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Figure 29. Percentage of camps with different methods of sewage disposal.

Sports areas in most of the camps were reported to be free of hazards except that the West had 5 camps with equipment too close to objects or areas where campers might fall.

Lavatory facilities.--Of the camps indicating the frequency of cleaning, 94 percent cleaned their lavatory facilities once a day.

Inspection of the condition of the facilities revealed that broken or dirty fixtures were found in only one of the Laws camps but in 20 percent of the inspected South/East camps. A lack of hot water was noted for 31 percent of all the camps inspected, 37 percent of the camps in the Southeast and Comparison states. Over a fifth of the West camps had cracked or inadequate bathroom flooring, curbs, or drains. Problems of inadequate ventilation, inconvenient location or poorly designed plumbing were found in very few camps.

Sleeping facilities. -Only five camps in the total sample were reported to have structurally unsafe buildings; three of those were in the West group. Space heaters were improperly used in 10 camps, four of them in the Laws group.

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Figure 30. Frequency of trash disposal in each of the sample areas.

Broken beds and insects or rodent infestation were not problems found in many camps, and only 9 camps had unclean sleeping areas.

The most severe deficiency in camp sleeping facilities and in the kitchen and dining facilities as well, was the lack of a number of common fire protection items.

Table 12 shows that, of those camps inspected, 45 percent of the South/East group had only a single free exit compared to 29 percent of the West, 17 percent of the Laws and 21 percent of the Comparison camps. Fire extinguishers were not available in the sleeping areas in 57 percent of the inspected camps, and in 68 percent of the South/East camps. Where extinguishers were found, they were out -of-date in 12 instances.

Kitchen facility.-Only eight camps had single fire exits for their kitchens, but 70 percent of the inspected camps did not mark the exits. The percentage of Comparison camps which did mark exits was twice that of the other groups. Mre extinguishers were present in all but 14 percent (19 camps) of the inspected kitchens. The Comparison group had only two camps with no extinguishers. A fifth of the camps which did have extinguishers had some which were out-of-date.

Only 13 percent of the inspected kitchens were generally unsanitary.


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Over a quarter of the camps inspected did not have facilities for maintaining food at proper temperatures. However, only 3 Comparison camps had this deficiency. Poisons were stored improperly in 13 percent of the camps and 26 percent did not store utensils properly. The Comparison camps were found to be generally adequate in the latter respect.

A fifth of the inspected camps did not sanitize their tableware, and the dishwashing facilities were inadequate in 18 percent. Grease on food equipment was found for 14 percent of the camps. Garbage was not stored properly in over a quarter of the camps and rodent or insect infestation was not controlled in 20 camps (15 percent of those inspected).

Unscreened building openings were found in 19 percent of the camps but in only one Comparison camp. The floors were judged difficult to clean in the kitchens of 16 percent of the camps, and the walls and ceilings, in 26 percent.

Dining facilities.-Referring to Table 12, previously presented, the fire protection deficiencies in the dining area were the major problems. More than one fire exit for the dining room was provided by all but six camps. However, there were unmarked exits in 67 percent of the cases. Fire extinguishers were not available in 41 percent of the West camps inspected, and in 32 percent of the total camps. The Comparison group, however, had only five camps without extinguishers. In 13 camps, the extinguishers were outof-date.

Only four camps had unsanitary dining facilities. all four in the West. Utensils were improperly stored in 25 percent of the West camps and 21 percent of the South East compared to 6 and 8 percent for the Laws and Comparison states.

Evidence of insects or rodents was found for 13 camps. Only two Comparison camp dining facilities had unscreened openings compared to 10 for the West. The floors were though hard to clean for 12 camps and the walls and ceilings were difficult for almost a quarter of the sample inspected.

Swimming pools and bathing areas.-Only 58 camps in the sample were checked for the adequacy of their logs of swimming water chlorine residual and degree of acidity (Ph). Of the inspected camps, 53 percent kept inadequate logs; 47 percent of the South/East camps, 84 percent West, 56 percent Laws, and 15 percent Comparison. Table 13 contains the major findings for this part of the survey. No bacteriological tests were taken in 42 percent of inspected camps, and percentages varied from 63 percent for the West group to 27 percent in the Comparison states.

The clarity of the water was judged insufficient for 28 percent of the inspected camps where the bottom of the pool or swimming area was not visible. Over twice as many Laws camps as Comparison camps had this defect. Only 21 camps were judged to have hazardous swimming areas; over half of that number were camps in the West.

Showers for swimmers were either inconvenient or absent in 53 percent of the inspected camps. Only 25 percent of the Comparison camps were deficient in this respect contrasted to 74 percent of the Laws camps. Half the camps did not have toilets convenient to the swimming area. Again, the Comparison camps rated considerably better than the other groups.



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Summary of the environmental survey.—Most of the camps surveyed were found to be clean and relatively hazard-free. Although the camps in the four geographical areas differed on specific points, there was no clear evidence of regional superiority. It was apparent, however, that the inspected Laws camps did not offer any safer or more healthful camping environment than the Comparison group; in fact, the Comparison camps were judged better than the Laws camps in many respects.

The data suggest certain areas that possibly could be improved to maximize the safety of the camp environment. Chief among these is the improvement of fire protection. A very high percentage had no fire extinguishers in the sleeping areas or dining rooms, and 19 camps had none (or improper types) in the kitchens. Effective extinguishers should be available in all living areas. Fire exits should be clearly marked, something that was neglected in many camps.

There could be some improvement in facilities for maintaining food at proper temperatures, sanitizing and storing tableware, and dishwashing facilities.








Prepared by: The National Recreation and Park Association under a

subcontract with Century Research Corporation

I. Introduction

The information in this report was provided by the National Recreation and Park Association, acting as a subcontractor for the Century Research Corporation for one phase of Contract HSM 99-73-37 (Investigation of Youth Camp Safety).

II. Objectives

The objectives of this phase of the Youth Camp Safety Project were:

1. to determine the contributions to youth camp safety being made by national, state and local, public and private agencies ;

2. to ascertain the adequacy of state laws governing the various aspects of camp design and operation; and

3. to evaluate the effectiveness of current enforcement procedures.

III. Method

Several survey and visitation tasks were undertaken during the conduct of the Youth Camp Safety Project. These included: (a) a survey of national organizations, American Park and Recreation Society membership, and contacts in each of the 50 states (identified by project staff and NRPA Regional Directors); (b) visits to national organizations and state agencies by project staff; and (c) review of materials supplied by the Cordura Company regarding their assessment of youth camp safety laws. After material from these sources was received and organized, a 3-day review and evaluation meeting was held at the Association headquarters office in Arlington, Virginia. There, a panel of consultants discussed agency contributions, current regulations governing camp design and management, and enforcement procedures.

A. SURVEYS 1. National Organizations

To obtain information on the contributions being made by national organizations to youth camp safety, project staff developed and mailed a letter of inquiry to 59 national organizations recognized as serving youth or involved in some way with camps and/or safety. The survey population was determined after a review of source lists, bibliographic references in books pertaining to youth and camping, and the Encyclopedia of Associations. A list of organizations surveyed begins on page 3.

The letter (app. A) requested specific information on regulations, standards, institutes and training prgrams and asked for copies of brochures, pamphlets and instructional materials.

Follow-up phone calls were made to all organizations. 2. American Park and Recreation Society Membership

A similar letter (app. B) was sent to all active members of the American Park and Recreation Society, a branch of the National Recreation and Park Association. This population, approximately 4,000 park and recreation professionals in local government positions across the country, was asked to provide information relating to youth camp safety materials developed or used by the local park and recreation agency or by other local agencies involved in youth camping. .

No follow-up phone calls were made. 3. State Contacts

Project staff determined that one person from each state would be selected to collect information pertaining to state laws, regulations and contributions to youth camp safety. Two methods were employed to identify these individuals.

First, project staff recommended persons in several states with whom they familiar. A memorandum (app. C) was mailed to these persons explaining the project and requesting their participation. Individuals responding affirmatively were mailed a packet of information (Appendix D), which included a description of information needs, suggested sources, a press release and brochure, and a memorandum of agreement.

Second, project staff phoned the five NRPA Regional Directors and explained the overall project and responsibilities of the state contact person. A follow-up letter (Appendix E) was sent to the directors with a list of the states in their regions for which a contact had not been identified. The Regional Directors

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