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Filling a need - conference/retreat center standards.

With the advent of ACA's newest accreditation program, Conference/Retreat Center Accreditation, we have filled a gap in the association's standards program. This new program rounds out the accreditation options available to ACA members. Our standards program, the most visible service in the association, now more accurately reflects the wide variety of our members' operations.

A number of ACA members operate conference or retreat centers for all or part of the year. Surveys indicate that this new accreditation program will serve more operations than does the current Site Approval.

Developed with much input and support from the International Association of Conference Center Administrators (IACCA), Christian Camping International (CCI), the YMCA, and a variety of conference centers, the accreditation program was adopted by the ACA Council of Delegates in Pittsburgh and is ready to go. Brochures, applications, and standards books are available and visitor training began this fall.

How is this accreditation different?

The new Conference/Retreat Center (CRC, for short) Accreditation program is designed for those conference and retreat centers that serve adult and other groups who come together for meetings, training sessions and educational or inspirational programs. Standards for areas such as properly equipped meeting rooms, hospitality services, and guest-group contracts distinguish this program from those designed for camps primarily serving youth groups.

ACA's Camp Accreditation is still appropriate for week or longer youth camp sessions with operations providing the staff and program. Site Approval is also still available for camps who lease their facilities to other groups for outdoor programs (but provide fewer services or adult amenities than conference centers).

What will it cost?

Annual service fees for CRC accreditation are on a sliding scale, from $300 for small operations to $900 for very large operations. CRC service fees are the same in all sections, and are figured separately from camp service fees. Sections will provide basic accreditation services, with other education and public relations resources coordinated from the national level.

Membership in ACA, CCI/USA, or IACCA is required to seek accreditation.

Our budget is tight. Where's the benefit?

In a loosely regulated industry, accreditation helps you assure your board and guest groups that you have taken the time and effort to be sure that your facilities, policies, and procedures are consistent with those established by the conference center industry. You can take advantage of the research and legal review conducted to keep your operation up-to-date.

CRC accreditation provides a systematic evaluation of your total operation, a critical step in overall risk management. And, you can offer a consistent, quality product to guest groups with the help of these industry-accepted guidelines, even when directors or other key staff change.

We currently have Site Approval. Should we switch to Conference/Retreat Center Accreditation?

Deciding which accreditation is more appropriate for your operation requires evaluating your facility's main purpose and usage. If your facilities are primarily camp-style (e.g., tents, cabins, central shower houses), Site Approval (SAP) may be more appropriate. If you serve more adult and family groups and provide hospitality services and some adult amenities, CRC accreditation may be for you. If outdoor programming is a primary focus of your groups, SAP is probably the best choice. Conference/Retreat center standards focus on meeting rooms and systems to support indoor training sessions and meetings.

I am a camp visitor. Will the section expect me to visit conference centers too?

Only if you are interested and willing. Not all current instructors and visitors need to be trained in the new CRC program. Our surveys indicate that we have enough currently certified standards personnel with some knowledge of conference centers to meet current needs, especially since visits will not be during the summer.

As the program grows, new markets for visitors and instructors will open.

Where can I get more information?

Brochures and application forms are available from ACA section leaders and offices and from the national office. CRC Standards books are available from the ACA Bookstore at 800/428-CAMP. The Standards department will be happy to answer your questions. Call 317/342-8456, ext. 316.

Sections are offering update training for current visitors interested in the new program, and a Conference Center Basic Standards Course for directors seeking the new designation. Check your section calendar, or call your section standards chair.

When can I sign up?

Now! Be among the first to earn this respected mark of distinction!

Additional Updates

New Camp Standards Book Available

The newly revised 1993 edition of Standards for Day and Resident Camps has been a hot item in the ACA Bookstore this fall. The revised edition includes changes made by the ACA Council of Delegates related to diversity and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Also included are minor revisions to clarify several standards and definitions.

Sections have ordered a supply to distribute to their service fee-paying camps and visitor personnel. Contact your section for your copy or order one through the Bookstore at 800/342-CAMP.

New NSB Member Appointed

George Marcus, standards chair for the New England section of ACA and director of Cohen Foundation Camps in Ashland, Massachusetts, has been appointed to fill the vacancy created on the ACA National Standards Board when Connie Coutellier assumed her duties as ACA National President.
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Title Annotation:Conference/Retreat Center Accreditation program of the American Camping Association
Author:Hammond, Pat
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Previous Article:Relationships among children.
Next Article:American Camping Association 1993 Annual Report.

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