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Summer Camp Questions Every Parent Should Ask

Did you know that The American Camp Association, the only national accreditation body for camps, requires camps to meet just 18 percent of its 255 standards and practices? Thanks to Meow Meow Foundation, you will know what questions to ask summer camps before sending your kids. The tragic loss of 6-year-old Roxie at a summer camp, that was afterwards deemed inadequate, lead her parents to create the Meow Meow foundation to bring awareness to summer camp and water safety.

Our CEO, Rania Mankarious sat down on the Balanced Voice Podcast with Doug Forbes and Elena Matyas to discuss their story, their foundation and how Roxie’s death can lead to saving other kids.

Watch their discussion and learn more about Doug Forbes and Elena Matyas here:

Summer break is finally here and kids are ready to explore, relax and have fun. Often times, summer camps are on the to-do list in majority of households. Whether those camps are day camps, overnight camps, dance camps, horse riding camps or sports camps; all camps should be held to a high safety standard. As a parent, where do you start? Research is important before choosing the camp you want to send your child to. While it can be comforting to send them to a camp recommended by a family friend, be sure to check the camp out on your own. Though the ACA refuses to tell parents that standards and practices that have allowed camps to be deemed “accredited”, there are questions you can ask that will give you insight on how the camp operates. Below you will find a list of questions that will be helpful in finding the right camp for you and your child.

Camp Questions:

  • Does the camp operate with a valid license from the county department of public health?
  • Was the camp inspected at an announced visit before summer season and again during an unannounced visit operating season?
    • Are these inspection result public?
  • Have you executed a thorough internet search – to see if a camp is responsible for an injuries or deaths (drowning, falling, impalement), sexual or other abuses?
  • Does the camp comply with mandated reporter requirements?

Counselors and Staff Questions:

  • Does the camp employ counselors and staff with any criminal background?
    • Do they conduct annual background checks?
  • Are camp staff CPR certified before being hired?
    • Be aware if they are certified on-site
    • What other types of training do they receive?
  • Is the camp health director a physician or registered / vocational nurse?
  • Is there an on-site health supervisor that is 25+ years-old?

Activity Questions:

  • Does the camp offer high-risk activities? (Riflery, aquatics, horseback riding, climbing etc. )?
    • If so, does the camp possess training, certifications and equipment for high-risk activities?
  • Does the camp have a pool or swimming area?
    • If so, does the pool / swimming area meet all current legal standards?
  • Does the camp certify lifeguards at legitimate organizations?
    • Beware of on-site training after hiring.
    • Are lifeguards re-tested every year?
    • Does a camp keep a log of all swimmers, their abilities and restrictions?
  • Does the camp have and require proper gear for high-risk activities (zip-line, archery, horseback riding)?
  • Does the camp have an emergency management plan for each activity?

Download our Bilingual Summer Safety Tips Here! 

Posted by Kaitlynn Frey, Crime Stoppers Education Specialist on 14 Jun 2021