Summer Camp Policies & Procedures

Presentation created by Texas A&M University System Risk Manager Henry Judah 04/26/2011
Why Review Summer Camp Programs?
System Audit Findings
Outline System Risk Management Survey Process
Explore Findings From Survey
› The Good
› The Bad
› The Ugly
Review Regulating Entities of Camp Programs in the
State of Texas
Recommended Best Practices
System Summer Camp GL and Accident Medical
Session Summary
Involves the care of minors
Increased attention-Reputational and Legal
Risks Are Higher
Serving as surrogate parents while in our care
Emotional reaction when children involved
Increased likelihood of media attention
Increased desire to “place blame” and “punish”
Sexual molestation
Injury and/or death
Mental Harm
Risks Associated With Children
Camp Administration
Camp administration lacks university-wide
procedures and oversight. Management
could not provide a comprehensive list of
current camps. We identified at least 17
camps that were held on the campus in
fiscal year 2009. Camps held on the
University’s campus host kindergarten
through college-age participants. Without
procedures and oversight for camps, the
risk of injuries and potential liabilities is
Overall, the controls established over Athletic
Department operations at Nameless University are
effective in providing reasonable assurance
resources are used efficiently and effectively and
in compliance with laws, policies, regulations, and
University rules except in the area of cash receipts.
Significant improvements are needed in the
Department’s cash receipting procedures.
Opportunities for improvement were also identified
in the areas of sports camp administration and the
affiliation agreement with the ????? Club
Of the four university-sponsored camps reviewed,
two lacked documented approvals on file; one
did not have a signed agreement or contract; one
did not have waiver of liability forms and
emergency medical release forms for participants;
and one could not verify that background checks
for camp personnel or volunteers occurred.
Camps were not monitored to ensure that the
third-Party sponsor had adequate insurance
coverage for the camp, that background checks
were completed on camp personnel, and that
emergency medical information was obtained
No University rule or comprehensive written operating
procedures have been developed to provide
standardization and guidance to the administration of
university-sponsored camps. As a result, certain safety
processes within these camps require improvement to better
ensure the safety of camp participants (especially youths).
For instance, although background checks or screenings
recently began on University employees, no similar checks
are being performed on non-University personnel or
volunteers prior to working at the camps. In addition, camp
documentation is decentralized at the responsible
department and standardized Forms are not always used
making it difficult to ensure all documents are completed,
signed, and retained.
Of the seven camps tested for proper safety documentation
one camp did not retain any participant safety documentation.
Of the 102 camp participants tested in the remaining six camps,
seven percent (7%) did not have a properly completed or
signed medical release form and eight percent (8%) did not
have a properly completed or signed waiver
 The University rules and procedures do not address camps held
by University departments or employees. Without guidance, a
camp may be held that is incongruent with the University’s
mission or without the knowledge and approval of the
administration. Adequate insurance for the camp may not be
obtained. In addition, adequate participant information may
not be obtained, for example release, waiver, and authorization
for medical treatment. Without guidance, or approval, the
University could be exposed to both reputational and legal risks
Survey sent to Members
 Replies received
 Summary of findings documented
 Trends and inconsistencies noted
 Translate finding into best practices
recommendations across the System
The Good
The Bad
The Ugly
All members with camp programs have
an application process
 Some have an online registration process
while others have a paper process
 Recognition for the need to complete
background checks
Different levels of authority for final
Not all Members complete a risk assessment
form (and for those who do, some online,
others paper form)
Camp directors are not required for all
No standardized criteria for who should
serve as camp director and/or counselor
Differences in who conducts the
background checks (HR or UPD)
Storage location and retention
schedules of background checks vary
 Guidelines for transporting minors vary
from Member to Member
 Amount of time for review of waivers by
parents is inconsistent
 Waiver storage location and retention
schedules vary Member to Member
 Procedure manuals are used by some
but not all Members
Inconsistent background checks relating
to who, how often etc.
 Differences in criteria used to evaluate
background checks
 Medicine distribution is treated differently
by Members
 Camper to counselor ratios vary for both
day and night activities
Texas Administrative Code
 Rule 265.15 Medical and Nursing Care
The Texas Department of State Health Services is the principal authority on matters relating to health
and safety conditions at youth camps in Texas. All youth camps must obtain a license prior to
operating. Any youth camp may be inspected during operation to determine compliance with the
Youth Camp Act and the Youth Camp Rules.
To determine if an operation is a youth camp, the operation must meet the following criteria:
A facility or property, other than a facility required to be licensed by the Department of Family
and Protective Services that:
 has the general characteristics of a day camp, resident camp, or travel camp;
 is used for recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities;
 accommodates at least five minors who attend or temporarily reside at the camp for all or
part of at least four consecutive days; and
 is not a facility or program operated by or on the campus of an institution of higher education
or a private or independent institution of higher education as those terms are defined by the
Education Code, §61.003, that is regularly inspected by one or more local governmental
entities for compliance with health and safety standards.
A youth camp provides supervision, instruction, and recreation, utilizing a variety of activities
primarily in an outdoor, natural environment, for children who are apart from their parents or legal
A youth camp operates only during school vacation periods, and not more than 120 days per
calendar year; and
A youth camp accepts a camper for a minimum of four consecutive days for more than four
hours per day.
Sec. 141.0021. EXEMPTION. This chapter does not apply to a facility or program operated by or on the
campus of an institution of higher education or a private or independent institution of higher education
as those terms are defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, that is regularly inspected by one or
more local governmental entities for compliance with health and safety standards.
Minimize the number of external camps on
the premises if possible (it is understood this
may not be practicable by some Members)
 For external camps, maintain the same
processes, expectations and guidelines as
internal camps
 Integrate the approval process as closely as
possible with internal camp application
 Hold external camps to the same degree of
care as internal camps
Develop online camp application,
review and approval process
 Incorporate camps procedures and
policies online (likely a secured website)
A camp shall have written personnel
policies and practices for both campers
and staff. Supervisors shall be informed
of these policies and practices prior to
assuming responsibility for campers
Complete a risk assessment form for
each camp
 Involve System Risk Management When
Every camp should have a camp
director appointed who is an employee
 Develop and maintain a set of
“qualifications” for camp director
Every camp should have a program
director appointed who is preferably an
 Develop and maintain a set of
“qualifications” for program director
Every camp should have a set of
qualifications for camp staff members
and consideration should be given to
specialty qualifications for special camp
 Status of permanent employee vs.
contract employee as it relates to liability
All personnel associated with all camps should have
a background check completed
State Records Retention Schedule 3.1.014 03.106.10
Employment Selection Records Includes notes of
interviews with candidates; audio and videotapes of
job interviews; background, criminal history and
previous injury checks; pre-employment physical
examinations; polygraph examination results; and all
other records that document the selection process.
See 3.1.026 for security clearances on hired
› 2 2 29 CFR 1602.31(a) (State Agencies)
› 29 CFR 1602.49 (State Universities)
› CAUTION: Does not include criminal history checks. See
item number 3.1.026
Criminal conviction and sex offender background check requirements. The
camp management shall have on file a record of any criminal conviction
and a sex offender registration check for all adult staff members and all adult
volunteers working at the camp before the staff member or volunteer has
unsupervised contact with children at the camp. If the records are located
off-site, a letter from the national or regional headquarters of the camp
organization stating the names of individuals at the camp site for whom
background checks have been conducted, shall be available at the camp
site. All records of criminal convictions and written evaluations for a camp or
camping organization shall be made available to department personnel
within two business days upon request.
Youth camps are responsible for ensuring that criminal and sex offender
background checks have been conducted for international staff obtained
through the J-1 visa process, and that documentation of these checks are
located with other staff background checks. Records of criminal convictions
and sex offender status shall be obtained by ????
(1) performing an annual criminal background check using a
criminal history database for each adult staff member's and each
adult volunteer's permanent residence. If the staff member or adult
volunteer has a temporary or an educational residence, an annual
criminal background check shall include searching under the
permanent, temporary and educational address, as applicable. The
criminal history database used for the criminal background check is
to be based on the individual's residences, and may include state,
national or international databases. Documentation of the search
results, whether or not the results are positive, shall be maintained
with the sex offender background documentation; and
(2) performing an annual background check using a sex offender
registration database for each adult staff member's and each adult
volunteer's permanent residence and educational residence if
applicable, such as the TXDPS - Sex Offender Registry, which may be
accessed at Texas Department of Public Safety - Crime Records
Service. Documentation of the search results, whether or not the
results are positive, shall be maintained with the criminal
background documentation
Camp participants should be given
adequate time to seek legal counsel
prior to signing the form.
 Standard system waiver and release
should be used
Each youth camp shall have at least one adult supervisor who is
responsible for the supervision of no more than ten children in the
camp. For any hazardous activity the supervisor(s) shall be in the
immediate vicinity (within sight and/or hearing) of the campers. An
"all camp" sedentary activity, not requiring physical activity, may
require less supervision, and each camp shall establish its own
guidelines, but not less than one adult supervisor to every 25
campers. The camp director shall not be included in the supervisor
to camper ratio in camps serving over 50 campers at one time
System Risk Management Recommendations
Camper Age
# of Staff
Day Only
At least 80 percent (100 percent for camps
primarily serving persons with special needs)
of the staff are eighteen years of age or
 All staff are at least sixteen years of age
and at least two years older than the minors
with whom they are working
Clarify the Camp Policy about Privacy of Personal Health
 The rule acknowledges that healthcare providers need access
to information about the people for whom they provide direct
care. But it raises a question about other people or entities.
Determine your camp's current way of handling protected
health information (PHI). Remember to consider:
› Who receives completed health forms and who has access to
those forms before camp starts?
› About what health concerns are kitchen staff typically informed?
Why are they told? Specifically who is told - just the head cook or
the entire kitchen staff? Could that pool of people be more
limited without jeopardizing safety?
› What health challenges are shared with cabin staff?
› Who in the specialized areas of camp - waterfront, ropes course,
horseback riding, tripping, etc. - are told about health
challenges? Why are they told?
Under what circumstances does PHI leave camp? How is
the privacy of that information monitored?
What individuals have access to all and any PHI? Who has
limited access and how is that access limited?
When a person leaves camp - whether on a day trip or at
the end of their camp session - how is their health history
secured? Who makes decisions regarding the disposition
of that information?
How does one gain access to PHI?
The Privacy Rule directs entities to define their policy and
make that policy generally known to clients as well as
implement "reasonable steps" to limit use of protected
information within the entity and in regard to requests it
may receive from other parties. Information must only be
released to those with a clear "need to know
Be certain to obtain required health
history information
 All drugs must be stored under lock.
Prescription drugs must be dispensed
only under directions of physician.
Nonprescription drugs dispensed only
under written health care procedures or
signed instruction of parent/guardian.
For external camps, the following
insurance should be required:
Policy Summary and Rate Sheet
 Loss Frequency/Loss Payments
# of Claims
Camp Roster
Amount Paid
Take a pro-active approach to camp
 Develop established processes and
publish to all relevant staff and
 Network and leverage other Members
for best practices ideas
 Call System Risk Management with any

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