Keep Kids Safe from Abuse at Camp this Summer


March 6, 2024
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel

Keep Kids Safe from Abuse at Camp this Summer
Center for Child Counseling’s CampSafe® Training is designed to protect campers and staff from child sexual abuse.

With summer on the horizon, caregivers are beginning to plan how to fill nearly three months of no school. Every year, about 26 million children attend roughly 15,000 day and overnight summer camps across the country, but how do parents ensure camps are properly vetted for safety when every nine minutes a child is a victim of sexual abuse and assault ( and 90% are abused by someone they know and trust? Florida-based nonprofit Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) wants to ensure every camper in the United States is protected and safe from abuse with CampSafe®–an online training designed to provide camp leadership and staff with the awareness and knowledge needed to prevent child sexual abuse. 

The goal is for all staff–including counselors, administrators, supervisors, dining and health personnel, volunteers, and board members–to arrive at camp with the same strong foundational knowledge of child sexual abuse prevention and awareness. For summer 2023, more than 8,000 camp staff across 74 camps participated in the CampSafe® training program. More than 14,000 campers were kept safe.

“Empowering every caregiver in every camp setting with knowledge of this topic provides a confidence level that best protects all staff and campers. Focused training for staff and volunteers both breaks the cycle of child sexual abuse and highlights a topic too often avoided out of fear and/or discomfort,” said Cherie Benjoseph CFCC director of national outreach and education and creator of the CampSafe® curriculum.

The program was created with young adults, ages 18-26, in mind to take the topic seriously but not instill fear. The training promotes compassion toward campers as staff become fluent in the language of safety while providing comfort, aide, and access to supervisory staff for guidance.

According to Justin Levy, assistant director of engagement and recruitment for Camp Coleman in Georgia, when they used CampSafe for the first time, “We were skeptical but those fears quickly went away. Having the ability to train every adult who enters our camp on such important information was so easy and so important. We had a better and safer camp because of CampSafe and that is priceless.”

From setting healthy boundaries to ensuring the entire camp team has a consistent safety protocol, CampSafe® training provides animated scenarios, interactive learning, and clear safety language for staff. Director training modules include: interviewing and background check protocol; child protection policy and procedures; supervising around the issues of child sexual abuse prevention; in-person follow-up training to provide during pre-camp week; links to state resources; establishing healthy boundaries; ice breakers for counselors and campers; sexual harassment; letters to parents and staff; and post-testing for certification. 

“Training focused squarely on sexual abuse prevention sends a message that your camp has ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse. This powerful message helps deter staff applicants who may have undesirable motives,” added Benjoseph. 

The CampSafe® program was developed by professionals with expertise in sexual abuse prevention and training. The Center for Child Counseling team partnered with experts in learning and development, using the most up-to-date online method. The training is designed to build confidence and knowledge for all camp personnel, gently but thoroughly, before camp begins.

“What I like about CampSafe Training in particular is that every counselor comes to camp with a strong knowledge base on the topic. So when we meet to review it during staff training, it isn’t the first time they’ve heard this information and they actually absorb it,” stated Carrie Muhlstein, director at Camp Wayne for Boys in Pennsylvania.  

According to data collected from the Center, staff’s ability to identify a camper who is at risk for child sexual abuse went from 49% confidence to 97% after the training. More than 75% of participants reported feeling safer that their camp is taking action to protect the staff and campers.

CampSafe® has the educational endorsement from the American Camp Association and is an Approved Youth Protection Training for the state of Texas. The training can be provided to all camp staff for a nominal fee, ranging from $275-$850 depending on the number of staff members being trained. 

CampSafe® is part of Center for Child Counseling’s be KidSafe initiative of providing prevention education for all adults who work with children.

Renée Layman, CEO of the Center, believes “all children deserve the same protection from abuse at summer camps as that which we advocate for and provide training for within schools and child care centers during the school year. Our goal is make it easy for all adults to become trauma-aware and recognize and stop childhood trauma and abuse in its tracks.”

For camp associations, camp directors, parks and recreation departments, and school districts interested in learning more about how to be proactive in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse at your day or overnight camp, visit or email 

Photo ID:

001: Camp Coleman camper; Cherie Benjoseph, director of national outreach and education for Center for Child Counseling ; Justin Levy, assistant director of engagement and recruitment for Camp Coleman in Georgia

Interview availability:
Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, CFCC director of national outreach and education and creator of the CampSafe® curriculum.

CampSafe® Resources:

About Center for Child Counseling
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

About Cherie Benjoseph, CFCC director of national outreach and education and creator of the CampSafe® curriculum:

Cherie is an expert in the field of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention. She has practiced social work since 1989. After receiving her MSW at Boston University, she worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in multiple school and non-profit settings in the Northeast and the state of Florida. In 2009 she founded KidSafe Foundation, a non-profit focused on child sexual abuse primary prevention. Cherie grounds her work in Child Sexual Abuse Prevention using a public health model. She is convinced that educating children and those who live or work with children about child sexual abuse and trauma prevention will strengthen families and protect kids, breaking the cycle of abuse. Presently, as Director of National Outreach and Education for the Center for Child Counseling, Cherie works with national and local leaders to define and improve the ever-changing issues around protecting children from harm. For more than a decade, she has presented nationally at conferences and symposiums. She loves to have conversations about how to talk with kids about personal safety, and she believes a safe society—free from child sexual abuse and exploitation—is attainable. Through Cherie’s leadership, several state-of-the-art programs have been created including Stay KidSafe!™, a personal safety curriculum for children, and CampSafe®, an online training program for camp staff, now programs of Center for Child Counseling. Cherie serves on the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation. She is a mom of two (grown and flown). She enjoys qigong, working with clay, travel, and time with her family when she’s not out advocating for the safety of all children.



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