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7
Your Camp May Not Be Accredited

This camp looks amazing, but is it certified?

©iStockphoto/Thinkstock

With some things, accreditation doesn't really matter. Who cares if your dog is certified by the American Kennel Club? All that's important is how much you love your pooch.

The same doesn't always go for camps. No matter how doe-eyed your kid gets when he sees a glossy brochure (canoes! archery contests! wilderness hikes!), if the camp isn't certified by the American Camp Association (ACA), you might want to look elsewhere.

Of course, there are plenty of excellent camps that aren't certified, but membership in the ACA provides peace of mind. Its governing board fully inspects member camps, all of which must comply with up to 300 safety, health and program quality standards. The ACA also partners with groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Red Cross to improve those standards.

If your child's camp of choice isn't ACA approved, it could be nothing more than a few adults winging it with several hundred kids in the woods -- regardless of what the brochures (or their counselors) have to say.

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