KidCheck Secure Children's Check-In Shares Screening Tips for New VBS Volunteers

Vacation Bible School is an all-hands-on-deck activity that requires many new volunteers to join the ranks to make the event successful. This means you will need to determine who should and shouldn’t receive direct access to kids.

The key is to start recruiting early for your core team of volunteers. Starting early allows you to thoroughly screen your core team, which then puts them in a position to help you screen others. Your screening process should include a background check, a 100% completed application, a personal interview, two professional references, and a social media check.

Once the screening process is done, you can assign each volunteer an event activity. If you have a volunteer whose background is questionable or you feel may not be a good fit for your program, consider assigning them tasks or a role that doesn’t directly involve children and is supervised by another fully screened adult.

Here are five tips for fast and efficient screening.

  1. Develop a list of positions with short descriptions and anything else needed for your event. You can structure the information based on activities; examples include administrative, classroom, or activity support, games, arts & crafts, classroom, worship, food service, medical team, security, and check-in/out. The process is to help visually represent staffing, supplies, and support needed for the event. This will help you prioritize which volunteers should be evaluated first.
  2. If someone expresses interest in volunteering, send them an event overview, or direct them to a web page for more details. The goal is to help people understand the event specifics, what is needed, and where they would best fit. In addition, this will ensure applicants are familiar with the event and what’s required, which will help speed up the evaluation process.
  3. Create an online volunteer kit that can be emailed. The kit should include a checklist of the dates and forms that must be submitted for volunteer approval. In addition, the kit should consist of an application, a background check, and social media release forms. Ensure applicants understand that the application and release forms must be completed before being accepted for consideration.
  4. Set up a team of two or three staff or volunteers from your core group of screened people to conduct face-to-face interviews. For VBS, it’s best to prepare a list of 3-5 questions for each person. This will help interviews move along more quickly and provide a baseline for eliminating candidates. As a leader, you should have final buy-off on the interview questions.
  5. After the interviews are completed, you’ll want to meet with the interview team and together make decisions on where to place people for the event. Begin with the positions with direct access to kids, such as teaching roles, team leaders, games, security & medical functions, and support for bathroom breaks.

Once all your applicants have passed the evaluation process, set up a volunteer orientation. The orientation should be 45 minutes of presenting information and 15 minutes of Q&A. Included in the presentation should be an overview of child safety guidelines: including bathroom procedures, the rule of two, classroom ratios, and interaction guidelines such as an adult should never be alone with a child.

By implementing a comprehensive screening process for volunteers, you minimize the risk of an incident and provide peace of mind for new families by ensuring their children are in good hands.

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Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash