The Most Important Question a Parent Can Ask: Is This Camp Accredited by the American Camp Association?
When parents want to send their child to summer camp, there are many questions to ask. Is my child ready for camp? Should we select a day camp or overnight camp? What if my child gets homesick? What activities does the camp offer? How much does camp cost?
All these questions are important in a family’s camp search, but the most important question a parent can ask is this: Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA)?
- The ACA standards of accreditation focus on health, safety, and risk management. ACA accreditation is voluntary, and it assures families that camps have made the commitment to a safe, nurturing environment for their children. Camps and ACA form a partnership through accreditation that promotes growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.
- ACA accreditation is focused on the health, safety, and risk management practices in camping. It goes beyond simply requiring criminal background checks. Our standards include practices for screening and interviewing staff, staff training, supervision ratios, minimizing one-on-one interactions, emergency procedures and supervision. Accredited camps voluntarily submit to the accreditation process, which includes a site visit from a trained peer in the camp community.
- Licensing varies from state to state. ACA is the only accrediting organization for all types of camps — the best measure of safety in all 50 states.
- For over 70 years, ACA has set the performance standards for camps. ACA accreditation has shown its excellence time and again as it has responded to changes in the camp industry, growing expectations of the public, and the challenges of operating a business in today’s highly regulated society. Our 2019 accreditation process revisions include improved organization to eliminate redundancy and expanded technology to support camps.
ACA accreditation means that a camp cares enough to undergo a thorough peer review of its operation — from staff qualifications and training to crisis management. The American Camp Association believes there is a camp for every child — so be sure the camp for your child is committed to providing a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment. Ask the camp if it is ACA-accredited. If it is not accredited, ask why not.
The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization with more than 12,000 individual members and 3,000 member camps. ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults. ACA provides advocacy, evidence-based education and professional development and is the only independent national accrediting body for the organized camp experience. ACA accredits approximately 2,400 diverse camps nationally. Accreditation provides public evidence of a camp’s voluntary commitment to the health, safety, and overall well-being of both campers and staff. For more information, visit ACAcamps.org.