Night Time Safety Requirements & Guidelines for Youth Events

The nights during a weekend Youth Con are often a cherished time for building friendships and making deep connections. Nights are the least ‘programmed’ time of a Youth Con and many youth often choose to stay up very late to enjoy more time with new friends and the warmth of the Con community that is created over the weekend.  In order to keep our youth as safe as possible at a time when there is less supervision (while many advisors go to sleep) the following requirements and guidelines have been put in place.  These requirements and guidelines aim to strike a balance between current common practices used across Canadian Youth programming at Youth Cons and best practices that mitigate risk and keep CUC Youth Events in compliance with the CUC’s insurance requirements.

Core Required Practices:

  • Minimum of 2 adult ‘Overnighters’ must be awake and ‘on-duty’ from 1am to 7am* each night of a Youth Con (whether there is a stated ‘bed time’/curfew or not)
    • ideally a minimum of 2 youth are ‘on duty’ as ‘Overnighters’ as well (usually as part of Spirit Corps)
      • Note: it does not need to be the same two adults on duty for that whole period each night, working in shifts is fine
  • Female-identified, Male-identified and ‘All-gender/Gender neutral’ sleeping rooms must be provided
  • an ‘Awake/All-night’ room(s) must be available for all nights when there is not a designated ‘bed time’/curfew
    • this room will be staffed by Spirit Corps youth over the night (if there is a Spirit Corps) as well as the advisors and other adult volunteers who are on “Overnight duty” (when they are not circulating through the building)
  • Minimum of 1 adult must sleep in each room that is designated as a ‘sleeping room’
  • All rooms used for sleeping must have windows in the doors  (with the exception of an advisor only room)
  • All sleeping rooms much have unlocked doors
  • All sleeping rooms need a night light of some kind in them (so it is possible to see who is in the room without turning on an overhead light)
  • Youth must sleep in individual sleeping bags/blankets (or no sleeping bag) so that ‘floor’ is visible between all youth
    • Youth may sleep near each other but may not share sleeping bags, blankets or covers
    • ‘cuddle puddles’/ ‘puppy piles’/spooning are not encouraged during sleeping times
  • The rooms where the Adult Advisor, ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator, Co-Deans and Chaplains are sleeping must be posted somewhere visible in the “Awake/All-night’ room, as well as marked on the doors of the rooms they are sleeping in so they can be easily found in case they are needed during the night
  • Each evening of the Con, an ‘Overnighter’ orientation must be held, to go over: these guidelines, Con and Site Rules, Emergency protocols, the Behaviour Continuum Guidelines, any site quirks/‘off-limits’ areas to be aware of as well as the ‘Overnighter’ schedule

Overnighter Responsibilities when ‘On Duty’:

  • Overnighters (whether they are Youth Advisors attending the Con or ‘outside’ volunteers who have come into help) should be prepared to deal with minor issues in the moment as they arise but are not expected to engage in determining consequences for rule violations or breaches of the community covenant
    • Rather, the main role is to be participants and observers in the night time community of the Con and to quickly alert the Con Staff if and when any issues or incidents occur
      • Overnighters should be familiarize themselves with the Youth Event Rules, the Con’s site Rules and the Behaviour Continuum Guidelines  
  • Overnighters must circulate through all rooms of the entire building of the Con (that are not locked) at least once per hour (often called  ‘doing a sweep’ or a ‘walk through’)
    • during which they should check for presence or activity in ‘off-limits’ rooms/places, and for especially for activities that would be considered ‘Warning’ or ‘Serious’ behavior or would be breaking the Con or Site Rules (ie – damage to property, sexual activity, drug or alcohol use, etc)
  • At the end of every shift* Overnighters must connect with their replacements before going to bed/going home and check-in about the following things:
    • Where the awake youth are and how many are still awake
    • Any issues/incidents that needed to be dealt with and how those issues were handled
    • Any information that needs to be passed on to:
      • the Co-Deans and the  ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator
      • any youth’s own Advisors
      • the Con Chaplains  (in case it seems like someone might have some processing to do)
    • Anything else that was of concern or any examples of great youth leadership or problem solving

*if you are on the last shift of the night and it is morning when you are finished – check-in directly with the ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator to relay any information from your own shift and any other information that was passed on to you from through-out the night

For any issues that occur between 1am – 7am at a Con, an Overnighter should:

  1. First always seek support from other awake youth in leadership (Spirit Corps, Con Staff, Touch Group Leaders) in calling youth back into community. (Don’t forget to use your fellow Overnighters for support as well).
  2. For ‘Warning behaviour’  Overnighters (whether Con Advisors or Volunteers) should address these issues in the moment and make note about what happened, to be able to pass on the relevant names and details of what occurred both to the next shift of Overnighters, and to the youth’s own Advisor, as well as the Con Co-Deans and the  ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator can be updated about what went on, in the morning
    1. Don’t hesitate to wake someone up if you aren’t sure how to deal with something
  3. for ‘Serious behavior’ Overnighters (whether Con Advisors or Volunteers) should wake up the ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator right away, who will determine what the next steps need to be
  4. If  any sickness or injury occurs that warrants a 911 call and/or a trip to the Emergency room, the ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator and the designated First Aider must be woken right away and again the ‘Lead Advisor’/CanUUdle Coordinator is responsible for determining the next steps that will be taken

Overnighter Qualifications:

  • Overnighters can be Youth Advisors participating at the Con or recruited volunteers who come into the Con just to help in this capacity
  • Youth Advisors participating in the Youth Con who will have to drive more than ½ hr to get home when the Con is over may not have any Overnighter shifts on the final night of the Con
  • All Overnighters must provide a signed Congregational Involvement form
  • If they are not congregationally involved – they must provide references and a Criminal Records Check directly to CUC Youth and Young Adult staff
  • Overnighters must be 25 years of age or older