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Summer Day Camp and Out of School Time guidelines released

Wednesday, December 14, 2016  
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   Summer Day Camp and Out-of-School Time 

Programs Guidelines



We, as park and recreation professionals, firmly believe there are fundamental differences between private, for-profit day care centers serving children ages 0-13 from half to full days on a regular and ongoing basis and summer day camps/out-of-school time programs serving children ages 5-15+ on a limited time basis.  Due to these significant differences – notably those pertaining to the ages of children served and the duration of these programs – we strongly believe there should NOT be a one-size-fits-all mentality regarding any proposed childcare guidelines. 


We are fully committed to the health, safety and well-being of the children within our care and we take pride in the quality, breadth and innovativeness of our programs which serve the children within our care. The guidelines below have been carefully developed based on current effective self-regulated policies established by our local governments, national guidelines (particularly those purposely designed for summer day camps/out-of-school time programs), as well as DSS guidelines.  These Summer Day Camp and Out-of-School Time Programs Guidelines are provided below.



Summer Day Camp is a youth program (ages 5 to 15+) offered during the summer which provides varied recreational activities primarily during the daytime hours throughout the period of the program.

Out-of-School Time Programs are those which offer a safe, structured environment for youth (typically ages 5 to 13) which may be offered pre-and/or post-school hours.  These out-of-school time programs are directly associated with the school calendar. 



Public park and recreation agencies typically utilize a combination of well-qualified full time, part time, and seasonal staff to manage and operate their summer day camp and out-of-school programs.   Full time staff members manage the overall programs and supervise part time/seasonal staff who serve as out-of-school and summer day camp directors/supervisors.  Volunteers and “junior” counselors are also sometimes utilized within these programs.  Volunteers and junior counselors may assist with the programs (but never lead) and are always under the direct supervision of professional staff.    


Background Screening

We believe a comprehensive screening process, including but not limited to a national criminal background/sex offender registry check, is an absolute requirement prior to employment.  This background screening minimally includes:  

1.      Personal reference checks.

2.      Former employer references/employment verification. 

3.      Previous and current place of residency.  

4.      Given name and any known aliases.

5.      Social security number validation.

6.      National criminal background history check.

7.      National Sex Offender Registry check.  


NOTE: Disqualifiers for the criminal history are based upon policies adopted by the local government (City/County/SPD). 

Staff Minimum Qualifications and Training


Full Time Staff in Charge of the Program and/or Facility Managers/Supervisors

1.      Associate Degree in relevant field of study or extensive related experience in public park and recreation or youth development to offset degree requirement. 

2.      First Aid/CPR training (a minimum of two staff on site must be CPR/First Aid trained).

3.      Ten (10) hours of training annually, excluding CPR/First Aid, in public parks and recreation, youth development or other related field training potentially including but not limited to the following:

a)      Agency-wide policies for employment, organizational goals and program objectives.

b)      Emergency management procedures for weather and other events.

c)      Child abuse awareness, prevention, and education.

d)     OSHA/GHS/Bloodborne Pathogen training.  


Seasonal or Part Time Counselors

1.      High school diploma or GED.  An exception may be made for a 16 or 17 year old as long as they are continuously supervised by a qualified supervisor at all times.         

2.      First Aid training.

3.      Five (5) hours of annual training, excluding first aid, potentially including but not limited to the following:

a)      Organization goals and program objectives.

b)      Emergency management procedures for weather and other events.

c)      Training in age-appropriate activities.

d)     Child abuse awareness, prevention, and education.

e)      OSHA/GHS/Bloodborne Pathogen training.  


Non Discrimination

Public park and recreation programs pride themselves on being responsive and receptive to every child and parent/guardian’s need within their program regardless of income level, disability, sex, race, gender, religion, age or national origin.


Staff Child Ratios

We adhere to these minimum ratios:                                                     Staff    Children

Ages 0 – 5                      1            12

Ages 5 – 12                    1            20

Ages 13 and above      1            21


Physical Space and Environment

Due to the nature of being open to the general public, public park and recreation facilities must adhere to all local building regulations as established by the local government as well as ADA/OSHA requirements. 


Medical Records & Medicine

In adherence to HIPPA regulations and in deference to the security of private information, medical records for participants will be kept at a central site or at the public park/recreation center in a secured location and in accordance with the policy of the local government.  When on field trips, necessary records may accompany the staff member in charge but shall be returned to the center or site immediately following the field trip.  Each child’s medication(s) will be maintained in the original container(s) and stored in a secured location.  Emergency-related medications such as Epi-pens and inhalers may remain with the counselors as needed.

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