Complaints to ACA Continue to Increase

November 2018

Complaints to the ACA Complaints Resolution team have more than doubled since 2016. Often these complaints concern issues over which ACA has no authority. Examples of 2018 complaints include:

  • Homesick camper not being able to talk with a parent
  • Animal (horse) abuse/neglect
  • Allegations of bullying that result in abuse
  • Mishandling of medication
  • Condition of the facilities (unsafe, not clean, etc.)
  • Staff not being appropriately and properly trained
  • Pay inequity; staff paycheck bounced
  • Bullying resulting in sexual activities
  • Camp security — parents worried about child abductions
  • Parents upset with how camp handled an accident at camp – child hurt playing with sticks/child getting diarrhea/ child has bruises from mountain biking/etc.

When ACA receives a complaint, we evaluate the complaint to determine if an ACA-accredited camp may be in noncompliance with a standard (especially a mandatory standard) and to determine what, if any, action ACA should take. Often, no standards are involved, and ACA provides the complainant with the name and phone number of the agency that may have authority. This may be local law enforcement, Child Protective Services, or the health department. We also remind the complainant that as a 501(c)3 organization for educational purposes, ACA does not have any investigative authority. Finally, we encourage the complainant to engage in a conversation with the camp to share their concerns and determine if a resolution can be found.