Sports camps are special programs where individuals, primarily youths < 18 years old, come onto campus to take part in training and skills development clinics led by members of the Harvard University athletics community. Recreational camps held on campus are intended to provide recreational opportunities, or a combination of recreation and instruction experiences beyond sports-related training, to members of the local community, again, primarily youths, on a seasonal or temporary basis. Most sports camps held at the University are exclusively operated by members of the Harvard coaching staff and primarily take place during the months of June, July and August on the University's athletics fields or inside venues. Generally, recreational camps are held in one or more of the classroom and dormitory buildings but may include programs that involve participants and counselors sleeping in temporary and collapsible structures (tents, yurts, etc.) outdoors.
While these activities may, on occasion, be organized and sponsored by a Harvard school or department, most camps (sports and otherwise) held on campus are considered independent from the teaching, research and administrative activities of PFHC. Unless otherwise acknowledged by the Athletic Director or cognizant Deans Office* to the contrary, all camps operators, and therefore their camp activities, are considered to be third party, separate legal entities from the President and Fellows of Harvard College, and therefore responsible for their own risk management programs.
Independent operators wishing to hold a camp on Harvard property and/or utilize our facilities and equipment are able to do so only after documenting compliance with the risk practices constituting the University's control environment. The control environment applicable to all non-PFHC sponsored sports, recreational and educational camps has seven (7) components. Before being allowed onto Harvard premises, the operator must:
- Supply advance copies of all printed materials (brochures, registration forms, participation agreements, etc.) and/or links to all electronic versions of the same;
- Submit an executed copy of the facility use license agreement to the University prior to promoting the event and before being permitted on Harvard premises;
- Provide documentation of compliance with Harvard’s Safety and Protection of Minors on Campus policy including a copy of their specific procedures for the reporting of suspected child neglect and abuse;
- Provide a copy of their camper health and well being plan which describes dates and hours campers will be under operator supervision, staffing levels particularly how many are assigned to each designated activity, any equipment or training aids being brought onto campus, meal and sleeping accommodation plan (if applicable), transportation accommodation plan (to, from and around camp, as applicable), weather-dependent activity modifications, non-emergency medical treatment administration (medications, inhalers, joint braces, protective equipment, training aids, etc.), accommodations for campers with physical or mental disabilities and/or special needs, and copies of all applicable permits and licenses;
- A schedule of staff, volunteers, and/or supervisors expected to attend and oversee the camp with specific notation of each’s relevant certifications, emergency medical/first aid capabilities, and other pertinent training or qualifications;
- Obtain signed parental consent and release agreements for each camper [see Exhibit B of the facility use license agreement];
- Document that the operator carries the specified types and amounts of commercial insurance.
Depending on the applicable jurisdiction, there may be additional obligations imposed by local regulatory bodies especially situations that involve minors. Camps held in Massachusetts may fall under the regulatory purview of Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 105 C.M.R. 430.000 et seq., “Minimum Sanitation and Safety Standards for Recreational Operators for Children” (the “DPH Regulations”). It is the camp operator’s responsibility to determine whether such rules applies to their camp, and if so, ensure that their program complies with DPH regulations.
It is the cognizant school's responsibility for assuring each camp-licensee under their oversight fulfills the above risk management practices underlying the University's control environment.
*while nearly all sports camps are under the scope of Harvard’s Athletics Department and Athletics Director (AD), some are not. For camps falling outside of the AD's authority, particularly recreational camps, an officer from the relevant school's deans office must provide such acknowledgement.