As I wrote late last year, every three years we’re visited by a couple of camp directors who are American Camp Association (ACA) volunteer accreditors, or what’s called Lead Visitors or Associate Visitors — the latter position being one that I also hold, as I explained in an earlier blog entry.
Well, it just so happened that this summer was our summer for an ACA Visit to renew our accreditation.
We stay compliant with all ACA standards during the years we’re not visited, but they come and check our site and paperwork every three years in order to maintain a transparent relationship and a confirmation that the standards are being met.
ACA standards fall into several categories, and the ones that apply to Camp Alleghany are:
- Health and Wellness
- Human Resources
- Program Design
- Program Aquatics
- Operational Management
- Site and Food
Each category has its own specified standards that require written documentation on the one hand, and standards that require ACA Visitor observation (e.g. observing that life jackets are worn in canoes, or that chemicals are stored separately from food, etc).
This year our visit was July 23, the first week of 2nd term, a process we had been anticipating and preparing for through camp’s internal process of standards review.
Our Visitors, Lead Sam Fisher and Associate Barry LeNoir, are acquaintances of mine from the camp industry, local conferences and such, and Barry was also in the same ACA Associate Visitors training class that I took.
The ACA Visit started in the parking lot where we showed them our camp vehicles and safety standards and procedures that they needed to see in that area.
Then we crossed the river into camp and started the main tour.
ACA visits always begin with a tour of the property, and the key areas that the Visitors need to see at our camp are: the Infirmary, the waterfront, the Kitchen, the Facilities Maintenance Workshop, staff and camper living quarters, and any specialized activities. For us those activities are Archery, Rifle, Arts and Crafts for the kiln usage, and Wild World for the fire building aspect.
That accomplished, we then we sit down for lunch together.
After the meal, we convene in our meeting room in the office and go over all of our critical paperwork which includes policies, procedures, checklists, medical forms for campers and all the kinds of things both confidential and broad governing everything from our operations to personnel and campers.
I’m thrilled to say that after a half a year preparing for ACA standards updates, and doing the Associate Visitor training myself, overall the day went very smoothly, with no hiccups or anything. A ‘Ghany Girl tries after all!
Still, the ACA Visitors go back with all they’ve learned and reviewed and we receive notice that we officially are re-accredited sometime in late fall.
But I can safely say I’m not worried 😉
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls