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Ramah Poconos and Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia

Staff Safety Policy and Procedures


Ramah Poconos and Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia (collectively “Camp”) are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment free from violence, abuse and other harm. For purposes of this policy, staff includes full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, as well as volunteers and visitors, and will be used throughout this document.

Camp Human Resources Team

Our Camp Human Resources Team (“Camp HR Team”) responds to all matters involving staff. The members of the Camp HR Team are:

Camp Ramah in the Poconos:

Ramah Day Camp:

Hiring and Onboarding

We make efforts to screen and hire staff that can embody the joyful spirit of Camp without compromising the degree of professionalism and judgment needed to maintain a safe and healthy Camp environment. Before campers are entrusted to their care, staff must affirm their commitment to our safety policies and receive training on abuse prevention and our reporting and harm response procedures.

Screening Process

All applicants will be subject to a pre-employment safety screening process, which includes successful completion of the following:

1. Reference Check

2. Interview

3. Background Check

4. Signature affirming commitment to Staff Safety Policy

Reference Check

All applicants must submit references with their application. Camp will contact references for each applicant and ask about the applicant’s employment history, reliability, moral character and judgment.


All applicants will be interviewed to assess, among other things, their employment history, experience with children, reliability and judgment.

Background Check

All applicants are obligated to submit to a background check conducted in accordance with applicable laws. Background checks may include a search of criminal history, sex offender records and civil records. Offers of employment are contingent on the successful completion of a background check.

Any adult seeking to volunteer at Camp or reside at Camp with a family member on staff - for any length of time - will only be authorized to do so upon the successful completion of a background check.


All applicants to whom an offer of employment has been made will be required to review the Staff Safety Policy and affirm their commitment to honoring it.


Before any camper is entrusted to their care, all staff must complete training on abuse prevention, response procedures for reports of harm and any other training directed by the Camp Safety Team, a group of dedicated staff members who have been entrusted to oversee our abuse prevention efforts and to receive and respond to reports of harm affecting members of the camp community.

Physical Safety

Camp makes efforts to create a safe working environment for all staff. Staff are reminded of the inherent physical risks that exist in and near the water, on uneven terrain, and when operating machinery in the gym. All staff will be required to sign a waiver before using the gym. Staff are advised to take additional precautions to ensure their own physical safety and that of others in those circumstances.

Behavioral Expectations for Staff with Other Staff

Harassment and Discrimination Prohibited

Camp is committed to ensuring that our community is free of harassment and discrimination, whether prohibited by law or by Jewish ethical standards.

Camp prohibits discrimination and harassment on any protected basis, including on the basis of race, religious belief, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, medical condition, disability, national origin, or any other category protected by applicable state or federal law.

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on a person’s membership in any of the protected categories listed above. Harassment can include sexual harassment.

Discrimination is treating someone less favorably because of their membership in any of the protected categories listed above.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of prohibited conduct:

Staff should ask a supervisor or member of the Camp HR Team if they have questions about prohibited behavior.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation against anyone who reports or opposes discrimination or harassment, or participates in an investigation of alleged harassment, discrimination, or other wrongdoing in the workplace is prohibited. Staff who engage in retaliatory behavior may face disciplinary action. Retaliation against anyone who is associated with any person who raises a complaint is prohibited. Retaliation against staff who request a reasonable accommodation for any known physical or mental disability or because of religious beliefs and observances is prohibited.

Potential Consequences

Violation of the prohibition against harassment, discrimination and retaliation will subject a staff member to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination as well as removal from the premises and prohibition from returning.

Moreover, any staff member, supervisor, or manager who condones or ignores potential violations of this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Under Pennsylvania law, staff may be held personally liable for harassing conduct or allowing harassing conduct that violates the state employment statutes.

Process for Reporting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation and other Prohibited Behavior By Staff

Camp takes all reports of harassment and discrimination seriously and will not penalize nor retaliate against staff for reporting potential harassment, discrimination or retaliation in good faith.

Reports of Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation

Staff who believe they may have experienced harassment, discrimination, or retaliation at Camp are encouraged to immediately report the experience to a supervisor or a member of the Camp HR Team. The following supervisors have been trained on how to respond to reports of harassment, discrimination and retaliation: Rashei edah, Rashei anaf, Yoatzim, medical professionals, Camp HR Team, and Camp Safety Team.

Staff may file a complaint of harassment, discrimination or retaliation verbally or in writing. To file a written complaint, staff are encouraged to use our incident report form accessible here.

Supervisors who receive a written or verbal complaint of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation from staff must promptly report such complaint to a member of the Camp HR Team.

Anyone who observes harassment, discrimination or retaliation against any person at camp is encouraged to report the incident immediately to a supervisor or a member of the Camp HR Team.

Camp’s Process for Responding to Reports of Policy Violations by Staff

Camp takes complaints about harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and reports of other possible violations of this policy very seriously. Upon receipt of a report of a possible violation, the Camp HR Team (or subset as designated by Camp) will:

  1. Conduct a prompt and fair investigation; all staff are required to cooperate fully in the event of any such investigation.

  2. Keep the allegations as confidential as possible. Confidentiality can not be guaranteed, but the Camp HR Team will disclose the allegations only to the extent necessary to conduct a thorough investigation or take corrective action.

  3. Take appropriate action with respect to any staff member or non-staff member who has been found to have violated the policy or otherwise engaged in illegal, unethical and/or inappropriate behavior, including discipline up to and including termination of the employment or other relationship.

Appeal of Determination

Staff who are unsatisfied with how a report was handled should contact a member of the Camp HR Team, who will look into the concern. The appeal should be in writing to help ensure clarity, and include as much detail as possible to facilitate the adjudication process.


Staff play a critical role in creating the safe and inclusive atmosphere we are committed to fostering at Camp and must always be mindful of the special position of trust they occupy as caregivers and role models. Camp expects staff to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes Safe Touch, Safe Dynamics, Safe Talk, Safe Spaces, and Safe Media (continue reading for more information).


Physical Abuse Prohibited

Staff are strictly prohibited from engaging in any form of physical abuse of a camper. Any staff in violation of this policy will be terminated. This is a zero-tolerance policy.

Physical abuse means any intentional physical contact that causes, or creates a serious risk of causing, pain or physical injury to another person.

Sexual Abuse Prohibited

Staff are strictly prohibited from engaging in any form of sexual abuse of a camper. Any staff in violation of this policy will be terminated. This is a zero-tolerance policy.

Sexual abuse means any form of sexual activity with a person under the age of 18. Sexual activity includes, but is not limited to:

person to engage in sexual activity

Physical Contact Between Staff & Campers

Camp understands that some degree of physical contact between staff and camper may be necessary to aid in the care of a camper, particularly a young camper or a camper who is in distress. Staff should at all times be guided by common sense and judgment, and whenever possible use verbal communication to direct and support campers in lieu of physical contact. When physical contact between staff and campers occurs, it must meet the following level of C.A.R.E.

the care of a camper should be reflective of the camper’s age and level of



Emotional Abuse Prohibited

Staff are strictly prohibited from engaging in any form of emotional abuse of a camper. Any staff in violation of this policy will be terminated. This is a zero tolerance policy.

Emotional abuse means non-physical behavior that involves insulting, humiliating or instilling fear in another person to exert control.

Emotional abuse can be sexual and includes, but is not limited to, leveraging a position of power to compel a camper to engage in sexual activity, threatening to reveal information about a camper’s sexual preferences or experience and exposing a camper to pornography or other content that may threaten their emotional welfare.

Grooming Behavior Prohibited

Staff are strictly prohibited from engaging in grooming behavior with a camper. Any staff in violation of this policy will be terminated. This is a zero tolerance policy.

Grooming behaviors are those designed to build a relationship of trust and emotional connection with a camper for the purpose of manipulating, exploiting and/or abusing them.

Grooming can involve a variety of problematic behaviors, including showing favoritism of a particular camper, confiding in a camper, speaking to a camper as a peer or about inappropriate subject matters, asking a camper to keep a secret and creating opportunities to communicate privately or be physically alone with a camper.

Observable and Interruptible Interactions Encouraged

To prevent staff and campers from being in a vulnerable position, staff should avoid being in private, one-on-one situations with campers, absent an emergency. Anytime a one-on-one interaction between staff and camper does occur, the interaction must be observable and interruptible by another adult. In practice, this might mean finding a non-enclosed space for a conversation, keeping a bunk door open if together inside, or telling another staff member if you anticipate being alone with a camper.

Staff/Camper Relationships Prohibited

Staff are strictly prohibited from flirting or engaging in romantic relationships or consensual sexual activity with all campers, regardless of the age of either party. This policy extends to interactions outside of Camp. Any staff in violation of this policy will be terminated. This is a zero tolerance policy.


The words staff use and the way they use them can have a big impact on camp culture, especially when impressionable campers are listening. Camp expects staff to use language that is respectful, age-appropriate and positive in tone, and to avoid discussing mature or otherwise inappropriate subject matters in the presence of campers.

Unsafe Talk and Language Prohibited

Staff are prohibited from engaging in unsafe talk and language when communicating with, or in the presence of, campers. Examples of unsafe talk and language include:


In the course of working with children, it is possible that staff may encounter a child-in-crisis. This may be a child who is dealing with a mental health episode, panic attack, suicidal thoughts, cutting, etc. If staff encounter a camper in one of these situations, they should take the following steps to ensure the child’s immediate safety:

Staff should familiarize themselves with and follow the Ramah Poconos Child Safety Policy and Procedures.


Private Space

Staff must afford campers the highest level of privacy possible in bathrooms, changing rooms, and other places of potentially compromised privacy.

Sober Space

Camp is an alcohol- and drug-free space. Staff are prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol or illicit substances at camp, and from being under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances at Camp. Staff are prohibited from providing alcohol or illicit substances to campers.


We strive to make Camp a (mostly) device-free environment to help staff and campers stay present in the moments they’re sharing with nature and each other. Staff use of devices and media should be limited, and at all times guided by a shared commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for the entire Camp community.

Cell Phones

Staff should not use their personal cell phones while supervising campers, except as necessary to facilitate a Camp function. Staff must not allow campers to use the staff’s personal cell phones for any purpose absent an emergency.


Staff must exercise good judgment when photographing Camp life and always be mindful of their responsibility to protect the privacy and safety interests of campers. The following guidelines apply to all photography in Camp:

Social Media

Staff must exercise good judgment when publishing Camp-related content on social media and always be mindful of their responsibility to protect the privacy and safety interests of campers. The following guidelines apply to camp-related staff use of social media:

Staff Requirements for Reporting Harm Affecting Campers

Preventing harm to campers is the responsibility of all staff because Camp cannot prevent or remedy harm it doesn’t know about. To that end, Camp requires staff to report certain information learned about campers to supervisors or the Camp Safety Team. Under state and local law, staff may also be required to report certain information externally to government authorities.

Camp Safety Team

Our safety process is guided by the Camp Safety Team. The members of the Camp Safety Team are:

Camp Ramah in the Poconos:

Ramah Day Camp:

Internal Reporting Required – REPORT UP

Staff must promptly report to a supervisor or member of the Camp Safety Team if they have reason to believe, whether based on first-hand or second-hand information, that any of the following have occurred:

When reporting internally, the first contact should always be a direct supervisor or Yoetz/et. If a staff member is uncomfortable reporting up to a direct supervisor or yoetz/et, or the allegations involve a direct supervisor or yoetz/et, staff shall report up to the person above them or any member of the Camp Safety Team.

External Reporting Required by Law – REPORT OUT

In accordance with Pennsylvania law, staff are required to comply with legal mandatory reporting requirements. Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

It is not required that the child come before the mandated reporter in order to make a report of suspected child abuse nor are they required to identify the person responsible for the child abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse. Additional information can be found here.

Mandated reporters may report 24/7 by telephone (800.932.0313 or TDD 866.872.1677) or electronically through the Child Welfare Portal.

Each report is handled by a trained specialist who determines the most appropriate course of action. Actions include forwarding the report to:

Staff that make a report of abuse or neglect because they have reason to suspect abuse has occurred, are not subject to a criminal penalty or civil lawsuit of any kind. If the report is made in good faith, Camp cannot be held criminally or civilly liable.

Staff will not be penalized or fired for making a report of abuse or neglect. In Pennsylvania, penalties for a mandated reporter who willfully fails to report child abuse range from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree.

When making a report of suspected child abuse or general child well-being concerns, it is important to provide as much information as possible. The below list will give a general idea of what information our trained specialists will ask for:

Discretionary Reports

In instances where reporting is not required under this policy or state or local law, or staff is unsure whether reporting is required, staff are always encouraged to share any questions or concerns with the Camp Safety Team. Should staff require emotional support related to filing a report, they are encouraged to reach out to the Camp Safety Team for assistance.

Camp’s Process for Responding to Reports of Policy Violations by Campers

Camp’s behavioral expectations for campers are set forth in the Camper Safety Policy, with which all staff must be familiar. Reports of possible violations of the Camper Safety Policy by campers will be responded to by the Camp Safety Team, which is committed to responding promptly and thoughtfully using trauma-informed practices. In doing so, the Camp Safety Team will be guided by the process outlined in Camper Safety Policy and Procedure.

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