Good Grief

This summer I will be pursuing some travel but first and foremost I will be working with none other than the SF Boys Chorus. I will be chaperoning and singing on their Asia Tour 2005 to Hong Kong, China, and Japan. I will also be counseling at their two-week annual sleep-away camp located at the Rio Lindo Adventist Academy in Healdsberg, CA.

Today, I received an email requesting some advice in writing expectation guidelines for couselors-in-training (CITs). A draft had already been written but I decided to take on this little project for a few minutes. I managed to boil the entire purpose of the document down to the phrase: “CITs are expected to act in good conscience.” Why is it that people, of any age, need to be told this? Is it a false to assume that people will do their best? I’ve grown up in an environment where I expect myself to act in good faith, or at least not purposefully act in bad faith. While some around me share that view, I am consistently amazed at how people can both assume and fulfill the opposite. Perhaps my favorite example is Sarah Pelmas’ letter to Junior and Senior parents dated May 6th, 2005. It reads:

As with all school functions (especially dances), we want the kids to have fun and to be safe. That includes making good decisions before the Prom about how they will celebrate. It also means making good decisions afterwards. And while it is not our business to oversee what they do after they have left the Prom, we certainly want them to be well and to enjoy each other’s company safely. … Also, let me quickly remind you about our procedures in the event that a student at the prom arrives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or uses drugs or alcohol during the prom, or is in possession of drugs or alcohol at the prom. … We are here to support you and your kids.

Now can we assume that parents and students will “act in good conscience” or does every last detail need to be spelled out so everything is so crystal clear that the school’s behind is covered. It’s really all about liability, I suppose. No parent should be able to say “I didn’t know…” So, why did the SFBC want to write expectation guidelines this year? It’s because last year, CITs set off illegal fireworks at camp…

Someday, I want a line like “act in good conscience” to be the only line needed.

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