President: Jonathan Gold
Administrator & Treasurer: Scott Rothschild
The Government Affairs Advocacy Program of NJC GAP working in partnership with ACA NY/NJ has gained many critical accomplishments for our member camps. Each year member camps identify priority issues impacting camp operations directing a clearly focused government advocacy program. Top issues currently targeted are:
Twenty or so years ago, the New Jersey Camp Industry consisted mostly of agency Camps led by job-juggling directors and private Camps led by school teachers. Camps didn’t begin enrolling until the mid-Winter or Spring, and the laws and regulations that were discussed in Trenton were hardly noticed- as Trenton didn’t seem to notice Camps much anyway. In recent years though, the landscape has changed. Camps are now directed by full-time Camp Professionals who enroll campers, hire staff, and work on their facilities 12 months per year. As suburbia has spread, more families now seek childcare and enriching experiences for their children through the many fine Camps which New Jersey has to offer. Over the last few years, the economic landscape has also changed, pressuring regulatory agencies to create new rules, tightly reinterpret and enforce the old ones, and gain revenue from as many avenues as possible.
New Jersey Camps have become acutely aware of the importance of representation in Trenton, and since 2006, NJC–GAP has employed the efforts of experienced Trenton lobbyist Claudine Leone. The results have been immediate and substantial! From rewriting the Health Dept. Camp Regulations, to the Climbing Wall exemption, to our work with the Dept. of Community Affairs and Dept. of Labor, NJC–GAP is seen nationally as an amazing example of how targeted advocacy can lead to immediate change for the better.
Click Here to see the latest agenda.
• NJC–GAP got NJ camps open for the 2020 Season during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency’s state shutdown! We worked with Governor Murphy’s office and the Commissioner of Health to ensure that camps were able to open and allowed to operate under practical Youth Camp and Public Recreational Bathing guidance working in collaboration with the NJ Department of Health’s Youth Camp Safety Project. NJCGAP was there every step of the way beyond July 6th camp opening until we got all restrictions were lifted for activities at camp.
• NJC–GAP is a valuable key stakeholder with the NJ Department of Health’s Youth Camp Safety Project working with the Department on regulatory oversight of youth camps and work with them on regulation of youth camps, as well as evolving issues, including COVID-19 and the 2020 Camp Season.
• NJC–GAP successfully lobbied a Democratic Legislature and Governor for a delayed implementation of the $15/minimum wage for camps. There is now a seasonal path to $15/minimum wage in New Jersey. NJCGAP led the charge on this effort that benefitted many other seasonal businesses, as well!
• The NJ Department of Health and Senior Services adopted regulations to exempt ACA accredited camps from pre-operational and operational health inspections by local, county and state health officers as it relates to the enforcement of the NJ Youth Camp Safety Act.
• The NJ Department of Community Affairs through its Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Board has exempted all youth camps from amusement regulation and inspection related to (1) any rider or gravity propelled ride, including but not limited to, playground equipment, soft play equipment, water slides under 15 feet or water based recreation equipment and (2) any manmade or natural rock walls and other challenge activities identified in the Adventure/Challenge section of the ACA Accreditation Standards.
• Member camps have hosted state legislators for visits to their camp through our Summer Visit Program. Legislators had the opportunity to learn about the camp industry, ACA accreditation, and the impact camps located in their legislative district have on the constituents and communities they represent.
Beating Back Red Tape
NJC-GAP’s lobbyist provides guidance and direction for all member camps in New Jersey helping them navigate the various state regulations impacting youth camps in New Jersey and putting them in touch with the right people in Trenton.
Constant Legislative and Regulatory Monitoring
Our lobbyist monitors state legislation and regulations on a daily basis, ensuring early warning and immediately response on issues that could favorably or negatively impact camp operations in New Jersey.
Getting Front and Center with Key Policymakers
We continue to improve awareness of the Camp industry in Trenton.
NJC–GAP is testifying at legislative hearings on priority issues, introducing state legislators to member camps through site visits, and educating state regulators on how their policies impact camps in New Jersey.
Through our Key Contacts Program we have been able to match member camps to their state representatives in Trenton in order to initiate introductions and help members establish relationships with policy makers to assist the goals of our Government Affairs Advocacy Program.