Pathfinder club leaders and staff members have various duties, but the main goal is to mentor and nurture club members in their relationship with Jesus. A critical secondary emphasis is to begin training Pathfinders now to lead out in their own ministry one day. Risk management and club safety are areas of ministry management you can teach today to help prepare Pathfinders to carry the gospel message to all the world in their generation.Here are a few ways to include your Pathfinders in three areas of risk management education, with special tips for younger Pathfinders, older Pathfinders, and Teen Leaders in Training (TLTs).
1. People SafetyTeach your Pathfinders about people and personal safety by talking to them about the policies your club has in place to protect them. Once they understand the policies, discuss actions they can take to protect themselves and each other. Some risk management practices kids can actively implement are:
- Buddy system – Always stay with your buddy. Do not go anywhere by yourself.
- Check-in/Check-out – Once you have been checked into your club meeting by your guardian, do not leave the secured area until checked-out by your guardian.
- Ask permission to leave the group – If you need to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, or have some quiet time, first ask permission from a staff member. Do not leave the group without permission.
- No bullying – If you see bullying happen and can intervene safely, tell those participating that in your club, we don’t hurt each other and take the victim to a staff member right away.
- Take care of each other – Be aware of the feelings of others and the objects around you. If a friend is having a tough time, talk to them, and let them know you care. Ask a staff member to pray with you and your friend to help them feel better.
- Be observant - If you see something unusual, tell a staff member. If you find a backpack that doesn’t belong to anyone, if you see a car you don’t recognize parked in the parking lot with people in it for a very long time, or if a stranger comes and talks to you or someone else in the club, let a staff member know.
Tips for teaching for older Pathfinders – Older Pathfinders can help monitor perimeters and remind younger Pathfinders to stay with buddies, request permission for bathroom or water breaks, or be checked-out by their guardian before leaving the area.
Tips for teaching for Teen Leaders in Training (TLTs) – Talk to TLTs about the two-adult-rule, which is to have two staff members present at all times during club meetings and activities. TLTs can also assist in coordinating best adult supervision ratios for all unit activities and help develop a unit-based buddy system for all Pathfinders. These activities will help them meet the TLT Counseling Operations Tasks.
2. Vehicle SafetyBasic vehicle risk management that club members can learn about includes practicing awareness around vehicles, remaining on sidewalks or next to buildings/in designated play areas when outside, and avoiding running and playing in parking lots or around parked cars. Teach your Pathfinders to keep their personal equipment with them or in one place out of the way until it is ready to be loaded for a trip.
Tips for younger Pathfinders – Younger Pathfinders can learn to play only in safe spaces—not in parking lots or around parked cars. Teach them to wait quietly within sight of staff before loading up for a trip.
Tips for older Pathfinders – Under the supervision of a Pathfinder staff member teach older Pathfinders how to complete pre-trip vehicle inspection. Get the free vehicle pre-trip inspection here.
Tips for TLTs – TLTs can assist with making arrangements for transportation to and from activities, including vehicle preparation, reservation, pre-trip inspection. They can coordinate all communication, directions, and sharing emergency policies among drivers. These activities will help them fulfill the TLT Activity Operations Tasks requirements.
3. Camp SafetyInvolving Pathfinders in best risk management practices while camping is so important that there is an honor for it—the Camp Safety Honor. This honor is a comprehensive look at the varied aspects of camp risk management Pathfinders should be involved in. Elements include fire safety, camping tools, equipment safety, camp cooking, food storage, hygiene and water purification, building a first aid kit, and personal security while camping.
Tips for younger Pathfinders—Camp Safety is a skill level 3 honor, but younger Pathfinders can start understanding risk management principles of camping through the Camping Skills honors.
Tips for older Pathfinders—Camp Safety is for Pathfinders who have completed Camping Skills 1-4. Find all the resources you need to teach Camp Safety on ARM’s Pathfinder Safety page under the Camp Safety Honor tab.
Tips for TLTs—TLTs can help plan and lead your club’s next camping trip including designing campsite layout, facilitating camp setup, preparing a packing list, packing and accounting for club gear, developing menus, purchasing food and supplies, developing guidelines for good safety, and coordinating kitchen duty. These activities will help them complete the TLT Activity Operations Tasks requirements.
Teaching risk management to your Pathfinders now could prevent accidents and loss for generations to come.
Proper risk management is an ongoing practice that protects your club and all the people in it. Including your Pathfinders in the risk management of your club brings awareness to the importance of safety and care in everything we do. Teaching risk management to your Pathfinders now could prevent accidents and loss for generations to come.