UT Austin the First University to Earn ACA Accreditation for Youth Protection, Campus Safety
The University of Texas at Austin houses more than 25,000 children in summer camps and other extracurricular programs each year. To safeguard these children, UT Austin has become the first university to earn American Camp Association (ACA) Accredited Camp® status for its Youth Protection Program (YPP). The ACA is the only independent accrediting organization reviewing camp operations in the country.
This new designation is a declaration of the university’s commitment to providing children with high-quality programs and ensuring their safety and well-being while on campus property. The aim is to improve recruitment for diverse children and youth populations in the coming years.
“Parents nationwide recognize the importance of ACA accreditation when choosing a camp for their child,” said YPP Director LeeKeshia Williams. “When they see the ACA Accredited Camp® status on UT’s website, they’ll know they are sending their child to a campus that has reached well beyond minimum state regulations.”
Traditionally awarded to both day and overnight summer camps, ACA accreditation involves hundreds of strict health and safety protocols, which are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp industry.
Universities who seek and are awarded ACA-accreditation status have demonstrated an institutional commitment to align practices around health, safety and risk management for designated youth programs with voluntary, peer-reviewed, long-established standards for camp,” said Tom Rosenberg, ACA president and CEO. In addition, ACA-accredited programs attest to adherence to applicable federal, state and local laws. Choosing an American Camp Association Accredited Camp® has been a parent’s only assurance in all 50 states that a camp meets the foundational standards of the field of American camp.”
The accreditation process, which typically takes 18 months to two years, was completed by Williams within the short span of six months. A leader in a new but growing field, she works to make UT Austin a national model for youth protection and campus safety.
“ACA applauds the monumental effort the University of Texas exhibited in seeking ACA-accreditation status,” Rosenberg said.
Housed within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the YPP is one of several university-wide youth protection programs that have been recently created in response to sexual abuse scandals on college campuses. Currently, the YPP oversees 270-plus youth camp programs on or around the university property.
“ACA accreditation demonstrates our commitment to safety and quality programming for our many young visitors touring our campus every year,” said Leonard N. Moore, vice president of diversity and community engagement and George W. Littlefield Professor of American History. “This new status gives families the extra level of confidence that ACA accreditation provides, thus opening more windows of opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds to explore campus life.”