The Standards Process

By Ella Loschak, Camp Director, Camp Gan Israel

This article was printed by the American Camp Association in their October newsletter.

Becoming a member of ACA, and ultimately going through Accreditation, wasn’t a difficult decision.  In fact, it wasn’t a decision at all; rather it seemed like the next logical choice for our Camp’s future. Being safe and having a secure environment for our campers is of utmost importance to us. Parents have entrusted their children to Camp Gan Israel and we have to ensure that our environment is the best possible place, in every way, for our campers. By working through the standards our camp stepped up a level in the camping experience.

It was very important for our camp to succeed at Accreditation. We hosted a networking event and Standards course at Camp Gan Israel - our way of giving back to an organization that we feel gives so much to the camping community.

Upon receiving my Standards book, it seemed a little daunting. There are numerous standards to go through, answer and apply to your camp. Thumbing through the pages I wondered, could I actually answer all those questions, prepare for camp and everything else in between?

Thank G‑d I was very fortunate to have two incredible mentors throughout the Accreditation journey. My official mentor, Hollywood, guided me through every step and facilitated a smooth run around the corners. Rabbi Rapoport, a fellow Camp Gan Israel director, was there to answer questions, offer encouragement and advice through my six month run through Standards 101.

The Standards were a part of my day from the moment I received my “Green Book”. I didn’t want to have to cram and fill out all the questions at the eleventh hour. To me, that would defeat the purpose. If the Standards were supposed to enhance and augment our incredible program, then I wanted to make sure that I fully understood the ramifications and benefits of every Standard. Certain Standards were harder than others, and some of them weren’t applicable, but I knew that somebody in ACA would be there to help me if questions arose.

Accreditation Day came bright and early with many thoughts circling through my head. Would the visitors score our camp well? Would it be hard? Would I be nervous? Our visitors were camp people just like I am. We shared ideas and thoughts as we went through binder after binder. They told me that my Standards were very organized (a binder for every section) and that allowed the day to move smoothly and quickly – all the while scoring just great thank G‑d!

When the day was over, the visitors had left, and all of our campers had gone home, I realized how lucky our camp was to be able to participate in the Accreditation process. We feel honored and privileged to have joined the ACA ranks. Yes it was a journey, a long detailed one, but it has made Camp Gan Israel a better, safer place for children. And as a Camp Director, that means the world to me.

For more information on ACA, the American Camp Association, please visit