Sugar Sweet Farm Camp
Pool Safety Protocol
Each day of camp is 5 hours of hands on programing, ending with a refreshing water time in the family pool. Pool safety during our farm camps has always been a top priority for our program. Swimming happens at the end of our camp day and campers enjoy the water for about 35 minutes. We swim in our family pool which is very friendly to new swimmers.
Coverage: We have 18 campers and 7 full time counselors. I have at least 2 Red Cross certified Lifeguards on duty. Campers’ ages range from 6 to 12 years old. We live in a coastal community where swim lessons and beach time are a big part of every child’s life. Nonetheless, we are diligent about pool safety and supervision all day long. Children are supervised 100% of the time while on the property. Children are never allowed to go anywhere alone. They always have a counselor with them.
At swim time, the children are not allowed in the water until all campers have changed into their swim attire and stowed their backpacks. When we have our staff in place on either ends of the pool and in the water, we review pool safety rules and then blow a whistle inviting the children to enter the pool. We have one staff member standing on the deck of the deep end and one staff member standing on the deck of the shallow end. We also have one staff member floating on a noodle in the deep-end to supervise jumping, which is only allowed under supervision from the deep-end edge of the pool. Otherwise, campers enter from the steps in the shallow end. Campers wait until the deep-end counselor okays each camper individually to jump in. No one is allowed to jump in until the deep-end counselor is in place and “opens” the deep-end of the pool. And each child waits for permission to jump. We are very careful to wait for the deep-end to clear before allowing the next child to jump. Three other staff members are playing with the children in the pool or taking them to the restroom etc.
While supervising from the 2 decks, those staff members are constantly performing head counts. All other counselors know to inform the deck lifeguards if they take a child to the bathroom or out of the pool so we can adjust our headcount numbers. We do not allow floats in the pool aside from 4 pool noodles, to ensure visibility (or water wings if sent by the parent). The deep-end deck lifeguard carries a red 50” rescue tube and wears a whistle.
Pool Configuration: Our pool is a very friendly shape for beginners. It is oval shaped with a spa at one end. We turn on the spa to heat it during lunch time and turn it off before the children enter so there are no bubbles obscuring visibility. The shallow end has a 15’ long submerged granite ledge/shelf where children can walk along and hang out with their shoulders and heads above the water. There are similar 5’ long shelves on both sides of the deep end so children can easily perch there with their shoulders and heads above the water. The deep end is approx. 9’ deep. The pool is surrounded by scored concrete and is not slippery at all, though we insist the children walk around the edge. As I mentioned above, we only allow jumping from the deep-end edge -- about 9 feet of space to supervise. Children jump one at a time with permission from the counselor in the water, ready to reach out and assist their landing if needed. The counselor makes sure the child swims to the edge before giving permission to the next jumper. We do not allow back flips or backward jumping.
Tom Butler from Heartland Services is my pool service technician and cleans the pool and ensures the perfect water quality weekly. It is a salt water pool so is kind to the children’s eyes. 760-525-1032
Behavior: Consistent with our camp culture, we encourage kindness in the pool. We do not allow the children to fight, dunk, splash each other in the face, or ride on each other’s shoulders. The children play very sweetly in the pool and many congregate in the spa which ends up like a big bath tub. Our staff is attentive, and we continue our excellent ratio of 1 counselor for every 3 campers. If parents send water wings or floatation suits, we ensure that the children wear them. If parents express concern about their child’s water safety skills or swimming ability, I invite them to come early and sit poolside to watch with us. Whenever this happens, parents thank me and complement our staff on its vigilance and high standard of pool safety.
If there is any additional information you require about our pool safety protocol, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Elizabeth Sugarman 760-815-6616