Organized childrens and family camps have to obey a range of laws to operate, but these laws do not cover everything that pertains to providing a safe and quality camp. In 1969, a number of camps in Manitoba got together to define the standards and practices that would maximize the safety and quality of the camp experience for campers.
Many camps choose to operate by these standards and practices. An accredited camp is one that has been visited by senior staff from other camps and the MCA, and has been found to be consistently applying these standards and practices. Accredited camps are visited every three years, and make a commitment in writing to maintain the standards between visits.
If a camp is not accredited, this means that the MCA has not been invited to visit to see what standards and practices are being applied.
The MCA recommends use of Accredited Camps.
Accreditation Standards address both the physical site and the way the program is run. The following is a general overview of the issues covered by the standards.
- Site and Facilities
- Type and description of minimum facilities required
- Appearance of safety and cleanliness
- Systems for ensuring safety and cleanliness is maintained
- Required permits and licences
- Risk Management
- Fire Safety
- Risk assessment and mitigation
- Child Protection standards - that is, protection from the risk of physical, emotional or sexual abuse in the camp environment
- Environmental Management
- Minimization and management of waste
- Considered approach to management of the environment
- Taking an individual approach to inclusion of campers with special needs
- Understanding the limitations of the camp (site, facilities, staffing numbers, etc)
- Accessing other resources to assist with inclusion of campers with special needs
- Achieving maximum participation for all campers
- Recruitment and selection including screening for Criminal Record of history of Child Abuse
- Skills, abilities, experience and characteristics for various staff positions
- Training and resources
- Staff:Child ratios
- Provision of a balanced, nutritious diet
- Information required for managing the health needs of campers
- Medical resources required at the camp for managing the health and/or emergency medical needs of campers.
- Overall program structure
- Standards for provisions of activities, including --
- Activity leader qualifications
- Special staff:child ratios
- Equipment standards and maintenance
- Other safety standards as per activity
If you are a camp and are not currently Accredited, the MCA would like to help you achieve your Accreditation. Services include:
- Pre-accreditation visit to find out if you are ready for Accreditation
- Advice on writing policies and procedures or with any other aspect of camp operations
- Networking with other camps
- Training and development programs
Many of these services are free or heavily discounted for MCA members.
For more information or to purchase a copy of the Standards Manual, contact the Manitoba Camping Association at -
302-960 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3G 0R4
Ph: (204) 784-1134
Fax: (204) 784-4177
Annual Standards of Compliance