Do Summer Camps Need to be Licensed in Pennsylvania

As parents, one of our top priorities is making sure our children have a top-notch summer experience. We think of things like camps, day camps, and a sleepaway camp Pennsylvania. All these are places where our kids can have a great time and learn new things.

But what about summer camps that aren’t licensed in Pennsylvania? Are they safe for our kids? The short answer is yes, of course. But there are some precautions you need to take to ensure your child has a great time while at an unlicensed camp.

In this article, we will discuss the concerns surrounding sleepaway camp for boys in Pennsylvania. And we’ll also provide some tips for ensuring your child has a safe and fun experience.

What is a Camp and What are the Different Types?

Camping enthusiasts in Pennsylvania have various camping options, including developed campsites, unenclosed primitive campsites, and group campsites. However, specific regulations and permits are necessary, particularly within state parks or protected areas.

To camp at a developed site, securing a permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission is essential. It’s advisable to obtain this permit at least seven days before your planned arrival.

Unenclosed primitive sites don’t require a permit, but campers must follow developed campsite rules. This includes registering at the park office at least two days before their stay.

For those seeking group campsites, they need to obtain permits at least four days in advance, accommodating groups of up to 150 people.

Campers should note that all camping equipment used in Pennsylvania requires registration with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This includes tents, sleeping bags, stoves, lanterns, cookware, and more. You can conveniently register online or contact DEP’s Registration Hotline for assistance.

What Does a Camp Need from Pennsylvania in Order to Operate?

In Pennsylvania, summer camps must be licensed by the state. The licensing process includes an application and fee, as well as inspections. A camp must also provide proof of insurance in case of a claim. Camps should also have a registration form for their participants and staff and contact information for parents or guardians.

Are Summer Camps Required to be licensed in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, state law mandates that all-day summer camps must obtain licensing from the Department of Health. This requirement necessitates camp staff to complete a camp safety training program and meet specific minimum health and safety standards.

Moreover, every summer camp operating in the state is obligated to submit an annual registration form to the department. Failure to register with the state will result in the camp being unable to operate legally within Pennsylvania.

It’s crucial for parents to prioritize choosing a licensed summer camp certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. These camps adhere to stringent health and safety guidelines compared to their unlicensed counterparts.

Unlicensed summer camps are only permitted to operate during school holidays or specific periods if they have obtained written approval from the department. However, such camps must comply with the regulations set forth by the authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of the campers.

What Are Summer Camp Must-Haves?

Land Sports

When enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and camping in Pennsylvania’s vast rolling hills and woodlands, it’s important to remember a few crucial points to avoid legal issues.

Firstly, ensure that your summer camp has obtained licensing from the Pennsylvania DEP. Failure to have proper licensing might result in law violations, leading to potential fines or even imprisonment.

Additionally, prioritize safety by ensuring all group members understand and adhere to basic safety practices. This includes wearing helmets during biking or hiking and using adequate lighting while camping at night.

Be mindful that weather conditions can swiftly change in Pennsylvania’s mountainous areas, so always be prepared for sudden rain or snowfall.


Summer campers in Pennsylvania can’t go too long without enjoying some good old-fashioned watersports. Swimming is a great activity for all ages and can be enjoyed by anyone who loves to swim. Campers can learn basic swimming strokes, improve their endurance, and have lots of fun swimming with friends or family.

Diving is another great summer camp activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. Campers can learn about different diving techniques and dive deeper than they ever thought possible.

Also, rowing is another great summer camp activity in Pennsylvania. Campers can learn how to row a boat and have tons of fun racing against friends or family.

Outdoor Adventure

Pennsylvania summer camps offer an extensive outdoor program that can include hiking, rock climbing, swimming, canoeing, and more. To make the most of these activities, campers need to pack a few essentials. Below are some must-haves for outdoor adventures in Pennsylvania.

Good sunscreen is essential for preventing skin cancer and other skin diseases. A flashlight is useful for exploring dark areas or finding your way back home at the night. Also, campers should always have a first aid kit on hand in case of accidents. This includes supplies such as bandages, aspirin, and painkillers.

Pennsylvania summers can be buggy, so campers should bring bug spray to protect themselves from mosquitoes and other insects. In addition, summertime can be too hot, so campers should bring a hat to keep their head cool from the sun.

Summer camps often offer great photo opportunities, so it’s important for campers to bring their cameras along for the ride.


Summer camps in Pennsylvania offer a variety of activities for all participants, including equestrian. Only a few summer camps, like Camp Shohola, offer this experience. But it’s a great way for campers to learn about horses and how to care for them.

Horseback riding is a great way to get exercise and develop coordination and balance skills. It can also help camper build self-confidence, as they learn to control their horse. If your camp offers equestrian activities, be sure to make the most of them!

Find out what equipment is necessary and decide with the camp director to reserve it in advance. You might also want to consider the possibility of reserving a space in the horse barn. So, your camper can get some quality horseback riding time each day.

Communications & Technology

Summer camps offer fantastic opportunities for children to explore various subjects. One standout program they can provide is digital photography, which equips kids with the skills to capture and edit impressive photos using editing software. This program caters especially to youngsters keen on photography or video production.

Another compelling program offered at summer camps is amateur radio broadcasting. This program delves into the history and mechanics of amateur radio, teaching children to operate radios and communicate with other amateur radio operators worldwide.

Additionally, robotics stands out as an engaging program. It introduces children to the fundamentals of robotics, teaching them how to design, construct, and control robots using programming languages like Basic or Arduino, among others.


Summer camps can be a great way to boost creativity and expression. There are many different arts and crafts programs summer camps can offer in Pennsylvania. Some example programs include photography, ceramics, theater, and music.

Arts and crafts can help children develop their creativity and critical thinking skills. They can learn how to work with materials and create something from scratch.


So, the question is, does every summer camp need to be licensed in Pennsylvania? The short answer is no, but there are caveats to that answer.

In general, any organization or individual operating a summer day camp in Pennsylvania must have an approved registration from the Pennsylvania Department of Youth and Family Development (DYFD).

Here at Camp Shohola, we always value the safety and security of our campers. And we adhere to strict regulations from the state to make sure every camper will have a memorable experience. For more information on how you can book a spot for your boys, contact us at 570.371.4760 or 570.371.4760 today!

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