Ten Easy Steps to a Great Youth Gathering
- Don' t travel alone - Move in groups and always have an adult leader with you.
- Always follow suggested walking routes.
- Designate a meeting place for your group at each location.
- Always carry photo ID.
- Keep wallets in front pockets and purses close to you.
- Watch out for street scams and always be aware of your surroundings.
- Remember your water bottles - Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily.
- Keep your phone and important numbers with you at all times.
- Label your stuff.
- Wear comfortable footwear.
More tips from the ELCA Youth Gathering's Safety and Security TeamSafety on the Streets of New Orleans :
- Always travel in groups of at least 3 or 4 persons, including an adult leader, for safety reasons. Never travel alone!
- Follow suggested walking routes. Do not wander into any area that is dark or void of people.
- Walk confidently and be courteous.
- If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and move to a safer area.
- Carry your purse close to your body and your wallet in your front pocket.
- Do not display large amounts of cash in public places.
- Don’t hesitate to approach a police officer, security officer or Gathering staff for help.
- Always let your adult leaders know where you are going. Designate a pre-arranged meeting spot for your group in the event someone becomes separated from the others.
- Each gathering participant should carry photo identification at all times. A designated adult should also carry a copy of each group member’s medical release form.
- Hydration, light colored clothing, balanced diet and sleep are the best prevention for heat exhaustion in New Orleans. It is recommended that participants carry water bottles and drink the equivalent of between 8 – 10 glasses of water daily.
- Proper footwear should be worn by all participants. “Flip flops” or other open-toed footwear is not recommended for the servant events, walking around the city and inside the Superdome.
- Each group should possess a basic first aid kit, which includes band aids for unexpected blisters.
- Notify the New Orleans Police Department (911) and the Gathering Info Line 888-411- ELCA (3522) if you become the victim of a crime.
- Call Gathering Info Line 888-411- ELCA (3522) to report ANY unsafe condition in addition to an actual crime or injury.
Street Scams and Con Games
- Watch out for street scams, especially in the French Quarter. Be wary of strangers who seem overly anxious to help you or offering you the “chance of a lifetime” for a little gamble, and if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Simply smile and walk past them.
- The favorite street scam is for someone to approach you and offer to bet you $5 that they can tell you “Where you got‘ dem shoes”. If you display any interest at all, someone may start shining your shoes while continuing a rapid fire discourse for a couple of minutes or for as long as you let them. The tag line is that this person knows you “got them shoes” on your feet. Now, since you've been entertained and had your shoes shined (quality not withstanding), this person will naturally expect you to pay up.
- Some other popular scams are:
- "Bet I can spell your last name" Answer: "Y-O-U-R L-A-S-T N-A-M-E"
- Someone will try to get you to follow them to enroll in special deals.
- Somebody hands you a "free" New Orleans souvenir - then wants a donation for a worthy sounding cause.
- The City of New Orleans has the following curfew in effect: A minor (person under the age of 17) shall not remain in a public place or on the premises of an establishment without being accompanied by parent, guardian or other designated adult from:
- 9 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday until 6 a.m. of the following day from June 1 through August 31.
- 11 p.m. on any Friday or Saturday until 6 a.m. of the following day.
- Since Gathering activities end later than these hours, it is of utmost importance that group leaders accompany their groups at all times when traveling back to your hotels.
- Violations of this curfew could result in summonses to both the participant and group leader.
- It is recommended that all participants who own cell phones bring them to the Gathering. Although cell phones can be a distraction, for safety reasons they can become an important tool in communicating with others should someone become separated from the rest of the group. Even though New Orleans is a safe city, there are still areas that should be avoided, and cell phones offer a fast means of communication in the event of an emergency.
- Maintain a printed list of cell phone numbers to distribute to members of your group. Program the group leader/s cell number and the Gathering Information Line number
888-411-3522 on all cell phones. In addition, the following should be programmed into all cell phones:
- “ICE” (In case of emergency) – The cell phone number of the group leader.
- Include in the group’s covenant a statement regarding cell phone usage during the trip.
Safety and Behavior in the Superdome
- For your safety and security, all backpacks, bags, containers, purses, etc., may be inspected prior to you being admitted to the dome. Laser pointers, glass containers, any type of weapon or anything else that poses a safety or health risk will be confiscated. Do not joke about weapons, violent acts or terrorism.
- “Mosh Pits” and “Body Surfing” are strictly prohibited. Anyone forming or participating in these activities could risk removal from the Superdome.
- No open flames (lighters, candles, matches, etc.).
- No throwing items, such as beach balls, toilet paper, coins, etc.
- No saving seats.
- No laser pointers.
- All cell phones and pagers should be turned off.
- Soft drinks and food are not permitted in the seating areas of the Superdome.
- Before entering the dome, have a realistic plan of where your group may sit, in case someone gets separated. To avoid injuries, refrain from running when the doors open.
- Designate a pre-arranged meeting spot for your group to meet after the program has ended.
Lost & found items
- Items can be claimed at the Info Booth near Hall D of the Convention Center. If you have found that you have lost an item, contact the Gathering InfoLine at 1-888-411-3522. If you find an item that someone has lost, turn the item over to any volunteer.