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Our camp was rated exemplary in 5 areas at the international inspection

We achieved an outstanding 98% result during the mandatory SeriousFun inspection, which occurs every five years. Our Program Director, Katalin Nagy, shares which areas we can be most proud of and how the cheerful inspection unfolded at the camp.

n the United States, there is a much deeper culture of camping, and accordingly, its regulation is also stronger. Since Bátor Tábor is a member of the American Serious Fun Children’s Network, they have revised this regulation and extended it to international camps, including ours. Compliance with this regulation is an essential condition for our membership in the American Camp Association.

Previously, we had to undergo the inspection every 3 years, but since 2016, it has been extended to every 5 years – because before that, we performed at such a high level that we were moved to a higher category. The inspection covers everything: programs, health regulations, communication with campers and volunteers, volunteer application and selection process, camp equipment and buildings, suppliers, contracts.

The inspection consisted of two steps: first, in the spring, we had to fill out a questionnaire with 266 questions and upload all necessary documents – if I remember correctly, exactly 158! In June, a 2-person inspection committee visited the camp to check the site, programs, and ask any further questions they had.

We fully complied with the mandatory regulations, and our overall evaluation was 98%, with only 3 minor areas mentioned where improvements were suggested, but none of these affect the safety of the camp, campers, or programs. They mainly concern cultural differences, such as the emphasis on prohibiting weapon use towards campers in American camps.

Scoring 98% (and completing the mandatory regulations 100%) means that we met all these criteria, everything was found in order with our programs. They also highlighted 5 different areas that impressed them:

  • Diverse camp programs – They praised our willingness to deviate from basic programs and constantly work on inventing and incorporating new programs. They were particularly impressed by our circus and performing arts programs, which debuted in 2023. They are accustomed to the programs offered by American camps (such as searching for a “woodworking” program), but we pleasantly surprised them with these positive changes. They also praised our ability to innovate and expand our repertoire.
  • Healthcare and preparedness at camp – They had many questions, from medication administration to emergency response, and they appreciated how we store medications, handle data, and have a well-established system for everything.
  • Kitchen and dietary needs – When they visited the kitchen, they were completely amazed by the regulations we adhere to and had to dress accordingly to inspect. They were impressed by the organization of our kitchen, how each area is separated, and how we have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. They said they had never encountered such professionalism anywhere else, where the campers’ meals and nutritional needs are prioritized to such a high degree. They specifically requested (out of curiosity) our menu chart, which indicates how many different diets the kitchen prepares for each session or training, and how they manage them. On average, we accommodate 13-14 different diets, and they try to create menus that can combine certain diets to reduce the number of variations needed.
  • Sustainability – They found our pioneering sustainability efforts exemplary even on an international level, and they highlighted how interesting they found our solar panel system and efforts in alternative energy utilization. It was amusing to discuss the boiler and heat pump system with them in English. They sadly noted how our programs are directly affected by environmental impacts, such as the sad state of our lake.
  • Partner relationships, volunteerism – They praised our close and effective collaboration with volunteers, experts, and supporters, how efficiently we train our volunteers, and maintain communication with the community. In the United States, it is more common for a volunteer to contract for an entire camp “season,” so they were impressed by the dedication of our volunteers who have been returning for more than 10 years. We also talked a lot about volunteer management, which they also found impressive, as we work with such a large number of volunteers and have built a community around them and Bátor Tábor over the years.

It was a very dear moment for me when they arrived. At the beginning, there was a discussion with Tamás Knecht, our CEO, and me about the inspection in general. Kelly and the others immediately highlighted that everything was generally fine, and although there are mandatory areas to inspect, they mainly want to enjoy the day and experience the professionalism they saw in the submitted documents. Throughout the day, they were very open and curious, not only about the camp but the entire organization.

They mentioned several times that they were asking us further questions not necessarily related to the inspection, but out of their own curiosity or interest, because they really enjoyed what they experienced with us.

When they arrived, they also shared that the day before, they went to a restaurant for dinner to prepare for the next day. The waiter overheard that they were from Bátor Tábor – I think it was one of our volunteers – and joined their conversation. They were completely amazed that we are so well-known and wherever they go, they encounter someone who is somehow connected to us.