County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department earns national accreditation for summer camp program

County’s camps serve children ages 6 to 13 at multiple locations each year

Photo courtesy Sarasota County

The Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR) has earned American Camp Accreditation (ACA) for its summer camp program, county staff has announced.

Summer camps serve children ages 6 to 13” with a wide variety of activity- and interest-based programs in June and July, with mini-camps offered into August, at multiple locations throughout Sarasota County, a news release explains. The now-accredited programs of Day/Adventure camps host more than 1,000 children each summer, the release adds.

This is the first time PRNR’s summer camps have achieved national accreditation, the release points out; only 17 camp programs in the state of Florida have won such recognition.

“ACA’s accreditation standards focus on health, safety and risk management,” the release explains. They “are used as benchmarks by the camp industry and government entities. The standards establish guidelines that address essential policies, procedures and practices,” the release says.

“Accreditation indicates to the public that the camp administration has voluntarily allowed a peer review process in which its practices are compared to standards established by professionals and authoritative sources associated with the camp industry,” the release points out.

To earn the accreditation, the release notes, the PRNR staff “participated in an in-person peer review of all written evidence of compliance.” The peer review included field visits “to confirm the implementation of ACA standards across all camp operations. To maintain accreditation the department must submit an annual Statement of Compliance and participate in a peer review once every three or five years,” the release adds.

“Our staff here at Sarasota County are dedicated to making the summer camp experience the best it possibly can be for the children who attend,” said Nicole Rissler, director of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources, in the release. “We are proud of this team and are excited to celebrate their achievement with this recognition.”

PRNR “is an award-winning agency that manages more than 55,000 acres of park land, including beaches, trails, natural areas, athletic facilities, recreation centers and water access parks,” the release notes.

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