Bridging to APG v.2019

Bridging illustration

​What is bridging, and how did we get here?

Bridging is the adoption of the 2019 Standards by all accredited camps by January 2022.  Bridging does not change a camp's next expected visit year nor does bridging apply to camps visited in 2019 or 2021. 

In the fall of 2018, the National Standards Commission developed a new accreditation process to be more inclusive and applicable to various groups without sacrificing the standards program's intent, rigor, or integrity. All accredited camps received this information in the fall of 2018; as a refresher, you can review the History of Accreditation Process Updates.   

How do I get the 2019 Standards?

ACA has gone GREEN! The preferred way to access the standards is through the Accreditation Portal, where the Accreditation Process Guide (APG) v.2019 can be viewed and/or downloaded on-demand.   Alternately, if your camp did not previously receive a printed APG v.2019, please contact your standards staff person for assistance. Make sure your copy of the printed APG is dated with the updates from 11/2019. Accreditation fees must be current for access. 


How do I get started on the bridging process?

As a reminder, the ACA standards establish guidelines for designing and implementing policies, procedures, and practices. The camp is responsible for implementing and ensuring the camp follows those policies, procedures, and practices.

If you are currently meeting the standards v.2012, you are well on the way to being prepared to bridge to v.2019.  It is important to note that overall, the standard's intent and compliance demonstration has not changed significantly.  What has changed is reorganizing the standards into new sections, reducing redundancy by combing several standards, some rewording, and more applicable standards to the short-term mode of operation.

The following are suggestions to get your going.

  1. Read the "modes of operation" found in the Introduction of the printed APG v.2019 or the digital Introduction in the Accreditation Portal.
  2. Evaluate the camp operations for the upcoming season.  Some camps may be adapting their operations or developing new models for delivering their programs.
  3. Determine your camp mode of operation for accreditation.
  4. Use the Chart of Standards and Planning Tool (.xlsx) and the "Bridging v.2012 to v.2019" document worksheet.
    1. The worksheet can be used to make the standards number transition from v.2012 to v.2019.
    2. Filtering by column L will identify the specific .v2019 standards that have an updated component.  Column M identifies the nature of the update/change.
  5. ​ Watch the Closer Look: Bridging module and participate in an Ask Me Anything: Bridging conversation.  See the learning tools info below for details.
  6. As part of maintaining compliance with the standards, camps should already be reviewing camp policies and procedures, at least annually. It is prudent for all accredited camps to focus on their policy and procedure analysis and make updates and changes to ensure alignment with the v.2019 standards. 

What are the next steps, we are ready to bridge to the v.2019 standards!

  1. Review and access as you feel necessary the bridging resources available to you.
  2. As in every non-visit year, camps need to submit the Annual Accreditation Report to maintain their accredited status.  The report is an educational tool and annual touchpoint that focus' on a camp's ongoing improvement of their policies, procedures, and practices.  Available in early December through February 1.
  3. A legally authorized camp representative must read, sign, and submit the annual Statement of Compliance.  This attestation will be the accepted confirmation that the camp has adopted the standards of the Accreditation Process Guide v.2019.

Our camp is not comfortable adopting the standards in the Accreditation Process Guide v.2019 without an on-site visit; what do we do?

You work hard for your accreditation, and you are proud of it!  The on-site visit is one requirement of the accreditation process and is required at least every 3 or 5 years (depending on where a camp is in the visit cycle).  Camp programs change, and a camp may feel they would benefit from requesting an on-site visit before their next expected visit year.  We understand that for some camps, an on-site visit would be a more desired option than adopting the standards v.2019.  Please contact your standards staff to discuss your situation.  Note: camps that do not adopt the standards v.2019 by February 1, 2022, will be expected to go through a 2022 on-site visit.

What learning tools are available to help?

There are many learning tools available to help strengthen your accreditation, and more to come. We hope you find them valuable for the bridging process and beyond!  Many of the learning tools are part of the newly launched Accreditation Academy. We highly encourage you to use the tools below as camps take steps to adopt the v.2019 standards, but the bridging process does not require their use.  

  • Chart of Standards and Planning Tool – This comprehensive excel spreadsheet can be filtered, sorted, and customized to meet any camp's needs.  Included is a worksheet specific to bridging with the following features:
    • v.2012 to v.2019 standards conversion
    • v.2019 standards that include an updated component and the nature of the update
    • Standards by mode of operation
    • Standards identified by mandatory and those that require written documentation
  • What's New in the Standards v.2019
Closer Look logo

Closer Look: Bridging

This on-demand video (approximately 30 minutes) will allow you to take a Closer Look at the bridging process and will help to magnify some of the recommendations for getting started, review the requirements of bridging, as well as explore an overview of the biggest standard changes or updates as well as highlight power tips in making the transition to the Accreditation Process Guide v.2019. This video series is a free resource however participants must register for acess through the ACA Learning Center. 



Ask Me Anything logo

Ask Me Anything

This is your opportunity to ask all the burning questions you may have around the bridging process and the Accreditation Process Guide v.2019. These 1-hour virtual group sessions are an opportunity to connect directly with a panel of trained accreditation volunteers and experts for questions and help. Get answers to your questions and learn from the questions of others.


Accreditation Process Workshop logo

Accreditation Process Workshop - Blended Learning

While not required for the bridging process, participation in the Accreditation Process Workshop at this time is a small investment in your accreditation process. The current workshop is a requirement for on-site visits, and when the person(s) is responsible for accreditation changes, even in a non-visit year. Since there can be workshop changes to the workshop each accreditation year, we encourage taking the workshop in your visit year. The workshop is delivered this accreditation year in blended learning and virtual formats.


Please reach out to a member of the Accreditation & Standards team.