Having a foundational knowledge of outdoor recreation is vital to understanding why we do what we do how we do it. This assignment that I completed about the American Camp Association at the beginning of the spring semester in 2015 represents a greater whole of the foundational knowledge I possess in regards to recreation in general and outdoor recreation and education as a whole.
Founded in 1910, the American Camp Association is a collective of camp professionals who joined together to compile their knowledge and experience to be able to accredit over 2,400 camps and ensure that certain health, safety, and program quality standards for youth are met. The ACA’s vision is to enrich lives and change the world. They value the world, the people within it, and the contribution that each individual can make, according to their website. The Gunnery Camp was a two-week trip that Frederick W. Gunn and his wife Abigail began in 1861 for students to boat, fish, and trap that went so successfully they decided to continue the tradition for twelve more years. This camp is considered the first organized American camp. It wasn’t until 1910, and after a number of other camp’s foundations, that Alan S. Williams founded the ACA under its original name, Camp Directors Association of America. Williams created a standard for organized camp experiences before then merging with the National Association of Directors of Girls’ Camps in 1924 when the name was changed to the Camp Director Association. In 1935 the name was changed again to the American Camping Association, Inc. while Herbert H. Twining was president. In 1948, the ACA adopted the Standards, which became the basis for their camp accreditation. The ACA Standards are professionally and legally recognized as the standards of the camp industry, and in 1954 camps were required to provide evidence of compliance with these standards for the first time. These standards include details on the site and food service safety, transportation standards and procedures, health and wellness training and procedures, operational management, human resources, program design and more. The Standards go into great detail about what is expected of Association accredited camps in all required areas on their website that is easily accessed. In 1950 the ACA became socially inclusive based on race, creed, or color, which was then more clearly stated in 1965 with the proposed change reading, “Membership is open to individuals of all races and creeds who give evidence of agreement with and acceptance of the objectives of the Association…” In 1979 the ACA national conference became an annual event, and in 2004 the American Camping Association changed its name to the American Camp Association, which it remains today. Today, the ACA has adopted green practices as well as new accreditation standards. They are thinking of the future of the program by setting future camp attendance goals, and broadcasting the Because of Camp… campaign to show parents how sending their children to camp can benefit them in the long run. In 2010 the ACA celebrated its 100th Anniversary, marking a substantial amount of progress as well as a bright future in the world of camps