The American Camp Association (ACA) is focused on guiding camp owners and their administration to provide superior camp conditions, especially regarding the quality of programs, and the health and safety of campers and staff. Every standard plays a vital role in guiding appropriate polices, practices, and procedures.
“Earning and maintaining ACA-Accreditation takes time and commitment,” according to ACACamps.org. We are proud to have put in the time and commitment to earn ACA-Accreditation.
Here are some of the many regulations defined by The American Camp Association, all of which we proudly adhere.
Higher Level of Supervision for Campers
ACA-Accreditation helps provide some peace of mind when it comes to the quality of camp counselors and teachers. The ACA only recognizes certain companies to certify camp supervisors for adventures and challenges. They provide supervision charts for a variety of activities, including horseback riding, aquatic sports, and so forth. Staff is also required to undergo CPR and First Aid training so that they are prepared to respond if something goes wrong. Standards are continually updated to reflect the most recent research and knowledge regarding camper safety, health and so forth.
For example, the Aquatic Supervision Chart includes “knowledge of the aquatic environment where the activity takes place… Knowledge of the aquatic facility… knowledge and familiarity of small craft equipment… knowledge and implementation of emergency procedures for severe weather.” All things you’d want someone taking your child out in the water to be certified in and knowledgeable about.
Furthermore, staff must be versed in basic water rescue, “help-and-huddle positions… Reaching assist with/without equipment.” They must also know basic water rescue for canoeing (swamped canoe, canoe-over canoe rescue, towing assist), and kayaking (wet exit, kayak-over-kayak rescue, and towing assist). Other activities that staff must be prepared to monitor and rescue as needed include rowing, sailing, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), water skiing, and site-specific rescues.
The general campsite must be checked for emergency exits, disposal of hazardous materials, water testing, playground safety, electrical and utility systems, and so forth. The overall condition of the facility must be clean, safe, structurally sound, and in sanitary condition.
Safe Food Handling Practices
Proper food handling practices are enforced, such as availability of hand washing facilities, proper refrigeration, and the presence of a food service supervisor with documented proof of training or previous experience working in food service management.
Strict Transportation Regulations
Vehicles used to transport campers must meet strict safety standards and undergo regular checks. Many safety procedures are enforced on the road, as well as during loading and unloading. There are additional requirements for drivers, including driver training.
Campers must undergo health exams and submit a health review from their doctor to ensure they are healthy and up to date on vaccinations. There must be a registered nurse or licensed physician on site every day. All staff is required to undergo health and safety training. The camp must have an area designated as the ‘health care center’, which needs to be out of the sun/elements, have a toilet, clean drinking water, and 1 bed for every 50 campers.
View a full list of ACA camp regulations: http://www.acacamps.org/sites/default/files/resource_library/accreditation/Revised%201_16%202016-Standards_at_a_Glance_.pdf
How Does The ACA Ensure Accredited Camps Continue to Follow Rules & Regulations?
The information above simply skims the tip of the iceberg in terms of the regulations involved with ACA-Accreditation. To keep campers as safe and healthy as possible, the ACA thought of everything. Are you wondering how the ACA ensures camps continue to enforce these rules and regulations after receiving accreditation?
To maintain ACA-Accreditation, camps are subject to checkups on a regular basis. The ACA relies on volunteer Standard Visitors, which they consider the “heart and soul of the ACA-Accreditation program.” Volunteers undergo a course in which they learn about all the standards presented by the ACA and what to look for at each camp when they visit.
Every year, camps are required to send in an Annual Accreditation Report that demonstrates their ongoing compliance with standards. The report provides evidence of “quality enhancement/improvement efforts, to be included in the overall five-year accreditation cycle.” It also enables greater communication between camps and ACA headquarters during non-visit years. Lastly, it grants “confirmation of continual compliance with ACA standards throughout the five-year accreditation cycle.”
Why ACA-Accreditation Matters to Us
ACA-Accreditation gives families peace of mind, and it helps keep our campers safe. As a family owned and operated facility, these are things we care deeply about. That’s why we stop at nothing to maintain our ACA-Accreditation.
We welcome you to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with enrolling your child in an ACA-Accredited camp. Contact us today to learn more about our awesome camp programs.