Revised Standards For 2012

2011 Spring Standards Newsletter

As you should know by now, we have a new APG: Accreditation Process Guide, 2012 Edition. This was released in late September. Instructor trainers were updated around the same time, and additional trainings have been occurring since. Below are a few key points we want to stress with all visitors — so keep reading!

Why Now?

  • ACA is committed to making standards current and relevant!
  • To make standards more clear and concise.
  • To streamline the process.
  • To take advantage of technology.


  • Accreditation & Education Task Force worked from 2008–2010
    • Directed ACA staff to move forward: Review/revise/reformat the standards.
    •  Verified the standards should focus on health/safety/risk management (Columns in 2009 and 2010 issues of Camping Magazine titled “The Edge” give a great overview.)
  • ACA Worked with Council on Accreditation 2009–2011
    • Recommended to:
      • re-organize the standards AND,
      • focus the standard on the practice, clarify.
  • Role of Staff/National Standards Commission (NSC)
    • Staff reviewed the process of other accrediting bodies.
    • Staff reviewed the previous ACA process for approval of standards.
    • With assistance from the NSC, a standards development/approval process that is in line with other accrediting bodies was established and approved by ACA’s National Board of Directors in Fall 2010.
    • The approved process involves significant internal and external input and review.


Key Differences

  • Standards are numbered slightly differently.
  • Organization of standards:
    • Program Horse and Program Challenge NOW included in Program Design and Activities.
    • Standards that focus on “like” areas are grouped together. (Example: All standards regarding supervision now listed consecutively.)
  • Compliance demonstration more descriptive:
    • Written Documentation — Will list examples of what would should be provided to meet the standards.
    • Visitor Interview — Lists who the visitor should talk with regarding the standard.
    • Visitor Observation — Lists what the visitor will be looking for during their “walk around.”
  • “Interpretation” is now “Contextual Education” and the purpose is EDUCATION! Some aspects of scoring MAY be addressed.

The content of the standards have not changed significantly (although there are some changes)! How the question is asked has changed.

Finally, a currently accredited camp must maintain compliance with the standards under which they were last visited until their next on-site visit. So, a camp that was visited in 2011 must remain in compliance with the standards from the Accredited Process Guide, 2007 Edition until their next visit (which should be 2014). All accredited camps must meet all applicable mandatory standards — as indicated on the Annual Statement of Compliance.

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