Camp (including the Directors and year-round staff) complete an Annual Background check which includes: National Sex Offender Registry, SSN Identity Trace, Nationwide Criminal Check with a Clean Sweep System that show ALL Alias names. We also run driving records every year for all staff who drive any sort of Camp vehicle (including the Lake Shuttle). We utilize a 3rd party company called CampBackgroundchecks.org. All Staff are required to pass LiveScan Fingerprint Screening and complete CDSS Mandated Reporter Training.

Screening: Recruitment and hiring of previous staff is based on any of the following: positive past experience working for Camp, ability to attend pre-camp staff training, experience and/or certification matching the written job description, dates of availability matching staffing needs. Returning staff complete a “Return Staff Application”. They do not need to re-interview as we use previous years staff evaluations as part of the hiring process.

For New Staff Members: When camp determines we might wish to consider someone who has not previously worked for camp OR a previous Teen Leader who is applying for adult staff for the first time, we conduct a panel interview process, check references and an in-depth application.

We have been accredited by the American Camping Association since 1983. The ACA has been in existence since 1943 and is our industry’s leading accrediting body. There are hundreds of standards, which specifically include yearly staff screening process and training, which are deeply woven into our culture at Camp Winnarainbow.

If you have any questions please feel free to call our office!

Toward the Fun!

Health/Medical

Our camp program is designed to care for the health and wellbeing of our campers and staff. The majority of our staff are trained in CPR/First Aid and every tipi is equiped with a basic first aid kit.

In addition, our Medical Dome (named this because it is a dome) is centrally located in Camp and there is at least one trained and certified Medical Staff (RN, Nurse Practitioner, MD) on site 24-hours a day while camp is in session. The Camp Medical Dome provides routine health and wellness services, including access to sunscreen, Band-Aids, Vaseline, Q-tips, etc. for campers to provide their own self-care. The Medical Staff dispense prescribed and over-the-counter medications according to the instructions that is on the medication bottle. We do not provide medical treatments or perform medical procedures at Camp. When necessary, we transport campers to the local clinic or dentist, to the hospital or ER – all in consultation with you, as the camper’s Responsible Adult.

In addition to physical care we offer mental health support through our everyday focus on inclusion. Each session we have several people, who we call Camper Advocates, whose entire job is to support campers and staff, problem-solve if there are issues, and to communicate with you if there is something going on with your camper. They are supervised by and work closely with the Director.

If you have questions about how your camper’s needs would be supported at Winnarainbow, please call the office to speak with the Director prior to arriving at Camp.

COVID-19 Policies

COVID-19 vaccine requirements: all campers and staff are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 prior to arriving at Camp, as currently recommended for their age group (fully boosted includes the two weeks following the final dose injection). For the health and safety of all of our campers and staff, we will not be accepting any medical or religious exemptions.  While our vaccine requirements will not change, other COVID-19 protocol requirements such as testing and masking are continually being updated and are subject to change.

Vaccination Information Resources:
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone regardless of insurance or immigration status!

If your camper is not yet vaccinated:
1. Contact your local pharmacy for an appointment
2. Speak to your child’s healthcare provider or school district; some schools are offering on-site vaccine clinics.
3. Go to Vaccines.gov or Myturn.ca.gov to find a vaccination appointment near you. (You can also call Myturn at: 833-422-4255, they offer translation services in multiple languages.) 

If you still have concerns about vaccinating your child:
1. Speak to your child’s medical provider.
2. Frequently Asked Questions From Parents/Guardians
3. COVID-19 Vaccines: What Parents Need to Know
4. COVID-19 Vaccine Myths and Facts
5. First 5 California’s COVID Vaccine Resources

Safety

Beyond screening Staff closely and regularly we have policies around ratios, such as no 1:1 adult : child activities, complex supervision systems, and supporting each other in safe, fun activities.

In addition to our general practices of supervision, ratios, no 1:1, we train and certify our staff in many different areas. All teachers of special activities (aerials, unicycle, stilts, gymnastics, tight rope) have to pass a series of qualifications in order to be a teacher of that skill. Each day there is a protocol for checking equipment and the teaching sites to identify any risks.

Our waterfront has a Waterfront Director and at least four certified lifeguards on duty at all times that the lake is open. We run drills at least every other day.

We have a team of leaders that support the operations of camp, the staff and the campers. At least three supervisors are on site 24-hours a day and carry a walkie-talkie so that Staff have direct access to them (including all night).

Excerpt from our Staff policy handbook and Staff training:

Safety guidelines and camper/staff supervision ratios have been established for all areas of camp including the lake as well as other special activities (such as  stilts, gymnastics, trapeze, cloud-swing, Spanish Web,  martial arts, unicycle, wrist rockets, etc.). All teachers as well as the Performance Coordinators will monitor classes being taught. Safety guidelines must be strictly enforced with no exceptions. Specialized activities must always be done with supervision of an Adult Staff member authorized to lead that activity. With certain identified skills at camp, the teachers of that skill may determine that a student is “qualified” in that skill. These campers are allowed to practice at scheduled times under general camp supervision.

Supervision Ratios: Staff are required to supervise campers at all times and never in 1:1 situations. There are scheduled Staff members on duty 24-hours a day. Check the posted schedule thoroughly and note all of your jobs the day before.

Leaving campers unsupervised or without enough supervision is never acceptable. Staff to camper ratios are:

  • One adult staff member for every six campers between ages 7 and 8
  • One adult staff member for every eight campers between ages 9 through 14

We use one adult to every seven campers as the guideline

Every Staff Member is responsible to constantly be aware of camper-to-staff ratios. Whenever staff are out of ratio in an activity or during afternoon/evening supervision they use a walkie-talkie or a teen staff to call for additional adult staff. During classes, Straggler Patrol will count ratios and help you get more adult staff.

Inclusion

Camp Winnarainbow actively works to build a community whose members come from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences. We know that equity and inclusion is an active process that requires continuous commitment and attention. Our core values are strengthened when all members of our community have a voice and we actively engage with each other.

We define our diversity as including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, cultural observance, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, national origin, citizen status, household income, body type/size and religion.

We recognize that each person develops within their own family and environment and that each person’s story is unique. Each person is distinctive unto themselves. To actively engage in Inclusion and Equity, we take what we think we know, set it aside, and learn directly from the person in front of us, to discover who they are and how they walk through this world.

In putting our Core Philosophies into action we must:
Consciously work for Camp Winnarainbow to be a Safe Space for our staff and campers who have been marginalized by systems and society.

A Safe Space is where our community members who have been marginalized can express, interpret and connect over shared experiences of marginalization and struggle as a community without fear of repercussion or interruption from/caretaking those who benefit from privilege.

A Safe Space recognizes that narratives, trauma, and lived experiences are NOT the same for people who experience marginalization and for people who benefit from privilege.

A Safe Space is where people who have been marginalized are NOT forced to do the labor of education for people who benefit from privilege.

As a Camp Winnarainbow community we recognize that we all do NOT come from different but equal places, that the ways in which we can hurt each other are NOT the same (i.e. micro-/macro-aggressions) and that historic inequities and power dynamics ARE relevant to our work together.

Camp Winnarainbow asks for a commitment from all of our staff that we each engage in our own personal education and work in combatting harmful attitudes, beliefs, language and prejudices. Come to Camp Winnarainbow ready and willing to engage in dialogue, co-creation and learning!