It's that time of year when parents and children start to think about summer camps. Whether it is a summer day camp, equestrian riding camp, or a traditional overnight summer camp, as a parent you need to know what to look for to make sure it is an appropriate camp for your child but also to ensure it is a safe camp.

As a parent myself, an injury epidmeiologist, and a former summer camp counselor for four summers, I know when selecting a camp for my child, that all summer camps are not alike and just because it is a designated summer camp does not mean they are all safe. When I first took my child to an equestrian riding camp, I wanted to know if they were certified. For example the American Camping Association (ACA) does certify summer camps. I learned quickly that equestrian summer camps do not have such certification, unless it is part of a traditional overnight summer camp.
Equestrian day summer camps do not have the safety standards and requirements that are among ACA Accredited summer camps. However they can still be safe. For example the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) does certify those who are trained to teach riders. However there are no guidelines specifically for summer camps. As a parent I also wanted to know if they have safety requirements to protect children from injury as well as staff who work with children if they are screened to make sure they have no criminal background. Further what emergency planning are in place in case of an injury. Unfortunately some camps we searched did not have any and some were unsure. Because of my background and training I knew what to look for, what to ask for at the summer camp. But many parents might be unaware.

So we developed the Pro Consumer Safety Summer Camp Guide for Parents which has been approved by both the American Camping Association and the Certified Horsemanship Association.  This guide helps parents make sure the summer camp is appropriate for their child but it also gives the parent the necessary questions to ask to ensure the staff and administrators have systems in place to sustain a safe, protective and encouraging environment for their child. Don't just assume because it is a summer camp that it is certified, they have emergency protocols in place, they have safe educational practices or safe and psychologically healthy staff. As a parent myself, this guide will help empower you as a parent know what questions to ask and what to look for to make sure the summer camp provides a safe and healthy learning environment for your child. 

 


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