Tips from Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas on choosing a summer camp in the time of COVID-19
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have delayed their search for summer camps. On Monday, May 18, Governor Abbott announced summer camps would be among the next organizations to open in Phase II of reopening Texas. Now, many parents will decide if and where to send their children to camp this summer.
On May 31, both day and overnight camps will be allowed to begin operating under increased safety regulations. While individual camps will decide when they will accept campers, they must all adhere to new safety standards.
The YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) and the American Camp Association (ACA) have teamed up to provide educational resources for summer camp staff on supporting camp safety. The document includes guidelines for subjects such as communication, transportation, food services and screening for COVID-19.
Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas offers these tips to parents searching for the right summer camp:
- Check for accreditation. Regardless of pandemic-related issues, the safest way to ensure your child’s safety is to send them to a trustworthy camp. ACA accredited camps must meet the 32 national summer camp standards, and BBB accreditation requires the organization meet eight standards of trust. Search for camps in the ACA and BBB directories to check for accreditation.
- Know required safety standards. Texas is requiring all camps to follow minimum health protocols, and camps may choose to implement additional safety procedures. These protocols include measures such as monitoring health of staff and campers, limiting visitor access to campgrounds, adapting meal distribution and providing sanitation products to staff and campers. Minimum health protocols can be found on the office of the governor’s website.
- Use references. Physical visitations may be difficult or not allowed at all. In lieu of visiting the camp, ask if they have a list of references or past campers you can contact. You may also want to consider asking trusted friends or family their recommendations for summer camps. Reviews and complaint histories can also be found on the camp’s business profile at BBB.org.
- Assess medical resources. Camps should already have resources for treating sick and injured campers. Ask about the camp’s normal medical facilities and how those resources have changed to accommodate potential COVID-19 situations. You may also want to ask how the camp and staff are following minimum protocols and what additional measures they are taking.
- Review contracts and fees. As always, you should review contracts before you sign them. Find out the total cost and if a deposit is required. See which activities or services require additional fees. You should also check for details regarding refunds, especially in the event of cancellations related to COVID-19. If that information is not outlined in the contract, ask a camp employee.
To learn more about choosing trustworthy summer camps, visit us at BBB.org. Find more information about the ACA and Y-USA’s joint efforts at ymca.net.
ABOUT BBB®: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB serving the Heart of Texas, which serves 105 counties and has offices in Austin, Bryan, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Midland, San Antonio and Waco.