All program staff, participants, and visitors must comply with university policies and local, state, and federal regulations. Program leaders/camp directors are responsible for oversight of program compliance. All program leaders/camp directors are encouraged to attend Youth Program Leader Training.

Review and become familiar with the following policies and procedures:

Special note for ISU coach camps

Camps and clinics operated by ISU coaches are independent ventures. However, under NCAA rules, any camp or clinic owned or operated by an institutional staff member is an "institution's sports camp or instructional clinic." As such, all camps and clinics conducted by ISU coaches or staff must operate in compliance with all NCAA and Big 12 Conference regulations. The athletics department has specific policies and procedures that must be followed.

Program leader

A program leader must be identified for all youth activities, pre-collegiate programs and camps. The program leader must attend Youth Program Leader Training prior to serving as a program leader for any Iowa State youth program.

Program leader staffing responsibility

The program leader must:

  • Select program staff (both paid and volunteer) with appropriate experience, qualifications, and training based on the age of the participants and the nature of the program.
  • Evaluate the ratio of adult program supervisors (18 years of age or older) to program participants. The number of chaperones recommended is determined by age and special needs. Below are the American Camp Association guidelines for authorized adult supervision ratios:
    • 5 years and younger: 1 staff for every 5 overnight participants and 1 staff for every 6 day participants
    • 5-8 years: 1:6 for overnight and 1:8 for day
    • 9-14 years: 1:8 for overnight and 1:10 for day
    • 15-17 years: 1:10 for overnight and 1:12 for day

Program leaders are responsible to plan for and require the proper care and supervision of youth participants.

  • Schedule all program time to create minimal or no free unsupervised time. The program leader should consider potential risk of any free unsupervised time.
  • Design program elements to minimize escalation of competition into conflict and/or fighting
  • Assign age-appropriate supervisory responsibilities to authorized adults.
  • Develop and document a general safety plan, and include the plan in staff and participant orientation. For higher-risk activities (water activities, strenuous sports, use of special equipment, etc.) more specific planning and training should be documented.
  • Establish procedures for managing the situation if a participant is missing/absent/unaccounted for during program activities (e.g. who should be informed, at what point should security or police authorities be contacted, when parents will be notified).
  • Develop an incident reporting plan to assure completion of incident reports to document emergencies, medical incidents and participant misconduct.
  • Develop a protocol for staff to access contact information for parents or guardians of participants in the event of an emergency—both at and away from the main program area.
  • Develop a protocol for appropriate staff access to participant Medical Information and Treatment Permission Forms.
  • EH&S must review and approve youth activities in high risk areas. This approval must be received by the Office Risk Management prior to preparing participant and parental permission agreements. This applies to activities covered by Children in the Workplace, Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps, and Volunteers policies.
  • For all activities or events involving the use of live animals on campus, an Animal Use Request must be submitted and approved by the Non-academic Use of Animals Committee. The use of animals in an academic or research program at ISU is subject to approval through the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Program leaders must provide orientation training for youth activity staff, volunteers and participants.

  • Discuss inclement weather procedures.
  • Provide appropriate emergency and safety training for key staff and provide first aid kits.
  • Provide program leader contact information to be used in event of any medical or emergency incident.
  • For other than key staff, provide an orientation on medical and emergency protocols, including the names of key staff to contact for any medical or emergency incident.
  • Provide orientation on applicable university policies, regulations, and guidelines; and local, state and federal laws concerning health, safety, and public order. All staff and volunteers should complete Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Training.
  • Brief participants on expectations and possible sanctions regarding conduct (e.g. hazing, horseplay, pranks, etc.).
  • Inform participants about who to see or contact if they have an emergency (i.e. accident, injury, loss, policy issues, etc.).
  • Cell phone use - photos or videos of participants may be taken (for program use only) if parental permission has been documented. Limit cell phone use - youth participants, staff and volunteers should not share cell phone numbers to call, text, take photos or communicate on social media sites. Communication should always be between the program leader and the parent of the participant.
  • Social Media - Youth program staff and volunteers should not interact with youth through social media sites.

New programs

You must registered all youth activities, pre-collegiate programs, and camps, including online and virtual programs. The appropriate department chair/unit director and dean or vice president must authorize and approve the program before activities can begin. Review the Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps policy for more information.

All youth program registrations should be submitted through Cy Check and University Event Authorization at least four weeks prior to the start of the program.

Previously-offered programs

All youth program registrations must be submitted annually through Cy Check and reviewed by Risk Management to identify changes in staffing, activities and other program details.

Program types

Sponsored program

A youth program offered by an Iowa State University department or unit for recruitment, outreach, or education specific to department/unit mission or operations. The university is the sole or primary sponsor with ultimate responsibility for operation, participant supervision, and control of the camp, program, or activity.

Third-party program

A youth program supported or promoted by an Iowa State University department/unit and sponsored or co-sponsored by another entity that provides primary operational control, participant supervision, and management of the program. These programs have ties to the university's mission and affiliation with a university department or unit, but the university is not the primary sponsor. University facility use and services are permitted by contract.

Endorsed program (athletic program/camp)

A youth program actively supported or promoted by an Iowa State University department/unit and sponsored or co-sponsored by another entity that provides the primary operational control, participant supervision, and management for the program. These programs have ties to the university’s mission and affiliation with an Iowa State department or unit, but the university is not the primary sponsor. University facility use and services are permitted by contract.

Background checks are required annually for faculty, staff, students, and volunteers who work with youth or will interact with youth during an Iowa State University youth program. Online and virtual youth programs are subject to the same background check requirements as in-person youth programs. The type of interaction an employee or volunteer will have with youth determines the type of background check performed. At a minimum, this must include a check of the National Sex Offender Registry. It may also include criminal record check, motor vehicle record check, and others.

All faculty, staff, students, or volunteers must have an approved background check prior to:

  • Interaction with youth in a public/group setting when university activity is specifically offered for children
  • Supervisory responsibilities for youth participants or programs
  • Involvement in an overnight youth program
  • Unsupervised or one-on-one contact with a youth participant
  • Interaction involving physical contact (sports, dance, etc.)
  • Driving for youth programs (which requires a motor vehicle record check prior to picking up keys to a vehicle for program use)
  • Involvement by anyone for whom state law requires a criminal background check (mandatory reporters such as teachers, medical professionals, etc.)

An individual convicted of an offense for which they must register with the Iowa or National Sex Offender Registry may not serve in any capacity for an Iowa State youth program or any youth program held on university property.

Background check process

  • Program leaders will identify staff who will interact with youth during the program(s) and enter their information in Cy Check.
  • Risk management will order background checks through HireRight, our third party background check provider.
  • HireRight will then send an e-mail invitation to each person ("applicant") who needs a background check. The e-mail will come from CustomerSupport@hireright.com with the subject line, "Iowa State University Office of Risk Management Background Verification Request," and will contain a link to begin the background verification process.
  • Applicants will provide personal information and their disclosure and authorization. To complete the online disclosure and authorization, applicants may be asked to provide their social security number, date of birth, seven years of residential history, and driver's license information (if transporting minors in a youth program/event).

Registration materials

Develop your youth program-specific participant enrollment and registration materials. Describe the program and any inherent risks or requirements to participate.

  • We can help you develop a participation/parental permission agreement, waiver of liability, and appropriate emergency medical contact and medical permission forms.
  • Arrange appropriate security and access for participants' medical information.
  • Establish protocols to secure, dispense, refrigerate, store, and return participants' medication at the end of the program.
  • Enrollment cannot exclude individuals based on status protected by university policy or local, state, or federal law. Registration should include a special accommodation request.

Participant information

Your program should include a participant orientation that informs participants about expectations for conduct and safety, including, but not limited to:

  • Participant conduct and possible sanctions for misconduct (discrimination, harassment, bullying, hazing, horseplay, pranks, etc.)
  • Overview of applicable university policies
  • Protocols for inclement weather conditions and safe evacuation
  • Who to contact if they have an emergency (injury, accident, loss of property, policy issues, etc.)

  • Develop enrollment materials that include appropriate disclosures about the nature of the program, including requirements for participation.
  • Every youth program participant and parent/guardian must complete a Participation and Parental Permission Agreement (PDF). The standard participation agreement template includes a program description, indemnification clauses, emergency medical information and treatment consent, behavior expectations, photo/video releases, etc. Please contact risk management if you have questions or need a modified agreement.
  • Individuals assisting with the program who are not paid are considered volunteers and must comply with the Volunteers Policy, including completion of a Volunteer Agreement prior to interaction with youth. Contact the youth and volunteer programs manager or see the Volunteers page for more information.
  • Individuals who sustain an injury, accident or property loss during a youth program should work with the program leader to complete an incident report.
  • Retain participation agreements and waivers until youth participants have reached 20 years of age. Retention is the responsibility of the sponsoring department/unit.

  • Obtain appropriate medical release and permission for treatment forms for participants (available through risk management).
  • As appropriate for the specific youth activity, collect participant information for special medical considerations: e.g., food allergies, insect stings or bites, allergic reactions, activity restrictions, injuries sustained prior to program participation that might be aggravated or re-injured while participating in program activities, possession or use of prescription medication, allergic reactions to medications. For competitive applicants or limited enrollments, this information should be collected only after participant selection is made.
  • Ensure security of participants' medical information.
  • Follow up to ensure that appropriate action is taken (providing alternative foods and taking other preventative measures to avoid exposure when allergies are noted; ensuring arrangements are made to prevent contact in the case of severe allergies).
  • Establish and communicate rules related to securing, dispensing, refrigerating, storing, and returning participants' medications.

Log in to Cy Check to complete post-program information forms.

Documentation retention

Following the end of your program, upload a copy of all program documents in the documents tab in Cy Check. We highly encourage you to upload copies of any signed participation agreements. Maintaining accurate program staff records and ensuring document retention is essential to complying with the university's youth policies and procedures. Risk management will store the program materials, including registration and participant information, in Cy Check and programs will be able to easily access the information. You are responsible to retain all youth program documents not stored in Cy Check until all youth participants have reached 20 years of age.

  • Obtain university Department of Residence housing (for overnight stays) or arrange for approval by risk management for alternate housing (agreements and background checks are required for home-stay hosts of youth).
  • Restrict access to the participant housing area.
  • Provide instruction on security, loss prevention, and other housing-related safety and security issues.
  • Instruct participants about exit locations, procedures, and common meeting or reporting areas in the event of an emergency.
  • 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 to account for all participants at curfew, lights out, or other pre-determined times in the day or evening.
  • Brief participants on safety provisions specific to the facility in which they are housed (i.e., prohibitions to sitting in windows, on ledges, and railing of high-rise buildings).

  1. Establish rules for transporting participants to and from the program location at the beginning and end of the program (e.g., parental permission required for non-parent, non-guardian persons to transport children to and from the program; person(s) to whom small children may be released).  Staff are not allowed to have one-on-one interaction when transporting youth for a youth program.
  2. Assess transportation needs for participants during program.
    • ISU Sponsored, Endorsed or ISU Athletics youth programs should only use ISU Transportation Services vehicles.
    • Review weather conditions prior to and during travel.
    • Arrange for appropriate loading and unloading sites for buses, vans, and/or cars to avoid participant loading and unloading in or around traffic.
  3. When using university vehicles, comply with the following:
    • All drivers must have a satisfactory motor vehicle record check completed by ORM.
    • Drivers must be at least 20 years of age and successfully complete Large Passenger Van and Vehicles Towing Trailers classroom training and behind-the-wheel training through ISU Transportation Services if they will be driving 15-passenger vans or vehicles towing trailers.
    • Drivers must have a valid U.S. driver's license and successfully complete an annual motor vehicle record check.
    • Provide orientation on the university Fleet Safety and Vehicle Use/Rental policy and related rules.
    • Personal vehicles must not be used to transport participants of Sponsored or ISU Athletics youth programs. The university will not reimburse an employee, or other private owner, or their insurer for any deductible or liability claim paid by their personal auto insurance policy, or for any damage to the vehicle.

Online or virtual programs

Setting up an online program

  • You should use university-approved software such as Webex or Zoom for online or virtual programs. Visit IT's Learning and Working Remotely page for technology recommendations and assistance. Program leaders must be Iowa State faculty or staff and must use their university credentials at all times.

Safe contact and privacy guidelines

  • In addition to our standard guidance for conducting youth programs, the following safety guidelines apply to online or virtual programs:
  • Avoid one-to-one online or virtual contact with a youth participant
  • Have at least two adults interact with youth during live programs
  • Do not allow private direct messaging, texting, chatting, or personal emails between a youth participant and program leader, staff member, or volunteer. Group messages and posts are allowed as long as they are viewable by all participants.
  • Provide parents with access information to all virtual meetings and programs.
  • Do not include activities that involve youth using hazardous materials (chemicals, biological, radiation) or working with mechanical tools. Contact Environmental Health & Safety if you have questions about the safety of a proposed activity.
  • Program staff may only record an online or virtual program if all parents/guardians have consented on the required Virtual Online Youth Program Student Participation Agreement and Parental Permission Agreement. Program staff may not record online or virtual sessions to their personal computer or device.

Reporting requirements

  • The procedures and requirements for reporting child abuse, other crimes, and safety violations apply to all online or virtual programs.

Disability accommodations

  • Participants who wish to request disability accommodations should contact their program leader.