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Four campers jumping into the classic pool on a hot summer day
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography Four campers sit and wait at the ropes course underneath shade
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography Five campers using wheelchairs and six support staff members stop in the art center to do a silly picture and smile at the camera
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography Camp Aranzazu's kayak pond
Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography

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    May 03, 2021

    The Value of ACA Accreditation

    Written by: Paige White, Receptionist

    Since this is a year that we will be “visited” by the American Camp Association (ACA), having our programs and protocols related to camp health, safety and risk management scrutinized by another camp professional in order to maintain our accreditation, I thought I would share a little bit about the process and meaning behind ACA accreditation.

    Why an ACA-Accredited Camp?

    ACA Accreditation means that your child’s summer camp cares enough to undergo a thorough peer review of its operation — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management. American Camp Association collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices at your child’s camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Camps and ACA form a partnership that promotes growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.

    ACA helps member camps provide:

    · Healthy, developmentally appropriate activities and learning experiences

    · Discovery through experiential education

    · Caring, competent role models

    · Service to the community and the environment

    · Opportunities for leadership and personal growth

    ACA accreditation is the foundational standard of camp health, safety and risk management. As a leading authority in youth development, ACA works to preserve, promote and improve the camp experience.

    The mission of the American Camp Association is enriching the lives of children, youth and adults through the camp experience. You can find more information on the ACA and their work at https://www.acacamps.org/about/who-we-are.

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, camps seeking to renew ACA accreditation were required to have a site visit every five years, where program activities could be witnessed in action and the site visitor could interview staff regarding camp protocols. This is in addition to the required annual written documentation review related to general camp operations and select protocols to determine annual accreditation status.

    This year, the American Camp Association is offering a virtual site visit option, due to the pandemic and some camps’ vulnerability due to the populations they serve. At Camp Aranzazu, although we would have loved sharing the magic of camp in full swing with our visitor(s), we chose to go with the virtual visit in order to uphold our sharpened safety standards. We are here to serve children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses, and opening camp back up to these campers safely, operating through guidance from the CDC, ACA, and our medical professional partners, is our number one priority.

    Prior to our virtual site visit which will take place in June, our visitor will review written protocols that we have uploaded to ACA’s accreditation portal documenting our compliance with roughly 184 standards set forth by the American Camp Association. These standards define expectations related to administrative policies, such as an emergency response plan, and background checks, as well as facilities-related documentation, including fire and safety equipment inspections, programs policies, such as program equipment safety checks, and staff and supervision requirements, like lifeguard certification and skills verification, just to name a few. Upon completion of this written review, our virtual site visit will be conducted. We have been advised to prepare for a full eight-hour day utilizing the Zoom platform, where our camp director and, potentially, other staff will be interviewed by our visitor! This visitor, by the way, is our friend, not foe. He/she is possibly a camp director for another ACA-accredited camp, with years of experience in the camp industry, and is volunteering time and wisdom in order to help us maintain our accreditation. If any of our written standards needs further evaluation or additional documentation, our visitor will make us aware, and will help us ensure full compliance with specific requirements.

    The end result of much hard work is ACA accreditation, proof of our commitment and dedication to the wonderful campers we are fortunate to serve.

    This task can be accomplished solely by our camp director, but we believe it should be a group effort, where all of our camp staff contribute to review and updating of our policies and protocols, so we are all on the same page and up-to-date with current processes. After all, we are “better together” — our summer theme!

     

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    In Other News

    Camps and partner staff walk and use wheelchairs to get across the foot bridge over FM 1781. Photo by: Beyond Memory Photography

    Monday, April 26, 2021

    Like our fearless Camp Director, Amelia, said, "kids [are] able to walk, roll, skip, and jump over there and experience Camp Aranzazu, Copano Bay and Rockport in a whole new way!"

    read more
    Camper smiling and holding a thumbs up while waiting to scale the rock wall.

    Monday, April 19, 2021

    It is an understatement to say that we are looking forward to providing a safe, fun, life-enriching experience to children and young adults with special needs and chronic illnesses this year.

    read more
    Summer camp volunteer pictured smiling with camper.

    Monday, March 29, 2021

    While our staff understands the work we do and the need for our unique form of therapeutic recreation, our families and partners are the people who witness the impact of camp first hand for children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses.

    read more

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    Volunteer

    We welcome your help, whether it's once a week or once a year. Below is a list of volunteer opportunities that are typically available. If you are interested in volunteering, please download the volunteer application and return to Bianca Hernandez at bhernandez@camparanzazu.org. Thank you for your interest!


    Special Events Support

    Camp Aranzazu holds several fundraising events throughout the year in Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Rockport. Volunteers are always needed!

    Maintenance of Facilities and Grounds

    With 104 acres, we can always use help more maintaining our beautiful camp.

    Front Office Support

    In the summer, we need help answering the phones, greeting guests, and keeping the office organized and running smoothly.

    Camp Care Days

    Join us for a day of volunteering, good food, and even better company at one of our volunteer work days this fall!

    • Saturday, April 4, 2020
    • Saturday, May 2, 2020

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    Partner Camp Volunteer Opportunities

    Are you looking for ways to work directly with the children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses that we serve? Check out our camping partners who are looking for volunteers for the coming camping season! 

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    http://www.driscollchildrens.org/

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    Activity Leader Summer 2019 Job Opportunity​​

    Every year, Camp Aranzazu hires roughly 20 college aged individuals with varying skill sets to work as Activity Leaders from mid-May to mid-August. Activity Leaders have the fun and impactful job of enriching the lives of our campers with special needs through unique camping, environmental studies and retreat experiences.

    Activity Leaders facilitate a variety of activities including, but not limited to arts and crafts, archery, high and low challenge courses, sports and games, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing, sailing, swimming, nature sessions and more!

    Benefits of this paid position include room and board and the potential to satisfy fieldwork and internship requirements in various fields of study. The buttons below include the additional documentation you will need to apply for the Activity Leader position. Email your completed application, resume and two unique and completed reference forms to our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, and prepare for the summer camp experience of a lifetime!

    If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Job Description Application Reference Form


    Part-Time Receptionist

    Are you looking for a part-time job opportunity that allows you to be surrounded by nature in a supportive work environment? Camp Aranzazu currently has an opening for a part-time receptionist position on our staff. This opportunity will allow you to support our mission of enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses. To learn more about the position, click the job description below. 

    The Receptionist is responsible for overseeing functions related to the front office. The Receptionist also assists with special projects and provides some administrative support for all staff. If you are interested in the position and have any questions, please contact Lillian Anfosso, our Finance and Administative Director at lanfosso@camparanzazu.org. 

    Job Description


    Sailing Supervisor

    Imagine a position that allows you to work with campers each day and have a beautiful view of Copano Bay along the Texas Gulf Coast.

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with strong sailing experience to supervise our summer sailing program from mid-May through August 2019. The Sailing Supervisor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides a safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, social or financial needs to experience sailing. Camp sessions include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 


    Job Description


    Summer Art Instructor

    Do you have a passion for providing fine arts education and working with a committed staff of people dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs and chronic illnesses?

    Camp Aranzazu seeks someone with art teaching experience to supervise our summer fine arts program from mid-May through mid-August 2019. The Art Instructor will ensure that Camp Aranzazu provides an intentional, expressive, and safe environment for children with special medical, physical, emotional, and/or social needs to create and experience fine arts. Camp session include day camp sessions, as well as residential sessions that last from one to six nights. If you have any questions, contact our Camp Director, Amelia Haslam, at ahaslam@camparanzazu.org.

    Make sure to check out the job description below. To apply, email your resume to Amelia Haslam. 

    Job Description