Education! Education! Education! 2017 Spring Standards Newsletter

What can we do as visitors to make the visit process more educational?

  • Be prepared for your visit!
    • Review the camp’s specialized activities, and ask questions if an activity is unfamiliar to you.
    • Explore the camp’s website to learn more about their programs.
  • Communicate with the camp, and your co-visitor(s), early and often!
    • Encourage the camp to provide additional written documentation for review, beyond the required 20 standards in the Camp Self-Assessment.
    • Review areas of the standards that have changed recently, or that you have seen cause camps to struggle.
    • Give clear, concise, and prompt feedback when you review the camp’s written documentation before the visit.
  • Have a conversation with the camp director to share your expectations for the visit and learn about theirs.
  • Remind the camp director that the accreditation process is an opportunity to educate non-leadership staff and campers about ACA.
  • Make sure your area of expertise (medical, aquatic, ropes course, etc.) does not influence your standards compliance decision-making. It’s great to share tips and resources to help a camp improve, but if they meet a standard as written, you should score it “Yes,” even if you think there’s a better way to do it!
  • Language matters! Use open-ended, non-threatening questions:
    • “Is after lunch a good time to visit with kitchen staff?” vs. “After lunch, I will go look at the kitchen.”
    • “Tell me about your paintball activity.” vs. “Why do you run paintball that way?”
  • ACA Visitors are NOT inspectors! Make sure your actions and comments do not even hint an inspection.


Especially for your visits…

Visitor Resource Webpage

Forgot your score form? Need the list of fixes for a missed mandatory standard? You’ll find all this and more on the Visitor Resources page of the ACA website:

  • 2017 score form and instructions
  • ICA form and example corrections
  • Camp Self-Assessment worksheet (20-standard version and expanded version)
  • Professional Conduct for VisitorsNEW FOR 2017!
  • Additional useful resources

The Standards in PDF Form

Any visitor may download a copy of the standards as a PDF document.

  • Log in to My Visits.
  • Click the button at the top of the page: “Update My Visitor Information”
  • Read the statement regarding how the PDF may be used, and then click the “I agree…” button to have a PDF of the standards sent to you via e-mail.

Important Reminders

  • As soon as you’ve set it, share the date of your scheduled visit with your Standards Chair and/or standards staff member!
  • Shortly after your visit, you’ll receive an e-mail with a visit evaluation. Please complete this – it provides valuable information to help us continually improve the accreditation program.
  • REMEMBER: Camps that miss four or more mandatory standards must be visited again the following year, even if they correct the missed mandatories and earn accreditation!

Camp Information Form

Visitors receive a Camp Information Form either via a link in the visit assignment e-mail or on paper. This document is a conversation starter for the lead visitor and the camp director. In addition to basic information like the camp’s location and contact info, the form also details modes of operation, specialized activities, and aquatic activities.

If this document is not provided with your assignment, you and the camp director should complete it together when you make initial contact with the camp. Reviewing the information on the Camp Information Form helps clarify what activities and modes will be scored, so there are no surprises on the day of the visit.

The Camp Information Form is only used for the visit. If you and the camp make changes to the form, include a corrected copy when you mail the score form after the visit. Neither the camp’s listing in Find A Camp, nor ACA’s records are updated with this form.

Camp Self-Assessment (CSA) Review

By early May, you should have either completed the Camp Self-Assessment review for the camp you’ll visit or have plans to complete this very soon!

The CSA review process:

  1. Reinforces the need for visit preparation prior to the camp season.
  2. Indicates to visitors whether the camp is “ready” for the visit or needs additional support.
  3. Reduces the time needed for document review during the on-site visit.
  4. Encourages additional written documentation review, beyond the 20 required standards. (Some local areas strongly encourage review of all written documentation. Check with your standards chair if you have questions about the expectation in your area.)

Be sure to provide the camp with a copy of your feedback, either on the worksheet or using the comment boxes in My Visits.

Using My Visits for Document Review

Visitors have access via My Visits to view and comment on information the camp posts to My Accreditation. A few key things to remember:

  • If the camp chooses to use My Accreditation, we expect you to review and provide feedback on the posted documents using My Visits.
  • Before reviewing any documents, confirm that the camp is ready for you to review!
  • Start at the My Visits Tool Webpage. Review the updated tutorials and tips, and then click the button to log in.
  • Leave comments or questions for the camp in the “Comments by Visitor” box on each applicable standard in the My Customizations section. Save often!
  • Confirm with the camp when you have completed the review. You can generate a report if you want to print a copy of your comments to reference on the day of the visit.

How to Get Help

WHO should you contact if…

  • Life happens and you can’t conduct your visit?
  • You can’t get in touch with your co-visitor or the camp?
  • You have a question?
  • You are available at the last minute to do a visit?

Contact either your volunteer standards chair OR the ACA standards staff member for your area. If you can’t reach one, try the other!

Contact your standards chair. (You must log in for access to the list of standards chairs.)

ACA Standards Staff Members

  • ACA, New England: Elizabeth Snell,
  • ACA, New York/New Jersey: Kyle Medeiros –
  • ACA Eastern Region – Chesapeake, Keystone Regional, Ohio, Southeastern, Virginias, and Upstate New York: Brandie LeClair,
  • ACA Central Region – Great Rivers, Heart of the South, Indiana, Michigan, Northland, St. Louis, Texoma, and Wisconsin: Amanda Zoellner –
  • ACA Western Region – Evergreen, Northern California, Oregon Trail, Rocky Mountain, Southern California/Hawaii, and Southwest: Danielle Pinney –