COCA-I Gold Ribbon Operation Standards



The intent of the standards is to educate and encourage accountability for COCA member organization staff and volunteers regarding medical and psycho-social best practice principles when planning and operating a pediatric oncology camp program.


In the development of these standards the COCA Gold Ribbon Committee acknowledged that member organizations operate in creative and diverse ways. Even though the common thread of COCA camps is providing care and support to children with cancer, programs include adolescent/young adult survivors, siblings and families in their community of supportive care. In addition, programs use one or a combination of delivery models to achieve their outcomes from traditional overnight resident camps, day camps, family camps, travel/excursion camp and in-hospital recreational-therapeutic experiences as well as a variety of duration.


Similarly, COCA organizations find creative locations in which to provide activities. Some programs own their facilities, some rent or lease facilities with or without program staff, while other camps use donated facilities, hotels, and resorts or utilize government owned parks and wilderness lands.


It is the intention of the COCA Gold Ribbon Standards to be a dynamic and continually updated document. One that will be reviewed regularly by a team of oncology camp providers & oncology medical and psychosocial health care providers with the intent to include innovative advances and developments in pediatric oncology medical treatments and psychosocial care.


These standards are not intended to be a “how-to” guide for the operation of a pediatric oncology camp, but instead are intended to help staff, volunteers and camp organizations educate themselves in vital areas specific to their setting, population and pediatric oncology practice and to document their policies and procedures in providing beneficial and safe medical and psychosocial experience for their camp.


The standards are intended to be used in conjunction with an outside verification process, not to judge camps’ practices or policies, but to allow objective verification so as to add credibility to the Gold Ribbon Accreditation status to parents and the health care partners and donors.


What COCA-I Gold Ribbon Standards Do Not Cover:
In the development of the standards many practice areas were omitted. The committee felt that the expertise of the association was best placed in the realm of medical and psychosocial support. Through the process the committee recognized that many important practices of general camping industry and not-for profit management already exist.


Therefore, it’s a STRONG RECOMMENDATION of the COCA –I Gold Ribbon Committee that in addition to COCA- I Gold Ribbon Standards, each camp should hold accreditation from a camping industry association and meet or exceed all local, state/provincial and governmental regulations in the following areas:


Camping Industry Best Practices

      Business Operations

      Human Resources 

      Facility Operations

      Transportation Program Design & Delivery



Not For Profit Industry Best Practices


     Finance & Accounting

     Human Resources

     Volunteer Management