We use the words “child” and “children” here for convenience to mean (in the recognised legal meaning) anyone under 18. We often find that these words can be used as labels and subconsciously encourages “adult” people to think of the littler people as if they had different needs to others. We invite you (and ourselves) to hold the label lightly.
We are a family-friendly camp, and we consider children to be an essential and integral part of the community. In striving to create a welcoming and safe space for them, we are considering a number of issues.
Will there be activities organised specifically with children in mind?
Yes! Activities which children might enjoy, like clay, will be offered for all (suitable) ages. The person offering might ask for help in setting up and tidying up. If a young child wants to take part, they would probably need an adult to help them eg a parent. That is, it’s not the responsibility of the clay person to supervise the kids. All workshop sessions to be open to children unless stated by facilitator to be unsuitable in advance. There will be a facilitated Young People’s Circle at 5pm – 5.30pm each day to support them in getting the most from the camp.
What’s the legal situation? Since we started organising the Summerfest this year, we have been advised by someone who is familiar with the legal issues to reduce the risks that individual organisers take. Based on this advice, we plan to organise the Summerfest so that:
- No-one is in a role specifically around working with children.
- We recommend that only private arrangements are made between parents and others for supervision of children.
- We recommend that no adult be in a one-to-one situation with any child who is not their own, unless privately arranged with parent.
Why are we doing this? We believe that this will be more protective for both children and adults, and also that the shared responsibility fits well with our ethos of a community held event. We intend to foster a spirit of connection, a greater awareness of each other’s needs and an intention to honour our belief that everyone’s needs matter.
How are we going to support integration of different ages on the camp? At the start of camp, we will have a community meeting to give space for parents to pass on any information about their child e.g. level of independence, special needs. We hope that this will help connection between people of different ages.
We (the Summerfest team) will encourage all community members to step up in support, eg if you see a child you’re concerned about, either help to remove them from possible danger or tell another adult.
What’s different from last year? We won’t have kids’ coordinators and volunteers. We invite the whole community to take responsibility for integrating the kids. We will go with requests from the kids — what they want to do. Will have a big yurt for the kids and some basic equipment such as paper, pens, etc. Will have Community Volunteers who can be called on to help the kids set up their activities. We invite you to bring equipment and ideas for activities that will include children.
I am coming with young children and am worried that I will spend my whole time looking after my child/ren and not get the NVC learning I am wanting. Do you have any plans to support people like me? If you want to attend a workshop and it wouldn’t work for your child to come with you, we encourage you to check with others what options or support might be available. We, the organisers, intend also to be mindful of adults’ and children’s needs and will do our best to support everyone to find solutions that work for all. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to check something out, or are looking for ideas.
Is this camp suitable for teenagers? Yes, we encourage people of all ages to attend. Please contact us to discuss your children’s particular needs.
Will there be simple child-friendly food available? Mahesh (our head chef) has plenty of experience of cooking for all ages. All the food will be vegetarian. Generally we have learned that children like simple foods. Foods like this will be available although we can’t promise to cater for children who are particularly limited in what they will eat. Please bring along any supplementary foods you know your child will like so that they don’t go hungry.
Are their any safety hazards we need to be aware of? Yes! The swimming lake is unfenced. There will also be other natural hazards such as an open fire, ringed by benches. We ask that adults coming with children take full responsibility for ensuring their safety at all times.