Simply The Best . . . Thanks . . . Merci . . . You’re Valuable . . .
We offer many thanks to the hundreds of volunteer visitors who gave thousands of hours conducting 869 visits to camps that were seeking accreditation this past summer! Thank you for your hard work, your integrity, and your willingness to give of yourself to learn, grow, and promote the camp experience and the camp profession.
2012 brought a new set of challenges with the introduction of a Camp Self-Assessment, the opportunity for a camp to post documentation to a secure ACA Web site, “new standards,” and of course . . . natural disasters (fires in the West, winds in the mid-Atlantic, etc.). The number of follow up contacts to visitors was higher than in 2011 yet was still lower than in many years (which is always good). The majority of contacts were made because the visitor simply forgot to actually score a standard or write a comment when a “no” was given for a particular standard.
We know that for many camp directors, ACA accreditation visitors are the “face” of ACA! You may be the only ACA member with whom that camp director has interaction! Thanks for helping make the connection a positive one, and please help us share the news about the revision to the standards, the education value of the standards, AND the great educational value of being an accreditation visitor.
We hope you had a good 2012 season, and we look forward to working with everyone in the coming year! Keep reading for important information.
If you will be attending the 2013 ACA National Conference  held in Dallas, Texas, February 12–15, mark your calendar for a Visitor Gathering! It is happening on Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) in a room TBA from about 8:15–9:15. Join us for some fun, fellowship, updates on what’s happening with the standards and accreditation, and the opportunity to win some cool prizes! Check the Conference Program for the location.
At their September 2012 meeting, the National Standards Commission revised/clarified the wording for several standards as well as definitions . There are also some clarifications to DNA statements  in the PD Section of the standards.
As you know and as was mentioned above, we had a new Accreditation Process Guide, 2012 Edition for this summer. This was released in September 2011 and training occurred throughout the year. Overall, we feel things went very well and have already addressed some of the “glitches” found with both the standards and the system (particularly the Web-based tools). Before we get into some of the key lessons learned, below are a few reminders:
Why the Change?
- 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.
Lessons Learned (and how they are being addressed)
- Camps and visitors are not aware of revised standards (since printing).
- All revisions to standards are now being made in the fall so they can be shared during training.
- Notices are sent directly to all visitors regarding revisions and where they can be found.
- Information is included in ACA Now.
- Local offices are being asked to share this information with both camps and visitors.
- Not all camps/visitors had or used the Camp Information Form
- Stressing the importance of this document with the camp personnel.
- Having this document more readily available for completion (distributed at all standards courses, sent by all local offices, on the Web site, etc.).
- Making sure the visitor has this document as it is THE conversation starter between the visitor and the camp personnel.
- While some camps uploaded documents to the ACA secure “My Accreditation” site, not all visitors reviewed the documents prior to the onsite visit.
- Remind the camp to notify their visitor if they have posted documents to the ACA Web site for review.
- Remind all visitors of the need to review the required documents for at least the Camp Self-Assessment by May 1 AND to promote the reviewing of more when possible. Online documents are available to the visitor all the time.
- Strongly suggest all visitors complete the revised tutorials for the “My Visit” site: www.ACAcamps.org/standardstool/my-visits .