By Laura Petkau (with Mark Kloosterman)
In fall of 2022, everyone who is responsible for working with and mentoring the children and teens in BCC Vancouver participated in a Child Protection Program (CPP) training seminar. This training was led by Mark Kloosterman, who is BCC Vancouver’s local Child Protection coordinator. After the seminar, we asked Mark a few questions to gain insight into the training and its purpose.
Why is this type of training so important?
The CPP training seminar is a vital tool for helping the workers and mentors actively participate in creating a good atmosphere and in promoting a healthy church culture.
Children are the most precious resource we have been entrusted with. We believe that they are a gift from God, and they need to be treated as such. In all the activities and events that we organize for children and young people in BCC, we need to ensure that there is a warm and accepting environment so that all the participants have a good experience. They should never feel bullied, excluded or left out. The CPP training seminar is a vital tool for helping the workers and mentors actively participate in creating a good atmosphere and in promoting a healthy church culture. The training also gives guidelines to be more alert in noticing any warning signs that something could be wrong, and what they should do in such cases.
Who is the target audience for such trainings?
The primary audience for this seminar BCC members who work directly with children and teens, including Sunday School, activity clubs, youth meetings, fundraisers and youth trips. But a secondary audience was the parents, who also play a vital role in creating a good atmosphere for the children in their homes. It is important that the Christian life that is preached at our church services is reflected in the life that the children see practiced by their parents in the homes. All parents have the task and responsibility to be a shepherd for their children. This task includes teaching, sowing God’s word, giving guidance, being an example and providing correction when needed. We also believe that parents shouldn’t be naive regarding the influences that their children face at school, on the Internet, and via social media.
In all the activities and events that we organize for children and young people in BCC, we need to ensure that there is a warm and accepting environment so that all the participants have a good experience.
How often is CPP training done?
This is an annual process. The activities provided for the children and teens mostly run in parallel with the school year — from September to June. So, we try to hold the training in the fall, so that new workers and mentors learn what is expected of them, and those with previous experience get a refresher on their responsibilities.
How was the response?
… participants agreed that it is important to speak openly so that light can be shed on areas that society often keeps in secrecy and darkness.
The response was very positive. Discussing possible types of abuse that children could be exposed to can be unpleasant and even painful, but the participants agreed that it is important to speak openly so that light can be shed on areas that society often keeps in secrecy and darkness. We also received some feedback that the seminar could be improved by providing scenarios with examples of difficult conversations that workers could face when interacting with children. It was suggested that it could be helpful for the participants to receive coaching and to practice dealing with these scenarios. We will incorporate these suggestions into the presentation when we provide the training again next year.