There are many ways that a person can discover if a camp program is quality. Attendance of a child in the program is the most direct way. References also help. Programmatic reputation helps, as does the direct questioning of directors by parents. In another blog, I have personally outlined what I look for in a camp (as a father of 4).
But one of the best and easiest ways a person can verify a camp program’s standing is to find out if they are accredited by the American Camp Association.
Stats say that there are over 13,000 summer camps in the United States. Of these, only about 2900 have received ‘accredited’ status by ACA.
The accreditation process is lengthy and challenging. It is involved and requires camps to open their programs up to outside inspection. This year, our team began working on our accreditation in September of 2016. It involved attending professional development seminars and adhering to over 290 standards (from vehicle, to health, to enrollment, to staff training-these standards are the most comprehensive and have been developed over the past 50 years). The visitors saw our program in action this summer, and scored us based on our compliance with these standards.
The scoring process was lengthy in its duration, but today, I am happy to share with you, that Wilderness Adventures is one of the newest accredited programs of the American Camp Association.
Accreditation is the best evidence a parent has as to the quality of a camp program. There is no other mechanism that is as thorough or as challenging. With years of direct involvement with the ACA, I know that many camps do not go through accreditation due the rigorous process. It’s voluntary-so why would you put yourself through this?
Well, we did because we believe it is important to show our campers, students, staff and parents, that we will always challenge ourselves to be the very best when it comes to the health and safety of our kids. That is our commitment to our families, and we are immensely proud of this.
Bonus: Check out this video that our director, Tom Holland, made when he was the CEO of the American Camp Association (ACA) about ACA accreditation!