Procedures - Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs & Camps

Program Authorization and Registration

Creating a New Youth Activity, Pre-Collegiate Program or Camp

All youth activities, pre-collegiate programs and camps must be authorized by the appropriate department chair/unit director and dean (or vice president, in case of the Extension, Student Affairs or Business and Finance programs) per the "Authorization of Youth Programs" section of the Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps policy before program activities can occur. 

University Sponsored Youth Programs:

Third-Party Youth Programs

  • Contract with ISU Conference Planning and Management or department/units who have official authorization to contract for use of University facilities for youth programs  (contact University Counsel regarding contracting authority at ISU). The ISU authorized department will complete the Third Party Registration form and submit it to the Office of Risk Management.

ISU Athletics Third Party Youth Camps and Clinics

  • Camps and clinics operated by Iowa State University coaches are independent ventures.  However, under NCAA rules, any camp or clinic that is owned or operated by an institutional staff member is, by definition, an “institution’s sports camp or instructional clinic”. As such, all camps and clinics conducted by ISU coaches or staff must be operated in compliance with all NCAA and Big 12 Conference regulations and must be well organized and well documented.  In order to maintain proper institutional control over camps and clinics, the Department of Athletics has specific policies and procedures that must be followed.  After Department of Athletics approval, camp or clinic owners must also submit the Youth Program Registration - ISU Athletics Third Party Camps and Clinics to the Office of Risk Management.

All youth program registration forms should be submitted at least four (4) weeks prior to the start date of the program.  The Office of Risk Management (ORM) retains the permanent copy of youth program registration forms sponsored by or operated on Iowa State University property.

Renewal of a Previously Offered Youth Activity, Pre-Collegiate Program or Camp

  1. All youth program registration forms must be reviewed and submitted annually through ORM to identify changes in staffing, activities, and other aspects. 
  2. Submit the applicable registration form (indicate on form if this is a new program or renewal).
  3. Submit background check requests at least 3 weeks prior to the youth program to allow time for checks to be processed.  Background checks for individuals working or volunteering with youth programs are valid for one year and then must be re-submitted.


  1. The program leader must:
    • Attend registered youth program events or provide a designee who is Faculty or Professional & Scientific (P&S) staff.   Undergraduate, graduate and post-doc students are not eligible to be the supervisor or program leader of youth programs.
    • Select program staff (both paid and volunteer) with appropriate experience, qualifications and training based upon 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.
  2. Authorized adult supervision ratios*  

    *American Camp Association guidelines

    • 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—17 years 1:10 for overnight and 1:12 for day

Background Checks

  1. All faculty, staff, students, or volunteers must have an approved background check through the University Human Resource Office or Office of Risk Management on file prior to:
    • Interaction with youth in a public/group setting when University activity is specifically offered for children
    • Supervisory responsibilities for youth participants or youth programs
    • Involvement in an overnight youth program
    • Unsupervised or one-on-one contact with a youth participant
    • Interaction involving physical contact (i.e. sports, dance, etc.)
    • Performing driving responsibilities for youth programs (which requires a motor vehicle record check prior to picking up keys to the vehicle for use in the program)
    • Involvement by anyone for whom state law requires a criminal background check (mandatory reporters such as teachers, medical professionals, etc.)
  2. Youth program leaders must verify employee/volunteer eligibility to interact with youth programs by submitting a completed Background Check Request Form to the Office of Risk Management for screening. No employee/volunteer shall begin involvement with the youth program until the program leader has received approval from the Office of Risk Management. At a minimum, the Office of Risk Management will check the National Sex Offender Registry database for each individual working or volunteering with an ISU youth program. An individual who has been convicted of an offense for which he/she must register with the Iowa or National Sex Offender Registry may not serve in any capacity for an ISU youth program or any youth program held on ISU property.

Further information and forms to complete the background check process are found at Background Checks - Youth & Children at ISU.


  1. A program leader must be identified for all youth activities, pre-collegiate programs and camps.
  2. Program leaders should receive Youth Program Leader Awareness Training (scheduled by the Office of Risk Management) on the Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps (YAP) and understand all relevant youth policies and procedures.
  3. Program leaders are responsible to plan for and require the proper care and supervision of youth participants.
    • Schedule all program time to provide minimal or no free unsupervised time.  For any free unsupervised time, the program leader must consider the amount of time participants might have and evaluate this factor's relationship to managing program risk.
    • 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 advised, when parents will be advised).
    • 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 have access to 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 agreement forms.  This applies to activities covered by Children in the Workplace, Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps, and Volunteers policies.
    • All activities or events involving the use of live animals on campus must complete the Animal at Events form on the Office of Risk Managment website.  This is submitted for review 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).
  4. Program leaders must provide orientation training for youth activity staff, volunteers and participants.

Enrollment and Documentation

  1. Develop enrollment materials that include appropriate disclosures of the nature of the program, including requirements for participation.
  2. Every youth program participant and his/her parent/guardian must complete a Participation and Parental Permission Agreement.  The Office of Risk Management ( or 515-294-7711) provides a template for this Agreement, which can be modified specific to your program needs.
  3. 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 Office of Risk Management ( or 515-294-7711) or see ISU Volunteers for more information.
  4. Individuals who are not employed by ISU and have an injury, accident or property loss during a youth program should work with the Program Leader to complete the ISU Uniform Incident Report.  Employees who have a work-related accident, injury or illness should fill out a First Report of Injury with University Human Resources.
  5. Review and if applicable comply with Guidelines for Photo/Images/Voice Permission.
  6. Retain waivers and incident reports until youth participants have reached 20 years of age. Retention is the responsibility of the sponsoring department/unit.

Health and Medical

  1. Obtain appropriate medical release and permission for treatment forms for participants; forms available through the Office of Risk Management.
  2. As appropriate for the specific youth activity, collect participant information regarding special medical considerations (i.e., 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). Note: For competitive applicants or limited enrollments, this information should be collected only after selection is made for participants
  3. Provide for the appropriate security of participants' medical information.
  4. Follow up to ensure that restrictions are appropriately applied (e.g. providing that alternative foods and other preventative measures are taken to avoid exposure when allergies are noted and ensuring that arrangements are made to prevent specific contacts in the case of severe allergies).
  5. Establish rules related to securing participants' medication, scheduling dispensation, refrigeration, or storage needs, and return of the medication to the participants or parents at the end of the session.


  1. Obtain ISU Department of Residence housing (for overnight stays) or arrange for approval with Office of Risk Management for alternate housing (agreements and background checks are required for home-stay hosts of youth).
  2. Restrict access to the participant housing area.
  3. Provide instruction on security, loss prevention, and other housing related safety and security issues.
  4. Instruct participants about exit locations, procedures, and common meeting or reporting areas in the event of an emergency.
  5. Determine appropriate number of participants assigned to sleeping areas/spaces with consideration to gender and age.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 participant transportation to and from the program assembly location at the beginning and end of the program (e.g., parental permissions required for transporting of children to and from the program by non-parent/non-guardian; 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 vehicles acquired through ISU Transportation Services
    • Review weather conditions prior to and during travel.
    • Arrange for appropriate loading and unloading sites for the buses, vans, and/or cars to avoid participant loading/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 at the Office of Risk Management.
  • Drivers must be at least 20 years of age and successfully complete the 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. drivers 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.