Policies and Proceedures
- All volunteers and staff must successfully complete an interview process and pass a background check per UMA’s vetting process. Fully vetted individuals will be defined as “Leaders” for the purpose of this document.
- Leaders shall be further specified as Staff, Mentor, Group Volunteer or Group Leader depending upon their position.
- Adults who have not completed this vetting process will be referred to as “Community Supporter”
- “Group Volunteers” are those who commit to a weekly group meeting and are supervised directly by a Group Leader
- “Mentors” are volunteers who have committed to invest in a specific youth within a mentor pair
- Mentors should regard the Mentoring Coordinator as their ‘Group Leader’ in this document
Code of Conduct
- When an adult completes the interview/vetting process they acknowledge that they are a UMA representative in any interactions they may have with the UMA youth and will act in accordance with UMA’s policies and procedures
- Always provide a Christ-like example in the lives of the youth
- Conduct themselves in a professional manner while operating around or leading youth; keeping the safety and welfare of the youth as the highest priority
- Recognize potential threats, conduct issues and act accordingly (see Reporting & Emergency Action Plan)
- A leader should never be alone with a youth or youths in a vehicle or private setting.
- In rare events the Volunteer Coordinator or a Staff Member will give special permission and strict guidelines for one leader to be with 2 or more youth.
- Mentors, please see Titus Project specific policies for further clarification
- A leader should avoid situations that could be misinterpreted as inappropriate, or interact with the youth in an unprofessional manner (e.g. flirting, inappropriate touching, rude conversations, cursing, teasing, etc.)
- Leaders are expected to dress modestly, thus providing a healthy example to the youth. Don’t dress to impress, dress to serve. Girls: no bikinis, midriffs clothes, overly short shorts or under garments showing. Guys: no speedos
- Leaders are expected to use wisdom and discernment when bringing youth around Community Supporters.
- Think –if a person wouldn’t pass a background check or agree with our statement of faith, you should use caution in creating situations of interaction (e.g. criminal past, sex offenders, living an unbiblical lifestyle). For questionable circumstances, please see Volunteer Coordinator
- No appropriate time to carry a concealed/non-concealed weapon around the youth or at any event
- If a weapon is stored in a vehicle transporting youth or brought into the neighborhood, it needs to be stored in the trunk, preferably in a locked box
- UMA youth should not see a weapon, know it is present, or be able to reach the weapon
- Conversations about weapons are not necessary to relationship-building and should be avoided
- Any concern for personal safety should be brought to the attention of UMA staff to discuss an alternate solution
- Social Media:
- Assume anything you post on social media about a UMA youth will be read by them and their parents/guardians. All posts should be encouraging and uplifting.
- Ask a youth for permission to post a picture or to post a story about them
UMA Trip/Outing/ Group Meeting Guidelines (Group Volunteers)
- Always have a minimum of two UMA leaders during any outing with youth
- A UMA staff member must be present on all high-risk events, including but not limited to, any water activity, overnights, adventure trips etc. (Special permission can be given based upon circumstances by Volunteer Coordinator)
- In the event 2 leaders intend to spend time with a youth outside of a UMA organized event and/or transport them out of the neighborhood, they must (1.) receive permission from the youth(s) guardian and (2.) notify the Volunteer Coordinator
- During all events (adventure trips, weekly outings, etc.) UMA leaders should make several head counts to maintain accountability of the youth participating. If at any time it is discovered that a youth is missing, all functions should stop and efforts to locate that youth(s) should begin. In the event of an unlocated/missing youth, follow the appropriate steps indicated in UMA’s Emergency Action Plan. Upon finishing the event, head counts should be conducted and the youth should be released in the manner that they arrived or as their parent/guardian requested.
- It should be noted that the youth(s) is/are to be released to the adult who gave permission or to the home from where they were picked up unless specified by the child’s guardian. In the event a child requests to be dropped off somewhere else, UMA leader needs verification from the child’s guardian or confirmation from UMA Staff that it is acceptable.
- UMA weekly group meetings should be held in public places or approved meeting locations, with two or more leaders present. (Approved meeting locations are determined by the Volunteer Coordinator)
- Leaders are expected to use wisdom and caution when bringing UMA youth to non-UMA sponsored events.
- Think- does this event further our relationship in a positive way? Does this event bring the youth closer to God?
- If a group leader becomes aware of any situation needing to be reported (see Reporting Policy) it is their responsibility to report the incident in question to the Assistant Director immediately.
- Any incident that involves the injury/potential injury of a youth/adult
- Any situation where youth were involved in a physical altercation
- Any situation in which a youth voiced a complaint about a leader
- Any complaints from youth, parents, or other leaders in reference to dangerous, inappropriate, or concerning behavior or comments from a youth
- Any behaviors of leadership that deviate from UMA’s procedures/policies/guidelines or conflict with the mission/ vision of UMA. (Examples include but are not limited to: neglect, unprofessional behavior, abuse of any nature, psychological issues, poor attitudes, unwillingness to work with other leaders, etc.)
- Near Miss – (a situation or event that could have resulted in the injury or death of a person(s) but did not) UMA leaders should report all near misses of youth(s) or adult(s) directly to the UMA Director
- In the case of a near miss, a review of the situation will be made and proper measures will be taken to avoid any future near misses. This might involve education, re-training or procedural changes to ensure the safety of all participants
- Concerns - UMA leaders should report any other concerns which may have a negative impact on UMA. They should immediately report to the next appropriate level of authority.
Reporting Procedure- Reports, complaints/concerns go up the chain of command. Each level of authority will then take the steps to notify their leadership of the report/concern.
- An incident involving a volunteer should be reported to the volunteers’ Group Leader
- An incident involving a youth should be reported to a Group Leader
- An incident involving a Group Leader should be reported to the Assistant Director
- An incident involving the Assistant Director should be reported to the Executive Director
- An incident involving Executive Director should be reported to the Board
Reporting Policy and Procedure
- It is the responsibility of the UMA Director to handle all matters of discipline involving UMA leadership. In the event that the Director is involved in an incident, then the UMA Board of Directors will be tasked with handling the matter.
- Discipline may include temporary or permanent suspension of the UMA leader(s) depending on the nature of the situation/offense. Attempts to thoroughly investigate and understand the entire matter will be made and any prior documented issues pertaining to that individual will be reviewed before final disciplinary action is taken. Any individual that is found to be clearly and willfully disregarding UMA’s policies/procedures/guidelines or to be in drastic conflict with the mission and vision of UMA will be permanently suspended from UMA and its activities.
- By agreeing to these policies and procedures, you are acknowledging that you are acting under the leadership and authority of Urban Mountain Adventures and have been entrusted by UMA to enter into a relationship with the youth UMA has committed to serve. If a leader is temporarily or permanently suspended or voluntarily leaves the organization, they are no longer under UMA protection or supervision and should therefore cease acting as a representative of UMA through contact with the youth.
UMA leaders are expected to drive in a safe manner following all traffic laws when driving with UMA participants. All passengers are to be buckled when the vehicle is moving and no child under the age of 13 should ride in the front seat.
UMA leaders must pass a Driving Check with the Director prior to receive permission to drive the van(s)
Personal Vehicle Usage- If you are transporting youth in your vehicle, the vehicle needs to be properly insured and in good working order. The owner assumes all responsibilities in the event of an accident.
In specific situations, UMA Caravan policy can be followed if permission is given by the Volunteer Coordinator. Caravan Policy- One leader can be alone with (a) youth/youths in a vehicle if followed by another leader. Precautions should be taken against one male adult with one female youth or visa versa.
- Follow pre-trip inspection procedure prior to any trip