Recreational and Educational Camps

A recreational and educational camp (rec-ed camp) is defined as a premise, including temporary and permanent structures, that is operated as an overnight living quarters where both food and lodging, or facilities for food and lodging are provided for children or adults, or both children and adults for a planned program of recreation or education, and that is offered free of charge or for payment of a fee by a person, or by the state, or a local unit of government.

When people think of rec-ed camps they generally associate them with the terms summer camp or youth camps where children are dropped off for a week or more at a time. While these type of operations are typical of rec-ed camps, they do not encompass all camp models.​

​​​Legislative update

On May 22, 2021, Gov. Tony Evers signed three rec-ed camp bills into law:

Senate Bill 168, now Wisconsin Act 44: 

  • Allows a person to practice for up to 90 days a year as a physician for campers and staff at a recreational and educational camp licensed in this state if the person is licensed in good standing to practice medicine and surgery by another state or territory of the United States or a Canadian province or territory and is not under active investigation by a licensing authority or law enforcement authority in any state, federal, or foreign jurisdiction; and
  • Requires a person to submit a form to the Medical Examining Board before practicing as allowed under the bill. 

Senate Bill 171, now Wisconsin Act 45:

  • Allows DATCP or the local health department to waive the routine inspection for not more than two out of every three license years if a recreational and educational camp has exhibited effective managerial control of public health hazards;
  • Provides that effective managerial control of public health hazards would be defined by department rule; and ​
  • Requires that annual license fees and other applicable requirements still apply to the camp. 

Assembly Bill 166, now Wisconsin Act 46:

  • Allows a person to practice for up to 90 days a year, without a temporary license from the state, as a registered nurse for campers and staff at a recreational and educational camp licensed in this state if the person is licensed in good standing to practice professional nursing by another state or territory of the United States or a Canadian province or territory and is not under active investigation by a licensing authority or law enforcement authority in any state, federal, or foreign jurisdiction; and 
  • Requires a person to submit a form to the Board of Nursing before practicing as a registered nurse as allowed under the bill. 

On March 3, 2020, two bills were enacted that may affect recreational and educational Camps. Act 130 requires the Department of Safety and Professional Services to develop regulations for certain buildings at camps, taking into account the unique seasonal uses of some buildings. Act 130 allows flexibility for some seasonal buildings. This act will affect new construction only.Read Act 130

Act 131 allows health inspectors to review camp health software in the field and approve if it meets basic criteria. This removes the requirement for new software companies to formally apply to the department for approval. It also allows inspectors to address when they inspect, saving inspectors, the department and camp operators a lot of time.Read Act 131

Duration

  • Each permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) expires June 30 of each year.
  • Permit dates extend from July 1 of one year through June 30 of the following year.
  • If a permit is granted after April 1 of a license year, that license will extend to June 30 of the following year. 
    • Example: If a business is permitted by DATCP on April 1, 2019, then its license will expire June 30, 2020.
  • Renewal fees for existing establishments shall be submitted to DATCP before June 30 each year.

Fees 

​Type of Facility

​Annual Permit Fee

​One-Time Pre-Inspection Fee

​Rec-ed camp

​$505

​$1,200

​​Instructions 

  1. To obtain a license through DATCP, call (608) 224-4923 or email ​our licensing specialists.
  2. The licensing specialist will get you the information you need and explain the process steps.​

Forms

Camper Health History

Application for recreational course approval: