In every non-visit year of the accreditation cycle, accredited camps must submit the Annual Accreditation Report to maintain accredited status; failure to submit the report will result in accreditation removal. Camps in a visit year do not submit an Annual Accreditation Report. Refer to the information for preparing for an on-site visit.
How do we get started?
Start by watching the video Closer Look: Annual Accreditation Report for Camps. This video will provide the foundation for submitting the AAR.
Ensure that the annual camp fees are current and be cognizant of the renewal date. Current fees are required to maintain accredited status, and a lapse in fees results in losing access to the Annual Accreditation Report (AAR). Please contact the membership department if assistance is needed for the camp renewal. Review all the provided information and utilize the resources below.
Who from the camp submits the Annual Accreditation Report (AAR)?
Completion of the AAR must be done by a camp representative actively involved with the overall camp operation. This person should have completed the current Accreditation Process Workshop, or be a current visitor (at any level).
Camps often use the AAR to complement their operation by incorporating the process into their own annual employee performance goals, board or stakeholder reporting, or a professional development opportunity for other key staff.
What is the AAR timeline?
The report can be submitted beginning on December 1. Reports are due by February 1. A confirmation email will be immediately sent if the report is submitted correctly. By mid-January ACA trained volunteers start the review and feedback process. You will be notified by email when the report review and feedback are complete. Camps will be notified by March 15 if there are questions or concerns regarding the submitted AAR.
The Annual Accreditation Report must be submitted to maintain accredited status. ACA will remove accreditation for failure to submit the report.
What do I do when I receive the volunteer reviewer's feedback?
When you receive notification that your report is complete, you should revisit the AAR and check the reviewer's feedback. If you have questions or would like to discuss your report, contact your reviewer directly. Be sure to save your report for future reference. As a reminder, the camp's responsibility is to review, evaluate, and incorporate AAR reviewer feedback; the report is intended to be an educational tool. ACA will not maintain AAR responses or feedback past June 1.
What is the difference between the Annual Accreditation Report (AAR) and the Statement of Compliance?
Both are annual requirements to maintain accreditation. Both are available beginning December 1 and are due February 1.
- The AAR is the camp's annual narrative response to questions specific to standards. The AAR is only for non-visit years.
- The Statement of Compliance is the annual attestation by the camp's legal representative confirming compliance with accreditation criteria. It is signed by February 1 in visit and non-visit years. This statement can be signed simultaneously when the AAR is submitted or independently directly in the Accreditation Portal.
The Annual Accreditation Report and the Statement of Compliance must be submitted by February 1 to maintain accredited status. ACA will remove accreditation for non-submission.
There are no standards referenced in the questions, how do I respond?
The AAR focuses on the intent of several standards and does not specifically reference the standard numbers. Remember, the AAR is not intended to be a site visit with yes/no scoring. Rather, the AAR is an educational tool for the camp that emphasizes ongoing improvement throughout the accreditation cycle. Responses are to be in a written narrative that addresses all aspects of each question. It is suggested camps follow these steps:
- Carefully and thoroughly read the question to understand what is asked.
- Re-read the question through your camp's lens and the specific area of camp the question addresses.
- Prepare your response and be thorough by addressing all parts of the question and providing any specific detail that supports your response. Many questions have multiple bulleted parts.
- If a question does not apply to your program, please address why it does not apply in your response.
- Each question requires a written response, not a yes/no/DNA response.
- Use the sample response document in the resources section for assistance and/or contact your standards staff member.
The report should take 1 to 2 hours to complete.
5 Tips for Success
Carefully and thoroughly read the question to understand what is asked. Think about your camp and what the question is asking. For example, if the question is about medication administration with rental groups – be sure the response specifically addresses how this is managed with rental or user groups and is not about the camp general medication administration policy.
Some questions may not apply to your program. Perhaps your camp never serves rental groups. If a question does not apply to your camp, explain WHY, and provide as much context as possible.
Different from a visit, your narrative responses are not “scored.” The reviewer will provide feedback that will help you identify potential blind spots, expand your knowledge, or shine a light on the quality of your approach to the question. The better your narrative, the more meaningful feedback a reviewer can provide you.
We encourage you to actively engage with the process to get the most out of it. When crafting responses, provide detailed descriptions while paying close attention to ALL the question parts. Questions may include multiple parts, and your answer must reflect information for ALL the parts. Each question needs a narrative response that is more than “yes, we do this” or “no, we don’t do this.”
Start working on the AAR early. Please do not wait until the last week of January or February 1; this will significantly help us get your completed AAR assigned to a trained reviewer and provide timely feedback that can aid in your summer planning. The report should take 1 to 2 hours to complete. Remember, submit your AAR by February 1 or your camp’s accreditation will be removed – don’t take the risk!
How do I submit the Annual Accreditation Report (AAR)?
Camp fees must be current to maintain accreditation and access report submission. The report is submitted online through the Accreditation Portal. This is the only way a report is accepted. Please contact us immediately if you do not have access to submit the report. The report should take 1 to 2 hours to complete. Be sure to save often.
To preview the questions or prepare responses in advance outside of the Accreditation Portal, see the resource section below. To prepare the questions in advance, be sure to use a plain text editor and then cut/paste into the online system; do not do it directly from MS Word; this will cause submission errors.
It is the camp's responsibility to save AAR responses and reviewer feedback to the annual questions. ACA will not maintain AAR responses or feedback past June 1.
What resources and tools are available for the AAR?
- Closer Look: Annual Accreditation Report for Camps - Important training video for camps on the purpose of AAR, how to access, and available resources.
- AAR question preview in .docx and .txt formats
For preparation assistance, AAR questions with sample responses
About the Annual Accreditation Report
The Annual Accreditation Report allows camps to demonstrate compliance with accreditation standards in non-visit years by submitting a narrative report. The purpose of the report is to:
- Provide evidence of ongoing quality enhancement/improvement efforts as part of the five-year accreditation cycle;
- Provide education and feedback from trained reviewers for camps in non-visit years;
- Provide evidence of continual compliance with ACA standards throughout the accreditation cycle in non-visit years.