Frequently Asked Questions - Standards Update Courses

2012 Spring Standards Newsletter

Based on reoccurring questions from both Standards and Visitor Update Courses held in fall 2011/winter 2012, a “Frequently Asked Questions” document has been created and is available on ACA’s Web site. Two of the questions asked/answered include:

Question: I’m still confused on what might qualify for a specialized activity. It seems that sometimes baseball is a specialized activity and sometimes it isn’t. What’s the difference? Is there a complete list of specialized activities?

Response: A few key things to remember about the standards which might help in this decision — the standards focus on health, safety, and risk management. Page 147 of the Accreditation Process Guide, 2012 Edition also provides basic criteria. SAFETY of the camper/staff is the intent. So, staying with the example of baseball: If your camp offers baseball as one of the key program offerings and stresses skill development, strategy, competitive play, and requires your staff to be college baseball players, then YES, it would be a specialized activity. If your camp offers baseball as an “after dinner” activity, anyone who wants can play, and fun (rather than competition) is the focus, then chances are, it is not a specialized activity. The camp might consider wearing batting helmets (as it is good practice), but it would not be required.

In the example of sports, a key thing to consider is the level of play: competitive or for fun. Again, safety of the participant is the focus. Activities such as teaching foreign language (which does require a special skill) or teaching basic use of computers (again, requires a special skill) are NOT specialized activities.

In response to the question: “Is there a complete list?” No, there is not a comprehensive list of specialized activities, but there is a very good resource titled “Specialized Activity Checklist” at: While the list isn’t comprehensive, it does list many activities that might be considered specialized activities and some that are definitely specialized.

It is important for the visitor and the camp contact to have a discussion prior to the on-site visit to discuss what activities are offered and which ones might be considered specialized so there are no surprises. If you have questions, feel free to contact ACA at:

Question: With the new addition to the Contextual Education in HW.19, can I still make my staff turn in their medication?

Response: YES! As stated in HW.19, all drugs should be locked unless in the controlled possession of the person responsible for administering them. This standard can be met in a few different ways: 1) Staff can be provided a locker in which they lock their medicine. 2) Staff can be allowed to turn their medication in to the health center in a container that does not allow anyone to determine the kind/type of medication. The medication would be locked and staff would be allowed access at the specified times. 3) Staff can voluntarily allow the health care provider to know what type of medication they are taking. The key piece is to understand that medication can and should be locked.

Download a full list of the FAQs. Make sure to share this site with your assigned camp!

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