Probably should have been a coach, pretty good at blowing whistles
June 19, 2014 9:51 AM Subscribe
I worked for a few months in the worst workplace environment ever. I'm pretty troubled at how badly the place was run, particularly by the actions of the director. Is there any point/way to let the larger, national organization know about the issues there?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is a branch of a well known national organization, and the specific site that I was at was in South Carolina. I have since moved on to a different job in a different state (I worked there Feb-April of this year). While the organization does lots of other work, my site was specifically working with kids in a camp setting. Being in South Carolina, the camp and the regional branch of this organization are pretty conservative and I believe that the regional branch is aware/unresponsive to problems at the camp and I am interested in taking my concerns higher, if you all think it makes sense. The national organization is, as far as I can tell, a good organization that I think would be concerned about these issues. The overall organization was originally chirstian but has since become a very well known organization that is pretty much secular at the national level and espouses acceptance of all.
I don't want to give you every one of the gory details, but here's my primary concerns as briefly as I can explain them, many of which center around a relatively new director of the camp, whom we will call J:
-Safety: A lot of safety things like first aid and such were a little more loosey-goosey than I was comfortable with, but a lot of my safety concerns came from a weekend 'overnight camp' that we had. Usually, the staff did not supervise kids overnight during the school year (but they do all summer).
The whole thing was poorly organized. My biggest concerns were poor staff to camper ratios (we had 1:12 staff to kid ratios, overnight, with kids as young as 6 and 7 who had never been away from home before. Staff were in cabins without any other staff. This is sooo far beyond any camp accredation ratio standards.). Some cabin staff were not provided with radios or first aid kits. At pick up time, no one was told what the plan was, so kids were running around in the parking lot as cars came in. There was no sign out procedure. Two kids were supposed to be shuttled home and were left at the camp. No one but me noticed.
The real issue here is that the leadership didn't percieve these things as big problems. They took an attitde of 'eh, mistakes happen, we're still learning.' When I brought these issues up at a meeting, J said "I can see you feel very emotional about this," and then didn't address them.
-Homophobia: This is heresay, but first person heresay. During the summer, staff are told by the director of the camp that if a camper confides in them that they are gay, they need to come to J so that J can tell their family's pastor. J also fired a summer camp counselor for being gay.
-Treatement of staff: This is not something that I necessarily want to emphasize, but certainly was an issue. Of the 12 staff who were hired with me, only one actually finished the season. If it makes a difference in how you think about it, the staff was composed primarily of people in their late 20s and 30's. Staff concerns were regularly dismissed, staff were at one point lied to and told that they were going to have a mid season review and were then grilled one on one about a rule infraction at camp. J frequently made it obvious that he took female staff much less seriously than male staff. There's a ton of other stuff but I'm not going to go into it. I think the 1/12 staff retention rate is probably a good indicator.
Okay, so my questions are:
-Should I raise these concerns? Am I blowing this out of proportion?
-How should I raise these concerns?
-What would be the likely consequences of raising these concerns, if any? I don't really want to get the good folks in trouble.
I've worked in not-particularly-good places before, and I just moved on afterward. I'll drop it if you all think I should. But I feel as though this place could use someone to blow the whistle to the larger organization.