Policies and Procedures

Youth Activities, Pre-collegiate Programs and Camps Procedures

 Program Approval

  • All youth activities, pre-collegiate programs and camps must be approved as follows before activities may be advertised or occur:

    • Academic programs sponsored by a department, faculty or staff in Academic Affairs must be approved by the appropriate department head and Dean of the College.

    • Programs or camps sponsored or endorsed by UNI Athletics must be approved by the Director of Athletics or designee.

    • Programs or camps sponsored by all other units must be approved by the appropriate department head and Division Head.

    • Student organization activities involving youth participants must be approved by the organization adviser, Director of Maucker Union or designee and the Vice President for Student Affairs.

  • All programs must process receipts and expenditures according to applicable university financial and accounting policies.

  • All forms used in registration materials must be approved by University Counsel.

  • If food is served programs must follow Preparation and Service of Food & Beverage on Campus: http://www.uni.edu/policies/1317

  • The University’s Equal Opportunity and Non-discrimination Statement should be added to all publicity materials http://www.uni.edu/policies/1303

Documents and Retention

  • Documents such as parental permission agreements, waivers, and participation agreements should be retained until youth participants have reached 20 years of age. (Note: Iowa law permits youth to bring claims on their own for one full year after reaching the age of majority (age 18) even if parents or guardians have not previously filed a claim.)

  • Consideration should be given to including waivers (signed by parent or guardian) for the program, camp or activity.

  • Each program or camp must have registration forms including at least the following: participant address and phone number, emergency contact information, evidence of parental/guardian permission to participate, medical release information, and any other activity-specific material before accepting participants into the program.

  • Each program or camp must have documentation of any disability related accommodation requests and response plan. See: http://www.uni.edu/policies/1315

Staff Selection

  • Programs should follow the minimum guidelines of the American Camp Association for ratio of adult program supervisors (18 years or older) to program participants.  Current standards are:

    • 5 years and younger, 1 authorized adult for every 5 overnight youth participants and 1 authorized adult for every 6 day youth participants

    • 6-8 years: 1:6 for overnight, and 1:8 for day

    • 9-14 years: 1:8 for overnight and 1:10 for day

    • 15-18 years: 1:10 for overnight and 1:12 for day

  • All program staff, including volunteers, must have passed a criminal background check (through standard university procedure) and names be checked against the sex offender registry.  Costs associated with background checks are the responsibility of the sponsoring organization.  If off campus housing is used for overnight activities, those individuals are also subject to these procedures.

General Safety Measures

  • Document all general safety measures and include the overview in staff and participant orientation

  • Provide camp point of contact information, including phone number(s) and email (including at least one alternate contact) to all parents/guardians

  • Gather and maintain emergency contact information for all program participants; insure that the program leader and/or staff have access to the information

  • Gather and maintain any medical information, if appropriate, for all program participants; protect the confidentiality of all information while insuring that appropriate program staff are aware of the needed information

  • Inform participants about who they are to contact if they have an emergency (accident, injury, loss or other issues)

  • Discuss and clarify severe weather procedures

  • Provide first aid kit(s) and appropriate training for key program staff (i.e. first aid training, CPR, etc.)

  • Schedule all program time to provide minimal or no unsupervised participant time

  • Have specific guidelines and requirements for any unsupervised participant time

  • Establish procedures for managing the situation if a participant is absent or unaccounted for during program activities (i.e. who should be informed and when, involvement of police, notification of parents, etc.)

  • Develop clear guidelines regarding participant conduct and applicable university policies, including when to contact parents and/or dismiss participants

  • Provide copies in writing to parent/guardians and participants

  • Review general guidelines and policies (as appropriate) in participant and staff orientation including but not limited to: Child Abuse: http://www.uni.edu/policies/1320

  • Program staff should not purchase, consume or provide alcohol during programs or on campus or in any way relating to such activities

Higher Risk Activities (Water related, location, equipment use, strenuous sports, etc.)

  • Carefully consider location to avoid any isolation or one-on-one contacts as defined in this document

  • Carefully consider time of day and availability of light for any activity

  • Have alternative activities planned in advance to avoid severe or inclement weather

  • Arrange for certified life guards for any water activity

  • Arrange for qualified staff to assess swimming proficiency for any water activity

  • Arrange for the appropriate quantity and size life jackets for any water activity

  • Arrange for adequate supervision for higher risk activities; this may include a smaller ratio of adult to participant supervision

  • Arrange for adequate supervision of any participant who, for whatever reason, is unable or unwilling to participate in the scheduled activity

  • Require the “buddy system” in all activities (i.e. participants do not engage in any activity alone)

  • Arrange for availability of medical assistance and/or certified trainers as appropriate for the activity

  • For outside activity, especially that which may be strenuous, arrange for preventative measures related to heat (i.e. cool drinks, frequent breaks, rest periods, shade, etc)

  • For outside activity, provide clear direction for procedures and shelter in a weather related emergency

  • Provide information and training to staff regarding recognition and treatment of heat related conditions


  • Use only housing approved by camp or program sponsors for overnight university programs and restrict access to the participant housing area

  • Provide instruction to participants on security, loss prevention and other related security issues

  • Instruct participants about exit locations, emergency procedures and evacuation, and evacuation meeting areas in the case of emergencies

  • Instruct participants of location of tornado shelter area(s)

  • Determine appropriate number of participants assigned to sleeping areas/spaces with consideration to gender and age

  • Establish appropriate curfew and communicate to participants

  • Determine process and documentation to account for all participants at curfew and any other pre-determined times during the day or evening

  • Participants’ whereabouts should be accounted for at all times during their stay

  • Chaperones should be charged with monitoring after hours activities of participants and be assigned to each floor where participants are housed

  • Individuals who work, volunteer or participate in programs/camps should not be assigned to living quarters that are isolated

  • Brief participants on safety related guidelines associated with facilities (i.e. sitting on railings, windows, etc.)

  • Consider appropriate identification to be worn by program participants and authorized staff

  • When using UNI Housing, all arrangements (including any required contracts) must be made through the Housing & Dining Department and comply with their policies and procedures


  • Establish rules for participant transportation (i.e. assembly location(s), parental permission for transportation, etc.)

  • Assess transportation needs during program

    • Determine that vehicles are capable of safely completing the trip

    • Obtain evidence of vehicle insurance

    • Obtain evidence of a valid driver’s license and appropriate driving record for all drivers

    • Arrange for appropriate locations to load/unload vehicles

    • Follow all related university policy for vehicle use, including seat belts, driver’s license check for university drivers, and passenger limitations in 15 passenger vans (Motor Vehicle Usage 9.63)

    • Follow all appropriate state laws regarding passenger safety (i.e. seat belts, car seats, etc.)

Health and Medical

  • Collect, maintain and make available to appropriate program staff, all participant information regarding special medical considerations (i.e. food allergies, insect stings, allergic reactions, activity restrictions, possession or use of prescription medication, etc.)

    • To avoid gathering and maintaining unnecessary medical information, this should be collected for only those who have been accepted to the program.  Information regarding participants on wait lists, competitive selection, etc. should be gathered only after they have been accepted to the program.

    • Provide for appropriate security for all medical and medical related information

    • Follow up with the program staff to insure that all restrictions and concerns have been adequately met

    • Establish rules related to securing participant’s medication, scheduled dispensation, meeting storage requirements, and return of unused medication to parents/guardians at the end of the program.


Youth participant: an individual under the age of 18

University sponsored program: A program offered by a UNI department or unit

University affiliated program: A program actively supported by a UNI department or unit and co-sponsored by another entity that provides the primary operational control, supervision and program management. University facility use and services are provided by contract or as a means of in-kind support.

Third Party program:  A program operated by an individual, organization or entity external to UNI.  This includes any UNI employee who is operating a program or activity that is outside of the scope of employment or employment contract obligations. UNI leases facilities to the third party but is not involved in operations, supervision or management unless contractually obligated.

Program sponsor:  UNI college, department, unit or the third party entity that operates the program

Program leader: The authorized adult responsible for program management and operation.

Program Staff: Individuals (paid or volunteer) who provide services or interact with program participants

One-On-One Contact: Personal, unsupervised interaction between program staff and a youth participant without at least one other program staff, parent or legal guardian present.