Introduction to Accreditation

ACA Accreditation - Is it for me?

Why Accreditation?

The American Camp Association is the only nationwide accrediting organization for all types and designs of organized camps. ACA standards focus on health, safety, and risk management practices.

Accreditation provides a framework to manage resources, offer best practices in policies and procedures, and strive for continuous improvement. This supports a camp's sustainability, encourages its growth, and is evidence your camp meets industry accepted and government recognized standards. 

Accreditation indicates to the public that the camp administration has voluntarily allowed a peer review process in which its practices are compared to standards established by professionals and authoritative sources associated with the camp industry. 

Accreditation educates 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's Accreditation Program is not intended to circumvent the licensure required to operate your primary business.

Eligibility for ACA Accreditation

  • Deliver camp programs and/or provide camp facilities and services for other programs consistent with ACA’s mission of enriching the lives of children, youth, and adults through the camp experience.
  • U.S.-based camps with at least one program that occurs in the United States or its territories.
  • Programs with a primary audience of campers five years and older. (NOTE: Many camps offer programs that serve some three- or four-year-old campers. If this is the camp’s primary audience, accreditation or licensure through a different organization is most appropriate.)
  • Program sessions must be at least three days in length, with a specific purpose and goals.
  • Single-day programs and one-night/two-day programs are not considered for ACA accreditation.

ACA Camps Set the Standards

Strategic Planning
ACA accreditation is an educational tool, an industry benchmark, a best-practices solution, and a learning formula for your camp staff. Strategic planning for your camp is simplified; policies, procedures, and practices are established; and your staff is responsible for ongoing implementation – a dynamic instructional process for any camp!

Professional Development
It is proven that involvement in professional organizations in any field of expertise develops well-informed, better educated staff. The accreditation process and membership in ACA are invaluable tools for success. 

Professional ties and the opportunity to network with your colleagues are incredible benefits – get involved! Learn more, understand more, and discover more . . . become a standards visitor – be a mentor to camp staff and witness how other camps operate.

Exclusive Discounts
Recoup your investment in accreditation through discounts on services you can't do without – group purchasing of food service contracts, propane, office supplies, building and cleaning supplies, staff recruitment, and product savings through ACA business partnerships and vendors.

Advertising / Promotion
ACA's Find a Camp database receives thousands of unique page views per day! ACA-accredited camps are recognized with the accreditation logo on this interactive search tool for parents. Find-A-Camp provides parents with a better choice in camps and a direct link to your camp. Camps should be proud and promote their accreditation to the public.

Parents nationwide recognize the importance of ACA accreditation when choosing a camp for their child, and they expect you to reach far beyond the minimum state and local regulations. ACA-accreditation status is solid proof of a camp's accountability, credibility, and commitment.

Use key messages and scripts to keep parents tuned to the value of your accreditation status in every operational aspect of your camp from programming to staff training.

Want to Learn More?

Resources to Get You Started


Questions? Call us 1- 800-428-2267 Dial option 2.