The American Camp Association is the only nationwide organization that accredits children’s camps.
The ACA Accreditation process is a voluntary commitment by camps to the highest standards of health, safety, and program quality.
One purpose of the ACA Accreditation program is to educate camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff. The standards establish guidelines for needed policies, procedures, and practices.
The second purpose of ACA Accreditation is the asset the public in selecting camps that meet industry-accepted government-recognized standards. ACA’s Find a Camp database is a helpful tool that assists in the public finding a best-fit summer camp.
In addition to these two primary purposes, the ACA Accreditation program:
♦ Has 50 years of history in developing and administering the standards program. Experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Red Cross, etc., continually work with ACA to improve and develop ACA’s camp standards program
♦ Accredits over 2,400 camps in the United States and Puerto Rico
♦ Approximately 20% of camps in Michigan are ACA accredited
ACA standards have been recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards for best practices in camp.
Accreditation vs. Licensing
Michigan Licensing & Regulatory Agency licenses camps in our state. Unlike inspections by state licensing bodies, ACA accreditation is voluntary. Licensing focuses on the enforcement of minimum standards. Accreditation focuses on education and the evaluation of camp operations, using standards that go beyond the minimum requirements of licensing.
Focus Areas of Accreditation
♦ Site: fire protection, food service, sleeping quarters, and bathing and toilet facilities
♦ Transportation: procedures for drivers, vehicles, and traffic on site
♦ Operational Management: safety regulations and emergency procedures and communication
♦ Human Resources: staff qualifications, background checks, training, supervision ratios, and procedures
♦ Program Activities: aquatics, adventure challenge, trips, horseback riding, and special programs