Pine Tree Camp is Maine’s only American Camping Association-Accredited® camp providing services exclusively to people with disabilities. We’re one-of-a-kind.
Not only are we one-of-a-kind in Maine, we’re part of an elite few in the nation: just 25% of camps in the United States are ACA-Accredited®.
The ACA is not just any camp accrediting body: it is the only accrediting body in the country. For over 100 years, this non-profit organization has ensured the quality of camp programs nationwide. Its rigorous standards are not easy to meet and are evaluated each year.
Earning and maintaining ACA accreditation takes time and commitment. Pine Tree Camp meets all 300 of the ACA’s health, safety and programming standards. This is especially critical since Pine Tree Camp serves campers with a wide variety of disabilities. Having proper procedures in place ensures that we are able to properly take care of campers who are medically fragile such as those who depend upon regular administration of medication, who are on ventilation or who use feeding tubes.
“Every year I have to look at all 300 standards and work through the process of what we can do better,” said Dawn Willard-Robinson, director of Pine Tree Camp. “It’s really important. We have to have the highest standards set so campers have the best experience and programs.”
The evaluation process includes a visit by an ACA trained-team. Willard-Robinson herself is a trained visitor and travels to evaluate other camps.
“It’s a valuable opportunity to see other programs and camp cultures,” she said. “I always learn a lot.”
For Willard-Robinson, participation in the ACA keeps her current and in the know.
“The connections you make with other accredited organizations are so important,” she said. “ACA offers courses and trainings and I have the chance to spend time with my peers in the industry and talk about what we’re all working on.”
ACA collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross and other youth-serving agencies to ensure current practices at our camp reflect the highest and most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation.
“To be ACA-Accredited® you have to be practicing the standards, you have to be able to see and experience the standards in everything you do at camp,” she said. “It’s a commitment we make as an organization.”
And it’s a commitment that makes Pine Tree Camp one-of-a-kind.