Youth Safety

The following risk management policies apply to all youth programs sponsored by any Extension program area, including 4-H programs, events sponsored by the Family Impact Center, and programs Master Gardeners may lead for youth such as Garden and Grow, etc. Policies that solely relate to 4-H and those that do not apply to 4-H will be marked as such.

Note: When working with community partners and media outlets that request contact information about youth, be sure to receive parental consent before sharing or direct the parent to contact the partner directly (for example, a local paper with an online presence asks to do a story of a 4-H member or family).

Click on each tab to read more about the topic.

Popular topics on this page include:

  • 3.3 Adult Classifications (Chaperones, Guest Speakers, etc.)
  • 3.5 Overnight Events (Camps, Teen Conference, Camp Finances, etc.)
  • 3.6-3.12 Emergency Preparedness
  • 3.17 Youth safety online and monitoring social media

Photos of youth engaged in a program become resources to share in annual reports or in marketing campaigns to promote future programs. Keep in mind, youth (and adults) need to provide consent if an image or video of them is used with external audiences. Consider printing and providing copies of the UM System Photo and Video Release form the day of the event for parents/adults to sign. Alternatively, work with the CVENT team to include a consent statement in the event registration pages. (This does not apply to 4-H as 4-H youth and adults digitally sign a consent form when enrolling in 4-H or registering for an event in 4-H Online.)

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    3.1 MU Extension Youth Program Essential Policies

    Employees and volunteers are expected to hold themselves to the highest standard of conduct when working with program youth (see definition 2 below). The top priority is safeguarding the wellbeing of program youth. Failure to uphold these policies and standards jeopardizes the safety of the youth as well as the reputation and support of the University.

    Additionally, review, adhere to, and enforce the affirmative action policies of the University. See section II of this appendix for a quick reference to University Policy and Volunteer-Led Programs.

    For all accidents, injuries, and illnesses, be sure to complete an Event/Activity Incident Report LG811 (PDF).

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      A. Definitions

      1. Youth Program
      Any (1) event, operation, or endeavor operated, conducted, or organized by MU Extension, (2) that includes minors, and (3) during which parents/guardians may or may not be present.

      2. Program Youth
      Includes all youth who participate in the MU Extension program including enrolled 4-H members. "Youth" in 4-H means ages 5 through 19 if their "4-H age" is 18. (4-H age is determined by the age of a member on December 31 of the current program year. Additional "youth" includes individuals with special needs, who can continue in 4-H through 21 years of age.

      3. Authorized Adults
      Adults who are authorized by MU Extension to lead and facilitate youth programs are either (a) current MU Extension employees (faculty or staff) or (b) adults 18+ years of age* who are recognized, active volunteers (see Section 1.7 on this site for volunteer qualifications). See Tab 3.3 Topic B.1 for qualifications and responsibilities of chaperones, including lodging adults.

      4. Care, Custody, or Control
      When an authorized adult is present and has primary responsibility for the supervision of program youth at any given point throughout the activity or program. At least one adult for every 10 youth (1:10) must have care, custody, or control of program youth at all times during the activity or program including sleeping hours for overnight experiences.

      5. Child Abuse or Neglect
      When a program youth has suffered or faces a substantial threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect. This also includes any conduct of a sexual nature that may be harmful to a program youth's mental, emotional, or physical welfare. See on Tab 2.3: Mandated Reporter policies.

      Adopted from The Ohio State University's Activities and Programs with Minor Participants interim policy guide.

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      B. Youth Safety and Member and Adult Code of Conduct

      It is understood that standards for behavior are in place to promote a physically and emotionally safe learning environment for all youth. In 4-H, all youth and program adults are expected to follow the 4-H Member and Adult Code of Conduct policies, which they agree to when enrolling in Missouri 4-H.

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      C. Interactions Between Adults and Youth Overview

      1. Immediately report any suspected abuse and neglect (including sexual assault or intimate contact). Follow the steps listed on Tab 2.3: Mandated Reporter.
      2. A program youth requiring medical attention is to be directed to the activity's designated first-aid contact immediately. This may be a nurse for overnight events, or parent if present during single-day events. If no parent/guardian will be present, the employee has secured permission (usually a waiver) granting permission to administer basic first aid to the youth.
      3. Always have program youth follow safety directives (i.e. fire alarm, first-aid kit, emergency preparedness plan, etc.)
      4. Respect the privacy of program youth.
      5. Do not give personal gifts to program youth.
      6. Taking pictures of program youth or posting pictures or information about program youth to social media sites without parent/guardian permission is prohibited. (See Tab 3.14 on Virtual Safety of Youth.)

      Adopted from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Activity Workers Guidelines

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      D. Communications Between Adults and Program Youth

      Authorized adults (MU Extension volunteers or employees) may only communicate with program youth in person, by phone, social media, or other digital means to convey program-related information during the year (for 4-H clubs and projects, for instance), and during multi-day events such as overnights. Other policies include:

      1. Do not share personal or intimate information with program youth.
      2. Do not use profanity in front of program youth.
      3. Avoid making inappropriate comments when in the presence of program youth, including but not limited to comments that are sexual, racial, or related to sexual or gender orientation, and/or religious comments.

      Adopted from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Activity Workers Guidelines

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      E. Supervision and Physical Contact Guidelines

      1. All program youth must have adult supervision until released to a parent or guardian unless specific written parental permission is received prior to the end of the program.
      2. Never leave program youth unsupervised. Supervise in pairs whenever possible; avoid being alone with one program youth.
      3. Always be in view of others (i.e. when meeting in an office), leave the door open, and have another employee or volunteer present in the room or close proximity. If privacy is required, inform other employees that the door will be mostly closed for a private conversation. The other employee will remain nearby in the area. If no other employee is present in the building, the meeting should be rescheduled or moved to a more public location.
      4. The use of an employee or a volunteer's personal hotel room for meeting/interacting with an individual program youth is prohibited. (4-H volunteers are authorized to utilize their home and property to conduct meetings with groups of youth, but never one-on-one if the youth is ) Volunteers are prohibited from meeting program youth off-site or off-hours. Exceptions require parental written approval and the responsible county MU Extension employee for approval in advance.
      5. When in bathrooms, MU Extension employees and volunteers should be the same gender as the program youth. Sharing a stall (bathroom or shower) with program youth is strictly prohibited (the exception being an authorized caregiver for youth with special needs). Employees and volunteers (including chaperones) will not be in the shower or bath areas with youth except during extreme medical emergencies (see Tab 3.3 Topic B.1 Chaperones). For situations there is not an adult of the same gender, refer to Tab 3.5 for suggestions on making accommodations for youth who need them.
      6. All physical contact should be appropriate (i.e. high fives, fist bumps, handshakes). Employees and volunteers should not engage in, initiate, or encourage inappropriate contact, such as chest bumps, kisses, hugs with both arms, pats on the bottom, or sitting on laps.
      7. Physical restraint is prohibited, except to protect youth from self-harm or to remove them from physical harm if they are not able (physically or emotionally) to do so.
      8. Other than high fives, first bumps, and handshakes, any touching of program youth should be restricted to shoulders and upper back. Never areas covered by a typical bathing suit.
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      F. Discipline and Youth Participants

      Employees and volunteers (including chaperones) should work in teams of two when handling disciplinary issues. This ensures that another adult is available to assist if necessary. If the situation is dangerous to the program youth or others, act immediately to reduce the danger. When possible, take the program youth aside rather than handling the disciplinary problem in front of peers or others. (See Tab 3.3 Topic B.1 Chaperones)

      Keep the Following in Mind When Discipline is Warranted:

      • Work with other employees or volunteers to ensure the environment for the discussion is safe (not threatening or embarrassing to the program youth).
      • Don't make "threats" such as sending the program youth home unless the action warrants it, and there is general agreement with the employee that sending a program youth home is an appropriate measure.
      • Each participant digitally signs the 4-H Event Acceptance clause when enrolling/re-enrolling through 4-H Online and indicates they have read and agree to the Member/Adult Code of Conduct.
      • Stay calm.
      • Treat all program youth fairly.

      Discipline Process

      If the employee is not present, volunteers may complete steps 1 and 2 on their own.

      • Step 1 – Politely ask the youth if they think the behavior is appropriate. Listen to their side of the story. If their explanation is not satisfactory, tell them how you expect them to behave.
      • Step 2 – If the youth responds disrespectfully to your first approach, or if the inappropriate behavior continues, contact the MU Extension employee (if not present) and explain the situation. If in the area, the employee may come and talk to the youth in person. If not, the employee may talk to the youth by phone or 2-way radio.
      • Step 3 – If after steps one and two, the inappropriate behavior continues, the employee (if not self) contacts the youth's parents/guardians to speak to the youth.
      • Step 4 – Dismissal from the program: If after steps 1 through 3, the youth risks being dismissed from the program. The decision will be made by the MU Extension employee.

      In the event of dismissal from the event, the employee and the parent/guardian of the youth will be contacted before the youth is sent home. In extreme cases, a youth may be dismissed from the MU Extension program (i.e. Missouri 4-H). If program dismissal is being considered, the employee, parents/guardians, and volunteers witnessing the incident should meet before a decision is made.

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      G. Reporting and Action Requirements of Employee and Program Adults

      Child Abuse and Neglect Mandated Reporter

      From Section 2.3: Mandated Reporter: MU Extension employees and volunteers are 'mandated reporters' of suspected child abuse and neglect. In fact, legal concerns for mandated reporters are potential criminal prosecution for failing to report suspected abuse or neglect.

      Employees and volunteers must (1) contact the Missouri Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1-800- 392-3738 (TDD 1-800-669-8689), (2) contact the employee who directly supervises them (if not self), (3) the local law enforcement, and (4) the MU Police Department (573-882-7201) if on campus.

      In lieu of calling the child abuse and neglect hotline, you may file a report online at This action does not replace the other reporting requirements (2, 3, or 4 above).

      Detailed guidelines for mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect in Missouri are found: . Also, visit MU Extension's Child Abuse and Neglect site for additional guidance. A PDF guide on Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF) is also available through MU Extension.

      Volunteer or Employee's Spouse on Sex Offender Registry

      Volunteer applicants who appear on the Sex Offender Registry are not permitted to serve as a volunteer. Additionally, in an effort to protect youth the following steps should be followed concerning a non-volunteering spouse:

      • A spouse listed on the Sex Offender Registry is not permitted to attend as a volunteer or chaperone. (chaperones defined on Tab 3.3 Topic B.1 Chaperones)
      • The volunteer cannot work with program youth at their home if someone who resides there (i.e. spouse or another family member) or someone who frequents the property (friend or another relative) is on the Sex Offender Registry.
      • Even if a volunteer and their spouse are not on the registry, it is best to have a second recognized volunteer present at all times whether at home or during the youth program.

      Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduc

      All university employees who become aware of sex discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking on the basis of sex, dating/intimate partner violence, or sexual exploitation are mandated reporters. This applies regardless of whether the recipient of the behavior is a student, employee, volunteer, or visitor at the University of Missouri or any of the MU Extension county offices.

      From the University of Missouri Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy (Section 2.2 University Policies): To assist faculty, employee, and students in reporting incidents of sexual harassment or misconduct, the University of Missouri has expanded Mizzou's Office of Civil Rights & Title IX office. The office's website contains an online reporting form. The online reporting form is the preferred method of reporting incidents and can be filled out anonymously or with identifying information. The site also contains contact information for Title IX employee, information for mandated reporters and bystanders, resources for individuals who may have experienced sexual harassment or misconduct, and for individuals who may have witnessed or heard about such an incident.

      For more information, refer to University of Missouri's Collected Rules and Regulations, 600.020: Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in Education/Employment Policy. For a list of related terms and definitions, refer to section 600.020B.

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    3.2 Adult to Program Youth Ratios

    All events, programs, and activities with registered program youth, active participants must have at least one (1) recognized adult per every ten (10) program youth (1:10) 18* and under for the duration of the program. *For 4-H, go by the youth's 4-H Age as of Dec. 31 of 18 and under. (See section 3.6.C regarding water activities and safety). Program youth in this context refers to both MU Extension 4-H enrolled youth and youth not enrolled in 4-H participating in MU Extension programs.

    A. Overnight/Residential Events

    In addition to following the 1:10 ratio of recognized adults to program youth for daytime activities, employee organizing the event will ensure the following:

    1. Additional recognized volunteers shall serve as "lodging adults," volunteers who sleep in the cabin with (if camping) or room near program youth designated as under their watch. The ratio of lodging adults to program youth for sleeping hours may be increased as needed (for example 1:15). Lodging adults may be considered part of the 1:10 ratio of adults to program youth for daytime activities.
    2. Recognized adults and lodging adults should be the same gender of the program youth in their care. We recognize this is not always the case. See tab 3.5 for additional Inclusivity Considerations.
    3. If present, lifeguards and nurses are not considered part of the 1:10 ratio for daytime activities.

    See Tab 3.5 at the top of this page for additional guidance and policies regarding overnight/residential youth events.

    B. Additional Considerations

    1. If events are comprised predominantly of younger youth 5-7 years old, consider reducing the youth to adult ratio (for example, 1 adult per 8 youth).
    2. If program youth are present who need one-on-one assistance due to a medical condition or disability, the caregiver needs to stay for the duration of the event. The caregiver does not count towards the 1:10 ratio for daytime events nor can be considered a lodging adult for overnight events.
    3. Sites such as schools (public and private), religious centers, day and extended-day care facilities that utilize their (the site's) employees/educators to lead MU Extension programs assume the risk. The University assumes no risk in such circumstances.
    4. Short-term (episodic or one-off) volunteers that are recruited by MU Extension employees and volunteers for a short period of time (less than a day) must be in close proximity to a recognized adult (employee or volunteer) for the duration of the short-term volunteer role. Short-term volunteers may only be on the premises during the program. Individuals staying all day or overnight must be recognized volunteers (see Section 1.7 Volunteer Qualifications).
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    3.3 Adult Classifications

    Not every adult attending the active program is a "recognized" (enrolled and/or registered) adult. In certain situations, these adults may be welcome to attend. Other classifications of adults are prohibited from participating, attending, or visiting.

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      A. Visitors, Guest Presenters, and Strangers

      The lead employee (organizing and facilitating the program) will identify adults who have a reason to be present during the extension program/activity or outing where program youth are actively participating, and ensure the following procedures are communicated and in place prior to the program:

      • Volunteers and employees shall be instructed during orientation to immediately report any unidentified strangers.
      • Plan for all recognized adults to meet each other at the beginning of the activity so that they are able to identify each other.
      • Recognized adults should be readily identifiable by some means (e.g. T-shirt, name badge, etc.)
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        Visitors are parents, guardians, relatives, family acquaintances, and interested community members who attend public events hosted by a MU Extension program. Depending on the program, visitors may be required to seek permission prior to attending or not. Open-houses, community fairs, informational booths, and garden tours are examples where visitors may be present without prior authorization. Suggested safety precautions include:

        • Provide a sign-in sheet for visitors, pre-registered, and/or walk-up (e.g. for an open-house, tour, etc.).
        • Provide a form of identification to approved visitors (e.g. an adhesive label, unique sticker, etc.). This does not apply to adults who drop program youth off and leave the premises (e.g. an overnight camp).
        • Employee or approved volunteers will greet and direct visitors to the destination.
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        Guest Presenters

        Guest presenters recruited solely for the purpose of leading a one-time activity or talk are a type of Episodic Volunteers. Presenters may be recruited to share expertise with youth or to lead a hands-on activity. The following considerations apply to utilize guest presenters. Guest presenters must:

        • Work under the direction of employees and volunteers to ensure that the objectives and standards of the Missouri MU Extension program are met.
        • Participate as presenters, speakers, or demonstrators to facilitate a single presentation during the MU Extension program and only for the time allotted for the presentation.
        • Must be accompanied by a MU Extension approved adult (employee or volunteer) when in the presence of program youth.
        • Are NOT eligible to perform duties of a volunteer (e.g. cannot drive on university business, chaperone, etc.). Chaperones are defined in Tab 3.3 Topic B.1 Chaperones.

        Recognized program volunteers may also lead presentations or give a talk to youth in addition to their volunteer duties as long as the 1:10 ratio of adults to youth is maintained. These volunteers are not "Guests Presenters " as defined, but part of their volunteer role is to give a presentation. Guest presenters, however, are not recognized 4-H volunteers and do not count towards the ratio.

        (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

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        Strangers at Closed Events

        A stranger is someone present at a MU Extension a closed event, activity, program, or outing without an explicit purpose where program youth are actively engaged. "Closed" events include programs such as day camps, campus-based events, and programs that require registration to attend. The county or state fair and open-house events are not closed.

        Being curious about what is going on is not to be considered an explicit purpose to attend a closed event. Further, a stranger is one who is not readily identifiable by the youth present nor the recognized adults in charge. Be sure all employees and volunteers adhere to the following procedures:

        • At no time shall the stranger be permitted to interact with program youth without an employee or volunteer serving as an escort.
        • Unless the unidentified person poses an obvious threat, an employee or volunteer will approach the stranger to ask for their name and purpose.
        • If the stranger does not provide their name and a satisfactory reason for being there, they shall be asked to leave and be escorted off the property.
          • If the event is closed (not open to the general public), the stranger shall be escorted off the property by an employee or volunteer.
          • For open events in certain circumstances, if the stranger readily identifies themself and presents an acceptable reason to observe, then the stranger may be allowed to remain on-site as long as they do not become a threat to person or property. An employee or volunteer should monitor the area while the stranger is present.
          • If a stranger becomes a threat or does not leave the property, contact local law enforcement for assistance, and move program youth to safety.
        • Keep detailed documentation on the situation. Information should include the date, time, description of the individual(s), situation, steps followed, etc.
        • All program youth and volunteers should be instructed to report all sightings of unknown persons to the MU Extension employee.

        Note: First responders are not to be considered strangers. Elected officials, program sponsors, donors, and the like should make prior arrangements to visit with the employee(s).

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      B. Accompanying Adults

      Accompanying adults are those without an authorized volunteer role, and therefore, should be under the oversight of the responsible adults (employees and volunteers) to ensure program youth safety measures remain intact. Accompanying adults include parents, guardians, charter-bus drivers, tour guides, etc. These individuals are responsible for their well-being (for instance, carry health insurance*, self-monitor personal health, and be aware of any known allergens. *Registered 4-H adults (for instance, a 4-H volunteer attending an event with a child and not serving as a 4-H volunteer) are afforded the extra layer of accident and health insurance through enrolling in 4-H Online.

      When accompanying adults (excluding those adults who are registered in 4Honline) are present, additional safety considerations include:

      • Must be accompanied by a recognized adult when in the presence of program youth.
      • Are not permitted to drive/utilize University vehicles (e.g. vans) or equipment (e.g. a walk-behind garden-tiller). They would be personally responsible for any damage or injury incurred.
      • Must make separate lodging arrangements away from program youth lodging (e.g. different floors, separate cabin) at their own expense for overnight events.
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        1. Chaperones (Including Lodging Adults)

        "Chaperone" applies to any adult with an authorized role who is present during any portion of the youth event including while traveling if applicable. Chaperones (a special classification of volunteers) must be 21+ years of age. Chaperones must meet all the qualifications to be a recognized volunteer (see Section 1 Risk Management Overview Tab 1.7 Volunteer Qualifications).

        Creating safe environments is certainly an important role for the chaperone. It is understood that there are certain rules and regulations that should be followed. The chaperone also should help young people grow, make responsible decisions, and have fun.

        Generally, chaperones:

        • Enjoy, accept, and encourage program youth.
        • Model the behavior you want program youth to emulate.
        • Clarify expectations (strive for consistency).
        • Don't expect program youth to do everything the way you would.
        • Display tolerance and flexibility.
        • Assist program youth in making decisions; when possible (high risk or immediate danger is not involved) do not direct or manipulate but be available as a coach and mentor.
        • Show by behavior that program youth input is valued.
        • Allow program youth to lead when appropriate.
        • Communicate clearly and often.
        • Help program youth see consequences in the decisions they make.
        • Create expectations that are respectful of program youth.

        Adapted from Youth Outreach – Points of Light Foundation

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          a. Chaperone Qualifications

          Chaperones (including lodging adults) must:

          • Be a recognized MU Extension volunteer.
          • Be 21 years of age or over
          • Have an interest in youth development and enthusiasm for working with young people and adults.
          • Have the ability to work with youth while nurturing positive self-worth, decision-making skills, responsibility, and leadership in youth.
          • Have the ability to participate in activities that require long hours, limited sleep, and physical activity.
          • Have the ability to work and communicate effectively in both verbal and written forms.
          • Have the ability to handle sensitive issues, discipline, and emergency situations.
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          b. Responsibilities

          • Become thoroughly acquainted with the list of program youth expectations for a given event.
          • Assist with logistics as appropriate.
          • Provide transportation to, from, and during the event as needed if authorized.
          • Review and assist in implementing the Camp/Emergency Preparedness Plan (section 3.6) as requested.
          • Monitor the health of program youth. Contact the MU Extension employee or lead volunteer (if applicable) in instances of youth falling ill or getting injured.
          • Supervise program youth during the entire time of the event.
          • Assist in supervising check-in, clean-up, and check-out.
          • Enforce the program/youth code of conduct (4-H Youth Code of Conduct (PDF)) and policies of the event(s).
          • Encourage program youth to participate in all activities.
          • Attend chaperone meetings.
          • Participate in scheduled activities and programs with the program youth.
          • Visit with assigned program youth several times a day to review the program agenda, expectations, etc. This is also a good time to check in with program youth to learn of possible health and/or personal problems.
          • Carry a conference or event program/agenda at all times and be willing to answer questions and give directions.
          • Assist with timely checks on participants – enforce the curfew if applicable.
          • Follow the MU Extension Volunteer Code of Conduct.
          • Set an example by wearing appropriate clothing for each activity.
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          c. Avoid One-On-One Situations

          Chaperones should never be in a position of being alone with program youth. For example, if a chaperone is to pick up program youth on the route, plans need to be made ahead of time that (at least) the first pick-up is a group of two or more program youth. Or, if escorting a program youth to the camp nurse, take a friend of the program youth along. This can also comfort the injured individual.

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          Clarification on Appropriate Clothing

          Appropriate clothing does not offend others, non-political, does not promote hate or discrimination, is non-sexual, and covers at least all body parts deemed appropriate by society for the given activity. For youth, this is similar to the dress codes at school.

        (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

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        2. Tag-Along Adults (Related to a MU Extension Employee or Volunteer)

        Tag-along relatives of an employee not in a volunteer role are not permitted to attend, shadow, ride-along or participate in the MU Extension youth program unless they fulfill the requirements of being a chaperone. Then if needed, the individual would be authorized to fulfill the chaperoning role as directed by the employee.

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        3. Drivers

        If an individual's duties will include transporting youth (other than their own child) to MU Extension sponsored events), the individual must become an authorized volunteer (see Section 1 Risk Management Overview Tab 1.7 Volunteer Qualifications). A volunteer transporting only their child(ren) is not considered a "volunteer driver" for the purposes of this policy. A volunteer who is authorized to drive unrelated program youth:

        1. Must hold a valid, unrestricted driver's license appropriate for the vehicle driven. Additionally, the vehicle must meet all the vehicle safety requirements set by the state of Missouri.
        2. Must provide evidence of liability insurance for their personal vehicle as required by Missouri state law. (The University provides only excess liability coverage on personal vehicles used for University business.
        3. Avoid one-on-one travel with program youth other than a related youth. (A driver transporting their own child(ren) plus youth unrelated is considered a volunteer driver and must be authorized by the employee to do so.)
        4. Abide by program-specific policies and guidelines set by the employee responsible for the program in addition to the MU Extension Volunteer Code of Conduct.

        For liability policies regarding volunteers as drivers of rented vehicles, refer to Section 4. Property, tab 4.7.A regarding volunteer drivers and rented vehicles.

        Driving on Behalf of the University Without Program Youth

        University business applies only to driving assignments authorized by the employee with oversight of the local program administrators. For liability policy regarding volunteer drivers using their personal, rented, borrowed, and University-owned vehicles and trailers, consult Section 6. Liability, tab 6.3 regarding volunteer drivers.

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    3.4 Youth Event Registration and Forms

    Organized events for youth through a named MU Extension program (e.g. camps, regional and state events) require youth and their parents/guardians to complete and submit a registration form. Registrations forms must require complete names and contact information for the youth, parents/guardians, and emergency contacts. Additionally, all health concerns (required medication with accurate dosage and/or known allergens) must be included in the registration packet either on the registration form or a separate health form. If the youth has no known health concerns, this, too, is recorded on the form. Employees do not accept youth registration if any part of the required information is missing or illegible.

    For guidance on the proper security and disposal methods of youth registration forms including separate health forms, see Section 6.11 for information on Record Retention, Transmittal, and Destruction.

    Inclusivity Considerations: We understand from experience that we take what volunteers are able to serve in this capacity, and at times the volunteer group might be all of the same genders. Youth MAY NOT be excluded from the event because of this. Instead, there are modifications to the sleeping arrangements and shower schedules that can and should be made to include all youth applicants. All youth will be enabled to attend. Refer to the 4-H Program Leaders Working Group's Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of All Genders and Sexual Orientations (PDF) (Links to an external site.) guide for practical tips to ensure all youth are included regardless of gender identity.

    Related Topics:

    • Tab 3.5 Overnight Events

    (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

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    3.5 Overnight/Residential Events

    A MU Extension volunteer or employee needs to organize, manage and be present at overnight events affiliated with a MU Extension program. For residential camps and campus-based overnight events, an employee will need to recruit, manage, and supervise approved adult volunteers (including chaperones). For approved volunteer-organized lock-ins, the lead volunteer(s) will recruit volunteer assistants, organize and supervise the event.

    All adult assistants and chaperones must be recognized volunteers (see Section 1 Risk Management Overview Tab 1.7 Volunteer Qualifications) and will adhere to and enforce all University policies related to Civil Rights and Title IX (see Section 2 University Policies) including assuming the role of a mandated reporter. Overnight events with youth participants should follow the risk management strategies detailed above and below covering all aspects of youth safety.

    During the planning phase, conduct a safety audit of the facilities. If the inspection reveals a high level of risk, the employee(s) needs to avoid the risk and make alternate plans for an alternate site to host the camp/overnight event. High-level (unacceptable) risks for overnight events may include deteriorating facilities, unsanitary conditions, etc. The employees determine if the risk is unacceptable

    (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

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      A. Overnight Event Minimal Requirements

      To be approved by MU Extension, overnight events need to meet the minimum requirements:

      1. All approved adults (volunteers, cooks, chaperones, cabin adults, nurses, etc) must be recognized volunteers. The exception is adults who are asked by an employee to present a program, topic, or workshop for a day, but do not remain overnight nor are alone with youth without being supervised by employees or volunteers (see Tab 3.3 subsection A.2: Guest Presenters).
      2. Every overnight event should have someone authorized to administer first aid and medications. This may be a nurse (LPN or RN), or an authorized volunteer (with Basic First Aid and CPR certification) serving in this capacity This individual shall not fulfill any other volunteer role. If possible, consider including two, so that if one is occupied the other is available to respond as needed. The second may be an employee. If so, that would be their only duty.
      3. Every overnight event (or day camp) with pool access should have at least one (1) lifeguard on duty plus at least one authorized adult while youth are in the water. Either the employee arranges for the lifeguard or the facility may provide lifeguards (e.g. a city pool or YMCA).
      4. Every overnight event (and day camp) present to the state 4-H office a Camp/Emergency Preparedness) Plan to the Missouri 4-H Center office no later than May 1st of the program year. The plan must include details of daily grounds inspections, a list of who will have keys, and who has the responsibility to lock gates and doors where applicable (see Tab 3.6).
      5. All overnight youth participants MUST be registered 4-H members and paid in full for the event.
      6. All camp employees should have skills in the area of their employment and teen counselors should receive the training necessary to make the camp experience enjoyable and educational for the campers. All camp employees and volunteers, including teen counselors, will receive training prior to camp that will include recognizing and responding to bullying and emergency procedures. This training component should be added to all camp employee job descriptions. Refer to the 4-H/CYSS Camp Planning Handbook (PDF) for sample job descriptions including chaperones, counselors, and the camp director.
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      B. Youth to Adult Ratio

      In addition to following the 1:10 ratio of recognized adults to youth for daytime activities, employees organizing the event will ensure the following:

      1. Additional recognized volunteers shall serve as "lodging adults" (a specific type of chaperone) who sleep in the cabin with (if camping) or room in close proximity to youth designated as under their care and control.
      2. The ratio of lodging adults to youth may be reduced to 1:15 during sleeping hours. Lodging adults may be considered part of the 1:10 ratio during daytime activities.
      3. Recognized adults and lodging adults should be the same gender as the youth in their care. We recognize this is not always the case. See the 4-H Program Leaders Working Group's Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of All Genders and Sexual Orientations (PDF) guide.
      4. If present, lifeguards and nurses (or authorized volunteers responsible for first aid) are not considered part of the 1:10 ratio for daytime activities.

      Programs with a higher risk potential (such as a ropes course) should have a smaller adult to youth ratio (1:8 or 1:5). Program planners should consider a smaller ratio (1:8) for programs with youth ages 5-7.

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      C. Parent/Guardian Orientation Packet

      It is recommended that parents/guardians are provided an information packet before the start of the overnight event/camp that includes the following:

      1. An itinerary with contact names.
      2. The trip's activities and any risks involved (e.g. ropes course and what safety equipment is used).
      3. An overview of the volunteer selection process.
      4. Availability and accessibility of emergency assistance (distance and time from assistance/hospital).
      5. How youth will be supervised during day and night and by whom.
      6. Written directions for how to deliver any needed medications including dosage directions to the person responsible for first aid or lead employee if that individual is not present.
      7. Any supplies that each camper is required to bring.
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      D. Accommodations

      Program youth are not allowed to be alone in a volunteer or employee's private room. Do not enter a bathroom or shower area to assist a program youth without another employee or volunteer of the same gender as the youth present. We recognize this is not always the case. See Tab 3.5 for additional Inclusivity Considerations. Never leave program youth unsupervised in the residence halls, hotel lobby, conference rooms, or camp facilities at night.

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        Barrack-Style (Bunkhouse) Cabins/Group Dorms

        Many facilities for residential camps offer bunkhouse-style, open-space cabins with shared shower and restroom facilities. (Dorms may have shared sleeping quarters and shower facilities, as well.) For such facilities, the employee ensures the following policies are understood by all approved adults (volunteers, chaperones, nurses, etc.)

        1. Ideally, there would be at least one (1) lodging adult (of the same gender as the youth) inside when possible or in close proximity. We realize this is not always the case. Be prepared to revise plans as needed to accommodate all youth. See the Inclusivity Considerations resource at the beginning of section 3.5.
        2. The lodging adult must be in the housing unit during the scheduled time when program youth are in the unit.
        3. The lodging adults sleep alone. If there are single beds in addition to bunk beds, the lodging adults should occupy single beds. If only bunk beds are present, the lodging adult will occupy one alone.
        4. When the lodging adult is bunking with the youth, it is best to have the lodging adult's bed in close proximity to the exit.
        5. Program youth abide by the lodging adult's directions including the lights-out time and remaining in the cabins at night and in their own bed, etc.

        The same applies to overnight events in dorms or dorm-like facilities with shared sleeping quarters and restroom/shower facilities.

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        Hotel, Motel, and University Housing

        The authorized volunteers will:

        1. Refrain from entering a program youth's room, bathroom facility, or similar area when that program youth is staying overnight in University housing or hotel/motel room without another authorized adult in attendance, except under emergency circumstances.
        2. Not share accommodations with program youth with the exception of program youths' parents or guardians sharing accommodations with their own children.
        3. Not shower, bathe or undress with or in the presence of program youth.
        4. Monitor youth residence/hotel hallways and public spaces when possible.
        5. Ensure program youth are in the rooms assigned by the time set by the employee responsible for the program.

        The University of Missouri offers specific expectations and regulations (PDF) concerning the use of University housing for overnight youth programs. In addition to the above guidelines, employees and volunteers need to review, follow, and enforce the University policies for overnight youth events held in University housing.

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        Youth Bedding

        Sleeping arrangements involving two (2) individuals to a bed should be highly discouraged. If the situation is unavoidable, the rooming situation should be disclosed to program participants and parents, and alternative options should be given. For example, bringing a sleeping bag, or the option of a single bed at an additional cost.

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        Other Considerations for Adult Sleeping Arrangements

        As a general rule, MU Extension does not allow adults and youth to stay in the same room during a MU Extension program.

        There are exceptions:

        • Lodging at residential camps as described (see Accommodations D.1 above).
        • Family members may stay in the same room; however, this is not encouraged because the young person's interaction with other program youth is important.
        • In rare situations, if two adults are to stay in the same room with one youth – one a family member, and the other is not a family member – a letter should be on file signed by the youth's parents/guardians stating they are aware of and agree to the arrangements. Unless there is a medical or other circumstance warranting such an arrangement, this situation should be avoided.
        • One adult and 2-3 youth could stay in the same room. (This should be very rare, too.) A letter should be on file signed by all the youth's parents/guardians stating they are aware of and agree to the arrangements.
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        Additional Safety Tips for Hotel Stays

        • Provide room numbers for those chaperoning. Encourage them to write it down on the back of their nametag or in the program for reference.
        • If participants will be leaving the hotel/facility to attend a workshop or tour, they must be accompanied by an authorized adult (volunteer or employee). The adult to youth ratio (1:10) applies. Additionally, instruct youth to write the name, address, and phone number for the conference hotel or facility on the back of the name tag, or provide this information to them ahead of time. This is particularly important when they are in unfamiliar cities.
        • Explain how to leave a wake-up call.
        • Encourage youth to use the deadbolt on the door.
        • Remind youth to close blinds or curtains.
        • Remind the youth to not let strangers in their room.
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        Inclusivity Considerations

        The policies above represent the ideal circumstances. We understand from experience that we take what volunteers are able to serve in this capacity, and at times the volunteer group might be all of the same gender. Youth MAY NOT be excluded from the event because of this. Instead, there are modifications to the sleeping arrangements and shower schedule that can and should be made to include all youth applicants. All youth will be enabled to attend. Refer to the 4-H Program Leaders Working Group's Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of All Genders and Sexual Orientations (PDF) guide for practical tips to ensure all youth are included regardless of gender identity.

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      E. Financial Oversight of Camp Funds and Expenditures

      While not directly related to youth safety, sound financial oversight of residential (and day) camp funds and expenditures is essential to ensure the program is allowed to continue. There are two options the camping group can pursue to remain in compliance with MU Extension fiscal policy while managing camp funds:

      1. 4-H Camping Associations

      Not-for-profit corporations formed for the purpose of conducting 4-H camping programs. 4-H professionals and paraprofessional extension employees comprise the majority of the members of the boards of directors of these associations. The treasurer of the association needs to be a volunteer. This is in compliance with extension policy that "extension employees are not to be the custodian of funds for any organization or for any service related to their job." There is an exception to this policy, which states, "In exceptional cases, it will be necessary for the employee to handle funds, such as a collection of 4-H camp money."

      According to the University of Missouri Extension administration, associations are not covered by any University insurance coverage. However, University pay-rolled, employees have University liability coverage when carrying out official duties. According to the Risk and Insurance Management Office, association employees, if/when supervised by University employees, may be deemed to be covered by University Worker's Compensation. Such coverage would be determined on a case by case (claim by claim) basis.

      2. University of Missouri Extension Council Management

      Regions may shift the financial and liability management of camping programs to a designated County University of Missouri Extension Council. All financial matters for the camping program are handled by the treasurer of that designated MU Extension Council.

      (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

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    3.6 Emergency Preparedness

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      A. The Missouri 4-H Camp Plan

      An important part of the overall safety of program youth participating in residential camps is advanced preparation and planning. Employees responsible for the residential camp should complete and submit a Missouri 4-H Camp Plan to the Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development by May 1 for the current program year. The plan puts in writing the safety precautions found throughout this Youth Safety page and serves as a quick reference to employees, volunteers, and state program leaders to preemptively ensure the safety of all program youth involved. Proposed residential camps will only be authorized to take place if a complete Missouri 4-H Camp Plan is submitted and approved by the state camp program leadership. As camp plans are reviewed annually and updates to the template are made, it is best to contact the Missouri 4-H office for the most current version of the Missouri 4-H Camp Plan.

      (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

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      B. Overnight and Day-Long Event Preparedness Plans

      The following applies to overnight and day-long events (4 hours or more) which require youth to preregister. County fairs, project meetings, garden tours, and similar "open" events are exempt.

      The employee(s) planning the overnight event (YCLS, residential camps, etc.) or day-long event (such as day camps) are expected to submit an Emergency Preparedness Plan (risk-management plan) to the State 4-H Center by May 1 prior to the planned event. Plus, it is important to remember:

      • All federal, state, University, and local health department guidelines must be followed including those relating to outbreaks of communicable diseases.
      • It is advised that additional accident and injury insurance be purchased. See Section 6. Liability tab 6.2, topic A.
      • Recent events have taught us that social distancing is a best practice. Plan the event with CDC guidelines in mind. See section L below.
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      C. All Program Areas

      For all accidents, injuries, and illness, be sure to complete an Event/Activity Incident Report LG811 (PDF) for 4-H or complete the following UM200 Incident Report for all other program areas. Keep it factual and objective. Within one week, submit the Events/Accident Incident Report to your supervisor, regional director, and state program director.

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      D. Responding to Emergencies

      Make sure to follow these steps in accidents resulting in serious injury and/or fatality and incidents that involve law enforcement and/or may result in litigation.

      1. Priority attention: care for the injured; stabilize the situation.
      2. Call 911 or police, ambulance, and clergy, as appropriate.
      3. A responsible MU representative stays at the scene.
      4. Make NO statements. Exceptions: the police, county engagement specialist, employee.
      5. Refer all media to University Relations. DO NOT MAKE ANY COMMENTS!
      6. The designated person must immediately contact the injured person's next of kin (e.g. parent) to inform them of the situation.
      7. If emergency contacts cannot be reached, call the police for assistance.
      8. Contact supervisor, state program office, and MU Risk and Insurance Management immediately.
      9. Contact the University of Missouri legal counsel.
      10. Immediately complete the following UM200 Incident Report, writing objective, factual notes. Within one week, submit the Events/Accident Incident Report to your supervisor, regional director, and state program director.

      Complete the Missouri 4-H Camp Plan for all overnight events (contact the Missouri 4-H office for the current camp-plan template).

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      E. Securing Health Forms

      Before the overnight event, the employee responsible for the program provides copies of the youth health forms to the designated, authorized adult(s), who will review the records and secure the forms as directed in Section 6 Liability Tab 6.10 Privacy and Confidentiality. This could be the nurse(s) if present or volunteer(s) certified in first aid. If necessary and deemed appropriate (in cases of known allergens, for instance) the designated adults will alert counselors, group leaders, and/or chaperones youth of existing medical conditions of youth participants, which, if unknown to the group leaders, could cause the youth harm.

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    3.7 Medical Emergencies

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      1. Serious Illness or Injury

      Prepare for the advent of illness and injuries by maintaining a stocked first aid kit and establishing a clear communication plan as part of the Missouri 4-H Camp Plan (or Emergency Preparedness plan for other overnight events.) Prior to the overnight event, determine which individuals are to be certified in CPR and First Aid. For camps, this would at least the camp nurse(s). Procedures to include in the emergency plan should include:

      • Contact the nurse (or 911 depending on the severity). The employee responsible for the program should be contacted.
      • The employee will contact the parents/guardians once the situation/person is stabilized and receiving care. The first priority is the well-being of the injured/ill person.
      • Stay with the person if they are not mobile or should not be moved. If waiting on the nurse (or EMT) to arrive, basic first aid should be administered by someone certified to do so.
      • If the person is able to walk (and the situation does not require calling 911 - for example, a scraped knee - escort the individual to the nurse's station (for camps). Travel in groups no less than three (3). It is advised to take a friend of the injured youth along.
      • It is strongly recommended that if an individual is taken to the hospital by ambulance, a family member, or someone from the camp should accompany them. Under no circumstances should someone who has fallen ill be allowed to drive to the hospital themself.

      See Section 6. Liability Tab 6.2.subsection A for AIL policies for 4-H members and volunteers for illnesses such as COVID-19. Additional resources may be found on MU Extension's home page. For suggested practices to reduce the risk for group activities, camps, etc., see section G below.

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      2. Anaphylaxis

      From the Mayo Clinic: A life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can cause shock, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and trouble breathing. In people who have an allergy, anaphylaxis can occur minutes after exposure to a specific allergy-causing substance (allergen). In some cases, there may be a delayed reaction or anaphylaxis may occur without an apparent trigger (Mayo Clinic).

      The group leader (the camp counselor, volunteer, or employee in charge of program youth) is to be informed ahead of time of known allergens of any youth in their care. While older youth are aware of their allergies, they may not always be aware when the allergen is present. Keep in mind, if that program youth's parent signs up to be a lodging adult or chaperone, they should be given the option to shadow their child's group during activities.

      Treatment recommendations from the Mayo Clinic include:

      • Immediately call 911 or your local medical emergency number. (Contact the camp nurse, if applicable)
      • Ask the person if they are carrying an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, others) to treat an allergic attack.
      • If the person says they need to use an autoinjector, ask whether you should help inject the medication. This is usually done by pressing the autoinjector against the person's thigh.
      • Have the person lie still on their back.
      • Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don't give the person anything to drink.
      • If there's vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
      • If there are no signs of breathing, coughing, or movement, CPR should be started by a certified individual. Do uninterrupted chest presses — about 100 every minute — until paramedics arrive.
      • Get emergency treatment even if symptoms start to improve. After anaphylaxis, it's possible for symptoms to recur. Monitoring in a hospital for several hours is usually necessary.

      Anaphylaxis symptoms usually occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen. Sometimes, however, anaphylaxis can occur a half-hour or longer after exposure. Anaphylaxis symptoms include:

      • Skin reactions, including hives along with itching, and flushed or pale skin (almost always present with anaphylaxis)
      • A feeling of warmth
      • A reported sensation of a lump in the throat
      • Constriction of the airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
      • A weak and rapid pulse
      • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
      • Dizziness or fainting
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      3. Non-Life-Threatening Allergies and Asthma

      The group leader (the camp counselor, volunteer, or employee in charge of a group of youth) is to be informed ahead of time of any youth in their care who has asthma and known allergies. Parents/guardians should bring prescribed medication for the youth upon arrival at camp. Any medications will be kept with the nurse, who with the guidance of the employee responsible for the program will determine what group leader (camp counselor or volunteer or employee) is responsible to carry the medication while the youth is engaged in activities if applicable.

      Many potential allergens may not be normally encountered by the youth apart from a camp setting. For non-life-threatening allergic reactions, contact the nurse or employee responsible for care of program youth, who will follow the guidance above.

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      4. Heat-Related Illness

      Prior to the event, the employee responsible for the program ensures that volunteers and group leaders are able to recognize the signs and treatment of heat rash, sunburns, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Utilize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention printable PDF Heat-Related Illnesses in training and make available during the event. For consideration, some basic first aid training programs may include a section on heat-related illnesses. Always check for heat advisories before embarking on planned activities. At a minimum, the following actions should be taken to prevent and/or treat the heat-related illness:

      • Make sunscreen a mandatory for all participants (adults, too)
      • Make certain everyone has water to take with them, AND that everyone takes a drink of water** every 10-20 minutes, depending on the activity and level of sun exposure. (**Individuals exhibiting symptoms of heat stroke should not be offered water. Refer to the CDC's guidelines)
      • If an individual is exhibiting symptoms, move them to a cooler space or shade the individual if a cooler space is not accessible.
      • Contact the nurse (if one is present), the employee, and/or 911 depending on the severity of symptoms (See the CDC's guidelines).
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    3.8 Severe Weather

    Having access to a weather radio (analog or digital) or mobile device capable of receiving alerts from NOAA is highly recommended. An analog radio may work better in locations where cell (data) service is unreliable. If relying on a mobile weather app, check ahead of time to ensure the location allows for reliable cell phone service. Practice beforehand with the device or app and develop and practice a communication plan with your team prior to the event.

    1. Extreme Heat
      It is important to take heed of heat advisories and to be able to recognize the signs of heat-related illness (see section 3.A.3), and utilize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention printable PDF Heat-Related Illnesses in training and make available during the event.
      1. Most heat disorders occur when an individual is overexposed to heat or to over-exercising based on age and physical condition. Employee and volunteers leading youth programs, activities, and outings should be prepared to modify programming as needed in extreme heat:
        • Indoor temperature of 88 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
        • Outdoor heat index of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
      2. Guidelines when the temperatures are high:
        • Listen for critical updates from the NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS).
        • Provide and encourage drinking plenty of water. Program youth may not feel thirsty, but they must drink water throughout the activity. Avoid drinks with caffeine.
        • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors, which absorb the sun's rays.
        • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
        • Avoid strenuous activity during the warmest part of the day.
        • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
        • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
        • Circulate air if possible as it can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
        • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.
        • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention printable PDF Heat-Related Illnesses.
    2. Severe storm watches and warnings
      Learn the differences between watches and warnings and have emergency plans in place for both.
      1. Thunderstorm/tornado watch
        • Be knowledgeable about the location and ensure a feasible plan is in place in the event of severe weather.
        • Be prepared, develop an emergency plan, and communicate it to program employees, volunteers, and other adults present.
        • Move all program youth, employees, and volunteers to a safe location as outlined in the emergency plan, and remain there until the camp/overnight director (employee) gives the All Clear signal.
        • Monitor radio/television news or a mobile device capable of receiving alerts for updates.
        • Modify outdoor activities to ensure that relatively quick access to a shelter is available.
      2. Severe thunderstorm warning
        • Follow all precautions described above in watches. Additionally:
        • Designate an adult to monitor sky conditions from a safe location.
        • Terminate outdoor activities and seek shelter immediately utilizing the emergency plan in place.
        • Make sure a headcount is completed before moving to a safe place, after arriving at the safe place, and after leaving the designated area.
    3. Tornado warning
      Follow all precautions above in watches and thunderstorm warnings. Additionally:
      • In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
      • If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
      • Stay away from windows.
      • If no shelter is available, move to a noticeably lower level of ground than the roadway away from trees, lie down and cover your head.
      • If in a vehicle, pull over, exit the car and move to a noticeably lower level of ground than the roadway away from trees, lie down and cover your head.
      • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. Seek lower ground, lie down, and cover your head.
      • Remain there until the camp/overnight director (employee) gives the All Clear signal.
      • Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado (from CDC). Err on the side of safety.
    4. Winter weather
      The decision to cancel a planned activity is no simple matter. The safety and well-being of program youth, volunteers and employee is the top priority. Youth programs, activities, and outings should be prepared to modify programming as needed in extremely cold weather.
      • Outdoor wind chill of 20 degrees below 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
      • Planned activities should be reviewed during severe winter conditions. Consider the following factors when determining the cancellation of activities:
        • The ability to safely operate vehicles (ice, snow, visibility)
        • Total predicted snowfall
        • Predicted temperature and wind chill factor
        • Schools are canceled
      • Work with the 4-H program employee and the 4-H PD to develop a cancellation plan including how 4-H members and volunteers will be notified.
      Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention PDF Prevent Hypothermia & Frostbite
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    3.9 Water Activities

    1. Expectations if participating in canoeing/kayaking/sailboating
      • Each person aboard the boat must wear a properly fitted personal floatation device. Read the information found on the Missouri State Highway Patrol's site on lifejackets.
      • Inexperienced boaters should not take a canoe/kayak/sailboat out until they have undergone training from an appropriately experienced instructor. Online training materials are also available through the nonprofit American Canoe Association (ACA) for canoeing and kayaking.
      • Never go out on the water alone.
    2. Expectations if participating in fishing See the Missouri 4-H Sportfishing homepage for project-specific guidelines.
      (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)
    3. Expectations if participating in swimming
      • Organized swimming activities at a commercial and/or public facility or beaches should have at least one (2) Red Cross certified lifeguard present.
      • Homeowners are accepting the risk when hosting swimming parties at their homes. The University will not accept risk for private swimming parties. It is therefore recommended to take out a Special Activities Accident and Health policy through American Income Life, which not only provides an extra layer of protection.
      • If no lifeguards are supplied (private facilities, camp, etc.), 4-H policy requires at least one Red Cross certified lifeguard plus one authorized adult be present at any activity involving swimming
      • Attendees that are young, non-swimmers, and poor swimmers should always wear a properly fitted personal floatation device when swimming.
      • Before swimming in rivers/streams, contact the Department of Natural Resources for information on water levels and speed of the current to determine if swimming is acceptable.
      • Swimming in pits/quarries, "cliff" diving and rope swings over water are prohibited activities due to unknown elements such as currents, depth of pits and quarries, drop-offs in lakes or rocks, and hidden dangers.
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    3.10 Active Threat

    Connect with the local authorities and first responders prior to the program to inform them of the camp location and dates of the program. If the overnight event is on the MU Campus, report the threat or suspicious activity to the MU Police Department - Non-emergency: (573) 882-7201, Emergency: 911 - in addition to following the appropriate evacuation or shelter protocols. For all overnight programs, determine how best to communicate with program employees and volunteers and where the safe locations are. This should be detailed in the Missouri 4-H Camp Plan or the Emergency Preparedness Plan for other overnight events (see tab 3.6 of this Section).

    For campus-based events, be sure all employees and volunteers are signed up for MU Alerts (

    For additional resources and planning considerations, visit the American Camp Association resource page What If It Does Happen? Camp Security – Plans to Make and Actions to Take.

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      1. Preparation

      First and foremost, plan ahead. Make responding to active threats part of your emergency plan and volunteer/counselor training before the camp begins. The following preparations should occur in an order that makes sense for the particular program:

      1. Conduct a safety and security audit of the potential camp/overnight facilities. Identify possible entry points for intruders and evacuation options for program participants.
      2. Connect with the local government agencies (police, fire, sheriff, public lands contacts, Department of Transportation, and if near train tracks, the railroad) as you work to develop your plan to address identified threats while incorporating your responses. From the American Camp Association resource library:
        1. Make sure to share pre-planned entry/exit routes and any necessary access codes for the local fire department, law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), etc.
        2. Provide detailed maps of the facility to the dispatch system(s).
        3. Invite individuals from the agencies for a tour of your facility. Ask them to host training at the facility.
        4. Hold a pre-season, in-person briefing.
      3. Consider locations for program activities (workshops, guest presentations, and recreation). Are program youth vulnerable or protected in these locations? What steps can be taken to increase safety?
      4. Consider providing response training to volunteers and camp counselors. Work with local law enforcement to determine what resources and training may be available.
      5. Determine and practice the communication strategy to be used to alert employees, volunteers, and counselors of active threats.
      6. Employees and state-level specialists should work together to develop a Camp/Emergency Preparedness Plan (section 3.6) to share with employee members, counselors, etc. (Check with the Missouri 4-H office for the most recent version of the camp plan)
      7. Establish a communications plan with authorities, the media, and parents. It is important to respond to parents in a thoughtful, serious manner. All queries from the media should be directed to the MU Extension Director Of Communications and Marketing (573-882-3967).
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      2. Practice

      1. Before the event: Practice what-if scenarios with volunteers and/or youth counselors on site. This may be part of the response training.
      2. During the event (optional): Plan to run at least one practice while program youth are on the premises. Be sure to inform parents ahead of time about the practice drill planned. The Extension employees will determine if the time and day of the practice drill will be known ahead of time by the volunteers and/or youth counselors. Regardless, volunteers and counselors will know a practice drill will happen. Be sure to announce, "This is a drill," prior to the practice drill. In place of practice drills, consider setting the ground rules for all situations such as following the group leader's direction, no hiding*, and no separating from the group. (*Unless specified to do so by the group leader. See Active Shooter below)
      3. Debrief: After the practice drill, allow time for feedback from program youth, counselors, employees, and volunteers.
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      3. Responding to Potential Threats

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        a. Active Shooter

        Practice the principles of Run, Fight, Hide at each program location and residential area of the camp/overnight event. Refer to and follow the Department of Homeland Security's resource Active Shooter: How to Respond Booklet (PDF). If an option in your area, have employees, volunteers, and group leaders take an active-shooter training course prior to the event.

        1. Run

        • Consider program youth and personal safety first
        • Have an escape route and plan in mind
        • Leave your belongings behind
        • Keep your hands visible
        • Keep running until clear of immediate threat

        2. Hide

        • Hide in an area out of the active aggressor's view.
        • Block entry to your hiding place, lock the doors and barricade windows if possible
        • Do your best to account for all program youth and adults

        3. Fight—only as a last resort

        • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
        • Attempt to incapacitate the active aggressor
        • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter

        How You Should React When Law Enforcement Arrives:

        • Remain calm, and follow officers' instructions
        • Immediately raise hands slowly and spread fingers
        • Keep hands visible at all times
        • Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them
        • Avoid pointing, screaming, and/or yelling
        • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.

        Information You Should Provide To Law Enforcement Or 911 Operator:

        • Location of the victims and the aggressor
        • Number of aggressors, if more than one
        • Physical description of aggressor/s if known
        • Number and type of weapons held by the aggressor/s
        • Number of potential victims at the location

        Do Not Talk to The Media. Refer ALL media inquiries to the MU Extension Director of Communications and Marketing (573-882-3967).

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        b. Bomb Threat

        Threats may be received by phone, email, text, or social media. If a bomb threat is received, the use of radios, cellphones, Bluetooth, or WIFI-enabled communications devices should be prohibited until all participants are safe. If the threat is received while:

        1. Indoors: Follow any posted fire escape routes and exit the building. Stay with the assigned group (e.g. the youth assigned to a camp counselor and move a minimum of 100 yards away from any structure or vehicle. Open fields are preferable. Avoid parking lots with parked cars. Once all are out of the building and clear of the danger area, communication devices may be used.
        2. Outdoors: Stay with the assigned group (e.g. the youth assigned to a camp counselor and move a minimum of 100 yards away from any structure or vehicle. Open fields are preferable. Avoid parking lots with parked cars. Once all are out of the building and clear of the danger area, communication devices may be used.

        Extension employees should review the Department of Homeland Security's site regarding bomb threats

        Printable resources:

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        c. Suspicious Package or Item

        Do not tamper with the item. If the item is not readily identifiable (no one present recognizes it), treat it as a Bomb Threat and leave the vicinity. Contact the employee responsible for the program, who will determine if the local authorities need to be contacted. Do not use cell phones.

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        d. Suspected Natural Gas Leak

        Whether indoors or outside, treat a natural gas leak as a Bomb Threat and leave the vicinity. Contact the employee responsible for the program, who will contact the local natural gas company and 911. Do not use cell phones near the area in question. Refer to the Missouri Public Commission's resource Natural Gas Safety (PDF) brochure for more information. Warning signs of a natural gas leak include:

        • A distinct odor
        • A steady hissing sound
        • Dirt or water being blown up into the air
        • Fire (sometimes a small flame) coming up from the ground
        • A dry spot in a moist field
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        e. Police Activity in the Area

        Action should be taken at the direction of law enforcement. Communication with authorities will vary during these different scenarios. It is important to instruct youth and volunteers to listen and clearly follow any directions provided.

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      4. After Threat Has Passed

      Wait for the ALL CLEAR signal to be received. Then when the situation has passed, and you feel safe, move to the designated gathering location. Else, stay hidden and wait for law enforcement to find you as they search the area.

      1. When law enforcement arrives, listen to their instructions, always show your hands with fingers spread apart, and remain calm. Respond to their questions and directions. Let the officers assess the situation.
      2. After law enforcement gives the ALL CLEAR, work with officers, employees, and volunteers to re-gather program youth and counselors. Take attendance.

      Adapted from The University of Ohio's 4-H Camp Active Threat Guidelines

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    3.11 Self-Harm and Bullying

    A. Youth Threatens or Talks About Self-Harm

    Program youth will sometimes talk negatively about themself in order to gain positive reinforcement from adults or older teens in charge. The role of the employee, volunteers, counselors, and other program youth is to take ALL negative self-talk as a serious threat. Such behavior must be reported to the employee responsible for the program who will determine the next steps.

    Suicide attempt protocol:

    1. Stay with the person or designate one or more individuals to stay with the person. Never leave the person alone.
    2. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency service provider.
    3. Contact additional employee members as necessary.
    4. If the person is a youth, contact the parents to tell them what has occurred. Make arrangements to meet at the appropriate location, for example, the event site or the emergency room of the local hospital.
    5. If the person is a minor, make a plan to follow up with the parents.

    B. Bullying Protocol

    From the article Camp is No Place for Bullying Behaviors, bullying is any behavior where a person aggressively attacks another person with words or actions directed to injure the victim's wellbeing, to damage their standing, or to simply assert the aggressor's dominance (2012, Friedman. Camping Magazine). This behavior includes cyberbullying.

    What Does It Look Like?

    • Teasing
    • Exclusion
    • Bullying
    • Rumoring
    • Ganging up
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      Bully and Harassment Protocol

      There may be some incidents that occur at youth events that relate to bullying or other types of harassment. It is important to address these issues immediately.

      In case of bullying or other types of harassment:

      1. Assess the problem.
      2. Talk to others involved. Find the details of what happened
      3. Did the individual experience bullying, harassment, conflict or something else?
      4. If it was bullying, what role did all involved play in the bullying situation (target, bystander, or perpetrator)?
      5. How has this experience affected the one being bullied?
      6. Immediately address the issue with all parties involved. It would be best to have two adults present for this discussion. Ask open-ended questions rather than questions requiring only a yes or no. Take notes so you can provide accurate information if it is required at a later time.
      7. Complete an Incident Report LG 811 (PDF). If the incident was not observed directly, the employee should talk to the witness or victim and fill out the form on their behalf.
      8. Since there is no way of determining what each person considers an emergency, the general practice is to contact parents by telephone any time a child is hurt (physically or emotionally), purposely or by accident. It is best to include 2 adults (the employee plus one adult) in the conversation with the family.
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      From Missouri House Bill No. 1583 (PDF), "Cyberbullying" means bullying as defined in this subsection through the transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or another wireless communication device, computer, or pager.

      "While the definition of cyberbullying aligns with the traditional definition of bullying, the likelihood of repeated harm from one cyberbullying incident is quite high. This is because instances of cyberbullying can be accessed by multiple parties, forwarded to or shared with others, linked to other sites/apps and revisited by targets of the aggression — resulting in repeated exposure and repeated harm" (Center for Safe Schools Highmark Foundation; Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit)

      How do you know Cyberbullying is occurring?

      Look for signs of depression, changes in behavior and attention span, moving towards isolation, or fear. Listen to conversations of others: Youth often use words like "drama" and "haters" to describe cyberbullying situations.

      What should I do?

      • Follow the Bullying and Harassment Protocol.
      • As a preventative strategy, provide resources to the youth (training to the chaperones/counselors) to help them identify and prevent cyberbullying from occurring, and what to do if witnessed.
      • If appropriate, have youth "turn in" their cell phones to a responsible adult(s) for the duration of the event.
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      Relational Aggression

      Source: Center for Safe Schools Highmark Foundation; Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit:

      "Bullying that affects a child's social standing or status is a form of relational aggression. It can take many forms, including shunning, hazing, spreading rumors, excluding others or teasing. Contrary to popular opinion, both boys and girls engage in relational aggression." Follow the Bullying and Harassment Protocol.

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    3.12 Communicable Disease

    MU Extension Employees, volunteers, and program members will first follow the guidance provided by the University, the Vice Chancellor of Extension and Engagement, the appropriate Program Director and/or Regional Director as the situation mandates. University response to such cases aligns with or adds to any existing state and federal guidelines. For additional resources, visit the Department of Homeland Security's site for related resources and toolkits. General safe practices include.

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      1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
      2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
      3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
      4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
      5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

      From the, When and How to Wash Your Hands.

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      Practice Social Distancing (CDC)

      When program suspension is lifted, continuing to limit face-to-face contact with others is necessary to reduce the likelihood of spreading or reintroducing the illness (e.g. COVID-19). Social distancing also called "physical distancing," means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing stay at least 6 feet (about two arms' length) from other people.

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      Levels of Risk

      The more people (youth, employees, volunteers, and other program adults) interact with each other for a prolonged period, the higher the risk of spreading the illness. When planning group activities, consider the following risk factors and avoid the higher levels of risk. This applies to all programs in which youth and/or adults are together for an extended period of time. Take the example of an overnight event:

      • Lowest Risk:
        Small groups of youth stay together all day, each day. Youth remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All youth are from the local geographic area (e.g., city, town, county, community).
      • Moderate Risk:
        Youth mix between groups but remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All youth are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
      • High Risk:
        Youth mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All youth are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county). This is to be avoided.
      • Unacceptable Risk:
        Youth mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All youth are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county). This is to avoid. Adjust the plan accordingly or cancel the program.
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      Factors to Consider to Reduce Risk

      • Practice social distancing/handwashing (or sanitizing); face coverings - especially where complete physical distancing will be more challenging.
      • Not providing food. Participants should bring their own snacks, drinks, and meals. If food/drink must be provided, utilize individual products, and distribute by someone wearing gloves; no common food/drink or serving utensils.
      • Monitor for signs of illness; encourage those that are not feeling well to stay home.
      • Establish and share guidelines for participation prior to the event and share with participants and families.
      • Immediately prior to the event and at any changes in groups throughout, sanitize all potentially common items and surfaces.
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    3.13 Natural Disasters and Environmental Hazards

    Despite their unpredictable nature, it is important to prepare for the event of a natural disaster and nearby industrial accidents. In addition to having a readily accessible Camp/Emergency Preparedness Plan (from section 3.6), a stocked, multifunction, and mobile disaster response/emergency kit is essential to take along to overnight events and camps. Severe Weather is covered in Tab 3.6 topic A.1

    University and MU Extension resource pages by topic:

    1. Missouri Extension Disaster Education Network
    2. Disaster Supplies Kit
    3. Earthquake Preparedness
    4. Natural Gas Leak:
    5. Whether indoors or outside, if you suspect there is a natural gas leak, leave the vicinity and move in a crosswind direction to get the group to safety. Contact the employee responsible for the program, who will contact the local natural gas company and 911. Refer to the Missouri Public Commission's resource Natural Gas Safety (PDF) brochure for more information. Warning signs of a natural gas leak include:
      • A distinct odor (like rotten eggs, or skunk-like)
      • A steady hissing sound
      • Dirt or water being blown up into the air
      • Fire (sometimes a small flame) coming up from the ground
      • A dry spot in a moist field
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      1. Earthquake

      The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Earthquakes webpages: If you are outside, stay outside, and stay away from buildings, utility wires, sinkholes, and fuel and gas lines. If you are inside, stay inside. DO NOT run outside or to other rooms during shaking. People who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices should lock their wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, move to safety and be mindful of the possibility of aftershocks. Follow the CDC's recommendations in various situations DURING and AFTER an earthquake.

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      2. Flood Warning

      The following information is from the Department of Homeland Security Floods website:

      • Sign up for your community's warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
      • If flash flooding is a risk in your location, then monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.
      • Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
      • Do not walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Turn Around, Don't Drown!
      • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
      • Determine how best to protect yourself based on the type of flooding.
      • Evacuate if told to do so.
      • Move to higher ground or a higher floor if higher ground is not accessible.
      • Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping, or popping noises, get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
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      3. Hazardous Chemicals

      The following is from the Department of Homeland Security Chemicals and Hazardous Materials Incidents website:

      • Try to define the impacted area or where the chemical is coming from (inside or out)
      • If the chemical is inside a building where you are, get out without passing through the contaminated area, if possible.
      • If you are outdoors, move in a direction diagonally upwind (never directly towards) the source. Find the closest building and shelter in place (refer to for sheltering guidelines).
      • If you can't get out of the building or find clean air without passing through the affected area, move to a room as far away as possible and shelter-in-place.
      • If you are instructed to remain in a building (e.g. chemicals in the atmosphere), close all doors, windows and turn off the ventilation system, if applicable. For camps and overnight events, plan to pack duct tape and plastic sheeting in the disaster response/emergency kit and use these to seal around the doors and windows.
      • Monitor any local media sources.
      • If an individual is exposed and injured from chemical exposure, once in a safe location, call 911 and treat it as a Serious Injury (see Tab 3.6 topic A.1 in this section).
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      4. Fire

      In addition to establishing a clear communication strategy with all group leaders, planning escape routes prior to the event is critical. Whether the event is indoors or out, know where all the evacuation routes are. Once the event is underway, it is equally important to mentally reassess all escape options considering all obstructions, wind patterns, etc. In any circumstance, call 911 at the earliest, safest opportunity, and DO NOT attempt to put out a fire. Doing so may put yourself or others at risk. Leave fires to firefighters.

      In any situation involving fire, remember and enforce the following:

      Program youth should NOT attempt to put out fires.

      • All youth should report to the designated area, along with the volunteers, counselors, and employees.
      • Program youth should report fires to the nearest camp counselor/volunteer/employee member immediately.
      • Program youth must stay in the designated area until released by the camp/overnight director (employee).
      • Once in the designated meeting area, each counselor/volunteer will account for each program youth under their supervision and report their findings to an employee who then reports to the camp/overnight director (if not self).
      1. Structural
        Hotels and lodges are to be equipped with working smoke detectors by law. If the group will use a rustic site with cabins and no smoke detectors are installed, consider packing smoke detectors in the group's disaster kit along with a temporary wall-mounting tape. (Check with the facilities manager before affixing items to walls.) Your role is to get out (to lead the group out) quickly and safely. Do not attempt to put out the fire! The following is adopted from the Department of Homeland Security site
        • Establish a plan of where to meet as an entire group to take attendance, or, if gathering would pose more risk, plan on a system to take attendance remotely.
        • Plan 2 ways out of every room/space.
        • Check that windows and doors work properly and are free of obstructions
        • It is good to practice a fire drill with the youth in the unfamiliar residential space. An option might be to instruct program youth to close their eyes and to practice crawling out of the space "in the dark."
        • Remind program youth not to hide. Firefighters may not be able to find them.
        • If you can't get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out.
      2. Wildfire or Out-of-Control Campfire
        Sign up for local EAS and/or NOAA weather mobile alerts for the updated "Fire Weather" outlook. Alternatively, bring an analog device capable of receiving alerts from NOAA. Dry conditions, wind, and weather patterns can increase the chances and the spread of potential wildfires. (If under a fire weather alert, do not have a campfire.) In the event of a wildfire, your role is to lead the group to safety. Do not attempt to put out the fire! The following is adopted from the Department of Homeland Security site
        • Prior to the event, find out the community's evacuation plan in the event you are directed to leave the area.
        • Establish a plan of where to meet as an entire group to take attendance, or, if gathering would pose more risk, plan on a system to take attendance remotely.
        • Evacuate the immediate area and contact 911.
        • Evacuate the community if authorities tell you to do so.
        • If trapped, call 911 and give your location. Turn on lights to help rescuers find you.
        • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
        • If you are not ordered to evacuate but smoky conditions exist, stay inside in a safe location or go to a community building where smoke levels are lower.
        • Afterward, avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers.
        Visit the Department of Homeland Security's site for related resources and toolkits.
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    3.14 Missing Persons

    Source: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's resource Big Red Summer Academic Camps guide: Prior to the first day of the session, review with youth participants (workshop participant or camper, etc.) what to do if separated from the group. Upon determination that a camper is missing:

    1. Alert the camp/overnight director (employee) if not already. (Program youth will tell their counselor/chaperone, who will alert the program employee.)
    2. Determine when and where the youth was last seen. Stay calm so you don't frighten the other program youth.
    3. Recall details of when the youth was last seen. Did they exhibit symptoms of being depressed or angry, or of threatening to run away? Did they fall behind on a hike, or leave to visit a friend in another unit? An individual who does not wish to be found will require a wider and more careful search.
    4. First, do a search of the immediate area with an available employee. (The individual may have wandered to the edge of the activity zone.) Ask nearby program youth and employees if they have seen or know where the person is. Do not leave remaining program youth unattended to search for a person.
    5. Check any known accomplices (friends in other dorm rooms, etc.).
    6. Check bathrooms, dining hall, the cabin, and friends' cabins.
    7. Contact the Program Director or other administrative personnel about the situation. Include the name of the missing person, when and where last seen, description of youth which includes hair, eyes, weight, height, and, as close as possible, clothing.
    8. Employees will then organize a search for an extended area. If the person is not found in 20 minutes, the individual will be presumed lost. If presumed lost, the program employee will institute a public search that will include contacting the sheriff, facility's office, 4-H office/designated University personnel (as applicable), and the missing person's parents.
    9. Do not ignore the remaining program youth. Be calm and positive. Acknowledge their fears and continue activities.
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    3.15 4-H Shooting Sports

    All safety guidelines and related policies for 4-H Shooting Sports are found on the Missouri 4-H Shooting Sports homepage.

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    3.16 University of Missouri Student Volunteers

    1. Students as MU Extension Youth -Program Volunteers
      College students may serve as Extension volunteers for youth programs provided that all the volunteer eligibility requirements are met (see Section 1. RM Overview, tab 1.7 for volunteer qualifications). The employee overseeing the youth program is responsible for the implementation of eligibility requirements including the collection, transmission, and storage of volunteer applicant materials. Applicants will be screened just like any other Extension volunteer involved in youth programming. Each program area (e.g. 4-H, Family Impact Center, etc) may have additional volunteer requirements. See Section 6. Liability, tab 6.10 for policies related to storage, transmission, and destruction of sensitive records.
    2. Students as Campus-Based Volunteers
      Students volunteering apart from Extension programs follow the UM policies and procedures.
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    3.17 Virtual Safety

    The safety and privacy of MU Extension program youth and adult participants (including recognized volunteers) need to be protected across all online platforms. The 4-H employee responsible for the program should take all necessary precautions to do so. All program participants (Employees, volunteers, adults, and youth) must understand, taking pictures of youth or posting pictures or information about an unrelated youth to social media sites without parent/guardian permission is prohibited. Furthermore, the Mandated Reporter policies apply to all virtual interactions between adults and youth, live, and recorded.

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      A. Photo and Video for Use as Educational and Promotional Purposes

      All youth participants (4-H members, etc.) must submit a photo/media consent form as part of the enrollment process if their photo or likeness may be used to promote or highlight the program online. The parent/guardian has the option to give consent or not. To help protect the confidentiality of youth participants and to ensure that those with no consent given are not depicted, the 4-H employee responsible for the program should:

      1. Designate a 4-H employee (or self) or 4-H volunteer to serve as the event "photographer," who will review the photos, screenshots, and videos (and consent forms) before posting.
      2. Provide guidance on online safety to 4-H parents, 4-H volunteers, and 4-H members before they post and share content. Parents/guardians are free to post what they choose about their children online. In many cases, their close friends and family will share the post beyond the original audience. In these instances, the University is not liable. The best we can do is offer 4-H parents, 4-H volunteers, and 4-H members a list of Safety Guidelines for 4-H Virtual Activities for Parents/Guardians (PDF).
      3. Encourage parents and volunteers that no personal information is associated with the media posted beyond the first name and club name. Exclude last names, addresses, virtual identities, etc. Examples to avoid include telephone numbers; school names; email and physical addresses; social media handles and user names; account passwords; etc.
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      B. Live-Streaming Services and Web Conferencing

      Follow the guidance of protecting personally identifiable information. Refer to the School Administrator's Guide to Rolling Out Zoom (PDF) for guidance.

      MU's ZOOM platform requires the use of either the waiting room option enabled or requiring a passcode for entry. For all live streams and web conferences with external audiences (volunteers, youth or adult participants, etc.) it is highly recommended to enable both options and make attending by-invite only to prevent unwanted intrusions. (updated 2.14.21)

      1. Web-Conferencing Services
        Such as ZOOM, a MU Extension employee ensure:
        1. Parents/guardians have given consent. This can be accomplished during the registration process.
        2. It is recommended that program youth under the age of 18 should use an account set up by their parent/guardian.
        3. Compliance with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"), which includes guidance on obtaining verifiable parental consent and what is considered "personal (protected) information" of youth.
        4. 4-H policy states that no unrelated adult is in a one-on-one setting with a youth participant, including through web-conferencing services. For guidance in instances when an adult is in a one-on-one virtual web conference with a youth, see the section titled One-on-One Virtual Conferencing
        5. Safe web-conferencing settings are in place, including:
          • Disable the Join-Before-Host meeting option
          • Require a meeting ID and password to join the meeting
          • When the meeting has started and all who can attend are present, the host will Lock the meeting (refer to Zoom.Us)
          • Private chat is disabled
          • Block screen-sharing for participants
          • Disable microphone and video of participants upon joining the meeting
          • Disable individual renaming and virtual backgrounds
          Learn more and watch a ZOOM tutorial on Managing Participants

        In Meeting Security and Controls

        Adopted from the School Administrator's Guide to Rolling Out Zoom (PDF).

        The meeting host has a variety of controls they can use to secure their meeting. For more information and a ZOOM tutorial, refer to Managing Participants found on the ZOOM support page.

        • Lock the Meeting: when you're in the meeting, click Participants at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the participant's pop-up box, you will see a button that says Lock Meeting. When you lock the meeting, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and password. See Managing Participants.
        • Expel a Participant: still in that participant's menu, you can mouse over a participant's name, and several options will appear, including Remove. Click that to kick a participant out of the meeting. They can't get back in if you then click Lock Meeting.
        • Attendee On-Hold: if you need a private moment, you can put attendees on hold. The attendee's video and audio connections will be disabled momentarily. Click on the attendee's video thumbnail and select Start Attendee On-Hold to activate this feature.
        • Disabling Video: Instructors can turn participant video off and request to start participant video. This will allow instructors to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video.
        • Mute participants or Mute All: Instructors can turn mute/unmute participants or all. This will allow instructors to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from the meeting.
        • Disable Group Messaging or restrict student IM contacts:
          You can restrict the usage of Group Chat and Instant Messaging (out of meeting chat) or limit chat only to certain contacts such as Instructors or Counselors, restricting the possibility of students posting or disclosing any personal information to other students publicly.
          Learn more about ZOOM In-Meeting Chat.
      2. Live Streaming Services with Adult or Youth Participants
        Follow the guidance to protect privacy and confidentiality from section Web-Conferencing Services (B.1 above). Additionally, consider making the Livestream invite-only, sending the link only to those youth signed up to participate. Also, MU's ZOOM platform requires the use of either the waiting room option enabled or requiring a passcode for entry. For all live streams with external audiences (volunteers, youth or adult participants, etc.) it is highly recommended to enable both options to prevented unwanted intrusions. (updated 2.14.21)
      3. Recordings
        1. Web-Conferences and Livestreams
          Web conferences and Livestreams should be recorded if possible. Doing so provides a means to review the need that arises at a later date (i.e. a parent requests to review it.)
          • If recorded web conferences and Livestreams are openly shared (made public), strictly adhere to the guidance to protect privacy and confidentiality from Web-Conferencing Services (B.1) above.
          • Alternately, do not make the recording public, and share the recording with selected individuals: Web-storage services such as OneDrive allow you to share files to specific individuals, typically designated by their email address, ensuring that no one but those on the list will have access to the recording. (Google Drive is not a preferred cloud-based service).
          • Be sure to follow the guidance on Virtual Privacy and Confidentiality (I, below). Additional guidance on recording ZOOM sessions for 4-H employee use is found in the section One-on-One Virtual Conferencing (C, below).
          • Keep in Mind: All chats (including Private Chats) are available to the host for all recorded ZOOM meetings. Make sure all participants are made aware of this.
        2. Pre-Recorded Videos and PowerPoints
          • If a youth is identifiable (heard and/or visible) in a video recording or makes a voice-over recording of a PowerPoint, strictly adhere to the guidance to protect privacy and confidentiality from Web-Conferencing Services (B.1)
          • Include the statement "For Educational Purposes Only" on all recordings of demonstrations, project meetings, and voice-over PowerPoints.
          • For 4-H, include the statement "Missouri 4-H Youth Development Program is the youth outreach program from the land-grant institutions' cooperative extension services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture" on the last slide/frame.
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      C. One-on-One Virtual Conferencing (4-H Only)

      In-person fairs allow for non-4-H adults to serve as conference judges, who visit with youth (sometimes) in a one-on-one setting. Ideally, two adults are in the room, but recruiting enough adults to judge in person is challenging. In instances of one-on-one conferencing, 4-H employees and recognized 4-H volunteers are in close proximity. How do the principles of youth safety translate to virtual conference judging online? Ideally, two authorized adults are online with the youth. If not possible, consider the following safety guidelines when virtual conferencing is to be between one adult and one youth:

      1. The employee records the ZOOM session without being in attendance:
        • Before scheduling: In ZOOM settings, set the meeting to automatically be recorded to the cloud. See ZOOM Help: Automatic Recording
        • Scheduling: 4-H employee (or recognized 4-H volunteer) schedule the ZOOM for the conference judge and youth. Invite the conference judge and youth (only) to attend the meeting. See ZOOM Help: Inviting Others.
        • During the meeting: Once the ZOOM begins, the 4-H employee makes the judge the host and leaves the meeting. See ZOOM Help: Passing Host Controls.
        • After meeting: 4-H employee or designated 4-H volunteer would have the option to review the recording.
      2. If someone other than the 4-H employee schedules the ZOOM insist on the following safety precautions:
        • Advise the host on how to record the ZOOM to the cloud and share the audio/video links. Additionally:
        • The youth is in an open room. If the room has doors, they are to be left open.
        • The youth is not using headphones to hear comments from the conference judge.
        • For youth 12 and under, a parent/guardian is in proximity (ear-shot), but not in the room as the youth.
      3. If recording the session is not possible, insist on these safety precautions:
        • The youth is in an open room. If doors are present, they are to be left open.
        • The youth is not using headphones to hear comments from the conference judge.
        • The chat is disabled. See ZOOM Help: Disabling Chat
        • For youth 12 and under, a parent/guardian is in proximity (ear-shot), but not in the room as the youth.
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      D. Social Media

      Follow the guidance from sections A and B (above) to protect the privacy and confidentiality of individuals depicted. Additionally, the employee should consider how best to monitor social media channels affiliated with the Extension program – especially in instances in which the employee is not an admin of the account – to ensure that posts (text, image, video, audio, etc.), authored or shared do:

      1. NOT contain profanity, advocacy of the use or possession of illegal substances or alcoholic beverages, advocacy of the illegal use or the illegal possession of weapons, or solicitation or the advocacy of sexual misconduct, nor shall similar posts be shared by the user.
      2. NOT violate copyright laws (including federal mark laws regarding the proper use of the 4-H Name and Emblem).
      3. NOT harass, disparage or discriminate against any group or individual. This includes but is not limited to harassment based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran.
      4. NOT misrepresent or impersonate another user.
      5. NOT promote one religious or political affiliation over another on behalf of the Extension program. (This does not prohibit the program participants from advocating/demonstrating their own beliefs.) Messages on clothing are positive and do not disparage other individuals/groups.

      Important: If a post on an Extension volunteer-managed site does not meet one of the prohibited criteria listed above, do not delete the post. Doing so could be construed as an infringement of freedom of speech. For instance, a post may contain political opinions or personal views on religion in a manner that is not to be considered "hate speech" nor suggest MU Extension endorsement and not be deleted. If the thread replies begin to include profanity, harassing statements, misrepresentation, or MU Extension endorsement, consult your supervisor before deleting.

      Possible Options to Monitor Social Media Channels: A virtual volunteer role could be created or an Extension employee may nominate a trusted volunteer to keep up with county Extension social media feeds. Another option may be to follow/like/join affiliated county-based MU Extension social media users/pages/groups. (Contact the MU Ext. Director of Risk and Volunteer Management to learn more about virtual roles.)

      (4-H faculty and staff: More information on this topic is located in the 4-H Policy and Procedure Manual. Contact Stephanie Femrite if you have difficulty accessing the 4-H Policy and Procedure online manual.)

      If the employee responsible for the county program is made aware of an inappropriate post or comment made by an individual representing the named Extension program, the employee should instruct the individual to remove the post. If the individual refuses to do so, the offending individual risks being removed from the Extension program.

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      E. Flipgrid Guidelines

      University of Missouri utilizes Flipgrid for certain asynchronous events. Flipgrid allows users to record, upload, react, and respond to each other's posts. The following is included in the event that program youth use Flipgrid as part of the program experience. As a cloud-based platform, consider the following guidelines to protect youth:

      • At least two (2) recognized MU Extension volunteers or a recognized MU Extension volunteer and one (1) MU employee must be administrators. Fligrid calls these "co-pilots."
      • Include "MU Extension" in the title along with your program name.
      • Provide volunteers, youth, and adult participants with a student ID number to post on the site. Here are a couple of options:
        • In 4-H, generate a student ID using the 4HOnline member#. Note, up to 250 students can be added to a grid.
        • Have participants register, then email the student ID.
      • Turn on the video moderation so that videos may be previewed by the "co-pilots", then activate for all students to view.
      • Remind parents in communication about who has access to the videos and how they will be used (e.g., shared or posted to a public group or web page).
      • The Flip Code that was generated when you created your grid is your team's place. Only share that Flip Code with your team and ask them not to share it outside their family. (adapted from the University of Minnesota Extension 4-H.)
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      F. Cloud-Based File Sharing

      Microsoft Teams, Google Suites, and SharePoint are the University's preferred cloud-based storage platforms. Additionally, saving ZOOM meetings to ZOOM's cloud storage is an option. In any instance, follow the Virtual Privacy and Confidentiality (I) guidance below. Should the need or circumstances arise when presentations and recordings with youth identified (face and/or voice) are stored and/or shared through alternative cloud-based platforms (i.e. Google Drive), the Extension employee responsible for the program must ensure the following precautions are practiced:

      The employee should create a folder to serve as a repository of all material to be shared publicly or privately. The folder is automatically restricted until it is shared with another. This makes the employee the "Owner" and provides the following controls:

      • Link Sharing
        • Share a file/folder(s) with selected individuals with a Restricted Link – only those receiving the link directly from the Owner may access the file/folder.
        • Share the file/folder publicly by setting the share permission to Anyone With the Link, and anyone who receives the link from the Owner and those to whom the link is forwarded may access the file/folder. The Owner may set the permission level of those receiving the link as Viewers or Editors. Editors may organize, add, and edit files. Viewers may open and download files.
      • Inviting Others: The Owner may invite others (via email notification) to serve as a file/folder Viewer or Editors may organize, download, add, and edit files. Viewers may open and download files.
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      G. Cyber Bullying

      See Tab 3.11 in this section (above) for more details concerning cyberbullying.

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      H. Texting and Group Chat

      4-H: Texting one-on-one is a form of private chat. Group Chats are private, too, if you are not part of the group. It is not the 4-H employee's responsibility to monitor the chat. However, guidance should be provided to 4-H members and volunteers to follow the 4-H Adult and Youth Code of Conduct (which is agreed to during the 4HOnline enrollment process) while engaged in one-on-one texting between two 4-H members or a 4-H member and a volunteer, as well as in group chat.

      Volunteers: MU Extension volunteers, too, are able to engage in texts and group chats without the need of the program coordinator to monitor the exchange. These communications are semi-private in that a text recipient may take a screenshot of the text and share the photo with you, typically when one is concerned with the content of the conversation or the behavior of another in the group. Do not share the screenshot with others but save a copy (digital or printed) for filing in the event the situation escalates.

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      I. Virtual Privacy and Confidentiality

      Extension employees are responsible to ensure confidentiality and protection of sensitive data (both in print form and digital) related to program participants and volunteers. If program recordings are shared publicly, the employee ensures no identifiable information (beyond first name and club) is part of the recording. For example, if you share a recording of the program video with parents through social media, they may share the video on their account allowing anyone who follows them (or not) to view the recording depending on their account's security setting. It is advised for all live streams (recorded or not) and program recordings with youth participants, that employee ensures:

      • The parent has given consent for the youth to appear on camera and/or be recorded. Ask parents to complete a photo/media consent form before the program. (In 4-H, this is part of the youth/member enrollment process.)
      • Youth whose parents did not give consent does not appear on the live feed or in recordings. (Instruct parents how to disable their camera, if needed.)
      • Only first names and club names should be used. Avoid using (or allowing youth to reveal) any additional identifiable information (e.g. last names, the name of the school, town/city of residence, etc.).
      • The above should apply to older teen counselors and adult volunteers (who can give consent on their own behalf).

      For 4-H, if you need assistance editing a recording to remove identifiable information about youth (beyond first name and club), contact the Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development.

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    3.18 Insurance and Youth Safety

    4-H member state dues include statewide 4-H health insurance coverage through American Income Life Insurance for only 4-H youth and 4-H volunteers who enroll through 4HOnline. Spectators and friends (who are not in 4-H) do not receive that benefit. Therefore, it is critical that virtual 4-H activities only be open to enrolled 4-H members and recognized 4-H volunteers. See Section 6. Liability, tab 6.10 for additional guidance.