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A Guide to Digital Camp Waivers + How to Get Started

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A group of young children on a ropes course.

Each year, more than 25 million happy campers pack their bags and head to camp for the chance to hike, bike, and kayak among scenic landscapes. The opportunity to form new friendships and make lifelong memories makes this a core experience for kids. But as a camp leader, it’s important to remember that there are risks you might encounter along the way.

In this quick guide, we’ll explore why your summer camp needs waivers and how you can get started. Let’s get started by brushing up on some waiver basics. 


Claim your free trial of Smartwaiver today to streamline registration with digital camp waivers.


Why does your camp need a waiver?

Definition of waivers (explained in the text below).

There are many different types of waivers out there, and each one is a legally binding contract. However, the most common option for camps is a liability waiver. 

When campers’ parents sign a liability waiver, they are acknowledging the risks of the activity and releasing your camp from liability for damages, injuries, and other losses. These waivers are most often used for participation in physical events, the use of a venue or rental equipment, or attendance at an entertainment event.

These waivers can help protect your camp from legal liability, mitigate risk, and improve relationships with your customers. 

What are some reasons to choose digital waivers?

As a camp leader, ensuring the safety and enjoyment of your campers should be your top priority. Liability waivers allow you to provide fun programming while protecting your organization. But, outdated paper forms can be a hindrance.

Digital waivers are still legally binding and include all of the same information as a traditional paper waiver. These forms live online from the moment you design them to when a parent signs the form and clicks “submit.”

How Digital Waivers Benefit Your Camp

Running a summer camp involves many moving pieces. When campers start to arrive, your mind is likely on assigning cabins, preventing sunburns and bug bites, and checking on equipment. The last thing you want to worry about is a waiver.

Digital waivers help out during these chaotic moments with benefits like:

The top benefits of digital waivers for camp leaders (detailed in text below).

  • Legally-binding liability waivers live in a secure, searchable database, allowing you and your team to access it anywhere, at any time. 
  • Offline-mode allows your participants to complete digital waivers without an internet connection, providing reliable support for remote campsites.
  • Convenient online editing allows you to quickly update your waivers if you need to add or change information.
  • Completed documents are sent directly to your local hard drive and saved in the cloud, ensuring you have secure, long-term access to your waivers without the need for storage.
  • The process is paperless, saving your camp money on printing costs.

How Digital Waivers Benefit Parents

There's nothing more exciting than the first day at camp. Dozens of enthusiastic kids wait eagerly for the chance to enjoy the numerous activities your program provides. Meanwhile, parents are busy checking in, signing permission slips, and saying goodbye to their children. 

Digital waivers alleviate the stress of last-minute paperwork for parents and guardians, allowing them to spend more time seeing their kids off to camp. Also, digital waivers benefit parents by offering: 

The benefits of digital waivers for campers’ parents (detailed in the text below).

  • The ability to register online at their leisure, saving time at drop-off.
  • A user-friendly interface that allows them to manage multiple minors from a single form.
  • A highly-secure database which ensures their information is protected.
  • Automated responses that send a copy of their signed waivers directly to their email for future reference.
  • Increased accessibility that allows parents to use screen readers, increase the size of the text, or translate the waiver into another language.

How can you make a camp waiver?

While creating a digital waiver might sound overwhelming, the process is very simple. Here are the four main steps you’ll need to follow:

Because every state has its own laws regarding waivers, it’s key to get help from a lawyer when creating your digital camp waiver.

  1. Work with a lawyer. Waivers are legally binding documents, and waiver laws can vary from state to state. Always work with a lawyer to ensure the language is sound and compliant.
  2. Choose a digital waiver software provider. Choose secure digital waiver software like Smartwaiver to host your forms.
  3. Determine what type of waiver you’ll need. Next, work with your lawyer to determine what type of waiver you need to create. While the most common option is an activity waiver, this will depend on what types of activities your camp offers.
  4. Load the form into your waiver software. Once the language is approved by your lawyer, create your digital waiver! Remember that you can add additional questions to learn more about your customers (e.g., “How did you find out about our camp?”).

To learn more about these steps, check out our comprehensive guide for creating digital waivers.

While your lawyer will help you draft the legal language in the waiver, they may not be as familiar with camp life as you are. Educate them about all of the outdoor activities, sports, and potential exposure to environmental hazards (e.g., insect stings) that could pose risk. If your camp will need to administer any kind of medical treatment or photo release forms, ask about adding clauses for those items.

What is the best way to get started with digital waivers?

If you're ready to make the switch to digital waivers for your summer camp, Smartwaiver can help. For nearly a decade, Smartwaiver has provided secure digital liability waivers for thousands of businesses with a dedication to top-notch support and reliability. 

With affordable and flexible pricing, you have access to our full suite of features, including:

  • Unlimited, customizable templates
  • Offline waivers
  • Auto photo capture
  • Integrations with web-based reservation systems
  • Automatic WaiverSync
  • Dedicated access to our U.S.-based support team
  • And more!

At Smartwaiver, we streamline the waiver creation and signing process, making it easier for you to focus on what you do best: providing memorable experiences for your campers! 

With our user-friendly dashboard, you can upload your existing waiver language directly into the system to create unique, customizable documents that can easily be shared with your campers. Or, send your existing waiver language to us and our skilled team will convert it into a digital waiver for you. 

Hear What Our Digital Waiver Customers Are Saying

Shelby L. “[Smartwaiver] made our transition from paper waivers to digital a pretty darn doable project! Allows for our customers to pre-register and save time during the check-in process. Gives us great tracking for demographics and how-they-heard, etc.”

Eric W. “Easy to use, great customer service, excellent price, easy to set up. Great record keeping as well. It is very easy to use, and guests don't have any issue signing waivers. Make the switch and you won't be disappointed.”

Erik S. “Smartwaiver makes waiver capture WAY FASTER! Storage of paper waivers and then having to look them up is a thing of the past. Easy to use. Customer service is outstanding. Waiver customization is simple.”

Additional Resources

Digital waivers make it easier than ever to protect your camp. Parents will appreciate the convenience of completing the waiver ahead of time, and your camp can even make use of the data stored in the forms. Over time, they’ll even play a role in building up your reputation as a trustworthy, credible camp. 

To learn more about digital waivers, explore these additional resources:

Sign up for your free trial today to see the benefits of digital camp waivers for yourself.



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