Introducing A New Standard - 1:1 Camper/Staff Interaction

November 2015

After much work, the American Camp Association (ACA) National Standards Commission is pleased to introduce a standard specific to 1:1 camper/staff interaction. We often receive questions from parents and the media asking if 1:1 camper/staff interaction is prohibited and while it is not, our response has always been that there should never be just one staff member and one camper in a situation where they can’t be observed by others. Introduction of this standard brings ACA in line with many other youth serving organizations that currently have this policy and one we know is already being followed by many camps. 

The following standard, that will become effective January 1, 2016, is mandatory and applies to resident camps, day camps, short-term resident camps, and camps that serve rental groups. 

HR.XX One on One Camper/Staff Interaction (Mandatory) 

HR.XX.1: Does the camp provide training to all staff to minimize the potential of any staff member being in a one on one camper/staff situation when out of sight of others?

AND/OR

HR.XX.2: Does the camp advise rental groups to provide training to all staff to minimize the potential of any rental group personnel being in a one on one camper/personnel situation when out of sight others?

Contextual Education: 

Appropriate supervision and interaction between campers and staff are key to camper/staff safety. Policies and staff training should be provided to all camp staff (counselors, administrative, and support staff) to make them aware of the need to avoid situations where they might be in a one on one situation with a camper. This includes: 

  • Restroom and shower protocols 
  • Health care settings
  • Special needs campers needing personal care assistance 
  • Desire/need for staff/camper 1:1 conversations 
  • Program design 

Methods to consider are: operating with “rule of threes”, being in auditory or visual range if a situation does require 1:1 interaction, and providing settings that are in visible sight of others yet not in the “middle of it all.” ACA resources include the spring 2014 The CampLine article and the recorded webinar Camper Supervision Under the Microscope: What Your Staff Are Staff Missing and What You Can Do About It.

 

Compliance Demonstration: 

Visitor Interviews: 

  • Explanation from camp personnel describing the type of training provided, and when that training is provided.
  • When applicable, how this information is shared with rental group personnel.