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Understanding the Standards
The main purpose of the ACA accreditation program is to educate camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff. The standards establish guidelines for implementing policies, procedures, and practices. The camp, then, is responsible for implementing and ensuring policies are followed. Another purpose of ACA accreditation is to assist the public in selecting camps that meet industry-accepted and government-recognized standards.
While standards primarily focus on health, safety, and risk management practices, accreditation is not a guarantee that the camper will be free from harm. Accreditation does, however, indicate to the public that the camp administration has voluntarily allowed its practices to be compared with the standards established by professionals in the camp industry. At least once every three years, an outside team of trained camp professionals visits the camp to verify compliance with the standards.
ACA standards identify practices considered basic to a quality camp experience. They do not, however, require all programs to look alike. The ACA accreditation program serves a broad range of facilities and programs: some primitive, some rustic, others highly developed. Each will have addressed in its own way the concerns identified by the standards.
Online Access to Standards
We could think of no better way to present accessible, user-friendly standards than to publish them in an online, interactive format. You can consult only sections of interest, and print any material for study, review and preparation purposes. Your organization can create a customized “My Accreditation” set of standards in one central location to facilitate the accreditation process and wide involvement. When updates are made users will be notified and these will be incorporated instantly throughout the standards.