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In 1948, ACA adopted Standards, the basis for ACA camp accreditation. The ACA Standards became recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp industry. Camps for special populations continued to emerge, and camping took on a more therapeutic role in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. School camping and outdoor education gained recognition as an extension of the classroom during this era. And the National Park Service, with camp partners, advocated conservation education. It was reported that by 1950, approximately “296 organized camping facilities with a capacity for 32,457 campers and 1,479,889 camper days.” 

By the late 1950s and 60s, summer camps increasingly took their more modern form, including activities that promoted physical movement and sporting activities while encouraging social activity and interaction. In the mid-century, the topic of “natural camping” vs “inner city camping” became a topic of debate. According to one camp director in a letter to Camping Magazine, “Modem camping, to be successful, must provide that experience and training that will send campers home better able to meet successfully the demands of their natural environment in the home, at school, on the playground, and among their companions.” Many hoped to bridge the gap between the two to create positive experiences for all campers, regardless of location. 

Below are a few significant events of this era: 


1950 — In 1950, the Program Committee and the Inter-cultural Committee presented resolutions to the effect that ACA, in the future, use facilities in which all hospitality and privileges were extended to all members of the Association, regardless of race, creed, or color. In October of 1950, there was a motion to uphold this resolution and change hotel venues for the 1952 National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. The motion was passed.


1952 - The Committee on Camping of the National Social Welfare Assembly (NWSA), a collective of non-profit agencies engaged in camping, among other things (YMCA, Scouts, etc.) decided on a collective definition of camping, listing the 5 most important contributions of camping to children. This included: “—to spiritual development by helping campers to recognize and appreciate the handiwork of God in nature; —to social development by providing experience in which campers learn how to deal practically and effectively with living situations; -to citizenship training by providing through its community of campers the medium for democratic participation in decision-making, planning, and carrying out of activity -to the development of self-reliance and resourcefulness by providing experience and instruction in which campers acquire knowledge and skills essential to their well-being." (Smith, 2002) 


1955 — ACA's first permanent home in Martinsville, Indiana.

1956 — ACA adopts standards for Day Camps.

1965 — ACA Board of Directors proposed changes to the ACA bylaws regarding race and creed: "Membership is open to individuals of all races and creeds who give evidence of agreement with and acceptance of the objectives of the Association" 

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