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FAQs for Summer Camp Directors



General Questions

Do I need a summer camp permit?
If your camp consists of 10 children or more, you will need to obtain a summer camp permit.  The summer camp permit covers campers up until the age of 16.

When is the application submission deadline?
You are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible but no later than 60 days in person (or 90 days by mail) prior to your camp’s start date. (Weekends and holidays are counted).

Where do I submit my application?
New and Returning Camps must submit the completed Summer Camp Site Inspection Request Form and permit fee (or proof of 501(c)(3) charity organization status) as well as a letter on organization letterhead that your 501(c)(3) status is current and in good standing with the U.S. Treasury Department to the Bureau of Child Care located at 125 Worth Street (between Lafayette and Centre Streets), Suite 908, Box 68, New York, NY 10013.

All other required forms and documents must be submitted to the respective borough office of where your program will operate.

How long does it take to receive a permit?
The time it takes for an applicant to receive their permit varies and depends on several factors such as timely completion of the application packet, including all necessary documentation, and results of inspections.

I am changing my location to across the street or down the block; do I need a new RECORD ID/CAMIS number?
Yes.  If the camp’s building address has changed, you must apply as a new camp.

I am changing my sponsor name/ownership; do I need to apply as a new camp?
Yes, if the Sponsor’s Name, Ownership or the camp’s Tax-ID number has changed, you need to apply as a new camp.

I am changing the name of my camp; do I need to apply as a new camp?
No. Your camp name/DBA name does not affect your permit, unless it is your legal business name.

How can I get a copy of my permit?
Contact the Bureau of Child Care office in the borough where the camp operates.

How can I get my camp registered to accept ACD vouchers?
Call the Administration for Children’s Services, Child Care and Head Start at 311 or visit the nearest Human Resources Administration Office.

How can I get summer youth employees to work at my camp as counselors?
Call the Department of Youth and Community Development, Summer Youth Employment Program at (212)-442-9619.

 

Staff Qualifications and Requirements

What are the Camp Director Requirements?
At least 21 years old (25 years for overnight camp) or have a bachelor’s degree and have at least three summer-seasons of supervising camp experience.

If you have experience as a teacher or after-school program director/counselor, you require at least
one summer of supervisory experience at a summer camp.

How do I prove my qualifications and/or experience?
Submit a resume, detailing all of your qualifications.

What are the Health Director requirements?
Your Health Director may be a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, Emergency Medical Technician or other person acceptable to the department.

Other person acceptable to the Department” shall mean a person who is certified Advanced First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for the Professional Rescuer (CPR Pro*) by an approved provider or equivalent courses.

If your Health Director is a medical professional and will be on site, he/she must also possess a CPR Pro and Advance First Aid Certification.

If your Health Director is off site, there must br an On-site Designee (or Assistant Health Director) certified in CPR Pro and Advance First Aid.

What are the responsibilities of the Health Director?
The Health Director is the individual primarily responsible for the implementation of the medical portion of the safety plan. The duties of the Health Director should reflect his or her level of medical and first aid training and include the following:

  • Medical screening of campers and the review of campers’ confidential medical histories prior  to camp
  • The procedures for daily health screening and sick call
  • Responding to injuries and illness events; maintaining the medical log
  • Implementing standing orders issued by the campers’ physicians
  • Camp sanitation, including food service and living quarters, where applicable

Does my Health Director have to be on site at all times?
At a summer day camp, your Health Director may be off site. However  an On-site Designee (or Assistant Health Director) who is certified with CPR Pro and Advance First Aid must be on site during hours of operation. At an overnight camp, the Health Director must be on site at all times.

How many staff members should be certified with Advance First Aid?
There shall be at least 1 staff certified in Advance First Aid for every 200 campers. (The Health Director/On-site Designee’s Advance First Aid certification covers the first 200 campers.)

 

How many staff members should be certified with CPR Pro?
In addition to the Health Director or On-site designee, there shall be at least 1 staff certified in CPR Pro for every 100 campers.  CPR Pro certifications are valid for only one year regardless of the expiration date. (The Health Director/On-site Designee’s CPR Pro certification does not cover the CPR requirement for the first 100 campers.)

How many staff members should be certified with Standard First Aid?
In addition to the Health Director, there shall be at least 1 staff certified in Standard first Aid for every 50 campers. (The Health Director/On-site Designee’s Advance First Aid certification does not cover the Standard First Aid requirement for the first 50 campers.)

Does the Health Director have to be present during camp trips?
No. Camp trips shall be accompanied by staff members and/or trip leaders who are certified in Advance First Aid and CPR Pro.

If an injury/illness incident occurs, is the Health Director responsible for completing the forms?
The Camp Director, Health Director or On-Site Designee should complete the form within 24 hours and fax to 347-396-8054.

Does my camp staff need to be finger-printed?
No. Only after-school and childcare facilities require finger printing.

Does my camp staff need to fill out the SCR form?
No. Only the Camp Director needs to complete the SCR form (for child abuse).The rest of your staff (including volunteers) needs a NYS DCJS background check for the Sex Offender Registry.  Call (800) 262-3257 or send a request by fax (518) 485-5805.

What are the Aquatic Director’s requirements?
The Aquatic Director must be at least 21 years of age, possess CPR Professional Rescuer, possess Lifeguard Supervision and Management, annually review and document the review of the camp’s safety plan for swimming and have a minimum of

  • One (1) season of previous experience as a camp aquatics director at a New York State children’s camp; or
  • Two (2) seasons of previous experience consisting of at least 12 weeks as a children’s camp lifeguard, as specified in SSC 7-2.5(g), at a swimming pool or bathing beach which had more than one lifeguard supervising it at a time; or
  • 18 (eighteen) weeks of previous experience as a lifeguard as specified in SSC 7-2.5(g)(2) at a swimming pool or bathing beach which had more than one lifeguard supervising it at a time.

What are the lifeguard requirements?:
A lifeguard shall be at least 17 years old, and hold lifeguard certification, First Aid and CPR Pro.

 

Pool and Swim Requirements

I will be taking my campers to a public pool; do I need my own lifeguards?
Yes, unless the pool site provides a legal binding document stating that they will provide the lifeguard at a 1:25 ratio.

I will be taking campers to a public pool or an aquatic theme park; do I need an aquatics director?
Yes.  An Aquatic Director is needed for all water activities, (except sprinklers at a public park).

Can my campers use a pool at a private residence or building?
No. Summer camps can only use their own camp-ground-pool or take their campers to public pools.

Can my campers use a wading pool?
Yes, but you will still need an Aquatic Directors, and the pool must have a filtration system (Wading pool must be 24 inches throughout the entire pool).

 

Director Orientation and Aquatics Orientation Questions
Does my Camp Director and Aquatic Director have to attend the orientation?
Yes, if s/he is a new Camp Director or Aquatic Director and have never attended the orientation or workshop in the past, or when deemed necessary by the Department.

Fire Inspection Questions
How do I obtain a fire inspection?
Programs submitting their application for the first time with a valid Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or Letter of No Objection (LNO) must pass an FDNY fire inspection. Once we receive the CO/TCO or LNO, we will send an initial fire inspection request to FDNY. Once you pass the fire inspection, FDNY will send the report directly to our office.

My camp will be a in a public school, are we responsible for fulfilling the fire inspection requirement?
Yes. Our office will make the initial inspection request to the Fire Department.  Prior to selecting a facility, it is the camp’s responsibility to discuss with Department of Education, School Principal or School Custodian about the fire safety and buildings compliance. Fire safety and facility violations are filed against the Camp, as the permittee, and not DOE or the owner of the building.

Do I need a Certificate of Fitness?
Depending on the type of building your camp is located in, you may need a Certificate of Fitness. Usually the Fire Department will inform you if one is needed.  You can also inquire from the building owner or management, if there is a person on staff who already possesses the Certificate of Fitness

 

Certificate of Occupancy and Letter of No Objection Questions

I am a returning camp; do I need a new Letter of No Objection?
Letters of No objections are valid as long as the description of the program has not changed.

My camp will be a in a public school, do I need to submit a Certificate of Occupancy or Letter of No Objection?
Yes. You must submit these documents to the borough office.

I am a new camp and have applied for a Letter of No Objection which I have not received as yet, what should I do?
Your application will still be accepted, however, a permit cannot be issued without your Letter of No Objection.

 

Food Certification Questions

How can I get my campers to receive school lunch?
Call the Department of Education, Summer Feeding Program at 718-707-4380 or 718-707-4383.

Do I need to take a 15 hour Food Protection Course?
Visit the Health Academy webpage.

If campers bring lunch from home what kind of food protection certificate is required?
There is no food protection certificate required. If campers bring potentially hazardous food, you must have a facility to maintain the temperature at 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

If my camp transports Summer Feeding Program lunch from a Department of Education building to the camp site, what kind of certificate is required?
You are required to have someone on staff certified in the Food Protection 4-Hour Certificate. Staff must know basic food safety to ensure the food is transported safely. Call 311 to register.

Do I need a food protection certificate if campers are transported to a Department of Education school for  lunch?
No.

Do I need a food protection certificate if my camp provides packaged, non-perishable snacks, such as juice boxes, and crackers?
No. You are not required to obain a food protection certificate.

Do I need a food protection certificate if my camp has a single-instance outdoor event where food is prepared or barbequed, such as an end-of-year picnic, or pizza party?
No, however it is recommended.

 

Camper Supervision Questions

What is the counselor to camp supervision ratio requirements?

  • Normal Activities:
    • 1 senior counselor to every 6 campers, for ages 1-5 years old
    • 1 senior counselor to every 9 campers, for ages 6-7 years old
    • 1 senior counselor to every 12 campers, for ages 8-15 years old


  • Off-site  Trips:
    • 1 senior counselor to every 5 campers, for all ages



  • Aquatic Activities:
    • 1 senior counselor to every 4 campers, for ages 1-5 years old
    • 1 senior counselor to every 6 campers, for ages 6-7 years old
    • 1 senior counselor to every 8 campers, for ages 8-15 years old


  • Passive Activities (where participants are spectators, or have limited mobility(e.g. religious instructions, storytelling, coloring, viewing movies or drama, singing and board games):
    • 1 senior counselor to every 25 campers, for all ages


  • Lifeguards:
    • 1 lifeguard to every 25 campers, for all ages

 

Safety Plan Questions

What do I need to include in an activity safety plan?

  • Medical, facility and environmental emergency response procedures
  • Routine program administration and facility maintenance procedures
  • Safety Plan for each activity the campers will participate in.
  • Designation of qualified activity leaders or trip leaders (staff certified in CPR and First Aid).
  • When and how often you will perform buddy checks and accountability checks.
  • Method to identify campers such as whether campers will wear T-Shirts with the camp’s name and telephone number.
  • Methods to ensure adequate counselor-to-camper ratios.
  • Designation of staff responsible for equipment check for hazards, cleanliness, and good repair prior to the activity.