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    Law, Scope and Definitions:

    Maryland Youth Camp Act (Md. Health-General Code Ann. §14-401 - §14-411)


    The Maryland Youth Camp Act establishes the authority for the Department to develop regulations for minimum health and safety standards for youth camps. It also defines the applicability of the law.

    For full text of Code of Maryland regulations (COMAR), please see the Division of State Documents web site:  

    Certification for Youth Camps, COMAR 10.16.06


    Scope. (See

    Youth camp regulations does not apply to:

    ·         Purely social activities of a family or the guests of a family;

    ·         Certain programs or activities operated by a county recreation department;

    ·         Certain programs or activities operated by an agency of the State; or

    ·         Youth overnight programs sponsored by religious or community organizations operating or conducted for not more than 5 consecutive days during any 1 calendar year, such as a vacation bible school; youth bike trip; or similar activity.


    Community Organization. (

    'Community organization' means a local community association or club that:

    (a) Does not operate for profit; and

    (b) Sponsors an activity or program for members of the association or club.

     Definitions (See

    Youth Camp. (

    (a) 'Youth camp' means a day camp, residential camp, travel camp, or trip camp that:

    (i) During a calendar year, accommodates seven or more campers who are unrelated to the youth camp operator;

    (ii) Provides primarily recreational activities or has a substantial outdoor recreational component;

    (iii) Has permanent buildings, temporary buildings, or no buildings; and

    (iv) Operates on owned private property, owned private facilities, leased private property, leased private facilities, public property, or public facilities.

    (b) 'Youth camp' includes a program that operates:

    (i) At a camp premises before, after, or before and after the camp program; and

    (ii) Before, after, or before and after a school term.

    (c) 'Youth camp' does not include:

    (i) A child care center as defined by COMAR 13A.16.01;

    (ii) A child care program as defined by COMAR 13A.17.01;

    (iii) A family child care home as defined by COMAR 13A.15.01;

    (iv) A program that operates before, after, or before and after a public or nonpublic school's daily session;

    (v) A program that operates before, after, or before and after a child care program’s daily session as set forth in §B(39)(c)(i)—(iii) of this regulation;

    (vi) An instructional program in a specialized activity operated for 2 hours or less daily;

    (vii) A competitive activity sponsored by a sports league or the United States Pony Clubs, Inc.;

    (viii) A summer school program when the curriculum is offered for academic credit and is taught by a Maryland State Department of Education certified teacher or a teacher qualified under COMAR 13A.09.09;

    (ix) A day care or child care program that has as its primary purpose the custodial care of children;

    (x) A program that enrolls a child younger than 3-1/2 years old; or

    (xi) A recreational activity or program where each child's parent or legal guardian is present throughout the duration of the activity or program, participates in the activity or program, and oversees the activities of the child.


    Day Camp. (

    'Day camp' means a youth camp that:

    (a) Is operated for all or part of the day but less than 24 hours a day;

    (b) Is conducted for at least 7 calendar days during a 3-week period; and

    (c) Provides three or more recreational activities or any one specialized activity or program.


    Residential Camp. (

    'Residential camp' means a youth camp operating at a facility or campsite at which a camper either lives apart or intends to live apart from the camper's relatives, parents, or legal guardians for at least 5 consecutive days.


    Travel Camp. (

    'Travel camp' means a residential camp that:

    (a) Operates for at least 5 consecutive days; and

    (b) Provides for campers to use motorized transportation to move as a group to a site or among sites for experiences in different environments.


    Trip Camp. (

    'Trip camp' means a residential camp:

    (a) That operates for at least 5 consecutive days; and

    (b) In which a group of campers moves from one site to another under their own power or by transportation that permits individual guidance of a vehicle or animal.

    Camper. (

    (a) 'Camper' means an individual younger than 18 years old who is attending a youth camp.

    (b) 'Camper' does not include a child younger than 3-1/2 years old.


    Primarily Recreational Activities. (

    'Primarily recreational activities' means that 50 percent or more of a camper's time at camp is spent in recreational activities.


    Recreational Activity. (

    (a) 'Recreational activity' means a pleasurable, interesting, and entertaining activity.

    (b) 'Recreational activity' includes, but is not limited to:

    (i) Structured or unstructured play;

    (ii) A nature walk;

    (iii) A field trip;

    (iv) A sports activity;

    (v) A game;

    (vi) A hobby;

    (vii) Music;

    (viii) Drama;

    (ix) Dance;

    (x) Art;

    (xi) A craft;

    (xii) Except if for credit and taught by a certified teacher, a subject matter enrichment program;

    (xiii) A specialized activity; or

    (xiv) Instruction or skill development in an activity listed in §B(29)(b)(i)—(xiii) and (30) of this regulation.


    Substantial Outdoor Recreational Component. (

    'Substantial outdoor recreational component' means that 25 percent or more of a camper's time at camp is spent in outside recreational activities.


    Specialized Activity. (

    'Specialized activity' means:

    (a) An adventure camp activity or program;

    (b) An aquatic program;

    (c) Archery;

    (d) Artistic gymnastics;

    (e) Firearms control;

    (f) Hang gliding;

    (g) High ropes;

    (h) Horseback riding;

    (i) Motorized vehicle activities;

    (j) Rappelling;

    (k) Riflery;

    (l) Road cycling;

    (m) Rock climbing;

    (n) Skiing; and

    (o) Spelunking.


    Adventure Camp. (

    (a) 'Adventure camp' means an activity or program that exposes a camper to a life-threatening or serious injury because of the inherent danger of the activity.

    (b) 'Adventure camp' includes, but is not limited to:

    (i) Bicycling;

    (ii) In-line skating;

    (iii) Piloting an airplane;

    (iv) A ropes course activity requiring belay or spotting;

    (v) Skateboarding;

    (vi) Skydiving;

    (vii) Snowboarding; or

    (viii) A similar activity or program.

    (c) 'Adventure camp' does not include a sport activity or program, such as:

    (i) Baseball;

    (ii) Basketball;

    (iii) Field hockey;

    (iv) Football;

    (v) Lacrosse;

    (vi) Soccer;

    (vii) Softball;

    (viii) Volleyball; or

    (ix) A similar sport activity or program.


    Certificate. (

    'Certificate' means a document showing the authority to operate a youth camp, issued by the Department pursuant to this chapter and Health-General Article, §14-403, Annotated Code of Maryland, which displays the name of the person granted the authority.


    Letter of Compliance. (

    'Letter of compliance' means a notice to an operator of a youth camp directed or operated by a bona fide religious organization, issued by the Department pursuant to this chapter and Health-General Article, §14-403, Annotated Code of Maryland, granting the operator the authority to operate the youth camp.


    Acceptance Letter. (

    “Acceptance letter” means a notice sent to a unit of local government, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, or a State agency, issued by the Department pursuant to this chapter and Health-General Article, §14-403, Annotated Code of Maryland, accepting written certification that the programs or activities operated by:

    (a) The unit or the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission comply with Regulation .03 of this chapter; or

    (b) The State agency comply with Regulation .04 of this chapter.