Approximately 10,000,000 (ten million) kids attend camp each summer. But but only a small percentage of them attend accredited camps. You wouldn’t send your child to attend an unaccredited school, so why send them to an non-accredited summer camp?
Summer camp accreditation is earned through the American Camp Assocation. By choosing an accredited camp, you can be assured the camp meets or exceeds up to 300 best-practice standards within the camp industry relative to child health and safety, food service, supervision, transportation, risk-management, facilities, staff training, program quality and more.
Does choosing a non-Accredited camp for your child mean the camp isn’t a “good” camp? Hardly. There are many wonderful summer camps that have not earned ACA accreditation.
But if you choose an accredited camp for your child, you’ll be in exclusive company. Only 25% of camps in the United States have earned ACA accreditation.
It’s important to note that accreditation is not the same as a license to operate, and accreditation does not guarantee safety. Each state and/or county may have its own licensing and regulations which all camps must comply with in order to operate. However, according to the American Camp Association, “accreditation is the best evidence for parents that a camp is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for their children.”
How do you know if the camp you’re considering for your kids has achieved ACA accreditation? Just ask the camp director. If they answer “yes,” you know you’re on the right track. If the camp is not accredited, then you should ask the camp director why not. And if you aren’t satisfied with the answer, perhaps it’s time to consider another camp.
By the way, asking the camp director whether his or her camp is accredited is not the only question you should ask. To ensure the most promising camp experience for your child, you should ask the director a series of questions and be satisfied with the answers. Here’s a link to the American Camp Association’s website to help you know which questions to ask: http://www.campparents.org/safetytips.php#questions
There are many wonderful summer camp opportunities available for your child. Whichever and whatever kind you choose, please make sure it’s accredited. It’s your best guarantee of a safe, fun summer!