Public Policy

As an educational nonprofit association, the American Camp Association is dedicated to providing quality, reliable, and up-to-date information about the laws and regulations applicable to the camp community.  To that end, ACA partners with other organizations to advocate for quality camp experiences, and to increase the understanding of and support for the value of the camp experience for all children and families.  Access detailed information about all of our government relations and public policy initiatives in the following categories below:

Camps May Be Eligible for Expanded Main Street Loan Program

Effective July 17, 2020, the Federal Reserve has expanded its Main Street Lending Program to include nonprofits with at least 10 employees, opening another potential avenue for camps that meet this and other requirements to receive financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. The original proposal required a minimum of 50 employees. As a direct result of ACA’s advocacy on the issue, this threshold was lowered to 10, making this potential relief vehicle accessible to many more camps in the country.

PPP Lending Deadline Extended and Other Important Updates

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lending deadline has been officially extended from June 30 to August 8, 2020, and authorized limits for PPP commitments have been separated from other Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs (The White House, 2020).

Camp Meals Tax Relief

When the Tax Cut and Jobs Act became law in 2017, many camp professionals were surprised to learn that their federal taxes would be going up, and for unexpected reasons. Camps that were subject to federal income tax discovered that all of the costs associated with preparing and serving the food that they routinely provide to their staff during mealtimes at camp had suddenly become taxable, resulting in a significantly higher tax bill at the end of the year.

President Signs Executive Order That Helps Camps Using Public Lands

On May 25, President Trump signed into law an exemption from Executive Order (EO) 13658 for Recreational Services on Public Lands, which will greatly help camps that operate on federal lands. EO 13658, signed in 2014, established a higher minimum wage and overtime requirement for federal contractors and permit holders.  Many camps partner with the US Forest Service and the National Park Service as outfitter-guides. Camp programs teach young people “Leave No Trace” skills and inspire respect for public lands.

Child Protection Improvements Act Becomes Law

On Friday, March 23, President Trump signed the omnibus spending package, which included provisions for the Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA). The new law enables organizations serving vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities to conduct fast, accurate, and affordable FBI background checks on prospective volunteers and employees. Prior to this law being passed, more than one-third of states do not have access to FBI background checks.

ACA Adopts Two Public Policy Position Statements

On the recommendation of the ACA Government Relations Committee, in November 2017, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors adopted two new position statements advocating for tax reform.

Fair Labor Standards Act Update

Just days before new regulations concerning the "white collar" overtime exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were set to become law, a federal judge halted the intended actions of the US Department of Labor (DOL). On November 22, 2016, a Texas federal judge issued a preliminary nationwide injunction on all employers blocking the DOL from implementing the new exemptions rule, known as the FLSA overtime rule. That proposed rule would have raised the minimum salary required for most white-collar exemptions from approximately $23,660 to $47,476 on an annualized basis.

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