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Step 6: Getting your license

This step specifically pertains to getting a license to run a camp in Massachusetts, but I'd expect it to be generally applicable.

Before you look into getting a license, though, you should make sure that you need one.  It turns out that one of the main requirements for needing a summer camp license in Massachusetts is calling yourself a "summer camp".  If you call yourself a "summer program", don't go hiking, horseback-riding, don't do archery, or swimming, you can get away without needing a license.

Look into your local city requirements, as well as the possible consequences of running an unlicensed camp.  It is quite possibly not worth your time and effort.   Especially during your first year.

Assuming, though, that you've decided to get a license (potentially a wise decision):

To start the process off, you contact the Department of Health and ask for the summer camp inspectors. You tell them that you are starting a summer camp and ask about how to get licensed -- they'll give you an application for a recreational summer camp license. The application primarily consists of writing up lots of plans as to what you'll do in the event of various potential emergnencies, like if a child gets lost or injured.

You'll need to find a medical advisor for the camp. Your camp will need a nurse, pediatrician, or doctor to approve any medical plans you submit as part of your license, and to be available to field questions over the summer. We have found this by asking the parents in our camp's extended community to recommend their child's doctors, and also by asking the city inspectors for what doctors other local camps have used. We've never had to pay the doctor for this -- they've been willing to do it for free or in exchange for a discount for their child to come to camp.

You'll also have to develop a fire evacuation plan and submit a copy to your local fire chief. The inspectors will tell you who specifically to submit this to.

All in all, it's pretty straightforward. I found Cambridge's health inspectors to be incredibly helpful when I was unclear about a particular plan, and they would often make recommendations or provide examples from previous license applications.

You'll generally have two site inspections -- one before camp starts and one during camp. The one beforehand makes sure that the space your is in good physical shape and is a chance for you to go over the background checks and medical records of your staff (see next step.) The second inspection makes sure that everything is running smoothly at camp, and the inspectors will also check that you have all of the necesarry medical information for your campers (your camp's health form and general physical information from their doctors.)

A helpful recommendation the inspectors have made is to have all medical information on note cards for field trips. The note card would be something simple: child's name, medications approved by parents, any special information (allergies, prescriptions, unusual medical conditions), and emergency contact numbers.

A copy of our first license application is attached here.
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<p>Summer camp by NHTPL</p>
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<p>Hi, I was just browsing around in google search and found this website. I'm planning a youth camp for 2 years later. I just saw something like Liability &amp; medical insurance. My question is how can i get that, because the camp I'm planning is for DEAF middle/high schools. They are attending to deaf school. Let me know, THANKS!</p>
<p>We have someone who is very keen to start a summer camp in Oman. If any of you guys are interested please contact us on apply@jobibex.com or visit <a href="http://www.jobibex.com" rel="nofollow"> www.jobibex.com </a> and post your resume as a summer camp operator/planner.</p><p>Remind you, Summer in Oman is equivalent to winter in MA with slightly change in the sign next to the temperature:)</p>
<p>I am a teacher and have created several summer camps for my kids and their friends, as well as for schools. I had an idea that it might be fun to have a camp based on the book (or something similar) The Daring Book for Girls or 100 things all girls should know. Anyone out there already invent this wheel? :)</p>
<p>Hello Mr Nagle,</p><p>Thank you very much for this piece as i find it very helpful and Important.</p><p>I am from Nigeria, and i started had started a summer-camp here in my city about August of 2013.</p><p>I thereby follow I full course all of your guidelines in that write as accurate.</p><p>Our camp centers as a purpose driven entertainment and leadership camp event, which will also be having certain celebrities from various industries such as: music, art, fashion, Movies and the rest, visit and enlighten them about life realities in practical terms. We believe edutainment is a truthful way of encouraging our teenagers for the reality of the future. It's for ages 13-19.</p><p>The camp also has other features such as the sports, dinner, awards, Entrepreneurship build-up, Career talks, orphanage visit and more.</p><p>I am a young graduate, and I'm growing.</p><p>I have been able to secure all the necessaries including the location, registration(licence), dedicated team members &amp; staff and stated camp activities for the week.</p><p>Where I have challenge now is about getting campers...</p><p>Yea!!! Publicity, and the rest. Does require quite some fund.</p><p>I need a website, designed brochure and many other certain materials..</p><p>I couldn't raise money for publicity anymore. What can I do please. Do get campers</p><p>Opeyemi</p><p>Lagos, Nigeria</p>

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