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Find your way with ACA.

It's summer and you're knee deep in campers. In fact, camp may be the only thing on your mind right now. So it seems like a good time to bring up the American Camping Association.

If you are new to the camp profession, you may not be too familiar with ACA. But maybe your camp is expecting an ACA accreditation visit this summer, or some parent or volunteer asked you about the ACA accreditation sign at the entrance. During precamp, you probably heard a lot about ACA standards and how they relate to your job. What you may not know is that the American Camping Association has a lot to offer you.

From a camper's point of view, camp seems to run itself like some magical place where friends can have adventures without parents around. As a staff member, you are busy making it magical; from behind the scenes, you can see how much there is to do.

If you have worked in camps even for a short time, you've probably come across people outside the profession who seem to think what we do is easy. Even our loved ones may not understand why this work is important to us. After years as a camp director, I still had to hear my dad ask me at the end of the summer, "When are you going to grow up, stop singing crazy songs, banging rocks together and get a real job?" Luckily, there's a whole association of people who do understand.

What is ACA?

The American Camping Association is made up of people that understand what a difference the camp and outdoor group living experience can make in one's life. Whether you're a counselor, a program leader, volunteer or director, you can find opportunities for learning, sharing and helping others through ACA.

A nonprofit organization, ACA is committed to continuing the values and benefits unique to camp. The association was founded back in 1910, and currently has a membership of more than 5,000. Its mission is to enhance the quality of the camp experience for youth and adults, to promote high professional practices in camp administration, and to interpret the values of camp to the public.

What Does ACA Have to Offer?

Months of planning, preparation and training were required to get your camp ready for this summer. The American Camping Association is behind the scenes an year long providing support. To help camp programs succeed, ACA provides many services and benefits:

* Education delivered through 32 local sections and at our annual national conference offers skill development, program ideas, Outdoor Living Skills training, a Basic Camp Directors Course and much more.

* Camping Magazine comes to members six times a year with practical advice and new program ideas just when you need diem the most.

* The Camp and Program Leader Catalog from the ACA Bookstore provides access to the most complete collection of resources on everything from story-telling to mountain climbing. A toll free number helps you get what you need in a hurry.

* ACA events offer countless networking opportunities with camp people who have the same interests and concerns you do.

* Certification programs help train program supervisors, site managers, and camp and conference center directors.

* Accreditation programs for camps and conference/retreat centers provide industry standards recognized by government entities, parents, the public and courts of law.

* An annual summer job opportunities bulletin lists hundreds of jobs in camps across the country.

Who can benefit from ACA?

While you're at camp, often without access to a television or newspaper, it may seem the world stands still. But as we all know, the world is changing rapidly. ACA can become your advocate to assure your own and camping's future contributions to society. As a staff member for the summer or a developing professional in the field of outdoor recreation/education, ACA will help you with your current job or tie you in with a youth development profession that is becoming more specific and specialized.

The ACA national network provides education opportunities at both the local and national level. Students, teachers and volunteers have always played a very special role in camp programs. Membership in ACA will help you work smarter, develop new relationships, gain perspective and just have more fun in camping.

If you are a seasonal director and membership is in the name of someone else, this would be a great time to get involved yourself And if you work for an ACA-accredited camp, you can join at special discount rates. A membership application card is included just inside the front cover of this magazine issue. Or, if you'd like more information, contact the national office or your local ACA section office. See the "Whom to Contact" page on the inside back cover for contact names and addresses.

The camp community is committed to the belief that camp enriches lives, including yours. Join us in spreading the message.
COPYRIGHT 1994 American Camping Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:American Camping Association
Author:Coutellier, Connie
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 1994
Previous Article:ACA buying guide 1994.
Next Article:Choosing to make children your life's work.

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