Resource Library

Administrative standards include policies and procedures for which key administrative staff are most typically responsible for writing and distributing. Topics include transportation, risk management, emergency procedures, policies related to camp staff, and various program areas. For some key topics, the writing and maintaining of the policy/procedure is addressed in this section of standards, and the training and implementation of the procedure is in the staff training standards.  

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Facilities Standards Resources - v. 2019
Published Date: 2018-11-30

The camp’s facilities, safety protocols, vehicles, and food service safety should promote health and safety and minimize risk. Facilities make an important contribution to the overall experience and significantly affect the safety of participants.

Whether a camp’s program is held on a site owned, rented, or leased, and/or it uses owned, leased, charter, or commercial transportation, the program operator must be certain that provisions have been made for items in this section unless the “Does Not Apply” statement(s) indicates otherwise.

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Core Standards Resources - v. 2019
Published Date: 2018-11-30

Just as the name implies, standards included in this section are “core” to a camp accredited by the American Camp Association. Users expect clean and repaired facilities and to be treated with respect and dignity. For day, resident, and short-term camps, clearly articulated goals, outcomes, and activities designed to assist in camper development are core to guiding the camp’s focus and programming.

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The key to any camp’s success is its personnel. One of the unique features of a camp is the vital and all-encompassing leadership role demanded of its personnel in the camp community. Camp personnel are expected to assume many responsibilities, deliver a wide range of services, and complete numerous tasks in an environment of constant close human interaction, all with quality results. Some persons may work with the site operation, some with the program, and some with both.

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Program is the heart of camp — where camp philosophy and objectives are implemented in a sustained experience that provides a creative, recreational, and educational opportunity in group living, often in the outdoors. Camp programming uses trained leadership and often the resources of the natural surroundings to contribute to each camper’s mental, physical, social, and spiritual growth.

The camp provides program activities as a means of achieving its developmental goals and outcomes, conducted in ways that protect the health, safety, and well-being of its campers.

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Many camps offer aquatic activities as a major program element for campers. Swimming and boating activities take place in and on pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, ocean fronts, and creeks. Safety is a central concern in all aquatic activities, and the purpose of the aquatic standards is to set an expectation for trained and certified supervision (scored in the Staff and Supervision section), appropriate safety precautions, and well-planned emergency procedures.

Administrators should consider the requirements of the standards when selecting vendors, activities, and locations.

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Many of you may be aware that CBS News carried a story Monday morning, December 10, 2018 about abuse at summer camp.

While we are pleased that CBS has brought the issue of camper safety to the forefront, ACA staff are working to assure that the information reaching the public is both accurate and helpful and, further, that the value of ACA accreditation is at the center of that discussion. It is critical that any follow up to this story helps educate parents about the value of ACA accreditation, including its focus around health and safety of campers and staff.

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Key Messages:

  • While no institution—schools, youth programs, camps, or families—can absolutely guarantee a child’s safety, parents should do their research in choosing the best camp for their children. Parents can verify if the camp they are considering is accredited by the American Camp Association by visiting ACA’s website at www.ACAcamps.org or calling 1-800-428-CAMP. If the camp is not accredited, ask the camp why not.
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Accreditation Office Hours 2019-2020
Published Date: 2019-08-29

Are you considering becoming accredited for the first time? Working on preparing for your upcoming visit? Do you want a refresher to make sure you are meeting the standards? Looking for tips on preparing and applying standards to your program?

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Updated: March 31, 2020

The American Camp Association is monitoring the evolving challenges related to certifications. A summary resource of current information is provided below, and ACA is committed to providing developing information. 

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E.g., 2020-04-06