Most states have a certification process for Summer Camps...
and Maryland is one of them. Maryland summer camps must be certified by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In addition to the obvious benefits of providing minimum standards for camps and protecting children, another benefit to certification is that minors working at a certified summer camp do not need a work permit. Below are documents, links and advice to help you obtain and maintain your certification.
MD Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene offers annual training for new camps and directors, usually covering hot topics like 'Getting Ready for Your Camp Inspection!' and 'Most Common Violations and How to Avoid Them.'
For information on upcoming training sessions, contact:
Center for Healthy Homes and Community Services
Phone: (410) 767-8417
FAX: (410) 333-8926
Or visit MDHMH's 'Hot Topics' webpage for information on upcoming 'Hot Topics' seminars, or once you are on the 'Hot Topics' webpage, click on their link titled 'New Camp or Director Training' for a list of three to four training sessions usually offered in February and March.
Links to forms and sites needed for certification:
Youth Camp Renewal Application (after you are certified these should be mailed to you annually).
Annual Report - This form must be completed and submitted within 2 weeks of the end of camp.
Camper Health History Form - This form must be completed and on file for every camper. It can be incorporated into your online registration, which is what we do.
Immunization Form - DHMH Immunization certificate. Physicians may have a different form which is fine.
Staff/Volunteer Health History Form - This form must be completed and on file for every Staff member and volunteer.
Youth Camp Personnel Chart - This form must be completed and kept on file for inspection.
Injury or Illness Report Form - Complete and submit when serious injury or illness occurs at camp.
Required Reporting Chart for Injury or Illness - This chart sets forth appropriate reporting responses for injury or illness.
Building Safety Form - Required if operating at a school or a government owned building/ property. Signed by the school’s principal or government’s facility manager.
Local Health Approval Form - If your youth camp facility has an on-site water supply and/or sewage disposal system, annual approval from the local environmental health department is required. Complete the information in this section and forward the form, 90 days before the camp operates, to the appropriate local environmental health department on page 2.
Fire Safety Inspection - A fire safety inspection must be made each year. This form indicates whether the camp operator must request the inspection or whether the request must come through DHMH.
Vaccine Requirements for State of Maryland - Chart detailing which vaccinations are required and when.
Our Forms - feel free to modify and use
Camp Trip Safety and Transportation Plan - DHMH requires every camp to have a Camp Trip Safety and Transportation Plan. This is ours and it has been approved. Feel free to modify it and use it.
Health Program Statement - When we applied for certification, we were required to have a Health Program Statement, which was a scaled down version of the Health Program. This is ours and it has been approved. Feel free to modify it and use it.
Health Program Full Document - DHMH requires every camp to have a Health Program. This is ours and it has been approved. Feel free to modify it and use it.
Volunteer Training Log - Volunteers must be trained on child protection/sex abuse, missing campers, health and emergency issues. That training must be logged and kept available for inspection.
Notes and Advice
We have found the people at DHMH very helpful. We initially dealt with Bill Reusing, who thankfully eased our stress and advised us of how to go about obtaining certification. Unfortuantely, for us, he may have retired by now. Call DHMH with any questions at 410-767-8417.
The Program Director must be fingerprinted through a CJIS storefront. There a number of them around the state. You can find more information on how to obtain your 'Background Check here' and print the 'General Authorization Form' that you'll need to take with you. More information can be found on this 'Fingerprinting Document' produced by DHMH. The ADW Fingerprint-supported criminal history record checks are done through CJIS as required by DHMH and are maintained by the ADW at the Pastoral Center in Washington, DC. These records seem to suffice for the Instructors, but they want the camp director printed through a storefront. Make a note of where the records are maintained and that they are available for inspection (click for sample note) and keep it in a your binder of forms and documents you'll need to have on hand for inspection. During inspection we pulled up our VIRTUS account and were able to verify background checks online for employees.
Fire Drills - You should hold a fire drill every Monday morning. Keep a log of the date & time of each drill, as well as how many people were present.
Include a section in your online registration for Camper Health Information. It will save you considerable time and headache collecting and logging paper documents. You can sort this information and then print it out in a spreadsheet and store it in your inspection binder.
Which brings us to the inspection binder. Put one together so that all of the documents that you'll need for inspection are located in one place. The inspection will occur randomly, usually at the most inconvenient and undesireable time, so have all of your paperwork properly ordered and handy.
Log Book - This is extremely important. You must have a composition notebook (the type pictured to the left is what DHMH prefes) in which you log all injuries. How you do that is just as important as having a log book. Explicit details can be found at COMAR 10.16.06.24. Essentially, all entries must be in ink; don't skip lines or pages, number all pages and include the following for each entry: date, name of child, ailment, treatment prescribed, name of person administering care, as well as a signature by that person. DHMH is looking for a permanent record that is not easily modified