Youth Camps: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a YOUTH CAMP?
  2. What is a SINGLE SPORT YOUTH CAMP?
  3. What is a HIGH RISK ACTIVITY?
  4. What is a pre-operational inspection?
  5. What is an operational inspection?
  6. Who is exempt from the Youth Camp standards?
  7. Do summer academic enrichment programs that do not conduct any HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES need to be licensed by the youth camp program?
  8. What age groups are covered by the youth camp license?
  9. How long is the license valid?
  10. When does the application for a youth camp license need to be submitted?
  11. Why is there a cost associated with youth camp licensure?
  12. When will I receive my youth camp license?
  13. What information/documentation should be submitted with my youth camp application?
  14. What will happen to my application if some fields are incomplete?
  15. How long does it take for the application to be processed?
  16. Can you send me a duplicate license?
  17. If I am licensed by the Office of Child Care and Licensing (OOL), am I required to obtain a youth camp license from the Department of Health (DOH) as well?
  18. I am selling or have purchased a youth camp from someone. Can I give my license to the new owner or use the previous owners’ license?
  19. If a youth camp changes its physical site location during the camp season, will DOH issue a new camp ID?
  20. I maintain multiple licenses. Should I submit a separate check for each certificate?
  21. Where should I submit camp applications, payments and the annual accident reports?
  22. What is acceptable for the criminal history background check?
  23. My previous employer did a record check; is it necessary to have another done for a new job?
  24. Can a camp maintain digital/electronic documents in lieu of /or in addition to hard copies of documents?
  25. Is the health director required to be on site at all times?
  26. Who is required to submit documentation of health history?
  27. Can a youth camp that has received an application for a camper with an immunization exemption exclude this camper with the recent measles outbreak?
  28. What is the annual accident report form (CB-15) and do I have to submit the form?
  29. Do I submit the CB-15 form if the camp experienced no serious accidents, injuries or illness?
  30. Which incidents should be reported on the annual accident report form (CB-15)?
  31. If I am ACA accredited, do I still need a pre- operational and operational inspection from the local health authority or PHFPP?
  32. When a camp is ACA accredited, is the accreditation valid for any location the camp may use? For example, the X is not going to use Darwin County Park this year but will be using a different organizational location.
  33. I am American Camp Association (ACA) accredited. Why is a State inspector here to conduct an operational inspection?
  34. Is there a separate list for ACA camps? I do not see them on the county list.
  35. How long are criminal and sex offender background checks valid?
  36. Can we take the campers to swim at the beach?

What is a YOUTH CAMP?

A YOUTH CAMP is a program that accommodates five (5) or more children who are under the age of eighteen (18) years of age, operates for a period or portions of at least two (2) days or more during the same week, includes at least one HIGH RISK ACTIVITY during the period of operation, and (depending upon designation) may allow campers to stay overnight.  

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What is a SINGLE SPORT YOUTH CAMP?

A SINGLE SPORT YOUTH CAMP is a camp in which all campers specifically practice, play and learn to understand the rules of the individual sport taught by the camp.  It is prohibited from having sports that are considered HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES as their primary activity.

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What is a HIGH RISK ACTIVITY?

A HIGH RISK ACTIVITY means any recreational component, sport or activity, which exposes a camper to a serious injury because of the inherent danger of the recreational component, sport or activity and which requires a high level of adult supervision at all times. 

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What is a pre-operational inspection?

Pre-operational inspections are conducted by the local health department (LHD) within the jurisdiction where the camp is located.  These inspections generally encompass a review of policies and procedures, records, anticipated itinerary of camper activities, facility layout and other aspects of the code that can be reviewed prior to the arrival of children.  Preoperational inspections should occur prior to the camp opening for business.  Although the DOH provides a list of operating camps to the LHD a month after the license renewal period (May 15) has passed, it is the responsibility of the camp operator to contact the LHD and schedule a pre-operational inspection prior to beginning operations.   Click here for the directory of local health departments. 

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What is an operational inspection?

An operational inspection is conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health, Public Health and Food Protection Program (PHFPP) staff.  Operational inspections are designed to ensure in -session camp operations are conducted in a safe manner and adherence to staff child ratios, documented policies and procedures, background checks and similar aspects are followed during routine operations.  Operational inspections are conducted on-site and are unannounced.   

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Who is exempt from the Youth Camp standards?

Day programs which does not include a HIGH RISK ACTIVITY (such as swimming, archery, horseback riding, riflery, and/or boating, etc.) are examples and do not constitue an exhaustive list of such activities that may be considered high risk.  (Examples of exempt programs include summer academic enrichment, computer camp, bible camp, summer school, babysitting)

Licensed child care centers which does not receive Division of Family Development (DFD) Childcare Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) subsidies are exempt from the regulation, even if the center has a swimming activity.

Camps operated by ‘public entities’ are not required to maintain a certificate of approval.  However, such camps are highly encouraged to apply and maintain an active license.

Organized school recreational sports teams are exempt from the regulation.  This includes all school sports, municipal recreation department sports teams, or any local or regional sports teams such as cheerleading, travel soccer, indoor soccer, travel basketball, etc.  

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Do summer academic enrichment programs that do not conduct any HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES need to be licensed by the youth camp program?

No.  If the camp activities do not include at least one HIGH RISK ACTIVITY (Examples: swimming, archery, football, etc.) then the program does not need to be licensed.

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What age groups are covered by the youth camp license?

A camper is a child under the age of 18 who attends a youth camp.

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How long is the license valid?

The youth camp license is valid for one (1) calendar year from date of issue.  Renewal applications are required to be submitted before May 1.  Initial applications may be submitted at any time throughout the year but must be received at least 6-8 weeks before the start of camp.

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When does the application for a youth camp license need to be submitted?

Initial applications may be submitted at any time throughout the year but must be received at least 6-8 weeks before the start of camp.  Renewal applications are required to be submitted before May 1. Penalties may be applied to renewal applications received after the May 1 deadline.

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Why is there a cost associated with youth camp licensure?

The fees associated with the license are administered to address the administrative processing costs of running the youth camp program.  All efforts are made to keep the administration fees reasonable.

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When will I receive my youth camp license?

Youth camp licenses are mailed as applications are processed.  Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing of applications.  Active camps are listed on our website.  The list is dynamically generated and updated as applications are entered, so it is your best resource to check on the status of your camp.

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What information/documentation should be submitted with my youth camp application?

All fields on the application must be completed.  Incomplete applications will not be processed and will be sent back to the filer.  Please include an email address on the application.   Do your best to estimate the number of expected campers and anticipated dates of operation.  We understand that many operators rely on customer interest, facility availability and other variables to organize the dates of operation.  Do your best to list a range of dates (Ex: June 1-Aug 21) wherein you may be operating.  Notify our office immediately if the final camp dates extend a week or more before or after the reported dates.

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What will happen to my application if some fields are incomplete?

Incomplete applications will not be processed and will be returned to the filer.  Although there is not a designated field for email addresses please include an email address on the application.   It will help the Program contact you in a timely manner concerning incomplete information and/or other questions that may arise during processing.

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How long does it take for the application to be processed?

It will take about 4-6 weeks for the application to be processed. You can check the status of active camps on our website.

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Can you send me a duplicate license?

Yes. Duplicate licenses may be requested via email to: youthcamps@doh.nj.gov

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If I am licensed by the Office of Child Care and Licensing (OOL), am I required to obtain a youth camp license from the Department of Health (DOH) as well?

If you have a child care license and you do not receive subsidies from the Division of Family Development Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies (CCR&R) then you are not required to obtain a youth camp license.  The federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization Act of 2014 increases the health and safety requirements for all child care and early learning settings that accept child care subsidies, including youth camps.  Child Care and early learning settings that accept child care subsidies from DFD CCR&R are required to maintain a youth camp license from DOH in addition to their OOL license. Licensed child care programs which do not accept subsidies are not required to hold a youth camp license.

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I am selling or have purchased a youth camp from someone. Can I give my license to the new owner or use the previous owners’ license?

No, the youth camp license is not transferable.  The new owner must submit an application for a new youth camp license.

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If a youth camp changes its physical site location during the camp season, will DOH issue a new camp ID?

A change of location will not result in a change of camp ID. The camp operator must notify DOH immediately in the event of a change of location to ensure accuracy of current license records.

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I maintain multiple licenses. Should I submit a separate check for each certificate?

One payment may be submitted for multiple license applications.  Penalty payments should be submitted separately from any licensing payments.

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Where should I submit camp applications, payments and the annual accident reports?

All forms should be submitted to:

New Jersey Department of Health

Public Health and Food Protection Program

PO Box 369

Trenton, NJ 08625

Email: youthcamps@doh.nj.gov

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What is acceptable for the criminal history background check?

Requests for criminal history record information for non-criminal-justice purposes may be submitted to the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).  Submit NJSP form “SBI 212B“online at: https://www.njportal.com/njsp/212b/

Teachers who have received and maintain their background check through the Department of Education may utilize and present the document to a youth camp employer as a valid form of documentation.

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My previous employer did a record check; is it necessary to have another done for a new job?

Yes. Because the results of a record check are dated and may have changed since your last background check, a new check may be required at the discretion of your new employer.

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Can a camp maintain digital/electronic documents in lieu of /or in addition to hard copies of documents?

Yes, digital and electronic documents are acceptable if the documents are available and have a digital signature when the document requires signature.

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Is the health director required to be on site at all times?

Yes, the health director or a designee shall remain on duty at all times at day and resident camps.  The youth camp is required to establish a medical program.  Policies and procedures for staffing of the medical program must be documented and communicated to camp staff. 

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Who is required to submit documentation of health history?

All staff and campers are required to provide documentation of health history, which must be maintained by the health director.

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Can a youth camp that has received an application for a camper with an immunization exemption exclude this camper with the recent measles outbreak?

No. Campers who provide the required documentation of exemption cannot be excluded from enrollment at any licensed camp that operates in New Jersey.  Unimmunized campers may be excluded only in the event of a vaccine preventable disease outbreak or threatened outbreak as determined by the Commissioner of Health. If a vaccine preventable disease or threatened outbreak occurs at a specific camp where an unimmunized camper is a part of the camp community, the camp may then exclude that camper.

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What is the annual accident report form (CB-15) and do I have to submit the form?

The annual accident form (CB15) is used to collect information about serious injuries or illnesses experienced during the operating season for each individual licensed camp within the State of Jew Jersey.  The data collected is used to develop a statewide overview of accidents/illness/injuries.  The form is required to be submitted at the end of camp operations by all licensed camps regardless of whether the individual camp has experienced a serious accident/illness/injury. Forms must be received by DOH following the end of camp operations but no later than September 15 of the operating year.  If your camp did not experience a serious accident or injury, write “NO INCIDENTS” on the form and forward the form to the Department.   As a courtesy, the Program mails out a blank accident report form enclosed with youth camp license. Accident reports may be submitted via email to: youthcamps@doh.nj.gov

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Do I submit the CB-15 form if the camp experienced no serious accidents, injuries or illness?

Yes, each licensed camp must submit the form. If your camp did not experience a serious accident or injury write “NO REPORTABLE INCIDENTS” on the form and forward the form to the Department.   As a courtesy, the Program mails out a blank accident report form enclosed with youth camp license. Accident report can be submitted to youthcamps@doh.nj.gov.  The annual accident form (CB15) is used to collect information on deaths or serious injuries/illness experienced during the operating season for each individual licensed camp within the State of New Jersey.  The data collected is used to develop a statewide overview of accidents/illness/injuries.  The form is required to be submitted at the end of camp operations regardless of whether the individual camp has experienced a serious accident/illness/injury and must be received by DOH on or before September 15 of the operating year.

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Which incidents should be reported on the annual accident report form (CB-15)?

Only serious injuries or illness (Ex: head, neck, spinal cord, break/fracture, injury which renders a camper unconscious, deaths, etc.) should be reported on the form.  Minor injuries which require only first aid treatment and do not involve professional medical treatment (Ex: cuts, scrapes) should not be reported.  Incidents that result in trips to urgent care, ER, etc. should be reported.  Please refer to 8:25-5.1(e) for additional information.  If the incident resulted in the following it should be reported:

  • Required professional medical treatment
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Restriction of activity or motion
  • Premature termination of camper’s stay
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If I am ACA accredited, do I still need a pre- operational and operational inspection from the local health authority or PHFPP?

No.  ACA accreditation may be accepted by the Local Health Department in lieu of an on-site inspection.  However, despite accreditation, local and state health departments have the right to conduct pre-operational and/or operational inspections at their discretion.

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When a camp is ACA accredited, is the accreditation valid for any location the camp may use? For example, the X is not going to use Darwin County Park this year but will be using a different organizational location.

No, ACA accreditation is only valid for the exact location for which it was approved. ACA camps are not exempt from obtaining the NJ Youth Camp license.  Please check our webpage to ensure the camp is appropriately licensed.

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I am American Camp Association (ACA) accredited. Why is a State inspector here to conduct an operational inspection?

Inspection official may accept the most recent ACA inspection report in lieu of conducting an inspection.  However, may conduct an inspection at any time despite an ACA accreditation. 

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Is there a separate list for ACA camps? I do not see them on the county list.

All active licensed day and resident camps can be viewed on the program website by selecting ‘search active youth camps’.  Both ACA and non-ACA camps are populated on the list, which is dynamic and updated as applications are entered into the database.  Single sport youth camps are similarly populated and viewable by selecting the link ‘single sport youth camps’.

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How long are criminal and sex offender background checks valid?
  • Sex offender registry check: For each staff member, every year, a new sex offender registry check is required. [8:25-3.2(l)]
  • Criminal history background check: For each new adult (18+) staff member, and for each adult (18+) staff that have had a lapse of employment greater than a continuous 12-month period, a full criminal history background check is required.
  • Notarized criminal history status statement: For each existing adult (18+) staff member who has not had a lapse of employment greater than a continuous 12-month period, submit a notarized statement which indicates whether there have been changes to the staff member’s criminal history status.
  • Check our webpage for more information and resources.

 

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Can we take the campers to swim at the beach?

Yes.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 8:25-9 for details on waterfront safety.  The youth camp rule requires that all recreational bathing activities be conducted at a licensed and inspected pool or bathing beach.  Operators will need to develop a safety check system/buddy system to ensure bather safety during off-site swim activities.  It is the camp’s responsibility to keep track of campers.  Upon arrival to the swim location, the camp operator must inform the location’s guards of the youth camp’s presence, the number of campers, and provide special needs information.  Camp operators must also ensure proper supervision ratios are maintained while participating in any offsite swim or while participating in offsite activities.

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Last Reviewed: 6/13/2019