As the 113th Congress continues to struggle to move forward on bipartisan issues, the American Camp Association (ACA) remains focused on two specific goals: (1) to protect the safety of children, youth, and adults participating in the camp experience; and (2) to achieve recognition that camp is an expanded learning opportunity.
With Congress focused on other issues, including an upcoming midterm election, ACA continues to advocate for our agenda with both legislators and regulators. For the complete public policy agenda, and to read ACA’s public policy position statements, visit our public policy page online at www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy. For real-time updates of all of our public policy calls to action and news updates, sign up for our public policy RSS feed online at: www.ACAcamps.org/rss/publicpolicy.xml. Our priorities for this spring are:
- Child Protection Improvements Act (S. 1362 and H.R. 3902): A bill to close the gaping hole in federal law that prevents camps, children’s groups, and other organizations that work with children from gaining access to federal criminal background checks on employees and volunteers. www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/cbc
- Afterschool for America’s Children Act ( S. 326): A bill that reauthorizes and strengthens the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative (Title IV Part B of ESEA) by enhancing school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources; promot¬ing professional development of program staff; calling out STEM, physical activity, and nutrition education as allowable uses; and providing accountability measures that show student progress over time toward meeting indicators of student success. www.afterschoolalliance.org/A4ACBill-OnePager6-24.pdf
- No Child Left Inside Act (S. 1306 and H.R. 2702): A bill that addresses environmental education and achieving environmental literacy for all children. www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/NCLI
- Transportation Issues: Clarifying 9–15 passenger vehicle regulatory issues for camps that are engaged in interstate commerce. www.ACAcamps.org/sites/default/files/images/publicpolicy/documents/TransportationAlert_3_27_14.pdf
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA) — Health Care Reform: ACA continues to monitor these laws and resulting regulations and their impact on camps as employers. www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/health-care-laws/health-insurance
- Americans with Disabilities Act: ACA continues to work with others to provide educational information to camps regarding this law and subsequent updates in accessibility regulations. www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/ada-revisions
- Community Parks Revitalization Act (H.R. 2424): A bill to support rebuilding, remodeling, expanding, or developing existing or new recreational areas and facilities and to provide matching grants for innovative programming. www.ACAcamps.org/sites/default/files/images/publicpolicy/documents/CommunityParksRevitalizationAct.pdf
- Zachary Lystedt Laws: Laws to protect young people from traumatic brain injury. www.ACAcamps.org/campline/w-2011/concussions-zachery-lystedt-law
- Relationship Building and Other Issues: ACA also continues to partner with others to achieve shared public policy goals. For more information on any of these organizations or issues, visit the main public policy page at www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy. Current partnerships include: FEMA, Healthy Out-of- School Time Coalition, No Child Left Inside Coalition, National Human Services Assembly, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, and Urban Parks Coalition.
Contributed by Susan E. Yoder.