How closely should young people.....

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by menageriekeeper, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    How closely should young people be chaperoned while they are on a church sponsered trip to say an amusement park, fair or other event where there will be a significant number(even hundreds) of other people?

    The age of these hypothetical young people will range from about 12 to somewhere in the college age(20?). The size of the group anywhere from 40 to 70, not counting adults. Is it enough to tell them to stay together in groups and allow them to go their own way without any structure to the groups (ie, not knowing which kids are with which other kids) and without an adult supervising directly (an adult as part of each group)? Is it okay to simply make sure that you leave with the same kids you came with, without knowing just what they have been up too?

    How many adults do you usually have per 10 kids in this age group when you take your youth groups out? Do you usually take such a wide range of ages on the same trip?

    Questions, questions....I now have a seventh grader(12) going on quite a few church related events and these are some of the things I have seen happening on these trips. I go with mine on most of these trips just to make sure she is supervised. I don't think that 2 12 year olds(NOT mine) are old enough to be wandering around a huge amusement park(think Six Flags) by themselves. This happened on the last trip we made. The other adults on the trip didn't seem to have a problem with it so long as they checked in at the designated times(every two hours).

    I also had a problem with the same kind of thing happening entering and leaving the events. The kids were just handed the tickets in the parking lot and sent off(same line, stay together in groups). Off they went and no one knew or cared until two hours later whether they made it inside or not. As the mother of a loner I know that if I hadn't been there my child would have been wandering up to the gate pretty much by herself. She might have stayed with a group that had an adult in it, might not have either. She might have started out with one group and then decided that they were 'snots' or just that she didn't like the same activities and wandered off to find something more interesting. She would have been responsible to check in, if something hadn't happened in the meantime.........

    Am I just an old fuddy duddy because I think at least some of these kids should have a little more structure and supervision?
     
  2. J4KC35

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    I think, if the kids go with a group of friends then it's okay.

    I also don't think that they should be allowed to wander off, but should stay in their groups.

    I know the reasons some kids wander off is because they don't like the people in their group-- just simply let them pick the people they want. Let them form their own groups.

    You say your daughter is a loner, well maybe try and push her harder to become friends with these people in her youth group? If you haven't already. I'm 17, and I know what it was like to be a loner at her age. 12, that is. I just simply needed a little push, and I was talking with many people after.

    Like you said about the times...I remember when I went to a trip like that, we had certain times that we had to report back to some of the adults there, also. I mean, you can't always have your kids on a leash, and watch every move them make. You have to let them make their own decisions, sometimes. 12 is old enough to make their own decisions. However, that is still too young for them not to check in every two hours or so.

    They're old enough to take responsibility for their actions. If they get in trouble or do something they shouldn't then that's their fault. They shouldn't have to be baby sat 24/7.

    If they got into trouble, you'd more than likely know. When I was 13, I went on a trip, and we got to wander off by ourselves. However, I remember a girl getting caught for shoplifiting, and her name was announced over the intercom.
     
  3. Gina B

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    NONE of them should be without adult supervision.

    I'd pair them off in groups of 8 with one adult supervisor for each group. Each group would contain a mix of ages as much as possible. For example:
    4 kids from 12 through 16, four kids from 17 through 20. That way they're still with others their own age, but you also have older kids who can keep be examples and help with the younger ones, such as keeping an eye on the group while you take a few on a restroom break, etc..
    I'd also do all I could to keep girls and guys in separate groups to avoid any temptations for a couple to wander off for a few moments of privacy, etc., plus it makes those restroom breaks more simple. [​IMG]
    It's unthinkable that two 12 year olds would be allowed to wander in an amusement park alone. This is a church sponsored trip, and as such there's a duty to ensure the safety of the youth. That doesn't happen if they're left alone.
    Gina
     
  4. mioque

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    Talking as a person who helped organize numerous visits like that (not to mention complete vacations and missiontrips).

    First of all, why would you want to make trip to an amusementpark? We always stick to musea, Christian concerts and sightseeing (with some shoppingopportunities during vacations).

    You don't want to leave kids in puberty unsupervised. Not because they will sneak of to have mad passionate sex (that just isn't all that common), but because they may very well decide to engage in vandalism or misbehave themselves in a different way.
    Groups of unsupervised +/-14 year olds (especially boys) that are used to strict rules have a tendency to get mischievous when bored and surrounded by only their peers and strangers.

    Designated groups made up days before the event are a must.
    You want to go for very diverse groups all with adult supervision. We normally use at least 2 grownups for each group aiming for groups of about 20. Making sure beforehand if possible that the adults have something more to contribute to the group than simply supervising it (some knowledge of the things they are going to see).

    "Am I just an old fuddy duddy because I think at least some of these kids should have a little more structure and supervision?"
    ''
    No.

    "They're old enough to take responsibility for their actions."
    ''
    Yes.

    " If they get in trouble or do something they shouldn't then that's their fault."
    ''
    Yes.

    " They shouldn't have to be baby sat 24/7."
    ''
    Yes.
    However the you are guests on someone elses property and the church is responsible to both the owner of that property and the parents of these children.
    So some light continuous supervision throughout the trip is a very good idea.
     
  5. rufus

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    This week our church is taking about 50 youth and adults to a amusement/water park.

    We supervise carefully because of the younger ones present and because of the huges crowds attending this park. And we like staying and doing things together.
     
  6. aefting

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    When I was a teen and went on church or Christian school related 6-Flags trips, we were told to stay in groups and check back in at certain times. Now that I am an adult and in charge of similar events, we don't do it that way. We had a Six Flags trip this past week with our church youth group and our rule was that you had to stay with one of the offical youth sponsors.

    I have mixed feelings about these types of activities. The rides are great but the atmosphere, with the rock music, carnaval games, and immodesty is a true Vanity Fair. It is not a good place for worldly-minded teens. And when you factor in the outrageous costs for meals and drinks, I wonder if it's worth it.

    Andy
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    How do you "pair" people off in groups of 8???? :D ...

    When I was a youth pastor and took the teens to the amusement park, they were not allowed to go into the water park and they had to be in groups of at least 4. They knew what the PC rules were and if they were caught out of line, they would spend the rest of the day with me. In addition, we had a time that everyone had to meet (usually a window of time to allow for lines and stuff). For instance, we would say "between 1 and 2" everyone must show up at such and such a place and check in. It was usually an air conditioned place where I and the other sponsors would sit and take it easy. Those places got real boring to me anyway so I would ride a couple of coasters, watch the IMAX a couple of times, and then find a cool place to sit down and watch the world go by.
     
  8. Gina B

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    Peach them off then? LOL
     
  9. menageriekeeper

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    Okay, sooo I'm only half way to being an old fuddy duddy depending on whether the person talking is over or under eighteen??

    Pastor Larry, with or without an adult(or even a responsible college student) as part of the group? Also did you keep up with which kids were in which group?

    Monique, sex isn't what I worry about or vandalism either. I'm more concerned about one of them disapearing with a stranger or getting hurt and no one knowing for 2 hours. As far as the amusement park, even with the crowds it was a better atmosphere than the Braves game we also attended. At the game there was a row of 20 something guys who I watched get drunk during the course of the game, one of whom also flashed some vulgar hand motions when he didn't like what was happening.

    Gina, you and I think alike. Next trip I'll be making some suggestions ahead of time. It is just not good enough to tell kids to stay in groups. You have to make sure they do it. The 12 year olds I really worried about stayed with me for part of the day then decided to go with a group of high schoolers for the next part. Somewhere along the line they got off by themselves. Wasn't there so I don't know just what happened. I got the idea that the older kids didn't really want them and 'let'(think encouraged) them get lost.

    I haven't worked with this age group before so this was a learning experience for me. I already suspected that there wasn't the kind of supervision that I wanted on these trips. That is why I made sure I was a chaperon on this one. I think I'll be chaperoning any from now on that my Precious attends.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    We didn't send a "responsible" adult with them.

    As for who was with whom, I knew them well enough to know who was going to be with whom. When I saw who signed up, I knew who was going to be together and what the "problem groups" were likely to be. We had very few if any Jr Hi'ers along. Most of the groups had either a sr or jr in them as I recall. And I would run into them throughout the day in various places because I knew where they would go. I would talk to the whole group ahead of time about what was expected, and sometimes talk to individuals as well.

    I wouldn't be so "hands off" with younger kids.
     
  11. mioque

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    "At the game there was a row of 20 something guys who I watched get drunk during the course of the game, one of whom also flashed some vulgar hand motions when he didn't like what was happening. "
    ''
    Sounds rather tame compared to most professional football games around here, were hooliganism is the norm.
     
  12. 14Him

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    As a youth worker, and parent of two younger children, I feel like I should weigh in on this conversation. Our youth minister began with our church at the age of 23. He was only a couple years older than some of the kids in the youth group. I felt the call to minister to the youth group not long after he came to our church. He and his wife and I became close friends, and I went on most of the youth trips with them. What they didn't know was that alot of parents were very concerned with their teens well being, because on the trips to giant places, they were told to stay with a "buddy", and were left to run wild. I did my best to try to get him to buckle down, but he felt like we shouldn't treat them like children, give them responsibility. Now, after many "incidents", the youth minister wonders why there is low attendance to camps, and other activities. We'll have 75 kids on Wed. night, and maybe 10-15 will go on a trip.
    Having been a rebellious teen myself, I sorta expect a big percentage of teens to press the limits. We also have several teens over 18 that come to our functions, one of which was caught in a sexual act with a 14yr old girl in the youth room by the youth minister. After this incident, both were back in worship the following week. I personally would not allow my own 12 yr old child to run around a huge park with another 12 yr old. Most parents these days are very protective over their children.
     
  13. menageriekeeper

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    The parents around don't seem very protective. Or maybe they are just afraid they will just make trouble if they complain about what is going on.

    Honestly, I don't think the other adults on the trip really had a problem with letting the kids go as they pleased. I think this is something that happens all the time.

    We do have mostly good kids but I worry about what is going to happen when they figure out that no one is paying attention. I really worry about what is going to happen when someone with evil ideas figures out no one is paying attention to our young people.

    Our church has already had a wake up call concerning child snatchers. We allow middle schoolers(6 to 8 grade) that are members of our church to walk the two blocks from their school to the family life center to stay until their parents get off work. About 8 months ago a man tried to snatch one of our girls off the street. Thankfully she had the presence of mind to take off running into the church. She was safe but they never caught the man. This happened right in our own neighborhood, so much easier for it to happen in a huge amusement park parking lot or even in the park itself.
     
  14. TaterTot

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    I think it depends on your group's dynamics. My current group is a very cohesive unit, and they normally all like to stay together. (We are in the country, and things ARE different in the country. When we go to Six Flags (an hour drive from here) if we split up, each group has a cell phone. We went a few weeks ago and it was before the "check-in" time when it began to rain. I just called them all and we got together and left.

    When its a larger group, I do require a chaperone to be with each group, and that chaperone is responsible for the group's well being. And we still use cell phone to keep in touch.
     
  15. Gina B

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  16. Gib

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    Parents will treat the children's and youth ministries as babysitting services. Parents will drop off their kids and have the mentality of "They're you're responsibility now." In some respects they are.

    Many unchurched kids will come to VBS, retreats, lockins and other. Some of those kids don't know how to act in church and need more supervision than others.

    It's always safe to adequately chaperone your regular bunch as well. Children to youth are just who they are and will act just like themselves. :eek: Much of my opinion is based on experience.
     
  17. Loren B

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    Absolute Adult Supervision is the ONLY reasonable way to attend an amusement park.
    Small groups of young people left unsupervised tend to migrate toward trouble.
    I am a principal and have taken trips of this nature many times. Protect them and yourselves by making certain that there are responsible adults with every group.
     
  18. Karen

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    Much, like TaterTot said, depends on group dynamics.
    My older teen is in college, has flown without the family, has driven long distances on the interstate, etc. He can be trusted to behave himself at an amusement park.
    He would of course obey the rules of the group he was with.
    My younger teen is trustworthy, too, but needs more supervision at an amusement park because of safety issues. Yet I will admit that he and his cousin the same age have gone around together at amusement parks near Branson. They have always had clear instructions. We have never just hoped for the best. Cell phones are good things.

    Karen
     
  19. Karen

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    But don't churches arrange it that way? Many churches in my area will be arranging big back-to-school kickoff events for youth and will advertise these events heavily. I imagine parents COULD stay, but churches are actually hoping for large numbers of unchurched kids to come with their church friends and hear the Gospel.
    I do assist sometimes, but I don't want to run over the youth workers in my church of whom I thoroughly approve.
    The youth workers in my church are wonderful!! [​IMG]

    Karen
     
  20. Greg Linscott

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    I was in youth ministry for 8 1/2 years. I never did unsupervised groups in such settings. I would do planned rendesvous (like when we went to the Mall of America at Christmastime), and appoint responsible adults with each group. I would offer the kids the chance to choose which adult they would go with, choosing their own groups in the process. Occasionally, I would allow a responible high school senior to be responsible for a group.

    For our group, these type of trips were not very frequent. 1. they tend to be expensive and 2. they tend to make a youth leader lazy- it takes more work to plan out an activity that your kids will enjoy and will be wholesome and relatively free from negative influences. Our youth groups had fun, but ususally we tried to center our "big trips" around a mission trip, camp, or college visits.
     

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