ACA's Healthy Camp Study

The American Camp Association (ACA) and the Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) have a five-year opportunity to gather illness and injury data from camps (both ACA and non-ACA), thanks to the generosity of Markel Insurance Company, and the skills and systems of The Ohio State University College of Medicine (OSU) and Columbus Children's Research Institute (CCRI).

Why is ACA conducting this study?

We want to learn more about camper and staff illnesses and injuries, so that we can provide camp experiences that keep campers and staff involved in camp program as much as possible. The monitoring system being used in this study was modeled after the successful National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System (NCAA ISS). This study will:

  • Establish base injury/illness rates for campers and staff in US residential & day camps
  • Monitor trends over time in a multi-year data collection strategy
  • Identify risk and protective factors associated with illness and/or injury that requires professional medical treatment and keeps participants out of program
  • Determine appropriate intervention strategies
  • Monitor the effectiveness of protection strategies

These strategies will make a proven difference in your camp's health awareness and performance!

Want a Healthy Camp?

Do you want to know the best intervention strategies to keep your staff on the job and your campers in program and not in the health lodge? Do you want to see your health statistics in comparison to national averages?

Sign up for the Healthy Camp Initiative!

Your camp is invited to participate in the Healthy Camp study. Approximately 170 camps have already signed up. We are particularly in need of day camps (both accredited and nonaccredited; fourteen days or less session length and fifteen days or more session length) participation.

Camps that have been serious about tracking illnesses and injuries over time have found ways to make significant reductions in the time campers and staff lose from program, have lowered their health costs, and provided very specific staff training on effective interventions.

What is Expected of Participating Camps?

Beginning with the 2006 camp season, each participating camp will be asked to have a designated reporter collect information about the injuries and illnesses that meet the study's criteria for inclusion. Desired camp reporters are (listed in order of preference): the camp health care director, the camp nurse, other camp health care personnel (i.e., LPN, EMT, etc.), or another adult appointed by the camp administration. The camp's reporter will be asked to log onto the study Web site weekly throughout the summer season to provide exposure information (the number of campers and staff in the program) and incidence information (the number of campers or staff ill or injured and missing some portion of program time as a result). Camps in our Pilot Study (2005) spent approximately fifteen minutes per week completing reports.

Healthy Camp Study Information and select Healthy Camp Study. The submission
deadline is May 24.

If you are unable to access the Internet or have additional questions, please contact Sheila Dannemiller at 765-342-8456, ext. 511, or

Originally published in the 2006 Spring issue of The CampLine.