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Summer Camps and Background Checks

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June 21, 2013 Return to News & Events

Summer Camps and Background Checks: Making It Safe For The Kids

While winter continues to hold a grip on some parts of the country summer is coming; too soon for parents and not quick enough for kids.

Parents have begun the search for things-to-do for their restless children. Summer camp is high on the agenda for many families. Today's modern summer camp provides a wide variety of activities to help occupy and educate youth. From sport specific camps to day camps and everything in between, the options are seemingly endless.

As parents start the process of evaluating camps there are many things they should consider:

1. Are the activities age-appropriate and viable for their children?

2. Are the facilities clean and safe?

3. Are the counselors and leaders well-trained in both activities and in any potential emergency skills such as CPR?

4. Are the counselors and leaders background checked?

Background screening counselors and leaders at day and sleepover camps is increasingly common and, often, mandated by law. One might consider camp as an extension of school in the sense that nearly all volunteers that come into contact with children are background checked, or should be. The same holds true for campers. Part of creating a safe environment is ensuring those that work with our children are fully vetted. Understanding the past experience both practical and legal is extremely important.

An article on (Apr. 7, 2013, Asking the Right Questions will make Summer Camp Selection Easy) highlights questions a parent should ask in researching a camp. A poignant passage is stated below:

Safety should be a huge priority for the camp’s staff. Ask whether employees are certified in CPR. Also ask what procedures the camp follows to keep kids safe. Ask whether the camp does background checks on the staff. State-licensed facilities must perform a background check on employees.

Summer camp is a great experience for a child. They can learn new skills, engage in a wide variety of activities, and make lifelong friends. But safety is a primary concern for all parents.

For parents asking camps about their background screening policies there are a variety of questions they might ask:

1. What background records are utilized? There are dozens of records that can be used.

a. County Criminal Records - Local records that provide the most current criminal history information.

b. Motor Vehicle Records - Particularly important if children are being transported to off-site activities by camp personnel.

c. Nationwide Criminal Check - Counselors and leaders often come from out-of-state to work at a particular camp and County Records may not have information on an individual should an offense occur outside that county.

d. Sex Offenders Records - The use of both state and nationwide sex offenders’ records are essential when dealing with children.

2. How is the information used? Background screening records are best utilized when combined with interviews and reference checks.

3. What is the background screening policy overall and is it available for parents' review. Camps should have well written background screening policies available. This provides a degree of protection to the camp and fulfills the expectations and demands of parents. is a third-party background screening company that can provide low-cost solutions to camps large and small. As summer is fast approaching and hiring requirements being addressed, now is the time to formulate or review all hiring policies. has highly trained staff with the ability to formulate a low-cost and legally compliant screening package unique to a camp's specific requirements.

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