American Camp Association (ACampA) has an accreditation program that establishes guidelines for needed policies, procedures, and practices.
ACampA has new/revised accreditation standards that were approved by their Council of Delegates this past February (see file).
The standards require that swimming be supervised by a guard who has current certification as a lifeguard by a nationally recognized certifying body.
The standards also require that camp lifeguards have demonstrated skill in rescue and emergency procedures specific to the aquatic area and activities guarded.
Because no nationally recognized certifying body has created a certification for wilderness lifeguards, standards and lifeguard training have become a complicated issue.
The Chair of the Education Committee of the Wisconsin Section of ACampA, Rob Rathsack, plans to informally poll his committee members at their November meeting to see whether ACampA member camps are satisfied with the current situation with respect to standards and lifeguard training. If enough interest is expressed, a formal survey will be conducted in December.
Related point: Dr. Marge Scanlin, Executive Officer, Research, for ACampA informed me that they have just completed the first of five years of gathering data about illnesses and injuries that keep participants or staff out of scheduled activities for four hours or longer. Their data are accumulated from 186 camps and comprise over a million camp days this past summer.
They would be willing to look at how much data would have been gathered in backcountry areas that would be comparable to AEE data. Also, ACampA intends to publish their data in their own publications as well as academic journals. They would also be willing to discuss ways our groups could collaborate with respect to surveys and data.
ACampA would be willing to initiate collaboration even before AEEs regional conference in April if the AEE side is interested. Author is awaiting feedback from the group before proceeding with this.