As camp professionals, we understand that your biggest concern is for the safety of your child. We also know you have goals for your child’s development related to the powerful lessons the camp experience provides in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living. We share those same goals, which is why we have taken the added step of becoming an Accredited Camp through the American Camp Association (ACA).
Who Is the ACA?
The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals, who, for more than 100 years, have joined together to share knowledge and experience to ensure high quality camp programs for children, youth and adults. ACA works to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience. Our association is dedicated to helping our members and all camps provide:
- Camp communities committed to a safe, nurturing environment
- Caring, competent adult role models
- Healthy, developmentally appropriate activities and learning experiences
- Discovery, experiential education, and learning opportunities
- Service to the community and the environment
- Opportunities for leadership and personal growth
Why is ACCREDITATION important?
As the only recognized accrediting body for the camp experience in the United States, ACA accredits approximately 2,400+ diverse camps nationally. However, that number represents only 25% of the camps that operate in this country. ACA’s goal is to continue to grow the number of accredited camps to ensure a safe and positive camp experience for more children. ACA-Accredited® Camps meet up to 300 health and safety standards. Accreditation is a family’s best evidence that their camp is committed to the health, safety, and overall well-being of their child.
Other camps like to say they follow industry standards and best practices. Some even say they use the ACA guidelines, but the fact remains that camps that do not hold themselves up to a transparent, complete peer review of their operations are not acting in the best interests of their staff, campers, families, and the public at large. If your camp is not accredited, ask the Owner or Director why. Accreditation matters.
What are some of the ACA standards which camps rely on?
- Staff-to-camper ratios that are appropriate for different age groups
- Goals for camp activities that are developmentally based
- Emergency transportation available at all times
- First-aid facilities and trained staff available when campers are present
- ACA accreditation standards require a staff screening system, which may include criminal background checks where permitted by law.
When talking to a camp director as you consider enrolling your child, ask what the screening process for that camp includes.
What the ACA accreditation standards mean for you and your child
ACA Accreditation serves as an assurance to families that our camp cares enough to submit to a transparent, thorough review of our entire operation. Our goal is to provide parents with as much information about our camp, to reassure your choice in a camp. Our voluntary participation in the professional development and accreditation process of the American Camp Association demonstrates our commitment to providing you and your child with the best possible camp experience.