Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

The babysitters club

Extension Office hosts weeklong camp to prepare babysitters
Jun 13, 2018

By Gretchen Teske, The JOURNAL


Fourteen junior-high girls sat quietly at tables, nervously looking over their workbooks as they prepared for a five-day babysitters camp. The camp, sponsored by the Iowa State Extension Office, aims to give the girls an opportunity to ask questions and prepare them for their future as baby-sitters.

Camp Director Madison Sheetz attended the camp when she was in junior high and is now the leader. “It’s kind of funny to be back,” she says. “Let’s see what I remember from it.”

The weeklong camp began Monday, June 11, continues for two hours each day and is open to girls fifth-grade and up. At the end of the week, the girls get a certificate from the Extension Office, certifying them as graduates from the camp. During the week, each girl gets a binder and workbook, which they get to take home and keep.

The binder is filled with examples of games to play, snacks to make and emergency contact lists to have on hand. The workbooks, which they go over during camp, have activities and challenges designed to make the participants think about the different emergency situations they might find themselves in. All materials for the class are provided by the Extension Office.

“We’re not going to be able to teach you everything about babysitting in these 10 hours,” Sheetz tells the girls, however, she promises to teach them the basics they will need to be successful.

Over the course of the week, the campers will have 10 guest speakers, ranging from local day care providers, who will talk to them about expectations, to firefighters, who will show them how to use fire extinguishers. “We cover a lot of information that you might not think of,” she said.

An entire unit is devoted to wounds, bug bites and allergic reactions. “A lot of this is good knowledge for them to have (on the job) as well as for themselves (in general).”

Amy Greiner, owner of the Kid’s Corral, spoke to the campers about employer expectations and responsibilities of a good babysitter. “Your two major jobs when you’re babysitting are to make sure the kids are safe and well taken care of,” she told them. She explained that cellphones and TV should not be used because the babysitter is there to play with the children and electronics can cause distraction.

Greiner has never spoken at the camp before but was glad to speak to the girls. She said the information was relevant and the camp was catered well for their age group. “I think it’s the perfect age for them to start,” she said. “If they’re going to be babysitting this is the perfect time for them to learn the basics.”

Sheetz agreed saying that through coming to camp, the girls are able to make friendships and share the information they learn with others. She feels that equipping kids with information helps them to be more responsible and aware of safety factors. “I hope they have fun from it and just know how to have fun with kids,” she said.

For more information on upcoming camps, visit the Extension Office website: www.extension.iastate.edu/washington.

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