In light of the present worldwide concern for health and safety posed by Coronavirus (COVID-19,) the staff and leadership of Damascus would like to reaffirm our organizational commitment to the physical, emotional, and spiritual safety of every child, employee, and volunteer under our care. Because retreats and camp happen in the midst of a close community, Damascus, as is the practice of most camps has always taken great care to develop and maintain cleaning and medical practices to address a variety of communicable diseases, both common and rare. These standards of care have been developed in consultation with the American Camping Association as well as our local public health authorities.
While the status of our operations in the fall remain to be seen, rest assured that we are committed to maintaining open lines of communication and will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available. Check out our CYSC 2020 and COVID-19 response page for the full plan of our operations this summer!
There is no more pressing question that parents could ask than for the assurance of their child’s safety at camp. We hold every child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual safety as our highest priority. As a result, we are committed to partnering with families in providing the same degree of care that you show at home in your children’s time away. In order to do this effectively, we have adopted policies around providing a safe environment to which we hold every staff member personally responsible.
Organizational policies and procedures have been crafted through careful consultation with four key organizations:
1. The policies and procedures, particularly safe environment policies of our local diocese.
2. The best practices advised by the American Camping Association.
3. The policies and procedures of the Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT).
4. The Redwoods Group, our insurer and partner in risk assessment and safety implementation and training.
Implementation of all policies and procedures is made possible by thorough individual staff oversight and management, a strict adherence to proper training, certification and licensing, and the intentional establishment of an organizational culture of safety and accountability. Damascus maintains a two-deep strategy with all interactions with minors and maintains head counselor positions who specifically monitor camper/counselor interactions. In addition to enforcing safe environment policies based on those of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus Ohio, all missionaries and staff receive additional training beyond what would be offered in any typical parish or school environment. They are trained in the observance and implementation of Damascus policies from the day of their application through their interview weekend, 10 days of dedicated staff training prior to camp, and through ongoing pastoral and activity leadership supervision.
As a campus with emphasis on high adventure activities, we have a policy of zero tolerance when it comes to risk in our facilities, equipment, and operation. Every one of our adventure activities undergoes annual third party inspection or recertification and all of our staff are trained by a certification body approved by the ACCT, or American Red Cross in the case of lifeguards. Their training and certification is kept current and tested regularly.
Additionally, Damascus holds an organizational liability policy to specially address not only accidents and injuries, but also sexual abuse by both staff members and other campers.
A full copy of our policy manual, notably, policy 100.63, on risk management is available here. All of our safe environment training is recorded and available upon request.
Thank you for the trust that you place in us.
If your donation is in support of a missionary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your donation is in support of another aspect of our mission, please contact email@example.com.
Every retreat at Damascus is led by members of our Damascus missionary formation program. Each of these individuals has been interviewed and trained, received all appropriate certifications through Protecting God’s Children and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and has received industry appropriate certification in leadership of all high adventure activities and events. Our Damascus missionaries are usually college or post-graduate aged adults many of whom hold degrees in engineering, education, or theology.
Safety and security is a top priority at Damascus. We have a 40 person staff living at Damascus year-round. There are several Damascus staff around the clock who monitor the property to ensure the grounds are safe and secure.
Yes, Damascus is able accommodate most dietary needs: nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian. This information should be submitted with your registration prior to the retreat. For other needs (e.g. egg, soy) please email our Kitchen Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to download a more detailed packing list for school/parish retreats.
Download Packing List