Laity Lodge Youth Camp is licensed and inspected each summer by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), and we are graded 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, and an audit of 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.
Safety is a priority we commit ourselves to daily. We have a Maintenance Team that oversees the safety of our camp facilities and grounds.
Historically, rains in excess of five inches in a few hours can cause flooding. We have a robust flood response in place.
Because we are a faith-based camp, we have the ability to ask personal questions in both applications and interviews that could never be asked in a secular job application including questions about an applicant’s faith story and church involvement. The majority of our referrals for new hires come from our existing staff, and we are pleased to say we have a very high staff retention rate from year to year that averages 55 percent. Each summer, half of our staff already have performed at such a level of excellence that we hire them back. 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 do not arise in an interview.
LLYC 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. All staff are also required to complete an online course prior to arriving at camp that teaches and tests each person on the facts about sexual abuse and awareness. During our Staff Training Week we use a state-approved consultant and professional counselor to evaluate our staff, to make sure they understand the rules of conduct with campers, and to assist them with any personal issues they may have experienced 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, it is imperative that we have excellent standards of health care in the Canyon. For many years, we have been blessed with a rotating staff of doctors, most of whom have expertise in either emergency care or pediatrics. Our doctors serve for a week at a time on-site and are available to both Singing Hills and Echo Valley clinics 24 hours a day. We also have an RN at each camp and health-care assistants who serve both the doctors and nurses. We have local EMS support from Leakey, which is 12 miles from camp, as well as the ability to call in air transport if a serious injury occurs in camp.
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 truck with the tailgate up, and the speed limit in the river is 10 mph.