Important Visitor Reminders!

2012 Spring Standards Newsletter


(Thanks to Instructor Kurt Podeszwa and Visitor Update Courses held in Texoma for the following suggestions.)

What are things we can do as visitors to make the visit process more educational?

  • Be prepared as a visitor.
    • Make sure to complete the required Visitor Update Course.
    • Spend time reviewing what specialized activities the camp offers ahead of time.
    • Review online resources ahead of time.
    • Review the camp’s Web site ahead of time.
  • Make contact with camp early.
    • March and April really set the tone for success.
    • If the camp is ready and you would like to, you can review more written documentation than just the twenty standards of the CSA
    • Review previous years’ most missed standards and discuss with the camp contact.
    • Review areas that have changed or you as a visitor have seen to be difficult for camps.
  • This year, PD.12 (Supervisors of Specialized Activities) — specifically talk about what documentation is needed.
  • If they are using online resources, review to make sure they answered questions correctly.
  • Have a conversation about what the director’s expectations are.
    • 100% versus being accredited.
  • Remind directors that the accreditation process is a great opportunity to educate non-leadership staff and campers about ACA.
  • Make sure your "specialty" is not influencing your decision making: medical, aquatics, facility, ropes, etc.
  • Language matters — use open-ended, non-threatening questions
    • “Is after lunch a good time to visit with kitchen staff?” versus “After lunch I will go look at the kitchen.” 
    • “Tell me about paintball.” versus “Why do you run paintball that way?”

How to make ICA educational.

  • Discuss what was missed and why. 
  • Ask the director: “What is your understanding of the standard?” and “Why did you ‘miss’ it?”
  • Use non-judgmental language.
  • Explain why the standard is important (mandatory standards deal with issues that could lead to serious injury).
  • Visitor stays calm, it’s important but not something that cannot be fixed. Be specific with how they can fix it.
  • Let them know next steps — what they can expect.

Save the Auditing for the IRS!

Checking Health Forms and/or Any Documentation with Confidential Information
We are visitors — not inspectors. Checking health histories or other forms with confidential information (such as anything one could not find in the phone book) is not an audit process. 

For example, when a visitor is reviewing a camp’s health history form, they should review a blank one! First they should make sure all of the elements required in the standard are present, etc. THEN, they should ask where the completed forms are kept, glance quickly through them, NOT really reading them. The visitor should definitely ask if the camp has health histories for all campers and staff. Please ask if they have the health history for specific staff (aquatics director, program director, and so on). Ask to see a camper list and then ask if they have a health history for five or six campers. You might have them PULL the form to give it a cursory glance, but do not read it! This is for respect of privacy and consideration of any protocol or procedures a program may have related to privacy issues.

Another example to consider to protect people’s privacy: If a camp is missing the required documentation/checks in HR.4.1 or HR.4.2 and Immediate Corrective Action (ICA) is required, DO NOT have the camp fax these forms (once obtained) to the ACA, Inc. administrative office! A statement of corrective action taken and a list of names for which they completed the information are most appropriate.

Finally, always remember the educational nature of the ACA Accreditation Program and let that and your training guide your compliance decisions and interactions with the camp.

2012 Score Form Reminders

With a revised numbering system and a number of added and deleted standards, the 2012 score form looks similar to previous years but contains changes. Please be sure to use the correct form and to follow these guidelines.

PLEASE only use 2012 score forms!

  1. Make sure you are using the right score form. The 2012 score form has research questions on page eight. These forms will be read by a scanner; please do not make any miscellaneous markings in the score boxes. 
  2. Please use pen to mark your final answers. 
  3. Mark an X over “Yes,” “No,” or “DNA” to indicate your compliance decision.
  4. The signature portion of the form MUST be completed for the visit to be official. Please record all signatures in ink.
  5. The Camp Information Form will provide a good indication of the activities offered by the camp you will be visiting. As this should have been completed by the camp director, it should be relatively accurate. It is important to have a conversation regarding what activities will be scored PRIOR to the day of the visit. The Camp Information Form should be sent to ACA, Inc. along with the score form.
  6. The score form is the legal record of the visit — it is a legal document! Comments are to be written for any and all “no’s” scored; for any problems in scoring a standard or a section of standards; and for indicating that a section was scored but not seen. Therefore, please do NOT write miscellaneous comments for DNAs or for educational purposes. For example: A camp has a written plan for intruders (OM.7). They have a plan, yet you feel it is weak, so the visitor writes on the comment form: “Camp has a plan yet needs to strengthen it by cutting down trees so there is better visibility.” While this may be true and you want to share this info with the camp, please do so verbally or in writing on another document and NOT the score form.
  7. Please remember to initial comments using “VIS” for the visitor’s comments or “CD” for the camp director’s comments. No names, no personal initials. Use additional paper if necessary. Please record all comments in ink.
  8. Mandatory standards are bold and italicized. An ICA for missed standards MUST be written up for each missed mandatory standard even if the standard is corrected that day.
  9. Indicate the camp name and number on each page in the spaces provided.
  10. Indicate all modes you are scoring for the camp being visited.
  11. Please record the camp’s answers to the 2012 Research Questions on page eight.
  12. Camp directors may make a copy of the score form minus the signature page. Visitors should not make or keep copies of score forms.
  13. Immediately mail the score form to ACA, Inc. in the envelope provided.


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