Purpose of Accreditation

Special Note: When referring to your ACA-Accredited® camp status in brochures, letters and video tapes, please use the following copy to describe accreditation:

Fun And Safety — ACA Camps Set the Standard
ACA Accreditation means that the camp you are considering for your child cares enough to undergo a thorough (up to 300 standards) review of its operation — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management. American Camp Association® collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices at the camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Camps and ACA form a partnership that promotes summers of growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.

ACA helps accredited camps provide:

  • Healthy, developmentally-appropriate activities and learning experiences
  • Discovery through experiential education
  • Caring, competent role models
  • Service to the community and the environment
  • Opportunities for leadership and personal growth

Use the following answers to common questions about ACA accreditation and define the value of accreditation to parents . . . .

What’s the difference between state licensing of camps and accreditation by ACA?
Accreditation is voluntary and ACA accreditation assures families that camps have made the commitment to a safe, nurturing environment for their children. Licensing is mandatory and requirements vary from state to state. ACA standards are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp community.

How do ACA standards exceed state licensing requirements?
ACA goes beyond basic requirements for health, cleanliness, and food service into specific areas of programming, including camp staff from director through counselors, emergency management plans, health care, and management. ACA applies separate standards for activities such as waterfront, horseback riding, and adventure and travel.

What are some of the ACA standards that camps rely on?

  • Staff to camper ratios are appropriate for different age groups
  • Goals for camp activities are developmentally based
  • Emergency transportation available at all times
  • First-aid facilities and trained staff available when campers are present

How can I verify that my child's camp is ACA accredited?
Parents can (and should) verify the accreditation status of any camp at any time by visiting ACA's Web site at www.ACAcamps.org or by calling 1-800-428-CAMP.

If your child's camp isn't ACA accredited, ask WHY NOT?
Keep in Mind — Informed parents are best prepared to select a camp that meets their standards for staff, programs, safety, and facilities and strives to promote the welfare of every child. Read more . . .

Visit CampParents.org for more specialized talking points for marketing the value of ACA accreditation, ACA's outcomes research, and camp to parents. And, link to this family-dedicated Web site from your camp’s Web site – keep the positive message of the camp experience circulating!

Key Messages for the Media

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