Laity Lodge Youth Camp is a licensed camp with the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). To learn more about what it means to be a licensed camp in the state of Texas, visit the TDSHS website.
TDSHS inspects our camp each summer and grades us on every critical aspect of camp facilities including kitchen facilities and food preparation, clinic facilities and administration of health care, cabin standards and ratios between campers and counselors, waterfront safety and life-guarding procedures, adventure-recreation elements and target sports safety. They also audit our staff-application process, our Sexual Abuse and Awareness Training program, and our criminal background checks. We are pleased to report our recent TDSHS inspections scores have been perfect with no deficiencies.
With regard to all activities, LLYC is committed to the highest quality experience, excellence in training, professional construction to industry standards, comprehensive inspections, and the best equipment in the industry. This applies to high ropes activites, target sports, mountain biking, and waterfront activities.
To ensure the highest level of risk management for our guests, all staff who lead or supervise any activity must go through a thorough training and evaluation process.
For our high ropes activities, LLYC contracts with a third-party Professional Vendor certified by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) to service and inspect all of our challenge course elements and equipment on a yearly basis. We also contract with this accredited vendor to perform an intensive, 40 hour, on-site training which supplies our high ropes facilitators with an ACCT Level 1 certification. Our policy is that any use of any high ropes element must be under the direct supervision of a facilitator currently certified for that element.
For all activities in the Canyon, we encourage campers to seek their own level of challenge and do not coerce anyone to participate.
Facilities and Grounds
LLYC is committed to meeting or exceeding the industry standards for waterfront policies and procedures which are set by the American Red Cross. To ensure the highest level of risk management for our guests, all waterfront staff must go through a rigorous training and evaluation process before they may lead or supervise a waterfront activity.
For the sake of safety and efficiency, a minimum number of staff are required to operate each waterfront. All waterfront staff are trained to respond to any emergency or crisis that might arise and are equipped by a robust Emergency Action Plan.
Historically, rains in excess of five inches in a few hours can cause flooding. We have a robust flood response plan in place. We have the ability to quickly scan our river road for pedestrians and traffic and, if necessary, we are able to shut down all access points to the river. None of our buildings or lodgings are below the one hundred year flood plain.
Our full-time youth camp directors and our operations team are deeply committed to maintaining the excellence and safety of our camp facilities and grounds. All buildings and property are surveyed daily for potential hazards, and we address issues quickly as they arise.
Our staff are strategic and thoughtful about protecting campers during adverse weather. We control for hazardous terrain, trees and limbs. We regularly maintain playfields, roads, and trails. And we have robust Emergency Action Plans in place for any situations which may arise on our property including but not limited to fire, flood, active shooter, and lost persons on property.
We have full-time staff in the canyon at all times who are trained in the prevention of and response to any type of emergency or crisis in the Canyon. In addition to that, our summer staff are trained to implement our Emergency Action Plans.
Our camp counselors and staff are thoroughly interviewed, carefully selected, and specially trained to provide campers with thoughtful, spiritual, and compassionate attention. Our incredible staff help make LLYC an exceptional experience for young people.
The camper-to-staff ratio at LLYC is 4-to-1, ensuring no camper gets overlooked. We are pleased to say that more than 55% of our staff return to work the next summer, ensuring lots of valuable experience in the Canyon. The majority of our referrals for new hires come from our existing staff, who we trust most to bring us great people.
We get to know each applicant through a rigorous application and interview process. We ask intentional questions about their story, their interests, their strengths and weaknesses, and their faith. All staff are required to submit two references, and, in addition, we audit their social media pages and determine if there are any caution flags that may not have arisen in an interview. LLYC also requires thorough background checks on all staff. We run criminal background checks on all levels of staff and volunteers at camp for both in-state and out-of-state hires.
At LLYC, we want to do everything in our power to keep campers safe from all forms of abuse. We are committed to educating every staff member in how to look for and stop potential threats and how to report them.
All staff are required to complete a comprehensive online course prior to arriving at camp. This course teaches and tests each person on facts about sexual abuse and awareness. During our Staff Training Week we use a state-approved consultant and professional counselor to make sure everyone understands the rules of conduct with campers and best practices for abuse prevention. The counselor is also a resource to any staff with personal issues related to any form of abuse. During our training, we teach standards for community living and articulate and demonstrate appropriate behavior when working at camp and building relationships with campers.
Because we are 60 minutes from the nearest hospital, we are committed to having a medical doctor and nurses in the Canyon during the summer months, most of whom have expertise in either emergency care or pediatrics. One doctor and two nurses along with health care assistants serve Singing Hills and Echo Valley clinics 24 hours a day.
We have fully stocked medical clinics in both of our youth camps. These are furnished with equipment, supplies, and medications that meet or exceed industry standards and allow us the ability to treat a wide range of aches, illnesses, injuries, etc. as they may occur.
In the event of a major injury or illness we have a robust Emergency Action Plan in place. At the direction of our medical staff in the Canyon, we can make a decision to transport a patient to the hospital in Kerrville or call Leakey EMS to come to the Canyon. We also have the ability to call for an emergency air-lift if necessary.
We do not allow camper medications, including over-the-counter medicine, to be stored in camper cabins. We require their medications to be checked in with our camp nurse on Opening Day. Our on-site camp nurse and healthcare assistants keep a comprehensive stock of over-the-counter medication in our clinics.
We want our campers to feel genuinely cared for, loved, and accepted while they are with us—which is why we hire high-caliber staff and facilitate a full week of top notch staff training.
During training, staff discuss how to help campers feel heard, how to respond if campers open up about challenges or painful experiences, and how to walk alongside campers with questions about faith and life. In addition, we teach staff to recognize and respond to bullying in the camp setting. Our goal is to create a healthy, encouraging environment in cabins and in camp so that campers can be themselves without fear of judgment or criticism from anyone.
We use vehicles to transport campers to activities outside the immediate boundaries of Singing Hills or Echo Valley. All passengers are required to be seated in the bed of a pickup truck, outfitted with benches and safety rails, with the tailgate up.