What is your staff to child ratio? | steveandkate

What is your staff to child ratio?

This is a common question, but one that doesn’t have an easy answer since it varies by location, by day, and by activity within a given location. Rather than planning our staffing levels to always hit an arbitrary ratio, we hire enough staff make sure that all of our activities function smoothly and safely, and that campers have the appropriate level of support given the nature of the activity. We also take into account any site-specific needs that impact staffing to ensure we have people covering all accessible spaces, such as hallways, stairwells, entrances and exits, etc. To add to that, given our flexible enrollment system, the ratio fluctuates a bit day-to-day with the changes in attendance, and since campers have the freedom to explore and move between activities as they wish, the ratio in each activity fluctuates. For example, in our lounge there might be one staff member and 15 campers who are reading books, playing board games, or relaxing with friends. Whereas outside there could be 5 campers playing basketball with a staff member.

Typically our smaller sites will have lower ratios because you need a certain minimum number of staff just to offer everything regardless of the number of kids, and our bigger sites have higher ratios because they operate more efficiently. Once we get a bit closer to summer your location's director can give you a better sense of what the specific ratio is likely to be on an average day at your site.

If you are still looking for some hard numbers, last year across all sites our ratios were around 8:1 on small days and 12:1 on busy ones, with the average ratio across all our sites last summer was about 10.5:1. In some areas, there are specific requirements around ratios (New York and Boston, for example) and so we follow those requirements. 

All that being said, we can assure you that your child will always be supervised by an adult, and we try to staff for the highest number of predicted campers we’re expecting at a given site. But even more important than the quantity of staff is the quality. All of our staff are college-age or older, so we tend to have a more mature, experienced staff than many other programs. We perform background checks on all of our staff and they are all First Aid and CPR certified. Many of our staff and on-site leadership team are graduate students in their mid-twenties or older. Because we’ve been around for 37 years, we often get returning staff year to year and have even hired a number of former campers who come back to be a part of camp once more.