Program/Camp Operations

A program director must be identified for all youth programs and camps.  A program director is the head, director or leader of a covered program.

The Program Leader must:

    • Select program staff (both paid and volunteer) with appropriate experience, qualifications and training based upon the age of the participants and the nature of the program. Background checks must be completed on all Authorized Staff (paid and volunteer) over the age of 18 before working in covered programs
    • Evaluate the ratio of adult program supervisors (18 years of age or older) to program participants. The number of chaperones recommended is determined by age and special needs.

Program directors are required to attend all trainings coordinated by the YPCO and Enterprise Risk Management Office.

Program directors are responsible to plan for and require the proper care and supervision of youth participants.

    • Develop registration materials that include the details of the programs and requirements for participation.
    • Schedule all program and camp activities with no unsupervised or one on one contact with youth.  One on one contact with youth is prohibited, except in music programs involving private instruction, clinical programs, or similar programs in which the parent or guardian of the youth has been informed of the one-on-one instruction, been given the option to be present and has given written consent to the one-on-one contact. There must be authorized adults present for all activities in which youth are present.
    • Design program and camp elements to minimize escalation of competition into conflict and/or fighting.
    • Provide and supervise trained counselors (also considered to be Authorized Staff) who must be at least 18 years of age
    • Develop and document a general safety plan, and include the plan in staff and participant orientation.  For higher-risk activities (water activities, strenuous sports, use of special equipment, etc.) more specific planning and training should be documented.
    • Establish procedures for managing the situation if a participant is missing/absent/unaccounted for during program activities (e.g. who should be informed, at what point should security or police authorities be advised, when parents will be advised).
    • Develop an incident reporting plan to assure completion of incident reports to document emergencies, medical incidents and participant misconduct.
    • Develop a protocol for staff to have access to contact information for parents or guardians, medical/health information, consent for emergency medical treatment and liability waivers of participants in the event of an emergency—both at and away from the main program area.

The ratio of counselors to program participants must reflect the gender distribution of the participants, and should meet the following:


Standards for resident (overnight) camps and programs are:

  • One staff member for every five participants ages 4 and 5
  • One staff member for every six participants ages 6 to 8
  • One staff member for every eight participants ages 9 to 14
  • One staff member for every 10 participants ages 15 to 17


Standards for non-residential covered programs are:

  • One staff member for every six participants ages 4 and 5
  • One staff member for every eight participants ages 6 to 8
  • One staff member for every ten participants ages 9 to 14
  • One staff member for every twelve participants ages 15 to 17

Program directors must provide orientation training for youth program and camp staff and volunteers to include:

      • Responsibilities of duties and expectations
      • Provide appropriate crisis/emergency responses.
      • Discuss inclement weather procedures.
      • Provide program and camp leader contact information to be used in event of any medical or emergency incident.
      • For other than key staff, provide an orientation on medical and emergency protocols including the names of key staff to contact for any medical or emergency incident.
      • Provide orientation on applicable university policies, regulations, and guidelines; and local, state and federal laws concerning health, safety, and public order.
      • Confidentiality and University responsibility/liability
      • Obligation to report abuse or suspected abuse, neglect, unlawful discrimination and harassment

Youth participants and their parents/guardians must be informed about expectations for conduct and safety.

        • Brief participants on standards of conduct and expectations and possible sanctions (e.g. hazing, horseplay, pranks, etc.).
        • Provide an overview of applicable university policies
        • Discuss inclement weather procedures.
        • Inform participants about who to see or contact if they have an emergency (i.e. accident, injury, loss, policy issues, etc.).
        • Every youth program participant and his/her parent/guardian must complete a Liability Waiver to participate in the program or camp.