JCC Camp just added quite a prestigious feather to its cap, and parents have yet another reason to have their kids spend their summer and winter vacation days swimming, playing and socializing at the JCC.
Late last year, JCC camp earned the accreditation of the American Camp Association (ACA), a 105-year-old national organization with rigorous standards for safety, programming and every element that goes into running a first-class camp.
JCC Camp is the only day camp in Louisville with ACA accreditation. Gaining accreditation was one of Senior Director of Camping and Youth Services Betsy Schwartz’s goals when she came to the JCC in early 2013.
“I’m proud. Beyond proud,” Schwartz said. “It is not easy to become an accredited camp. It took us about a year to prepare and make sure we had all of the standards met and in our books. There are literally thousands of standards and most to the standards have specific requirements that have to be met. It tells you in each standard how you show them. Some require written or verbal proof and some have to be seen in action.”
Schwartz and Assistant Director of Youth Services Mike Steklof worked tirelessly to complete all the work and get all the policies and files ACA-ready. The accreditation process also included a site visit from two ACA representatives last June.
Schwartz said the reps went through the books page by page and combed through counselor and camper files to make sure everything was set up in accordance with ACA standards. They also asked numerous questions and explored the facilities.
During a site visit there are many chances for the reps to find mistakes and irregularities. But that wasn’t a problem when they came to the JCC.
“You can get dinged anywhere,” Schwartz said. “We didn’t get dinged on anything. Everything we have to be compliant in, we are. We train our staff correctly. We provide programming at the highest quality and level. And if something unexpected happens, we have protocols and we’re prepared to deal with it.”