Adult Interactions with Teens
Volunteers should maintain appropriate boundaries with teens. Volunteers should not give out their personal number, social media, or emails to teens. If a teen needs someone to talk to or needs further contact instead refer them to the administration number and alert administration about the teen in need. Volunteers keep discussion centered around the teen and their life. Remember you are the adult leader not a friend.
Appropriate and Inappropriate Actions
There are appropriate and inappropriate interactions with teens. Appropriate physical contact with teens includes: side hugs, pats on the upper back, handshakes and high fives, touching hands, shoulder/arms, arm around shoulder. Inappropriate Physical Interaction includes: full frontal hugs, extended and prolonged hugs, kissing, interaction behind closed doors and isolated areas, touching bottoms, chest, stomach, and upper leg, inappropriate wrestling, piggy back rides, ticking, any type of massage, bullying, hazing, corporal punishment, romantic of sexual contact, viewing pornography, and any form of affection that is unwanted. There is also appropriate and inappropriate verbal communication. Appropriate communication could involve praise, positive reinforcement, casual conversation, positive electronic communication, and appropriate jokes. Inappropriate Communication includes harsh and threatening language or cursing, derogatory remarks, belittling or name calling, risque or sexual joke, sexually provocative language, jokes at others expense, telling stories that others do not wish to have told, involving youth in personal problems, secret or private electronic communications, and sharing secrets with youth.
Volunteer Supervision Guidelines
When teens are present special attention needs to be given in areas of special risk. these include isolated areas, and the presence of high-risk youth. The following guidelines are:
Any area where there is not a straight visual of others. Areas to take into consideration: the stairway to The Hangout, the movie room, bathrooms, hallway. If an area is is isolate staff should remain in doorways and at least six feet away from students unless two other people are present.
Staff to teen ratio:
There should always be at least three people present in the teen center. Two of these must be adult volunteers. Adults should never be alone with teens, nor should teens ever be left alone. Supervision of teens is required at all times. If a situation arises where this is not able to be maintained please call the on call administrator.
The Hangout Area:
Teens and staff should stay in designated Hangout areas only. If staff or teens need to use the restroom someone needs to be on the security station to make sure teens are viewed entering and leaving the restroom and then must immediately return to The Hangout.
Procedures for Monitoring Youth Interaction
Adult leaders should never be alone with youth. One should never be behind closed doors with a youth. This protects the youth and the adult.
When youth is needing to be talked to one on one in a private setting, leaders need to position the meeting where others can have them within their line of sight.
We do not have any tolerance for hazing or bullying of any kind. Hazing is defined as any activity expected to join or maintain status in a group. Hazing involves humiliating, degrading, or risking physically or emotional harm. This should not occur even if the participant agrees and is willing. This include employees, volunteers, and youth across all peer groups. Bullying is defined as aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength, It is usually repeated over time. Bullying includes actions such as hitting, punching, teasing, name calling, intimidation through gestures and social exclusion. Bullying also includes cyber bullying through use of technology.
Public Displays of Affection
Special attention should be given to youth that are attracted to other youth. Youth should not be allowed to make-out, sit under blankets or pillows together, sit on one another, display inappropriate physical affection, or be in isolated areas alone. Youth should sit in the appropriate amount of space furniture allows. If a chair is meant for one person, one person should be sitting in the chair (even if multiple can fit). Youth and adults should follow the appropriate physical touch as mentioned in the heading “Appropriate and Inappropriate Actions” above.