HIPAA Privacy Rule Compliance — What Does It Mean for Camps?

HIPAA Privacy Rule Compliance has been required since spring 2003. Are you aware of the implications for your camp? Many camp directors seem to confuse how HIPAA impacts them and the privacy and confidentiality issues they need to address.

Camps in Crisis: ACA's Annual Review of the Camp Crisis Hotline

Imagine —
. . . You discover that one of your campers has been pretending to be someone else — under the direction of her parents.
. . . Guests of a rental group on your property steal a canoe and one of the guests drowns in your lake.
. . . A ten-year-old transgendered female (biologically male) wants to attend your all-girls camp.
. . . Bed bugs have infested your camp.
. . . You discover that a suspended employee has been purchasing items in the name of your camp.

When Behavior Becomes a Legal Issue


Behavior issues continue to be a prominent and growing concern of camp managers. Today's campers and staff present new challenges. They come to camp accustomed to being tightly supervised and managed at home and school, medicated for a variety of disorders, exhausted, and immersed in a virtual, digital world — with little outdoor adventure experience or contact with the natural world. And the focus is not entirely on campers and staff. Parents are requiring more and more attention as they demand a larger role in the lives of their children while at camp.

New OSHA Directive Makes It Easier for Employees to Comply with Hazard Communication Standard

Employers will find it easier to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) hazard communication standard, thanks to a newly released OSHA directive.

Federal law requires employers to meet the hazard communication standard, which calls for employers to provide information about dangerous chemicals to employees through a comprehensive program that includes substance labeling, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and employee training.

The new directive updates and clarifies a number of long-standing OSHA requirements of the standard.

Criminal Background Checks for Staff and Volunteers

Information has changed since this article was published.  Click here for more recent information.

New Light Shed on Normal Sex Behavior in a Child

When the third-grade teacher noticed a student habitually touching her genitals as she sat in class, she became concerned and did what Federal law requires of teachers: she told the school authorities that the girl displayed one of the signs of sexual abuse.

As it turned out, the behavior of the girl was not due to sexual abuse but rather to a childish obliviousness to self-control, said Dr. William Freidrich, a psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who was called in to interview the girl and her family about 18 months ago. "The girl was fine," he said.

Checking Criminal Histories

Every nonprofit organization is responsible for taking reasonable measures to protect service recipients from harm. This responsibility extends to all facets of a camp's interactions with its clientele.

While not a panacea, careful screening of the paid and volunteer staff who work with vulnerable populations is an important risk management comprehensive strategy. The failure to adequately screen applicants may place service recipients in dangerous situations. Checking the criminal history records of applicants is one valuable tool in a screening process.

Supreme Court Clarifies Liability for Supervisory Sexual Harassment: Policy and Training Become Virtually Mandatory

On June 26, 1998, the United States Supreme Court issued two long-awaited decisions addressing the scope of employer liability for sexual harassment engaged in by supervisors. Both cases, Burlington Indus. v. Ellerith and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton involved claims by employees that they had been subjected to a hostile work environment created by their supervisors. The issue before the Court in both cases was under what circumstances the employer could be held liable for supervisory sexual harassment, as opposed to sexual harassment engaged in by a coworker.