Children's camps

Many children enjoy day camps and overnight camps. Day camps usually offer activities during school holidays or breaks. These activities often have a special theme, such as basketball or horseback riding. Private homes, local youth centers such as the YMCA, churches, schools, or child care centers for younger children may all offer day camp programs. Some states license day camps and usually include training requirements and behavior guidelines for all staff.

Overnight camps range from one-night sleepovers to a few weeks. They usually involve a trip to a nearby destination, such as mountain cabins or the seashore. Overnight camps are accredited by the American Camping Association. For more information, go to

All camps should have written health policies, specialized staff training, and health guidelines. All campers should have a recent health evaluation and immunization record on file. Camp records should include how to contact parents in case of an emergency. In addition, camps should have written information describing their activities and programs.1


  1. Committee on School Health, Section on School Health, American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Health appraisal guidelines for day camps and resident camps. Pediatrics, 115(6): 1770–1773.

Last Updated: September 26, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics

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