Approval to Change the Process of Accreditation

September 15, 2015
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At the August ACA Board of Directors meeting, a recommendation put forth by the National Standards Commission to adapt the accreditation process was unanimously approved. The recommendation reads as follows:

In non-visit years, all currently accredited camps will complete/submit an Annual Accreditation Report, which will include the Annual Statement of Compliance. This report will be reviewed by trained standards volunteers.

After a camp has successfully completed two accreditation visits, it will move to a five-year visit cycle. (The first accreditation cycle will be three years; subsequent accreditation cycles will be five years.) All current, eligible accredited camps will move to a five-year cycle.

With the approval of this recommendation, ACA staff, in conjunction with key volunteers and accreditation experts, have begun the process of determining how we will effectively and efficiently implement the changes. Please note the following:

  • The implementation of this change will occur in certain local and affiliate offices in a staged process.  In this staged process there will be three phases.  In the first phase occurring in 2016, a portion ACA accredited camps will adopt the new changes including the completion of an annual review and placement in  the five year visit cycle.
  • At present, the local offices and affiliates that will be part of phase 1 have not been determined. However, volunteers and staff are working to determine which parts of the country will implement the change in 2016. When this information is determined, ACA will make sure the entire membership is aware of the schedule for the implementation process. The full implementation of this process will occur in all parts of the country by 2018.
  • Answers to FAQs about this process.

The change was met with unanimous support at the board level for the following reasons:

  • After careful review of this proposal by both volunteers, outside agents, and key staff, it has been determined that the health and safety of our program participants will not diminish and can only be enhanced with this change.
  • This process adaptation will provide ACA with enhanced communications with camps in non-visit years through the annual report process.
  • This adaptation will help to modernize the accreditation process following recommendation made by the Task Force on Accreditation and the best practices of the Council on Accreditation.
  • New programs to ACA will continue to go through the same process that we currently have in place. It is not until after a camp has have passed its normal accreditation visit cycle twice (after the three-year process) that it would advance to this new process.   

Finally, the ACA Board of Directors, the National Standards Commission, and ACA staff all believe that this change will provide us with many positive outcomes as we advance ACA’s accreditation process. However, the approval and implementation of this change is by no means complete. We look forward to working with you over the next few years to implement this change in the most effective way possible. Should you have questions, please


Tom Holland