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The three main areas of "safety" concerns are:
Physical - Personal - Children

Physical Safety—

The Physical concerns relate primarily to walking to and from cars. We have never had an incident and our policies and the policies of the church are designed to keep everyone safe and secure. Our parking lots are well lit and we have security officers on duty until 10:00 pm. It is our policy to have participants walk to their cars in groups. If anyone asks, an "Escort" will be provided. The workshop leadership staff never leaves until all participants are safely to their cars.

Personal Safety—

The personal concerns relate primarily to small group interaction and to confidentiality. The Small Group Covenant" and the "Group Rules" keep the small group "safe" for all participants. Continue reading to learn more about the Group Rules and the Small Group Covenant.

Keeping the Group Safe—

The primary tools for keeping the small group safe are Group Rules. Knowing that the leader will enforce the group rules give the participants the confidence and trust necessary to feel safe in the group. The "Serendipity Training Manual" states, "The rules of a group are designed to protect individual members, the group, and the leaders. Good rules create a safe atmosphere in which individual healing can occur. They do this in several ways:

  • Rules that offer protection
  • Rules that provide structure
  • Rules that set standards for group behavior
  • Rules that teach new ways of relating to others

It is important to define rules thoroughly right from the start. Beginning this way sets the stage for learning new behaviors while at the same time preventing potential problems. Rules are not intended to be used as "clubs" to keep people in line. But, it is important to refer members to the rules when difficulties arise."

I Will Rules and I Will Not Rules—

The group rules are divided into two sections, the "I will" section and the "I will not" section. "I will" rules concern those behaviors that contribute to group process and help individuals process their pain and find healing. "I will not" rules concern behaviors that detract from the small group experience and interfere with or prevent "group process".  "I will," rules point to behaviors that the facilitator will encourage and model. "I will not" rules address behaviors that the facilitator must manage and control in order to create trust among the members that the group is safe.

I WILL …

  • Focus on MY feelings
  • Focus on MY issues
  • Share from MY personal experience
  • Use "I" messages
  • Follow the rule of CONFIDENTIALITY
  • Listen empathetically
  • Be honest with myself and thers
  • Use Supportive feedback

I WILL NOT …

  • Give advice or preach
  • Criticize or judge
  • Monopolize or dominate
  • Interrupt
  • Use generalizations
  • Pursue a romantic relationship with members of the group

Children—

The safety of our children is a very serious matter at First Baptist Church. When you sign up your children to attend with you, their names and other information such as allergies, special needs, who is authorized to pick them up etc. will be entered into our child safety program. When you come to the workshop, you will enter their names in the computer at any of the convenient kiosks located throughout the church. A sticker will be printed off-one for the child, one for you, and one for the child care worker or teacher. NO ONE will be allowed to pick up your child without the parent part of the sticker.

 

 
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