Last Updated July 2020
The YNC takes several measures to protect our family and youth participants, partners, and staff and volunteers during all our activities. This policy set outs a number of checks and procedures that reduce reasonable and foreseeable risks associated with normal YNC operations.
Staff and Volunteers
All YNC staff and volunteer leaders (not including guest speakers) working with youth must have at least 2 written reference checks on file upon their start with the organization, must maintain clear criminal record, vulnerable sector, and child abuse registry checks* see Note 1, and must be up-to-date in Standard First Aid and CPR certifications.
* A “clear” record check reveals no past activity that may pose a conflict with the youth-focused operations of the YNC, including both past convictions and pardons. Clear record checks are processed and filed by Staff. Record checks that return with any additional information are assessed and decisions about the applicant are made by the YNC board. Checks for staff and volunteers are to be completed every 3 years at minimum.
YNC volunteers are trained in normal field trip procedure, including identification of site-specific risks, filling out field trip waivers, and record-keeping when they start with the club. Each Chapter Leader is also given a Start-Up kit when they begin their role, which contains files they need to complete risk assessments, copies of the waiver, a copy of their agreement to fulfill the responsibilities of their leadership role, and a first aid kit. Staff check in with volunteer Chapter Leaders on an annual basis to ensure comfort and consistency with risk management procedures and Chapter Leaders are updated immediately when policy changes are made (and are given new files for their kit if needed).
Field trip leaders, whether staff or volunteers, are responsible for identifying any and all possible risks associated with the field trip site, communicating that risk to trip participants, and ensuring participants read and sign the field trip waiver, which should repeat the information given by the leader. Field trip leaders will carry their first aid kit with them on all YNC outings.
Most Chapters require parents/guardians to attend events with their youth and, therefore, ratios of adults to youth are not an issue, but in situations where parents are not required to stay with their youth, leaders are to maintain a ratio of 1 adult: 10 youth and we require 2 or more adults always be present. In the case of the Nature Guardians Chapter, where youth participants are aged 10-14 and regularly engage in programing without their guardians, the leader may choose to maintain a ratio of 1 adult: 15 youth.
For every trip, leaders should have prepared an emergency file including emergency contacts for services and the trip participants (included in the field trip waiver) and directions to the nearest hospital. Leaders will also check their first aid kits before every trip and maintain the kit in working order, contacting the Coordinator when new supplies are needed.
Field trips that take place more than 5 km from emergency first response access must be led by staff or volunteers certified in Wilderness First Aid and a route plan and twice/day check-in procedure maintained with a designated staff or volunteer not participating in the trip.
Activities that fall outside of the normal hike-based field-trip model are considered special events and may require some extra forethought and risk controls. Event plans should be discussed with staff or the board well in advance of commencement to ensure proper protocols and insurance are in place.
Guidance on Covid Adaptation for YNC Regular Activities
Supplement to the YNC Risk Management Policy
Covid-19 spreads from person to person, most commonly through respiratory droplets during close or prolonged interactions. People who have Covid-19 may have few, mild, or no symptoms, and the illness can be spread by infected individuals who do not know they have the illness. As such, it presents a significant risk to YNC families and youth participating in our trips and other events. The information in this document is meant to supplement existing protocols outlined in the YNC Risk Management Policy. Questions or concerns may be directed to YNC staff or the board.
Until given further notice, all YNC activities are to adhere to the following:
1. No more than 25 individuals permitted at any single YNC event.
2. Event participants must practice social distancing (staying 2m apart) from staff, volunteers, and other participants that are not part of their own family bubble.
3. Staff and volunteers will encourage event participants to wear masks and demonstrate good practice by wearing their own masks where feasible. Masks must be worn by all staff, volunteers, and participants at indoor events barring a valid medical condition that prevents safe mask use.
4. Staff and volunteers will work to minimize the need for event participants to touch shared surfaces (such as binoculars, hand lenses, writing utensils, etc.) and will regularly sterilize surfaces that must be touched. Participants may choose to sign a field trip waiver in advance of the trip (online, print-and-scan, etc.) or may indicate their acceptance via email instead of signing at the trail head as usual.
5. Event coordinators will share their Covid adaptation protocols with invited guest speakers, venue hosts, and other guests in advance of an event and make it clear that they are expected to adhere to the same practices. Any additional practices adopted by the guest, host, or other outside representative (sterilizing hands at doorways, maintaining different max attendee numbers, etc.) may be added to the YNC group’s protocol at the discretion of the chapter leader.
Staff and volunteers are to prioritize their own health and well being before YNC activities, always, and may reach out to staff or the board at any time with questions, concerns, or for clarification on these protocols.