More Information on Changes in the ACA Accreditation Process

October 6, 2015

In early September, ACA members were informed of a forthcoming change to the accreditation process. This change, rolled out over the next three years, would mean that eligible*, accredited camps would complete an Annual Accreditation Report in non-visit years and would shift over time to a five-year visit cycle. As ACA staff and volunteers continue to work on the implementation of this change, we would like to share the following information.

With the implementation of an Annual Accreditation Report (AAR), the American Camp Association is shifting from a focus only on the visit to a focus on continuous compliance with the standards. This shift will emphasize ongoing quality improvement throughout the entire accreditation cycle. In most years, camps will demonstrate their compliance with accreditation standards by submitting a narrative report (the AAR). At least every fifth year, they will demonstrate their full compliance through an on-site visit.

Local Offices Selected
To objectively advance the new accreditation cycle, a stratified random selection process was utilized. The regions selected for the 2016 Phase 1are listed below.

  • ACA, Great Rivers
  • ACA, Indiana
  • ACA, New England
  • ACA, New York New Jersey
  • ACA, Northern California
  • ACA, Southeastern
  • ACA, Southwest
  • ACA, St. Louis
  • ACA, Virginias

For Local Offices PARTICIPATING IN the 2016 Phase 1, What Does This Mean?

  • A percentage of the eligible camps currently scheduled for a visit in 2016 will have their accreditation visit moved to 2018 – based on a random selection. Over time this will allow approximately 20 percent of the camps in a given area to be visited each year vs. the current 33 percent.
  • All camps not scheduled for a visit in 2016 will be required to complete an Annual Accreditation report. (Further information about this process will be sent to all camps by November 1.)
  • ACA staff will work with key volunteers, and camps originally scheduled for a visit in 2016 will be notified of their visit year by mid-October.

For Local Offices NOT PARTICIPATING IN the 2016 Phase 1, What Does This Mean?

  • Camps currently scheduled for an accreditation visit in 2016 are still scheduled for their accreditation visit in 2016.
  • No camps in your area will be required to complete the Annual Accreditation Report although ALL currently accredited camps must complete the Annual Statement of Compliance.

*Eligible camps are those that:

  • Have been accredited more than one cycle (i.e., since before 2013).
  • Have not been granted an extension in the past two years.
  • Did not fail their 2015 accreditation visit.
  • Have not been identified by the Local Council of Leaders/Affiliate Board of Directors as being required to have a visit (as outlined in the Standards Administration Manual).

There will be a key discussion and training item at the upcoming Standards Chair Training (October 8–10, 2015) with additional conversations scheduled as requested and/or necessary.

For additional information check out the Frequently Asked Questions. Thank you for your patience as we continue moving forward with the new ACA accreditation process.

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