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YMCA of Central Stark County

To put Christian Principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Staff Resources

Check out these helpful resources below. If you have anything you would like to add, please email mscarpino@ymcastark.org 
















Ultimate Camp Resources (external site)

Best Ideas For Kids (external site)
















SEARCH FOR FORMS BY JFS NUMBER (on bottom of form)

01580- Medication Checklist (perscription)

01581- Medication checklist (non perscription)

01582- Caring for children with special health conditions checklist

01583- Caring for children with special conditions field trip checklist






Top 30 most important things


  1. We greet all strangers at camp and escort them to the office
  2. We learn how to use equipment before doing so
  3. We check the area, equipment, and weather before starting an activity
  4. We actively supervise campers to prevent accidents before they occur



  1. We sit, walk, talk, and play with campers rather than other staff
  2. We make campers active participants in camp programming
  3. We know where our campers are at all times



  1. We align our words, actions, and relationships with the 6 character values
  2. We hold ourselves and all other staff accountable to these standards
  3. We use activities and behaviors as opportunities to teach the 6 values
  4. We keep rooms and activity areas neat & clean



  1. We wear our name tags and a smile every day
  2. We squat when talking with a younger child and lean with a teen
  3. We use peoples’ names,  or we introduce ourselves and ask their names
  4. We use W.E.S.T.I. when greeting new campers
  5. We answer questions/fix problems or find a staff member who can



  1. We know the names of campers in our group by lunch on Monday
  2. We help campers set and understand camp rules and hold them responsible
  3. We immediately address inappropriate behavior
  4. We influence the social hierarchy in our groups to prevent bullying
  5. We teach social skills to campers to help them create friendships
  6. We spend time one on one each day with each child in our group



  1. We enthusiastically join in  songs, skits, or games
  2. We lead by example with all rules, clean up, and respectful relationships
  3. We reduce waiting time when leading activities



  1. We use costumes, characters, and stories in activities
  2. We constantly find new songs, skits, and games to teach to campers and staff
  3. We do chores, and daily activities in new and fun ways
  4. We actively research, learn, and improve on our skills
  5. We look for and suggest ways to improve camp




COUnselor code

The Counselor Code:


If you aren’t having fun, your campers aren’t having fun! Every camper is “bored” until they see they can be part of something fun. It starts with you!


-It is my DUTY to engage ALL campers!

Someone sitting out? Find a way for them to join (Could they be a scorekeeper? Photographer? Etc.) Everyone deserves to be a part of the group. At camp, everyone BELONGS.


-I will show my campers, every day, that they’re my number-one priority!

Check in with each of your campers individually, every day. Ask them, “How’s your day going?” or “Is there anything I can do to make camp more fun for you?” or “Who are you feeling closest to in our group?” Then listen to what they say; this will make your campers feel cared for and help them see you’re addressing their individual needs.Bonus: Write them notes of encouragement and praise- tokens they may cherish forever.


-I will be present!

Living in the moment shows the campers that they matter. Avoid talking about things like “I can’t wait for my shift to end” because it screams “I don’t want to be here!” The same goes for when you sit by yourself or don’t participate.


-I am a positive role model!

Your attitude sets the tone for the day. Be positive. Be empathetic. Be excited. Be kind.


-I am responsible for the future memories of a child!

One day, campers will think back about the best parts of their childhood. Camp could be their favorite childhood memory, and you play a major part in that. WHAT AN AMAZING GIFT YOU CAN GIVE THEM! Remember, it isn’t just what you do, but also how you make them feel.




policies and procedures

Behavior & Conduct

  • Your personal habits and actions need to match the customs, values, policies, procedures and ideals of YMCA Day Camp.
  • You must lead by example – follow all camp rules, expectations and do what you ask your campers to do.
  • You are expected to get enough rest to perform your job. 


Camp Facilities and Property

  • Be responsible for all materials and equipment for activity areas and avoid waste.
  • Turn lights and water off when not in use
  • Report all problems and needed repairs to your supervisor


Camper Conduct

  • Communicate problems with Director in a timely manner. 
  • Ask Support Staff to develop a plan for behavior improvement when needed.
  • Give positive reinforcement to ALL campers.
  • Encourage each camper’s positive qualities and skills.
  • Understand that YELLING does NOT work


Discipline of Campers 

  • Achieved through an approach of friendship and reason
  • At NO time is there to be physical punishment
  • We do NOT punish the group for the actions of 1 or a few
  • We do NOT withhold food (meals/snacks/treat) from campers as a punishment
  • Any abuse of campers will be met with immediate dismissal


Dress Code

  • Look sharp for parents/families! Name tag, staff shirt and fingertip length shorts
  • Wear your name tag every day.
  • Footwear
    • Flip Flops – for water activities ONLY
    • Close Toed Shoes – every other time
  • Clothing, tattoos, and piercings all need to be neat and camp appropriate.
  • Bathing suit should cover mid section



  • All camper medications must be in the safe place designated by your Director and documented with ODJFS paperwork.
  • Worker’s Compensation is in effect for injuries sustained while on-duty and meeting policy criteria.  You must complete an incident report within 24 hours. Expenses outside of worker’s comp policy are your responsibility.


Personal Items

All personal items (including purses) must be out of reach of children at all times



  • Cell phones are not to be used on duty for personal reasons- they may be used as a resource/tool for camp
  • Office phones are available for emergency calls only


Playground Supervision

  • Staff must be actively supervising children: no sitting, swinging, etc.
  • Staff must be the first on the playground and inspect the area before children are permitted on.
  • Staff members must stay 15ft apart unless communicating information about the children. No personal conversations.
  • If monkey bars are present, a staff member should be spotting children while they are on the equipment.



While we aim for 1 staff for 12 children, the following may come into play:

  • 1 Staff/ 15 kids – while on site (may go to 1/18 in an emergency)
  • 1 Staff/ 10 kids – while off site and while swimming

All staff are required to be trained in first aid, CPR, communicable diseases and child abuse within 60 days of employment.



  • Staff are to treat each other with respect and support each other. 
  • Avoid disagreements in front of campers and handle in a mature manner. 
  • Staff may not contact campers they meet at camp outside of camp.
  • Staff must set Facebook and personal websites to ensure campers do not have access. Do not accept campers as friends.
  • It is unacceptable to discuss your personal life with campers.  Public Displays of Affection (PDA) are not camp appropriate.



Campers must always be under the supervision of staff and staff can never be alone with a child.  You must always have a group of three.  Being found alone with a camper can result in immediate termination. If staff are reading, talking on the phone, etc. and not interacting with the kids, you are not supervising!



If you are found at camp with, under the influence of, or doing alcohol, drugs, or tobacco you can be dismissed immediately.   

Time off Guidelines:

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your shift is covered in the event that you need time off. 
  • It is your responsibility to contact your Director if you are ill and report who will be responsible for your shift. 
  • It is your responsibility to inform your sub of any duties/jobs you have.
  • NO promises can be given about the specific days off.  The day off schedule must be coordinated for camp’s needs.


Training and Meetings

You are responsible for attending these on time (or early!) 


Valuable Items

YMCA is NOT responsible for loss of personal belongings.


Vehicles (Staff)

  • Must be parked in designated areas.   
  • Never shall a privately owned vehicle be allowed to transport campers. 




activity Leadership

Activities at camp are geared to be new, fun, and educational for campers.  Our programs are geared to help guide a camper to develop or learn new skills.  You will help many campers experience the JOY of self-guided learning for the first time. To help them maximize this experience keep a few things in mind:


Don’t give false praise.  Kids hear this all the time and know it has little value.

Do praise their accomplishments, even if it is trying again when they want to give up.

Don’t diminish their achievements by immediately pointing out what they still haven’t learned.  This is even worse than praising achievement that doesn’t exist. 


Camp programs not only form a better swimmer, a better hiker, a better basketball player; they form a better person. Every program is an opportunity to highlight a core value or challenge fear.  Children should leave camp and know that there is even more to gain from the next year at camp.  We’re not babysitters; we build character.


Principles of Activity Leadership

Time: Kid should be actively engaged for 90% of each activity period

Facilities and Equipment: Make sure you have what you need and put it away.

Space:  A great way to be creative.  Dance in the pool? Soccer in the woods?  Why not?

Number of Participants: Their age, experience, and level of maturation will determine the methods of organization for teaching.

Equal Participation: Everyone should be allowed to participate.  Again creativity can help.  (Get an extra point for a goal if every player had possession of the ball)

Learning By Doing: People learn by actual performance, participation and good explanation.   See the 70/20/10 rule.

Safety:  Apply recognized safety techniques to avoid injury


  1. Demonstration - illustration of correct techniques
  2. Explanation of main points: brief, concise, in simple, understandable terms
  3. Practice by doing
  4. Drill by whatever means applicable (contest, games, relays, etc.)
  5. Correcting faults using group and individual methods
  6. Repetition of the skill/technique through a planned series of lessons

70/20/10 rule

70% of learning takes place while doing, tasks, and problem solving

20% of learning comes from coaching, feedback, and observing with role models

10% of learning comes from being told how.





Bullying is intentionally repeated hurtful words and actions committed by one or more children against another.

Bullying can include, but is not limited to, name calling, taunting, threatening, shunning or exclusion, spreading rumors, physical-from extreme violence to subtle acts such as nudging and poking, attacks on sexual identity, and sexual harassment.

The average bullying episode lasts 37 seconds! A bathroom is the most likely facility bullying occurs at camp!  Send kids in the bathroom one at a time.

Since bullying often happens in very short incidents, staff do not always see it. Campers, however, do see it and often remain passive and do nothing to stop it.  How do we empower campers to protect their dignity and say it’s not acceptable?

Great Counselors:

  • Develop a respectful community from the moment your group comes together.
  • Advance that community to the other groups and throughout camp.
  • Discover what your campers need to feel safe and respected at camp.
  • Help campers understand when to ignore, and walk away from insults and threats.
  • Are caring and say they are grateful when a camper speaks to them that s/he experienced bullying.  Reinforce the difference between tattling & asking for help.
  • Inform the Director immediately when a camper speaks to you about a bullying experience at camp. Acknowledge campers when they demonstrate empathy.


Bullying is about social power

Any time a group of people comes together we immediately divide ourselves into thirds: A, B, and C, based on who has the most social power


A: The top group.  They are cool, charismatic, and popular.  At best they are leaders and role models.  At worst they are manipulative and bullies.  Lead these kids to be leaders.


B:  The middle.  They want to be sure they do not fall into the C group.  They can experiment with bullying to avoid becoming targets.  They need to be challenged to call out Bullies and standup for others.


C:  The bottom group.  They are the most likely to be victims.  Because you have the most social power in the group you can “loan” them your power as they learn to be more confident.




Why do children misbehave?

They misbehave to get what they need! So what do they need? There are five core needs that all people have: 

  • To be Safe –food, shelter, and to protection from danger
  • To be Loved and Be Loving – connect, belong, feel compassion for others, feel good about yourself (self-esteem & self-worth)
  • To be Powerful – Having a voice, handling difficult situations, having self-respect and an impact on the world.
  • To be Playful – Have fun, curiosity, openness to new perceptions
  • To be Free – Having a choice, having a sense of autonomy


What to do when campers misbehave:

Talk with the camper! This is not a lecture because the camper does the talking and the staff member asks pointed, guided questions.

  • Isolate the camper, giving him/her time to calm down.
  • Don’t take behavior personally. They need help, not anger.
  • Understand what the child was feeling and why the behavior occurred.  “what happened?” and “how did that make you feel?”
  • Ask questions to clarify what they are saying and to show you understand their feelings. 
  • Ask them “What did you want?” Find what they actually wanted. 
  • Ask them “What did you do?” Have them state what they did.
  • Ask them “Did that work?” Guide them to the idea that it was not an appropriate way to get what they wanted.
  • Ask them “what were your other options?” Lead with questions so they supply alternate options.
  • If consequences are called for ask what they would suggest. 
  • Make a plan with them to implement consequences.
  • Check back and see how they are doing.


What Not To Do!


Anger, criticism, humiliation and corporal punishment are all included here.  Doing pushups, running laps, yelling and the arbitrary removal of privileges are unacceptable. Do not punish the group for an action of one or a few. NEVER withhold food, snack, or treat as a form of punishment. Punishment will not be used by any staff member


Being Firm is not Being Mean

You can always loosen up but you cannot always tighten up.





Upon arrival and periodically throughout the day staff should conduct wellness checks with each child.

In case of illness: A child with any of the following signs or symptoms of illness will be isolated and discharged to their parent or guardian as soon as possible.

  • Diarrhea; three or more abnormally loose stools within a twenty-four hour period.
  • Severe coughing, causing the child to become red or blue in the face or to make a “whooping” sound.
  • Difficult or rapid breathing.
  • Yellowish skin or eyes.
  • Redness of the eye, obvious discharge, matted eyelashes, burning or itching.
  • Temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit taken by the auxiliary method when in combination with other sign(s) of illness.
  • Untreated infected skin patches, unusual spots or rashes.
  • Stiff neck with an elevated temperature.
  • Evidence of untreated lice, scabies, or other parasitic infestations.
  • Sore throat or difficulty in swallowing.
  • Vomiting more than one time or when accompanied by any other sign or symptom of illness.

If a child is isolated due to illness:

  • He/she will be cared for in a room or a portion of a room not being used for other children.
  • The child will be within sight and hearing of an adult at all times. NO child will be left alone or unsupervised

In case of an accident or injury the following steps should be taken:

a)      Ensure it is safe to approach injured person.

b)      Contain the area until medical staff arrives.

c)      If additional assistance is needed, walkie out that you need assistance “stat.” Be sure to include your location and any supplies that may be needed.

d)      When bodily fluids are involved, universal precautions should be used.

e)      If injury requires, alert management staff to call “911” or give instruction to another counselor to call.

f)       If clean-up is required, following an injury or accident, this should only be carried out by trained and designated personnel.


Common First Aid Problems

Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for. 


Beestings:         Watch for allergic reactions. Ask if allergic to bees.

Blisters:             Tell campers not to puncture

Fainting:            Keep lying flat until fully recovered. Loosen clothing at neck and waist.

Insect Bites:      Watch for extreme swelling or allergic reaction.

Severe Bleeding: Apply pressure immediately and until bleeding stops.


Heat Exhaustion Get the camper out of the heat and give cool water to drink. 

& Heat Stroke:     Contact the medical staff for further treatment. To avoid heat related illnesses have campers drink plenty of water.


Signs of Serious Muscle, Bone or Joint Injury:

  • Pain
  • Deformity
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Inability to use affected part normally
  • Bone sticking out of wound
  • Victim can feel bones grating together
  • Victim heard a snap or pop at time of injury
  • Injured area cold or numb
  • Cause of injury suggests severity



  • Triggered from changes in temperature, physical exertion, emotional upsets, & upper respiratory infections.  They are characterized by difficulty breathing, with more difficulty exhaling than inhaling, pronounced wheezing on exhaling, and rapid shallow inhalations. No matter what, remain calm.
  • A child diagnosed as an asthmatic, will usually carry a medicated inhaler with them.  Make sure YOU have the inhaler with you at all times.

1.Command Breathing - Instruct him/her to INHALE and EXHALE on your command. 

2.Distraction - Talk to the child about anything.  Ask questions that require a verbal answer.

3.Askthe child - Chances are that they have been through this before and know what will work for them. 

Signs of Head/Spine Injuries:

ANY head/neck injury requires a call to parents.

  • Changes in consciousness
  • Severe pain or pressure in head, neck, or back
  • Tingling or loss of sensation in hands, fingers, feet or toes
  • Partial or complete loss of movement of any body part
  • Unusual bumps or depressions on the head or over spine
  • Blood or other fluids in ears or nose
  • Heavy bleeding of the head, neck, or spine
  • Seizures
  • Impaired breathing or vision as a result of injury
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent headaches
  • Loss of balance
  • Bruising of face under eyes - behind ears

When to suspect a head or spine injury:

  • A fall from a height greater than victim's own height.
  • Any diving mishap.
  • A person found unconscious for unknown reasons.
  • A motor vehicle accident.
  • Any incident involving a lightning strike.


General Care for Head/Spine Injuries:

  • Minimize movement of spine
  • Send for help
  • Maintain an open airway
  • Check consciousness and breathing
  • Control external bleeding
  • Keep victim from getting chilled or overheated


If you suspect a camper has a concussion:

  • Remove camper from play
  • Inform camper’s parents
  • Keep camper out of play the day of the injury, and only return to play with permission from their doctor

Signs of a concussion:

  • Camper appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused or forgetful
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to the hit or fall

Symptoms reported from the camper:

  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizzy
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitive to light and noise
  • Felling sluggish
  • Can’t concentrate or remember
  • Feels confused
  • Just not feeling right


REMEMBER: No matter how minor the injury or problem appears, ALL INCIDENTS must be reported on an incident report form.  Parents must be contacted immediately with an injury to the head.  OJDFS must be contacted within 24 hours with any injury resulting in medical attention.




Each Monday and upon arrival at field trip destinations set a meeting spot that campers go to if they are separated from group. If the missing camper isn’t at the location, search procedures should be implemented.

On Site

A)   Notify Coordinator and Camp Director. They will assign staff for each area.

B)   An All-call will go out on the walkies or cell phones of each group

C)   1 staff will remain at the meeting spot location.

D)   2 or more staff will search the buildings and grounds starting closest to the last seen site of the lost person. Return to meeting spot

E)   If child is not located, director will call 911. If off site, coordinator will remain at the field trip location until the child is located or until given other directives by the authorities.