Important Updates From the National Standards Commission - Winter 2016

January 26, 2016

The ACA National Standards Commission is a key group of volunteers whose purpose is to develop, monitor, and implement an accreditation program for the ACA that achieves the ends of the organization, resulting in higher quality camp experiences and a greater understanding of and support for the value of the camp experience with both internal and external audiences.  

Members of this group include Judith Bevan, Chair, Gail Albers, Jed Buck, John Dovic, Michael Jacobus, Beth Johns-Thomas, Ann McCollum, and Dan Reynolds. 

After reviewing the research and thorough and thoughtful discussion, this group has made the revisions to the standards and decisions outline below.  If you have any questions, please contact ACA Director of Standards Rhonda Mickelson at .

New Standard on 1:1 Camper/Staff Interaction Introduced – effective 2016 Season 

Does the camp provide training to all staff to minimize the potential of any staff member being in a one on one camper/staff situation when out of sight of others?
Does the camp advise rental groups to provide training to all staff to minimize the potential of any rental group personnel being in a one on one camper/personnel situation when out of sight of others?

See MANDATORY! One on One Camper/Staff Interaction for the standard and Contextual Education. 

Missing Four (4) or More Mandatory Standards

Any camp that misses four or more mandatory standards will be required to have a complete visit the following summer (even if the Immediate Corrective Action – ICA is accepted). Why the change?
The National Standards Commission feels that as camps are fully aware of all mandatory standards and the need for these standards to be continually met, this is an appropriate action to help maintain and strengthen the integrity of ACA accreditation.

Other NSC Changes Effective for 2016 

Effective in 2016, with rare exception, when any change/revision to standards is made (mandatory or not), the change/revision will become effective in the next season. In the past, only mandatory standards were effective immediately and all other changes/revisions were effective on the camp’s next visit.  

Exceptions to this “policy” would be for when changes to the standard effectively “lower” the standard (from mandatory to non-mandatory) OR when there is sufficient evidence the standard greatly impacts the health and safety of campers and staff. 

As we move to a 5-year visit cycle, potentially waiting 5 years for a camp to come into compliance with any standards is too long.

Additional APG Updates – Make Sure Your APG is Updated

(depending on when your APG was printed, some of these notes might need to be written in)

  • Page 95 HW.24 Health Screening for Resident Camp Staff - Delete HW.24.1-B-3, the requirement for healthcare staff to collect staff medication.

Revised DNAs!

  • PD.29.3 Does Not Apply (DNA) when climbing on a manufactured climbing walls that use an
  • auto-belay system (Effective immediately - It is at the discretion of the camp should they use
  • helmets on a wall with this type of belay system) Posted April 2015
  • PD 31.5 Does Not Apply (DNA) Ear protection for Air rifle and BB guns.

Check for additional revisions made prior to spring 2015

January 2016 NSC Decision! 

The status of HW.23 (Staff Health History) is changed from MANDATORY to NON-MANDATORY.  This is due to the complications in employment regulations that make meeting this standard in some regulatory areas difficult.  EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!