Did you know that Hermann Sons-Camp has been accredited through the American Camp Association (ACA) for almost 20 years? Did you know that there are currently only 1,554 accredited resident camps in the United States? Did you know that Hermann Sons-Camp is one of 54 resident camps in the state of Texas that is accredited?
Becoming accredited through ACA is a voluntary process we choose to go through because we believe the accreditation process is a component of providing the best experience possible for our campers, camper families and staff. Going through the process demonstrates our commitment to best practices in the camp industry.
The American Camp Association cites two main purposes for accreditation and why a camp might seek accreditation.
- 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. ACA standards establish guidelines for policies, procedures and practices. The camp is ultimately responsible for the ongoing implementation of the policies.
- ACA accreditation assists the public in selecting camps that meet industry-accepted and government-recognized standards. (When searching for camps, note that there is a difference between camps that choose to be a member of ACA and those who have successfully gone through the accreditation process.)
Currently there are 197 different standards that are involved in the accreditation process covering site, transportation, health and wellness, operational management, human resources and program. Some standards are considered mandatory and a camp must comply with these in order to be accredited. An example of a mandatory standard is the need for camps to receive a completed health history form for all campers in attendance. This is one of the reasons why we ask for this when your child arrives at Hermann Sons-Camp. Other standards are not mandatory but are weighted in the overall calculation of a camp’s accreditation standing.
Each year, we complete an Accreditation Report and Statement of Compliance and generally every five years we complete a Self-Assessment and are visited for an onsite review of how we are meeting standards. When it is time for our visit we will typically have two or three visitors who come and spend the day with us at Camp. We will go on a tour, visit activities and the visitors will want to talk to staff members as well as campers. The neat thing is the visitors that come to our Camp are camp professionals themselves. The visitors are responsible for scoring the standards and then the score sheet gets sent back to ACA headquarters and then our regional section for final tabulation.
This March I was lucky enough to participate in an Associate Visitor Course and will be serving as a visitor this summer. I am excited about the opportunity to visit other camps and help with their educational process. By helping other camps in this process, visitors typically get stronger in their interpretation of standards which in turn helps their own programs. I am a firm believer that we should always be looking for ways to continue to make our Camp better.
As you can see there are many benefits to being an ACA Accredited Camp. Hermann Sons-Camp has served our members proudly for 63 summers and we want to continue that legacy for many more years and generations to come. We are thankful for the tools and resources provided by ACA to promote the shared knowledge and experience of camp professionals to support quality camp programs.
If you have any questions about ACA accreditation I would be more than happy to answer them for you. Feel free to send me an email or post in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as possible.