The Maryland Department of Health (MDH), under current state regulations, certifies Columbia Association’s (CA) Summer Camp programs. The MDH’s health and safety standards for summer camp programs are extensive. Regulations for Youth Camps (COMAR) are available at all of our programs.


Our programs are staffed following the Annotated Code of Maryland (COMAR) regulations. A criminal background check is completed for all CA Camp employees who work with the children. CA also requires ongoing safety training and random drug screening for staff who transport children. All CA staff receive additional state-approved training in first aid/CPR, activity planning, ADA requirements, behavior management, child growth and development, and childcare best practices.

Each site has an experienced program director responsible for daily operations and communicating with parents, children, and staff. If you have any questions specific to your group, the program director will be happy to answer them for you. Based on the number of children, a group may also have a teacher and/or one or more aides.

Special Needs

If your child has any special needs as a result of a diagnosed disability, we will do our best to meet those needs. Please share any information pertaining to your child — IEPs, 504 plans, behavior improvement plans, etc — with the office staff when you register your child. Such information includes any special needs, instructions for care in an emergency, special dietary needs, effective methods of interacting, and other relevant information. Introductory sessions with the child’s parent or guardian and Camp staff will ensure that all pertinent information is communicated to the provider.

Permitting the Camp staff to access 504 plans and/or IEP’s is very helpful, but we need your written approval to do so.

Camps operate group care programs and our staff/student ratios are 1:15. While we will endeavor to provide as much specialized attention for your child as possible, we are unable to provide 1:1 care or individual companions. We cannot assist children with toileting needs or changing clothes and do not have diapering facilities.
Please feel free to call the administrative staff at CA Headquarters to discuss any concerns you may have concerning a child with a diagnosed disability. Our management and administrative staff can provide you with many community resources to assist you and your child. They include (in Howard County) The Care Center, The Resource & Referral Hotline, Behavior Specialists, the Office of Early Intervention, the Office of International Student Affairs, the local Children’s Board, and Project ACT.


Columbia Association’s schedule is designed following the guidelines and recommendations set forth by the Maryland Department of Health Youth Camp. Additional guidance is taken from the American Camp Association (ACA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Howard County Health Department, and the Association of Camp Nursing (ACN). Students are offered a variety of activities that may include art, science, music, and various physical activities and games. Developmental levels of children are taken into account while planning these activities, with developmentally appropriate practices utilized as needed. Our camps are structured in a manner that facilitates opportunities for individual and group participation, striking a balance between self-selected and staff-directed activities with both quiet and active periods.

Campers experience a variety of activities including arts and crafts, sports, and games. Weekly themes will incorporate opening week activities, a cooking experience, an in-house enrichment program or virtual field trip, STEAM/STEM activities, and either water play or picnic/cookout.

Weather guidelines for summer camp state that children can be outside as follows:

  • Limited outdoor time will be provided when temperatures (adjusted for heat index )between 80-90 degrees F.
  • 10-15 minutes of outdoor time when temperatures are between 90-100 degrees F.
  • No outdoor play when temperatures are above 100 degrees F.

Because our focus is camp and recreation-based, with activities designed to foster social and emotional competencies, electronics are only utilized in conjunction with virtual field trip experiences.

We do not show movies, watch TV or play video games (the exception to this could occur on days where the weather prohibits outdoor play.