COVID disrupted the entire world including the summer camp industry. With most camps closed or offering limited programs in 2020 and 2021, campers and professionals both started this first “back to normal” season with trepidation. The Alberta Camping Association (ACA) entered this season with a larger number of camps in need of accreditation renewal than normal. The two disrupted years meant that 27 camps needed to be reviewed and visited this season.
“This year we had more camps undergoing accreditation than normal,” says Jessica Miller Switzer, Executive Director of the ACA. “We knew it was going to be difficult. Especially with the camps just getting back to regular programming post pandemic while undergoing accreditation at the same time.”
To become accredited, camps must undergo a documentation review where items such as their staffing policies, emergency procedures, and operational plans. This takes hours of time to read and with the help of the Canada Summer Jobs Grant, the ACA employed 3 summer staff to work on accreditation. ACA staff reviewed more than 5000 pages of camp documentation.
In addition to documentation, camps are visited in person by ACA staff and volunteers for site visits. The staff review the accreditation standards manual with camp managers and tour the facilities to check that all applicable standards are met. This year, 14 volunteers attended camp visits along with ACA staff. They drove a combined 8555 kilometers to visit the various camps.
“When you look at the numbers you see what an important undertaking accreditation is,” says Callum Monteith, Board Chair of the ACA. “It’s key to the success of the summer and youth camping industry as each camp that earns accredited status helps ensure that all Albertans have access to high quality, safe, inclusive and fun camp experiences”.
2022 Accreditation By the Numbers
3 summer staff
5000+ pages of documentation