Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to make sure that a kids or family camp was safe, reliable, and beneficial? Businesses, universities, and products all bear the seal of some sort of accreditation, an easy way to tell that they are worth their salt.
Fortunately, thanks to the American Camp Association, there is such a thing available for camps! The American Camp Association, or ACA, exists for the sole purpose of, “sharing knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs.” Thousands of camps all around the country are accredited by the ACA and are ensured to be high quality and valuable to all who attend.
What Does the ACA Accreditation Mean?
There is a reason that over 2500+ camps have been accredited with the ACA and continue to re-certify themselves year after year. Most importantly, parents can easily see the mark of the association and rest assured that the camp is held to high standards and will be in a safe and growth-inducing environment. More specifically, the ACA accreditation means that the camp upholds regulations and benchmarks in specific areas. The following are just a few the association’s standards that are found in every ACA partner camp.
Benefits for Your Camp
Systems for a Top of the Line Staff
Having a well-trained staff is crucial in the safety of all who attend the camp. With ACA, only specific companies are approved to certify camp supervisors. Such companies are trusted to prepare the staff for leading the camp’s adventures and challenges. In addition, ACA provides supervision charts for a variety of activities, including “horseback riding, aquatic sports, and so forth”.
ACA checks to make sure the overall condition of the camp is clean, safe, and structurally sound. Emergency exits, water testing, electrical/utility systems, and more are checked regularly to provide another set of eyes to support your camp in being the best it can be.
Strict Transportation Regulations
All vehicles that transport campers must undergo regular checks to verify that they meet the safety standards of the ACA camps. The drivers also receive additional training to aid them in safety protocols for the best transportation services at for the whole camp.
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Benefits to Parents
As per ACA regulations, if the camp deems necessary, campers might have to undergo a health exam then turn in the review from their doctor in order to attend the camps. This requirement ensures that each camper is healthy and will not risk getting others sick. In addition, there is a registered nurse or licensed physician on every ACA site daily as well as a ‘health care center’ for the campers. Staff is also required to the appropriate health and safety training to be prepared for all situations.
Safe Food Handling Practices
Hand washing facilities, proper refrigeration, and the presence of a food service supervisor is expected from the American Camp Association. If there are any concerns about the food that your child receives at camp, you can rest assured that training cooking professionals are preparing nourishing meals for your children.
Higher Level of Supervision for Campers
All staff at ACA camps are required to undergo specific trainings such as CPR and First Aid training, in addition to meeting a high level of standards in their leadership rolls. The camp staff is prepared to act if an emergency happens, but their training also allows them to confidently lead the campers in various activities while keeping them safe. The expectations of the ACA staff are always being updated for the most recent knowledge and research on camp safety as well as campers’ health.
The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
How does a camp partner with the American Camp Association? To begin, a camp contacts the ACA and requests to be accredited. The camp is then instructed on the ACA rules and regulations, and they plan a date for the association to come visit the camp. If the camp passes an evaluation, showing that the regulations are up to par, then they become accredited! This approval is valid for 3-5 years, but camps are always subject to visits from the ACA to ensure that standards are always being met.