ACA Accreditation - Looking to the Future

September 13, 2016

In February of this year, a task force was assembled to determine how the ACA Accreditation Program and process could be more open and appropriate for a variety of groups, without sacrificing the goals, intent, and integrity of the process.  At the Board of Directors meeting in May, the report of the Task Force on Accreditation was presented and the recommendations were approved. 

Summary of Task Force on Accreditation Recommendations

1. Develop a foundation of both accreditation standards and definitions that apply to all programs to be accredited, as well as develop modules for each program types (such as resident, day, campus-related programs, or others).

Key aspects to be addressed include:

  • Reduction of the redundancy in standards
  • An APG and standards that serve the diversity of camps we see now as well as those we anticipate in the future
  • Reduce the actual number of standards (those that are met 100% of the time, do not address health, safety, risk management, etc.).
  • And increase the integrity of the program, promote growth, and increase satisfaction

2.  Define a growth strategy for colleges and universities that either host (operate) or house (serve as landlord) camp programs on their campuses. The strategy will include further development of the recently formed Affinity Group within ACA known as Camps on Campus.

The concept of the growth strategy includes, but is not limited to those who join the affinity group.  It’s about developing a business strategy to approach the market in general, with the affinity group/membership platform as a vehicle. 

3. Utilize technology and other strategies to support the work of the visitor program. 

In addition to identifying technology solutions to support the visitor program, a comprehensive program of training, support, continuing education and accountability should be developed to enhance the standards volunteer experience and improve the quality of the accreditation program overall.  Such efforts will also help attract and retain volunteers because of the added value to their professional education.

4. Explore ways to incorporate program quality into the accreditation process. 

As we consider additional ways by which ACA can assist in helping camps “raise the bar” on program quality, methods that promote a culture of continuous and intentional improvement might be incorporated into the ACA standards and the Annual Accreditation Report (AAR).

Special thanks goes to the members who served on the Task Force on Accreditation Jody Oates, Chair, Kaleidoscope, Inc., Kurt Podeszwa, Camp for All and ACA BOD, Nancy Hartmann, The Brooks School, Jean Holt, Old Dominion University, Quinton Buckley, YMCA, Jude Bevan, Chair of the National Standards Commission, James Murphy, Accreditation Consultant, and staff liaisons, Rhonda Mickelson, Director of Standards and Amy Katzenberger, Chief Program Officer.

With the recommendations in place, ACA will be sharing more in the coming months about the next steps in the process of taking these recommendations and developing an operational strategy around each of them.  If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact ACA Director of Standards Rhonda Mickelson at 765-349-3306 or rmickelson@acacamps.org.