My two sons are so lucky. They have a Camp Director mom which affords them a summer of great programming, friendship and fun every year. They may not always feel so lucky, as I remind my boys to put on sunscreen, and check in with their counselors behind their backs, and peek out my office to see if they are attempting the high ropes course. But hey- I’m a mom and parents worry. In general, it’s what we do. Some of us more, some of us less, but concern for our kids’ safety is as ubiquitous as air, and it’s something as a Camp Director (and mom) I never forget.

But there are three, special letters that make my worry settle calmly in the far reaches of my brain, that help me breathe a little easier and give me great confidence to hold myself responsible for hundreds of other people’s beloved children every day of our summer season. Those letters are ACA. Summer Fenn is an accredited camp of the American Camp Association, and that accreditation process is so thoughtful, and wisely constructed, and so thorough… I can’t allow our families to just see the logo on our brochure. It means so much more.

ACA accreditation means that we’ve asked all the right questions. And by all, I mean about 400 of them. Really important questions like, “Do you have a policy in place to background check your applicants from out of state?” or “Who is verifying the skills of your counselors who deliver activities like woodworking or rock climbing for your campers?” or “How are you mitigating the risk of personal property loss?” Through the accreditation process we need to answer, document and demonstrate that we have addressed all of these questions under the scrutiny of a trained ACA visitor. We were visited 3 years ago, and will be visited again this summer, with compliance statements required in each of the years in between.

The real genius of the ACA visit lies in the primary focus on education. I wish all regulations and compliance were developed and delivered this way. It’s more about self-awareness and risk assessment, and less about prescription and one-size-fits all guidelines. When our trained and experience ACA camp professional comes to visit during a real camp day, he/he is making sure that the policies we’ve set forth are the proven best practices, that the welfare of our campers is the center of our world, and that our community reflects the values we espouse. I want all our families to know how we put care into action, and spend the effort, time and resources so that you, too, can worry a little less. It makes a difference to know that if you have a question, we’ve thought of it too, and we’re on it. It’s the big difference that three little letters can make. 

Posted by maggie on Monday March, 28, 2016