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SAN JOSE, CA -- On August 5, 2021, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) Walden West Outdoor Science School and Summer Camp successfully completed the American Camping Association (ACA) accreditation, the only nationwide accrediting organization for organized camps. ACA accreditation assures the community that Walden West has made the commitment to a safe, nurturing environment for all youth in Santa Clara County. Over 300 ACA standards, which focus on health, safety, risk management and practices are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp community.
Providing youth in Santa Clara County with hands-on, outdoor school experiences for over 70 years, Walden West continues its mission to encourage youth to develop a life-long passion for science, engineering and environmental stewardship by using the outdoors to teach students scientific concepts while introducing them to natural environments. Over 12,000 students participate annually during the school year and 2,000 more during the summer.
“From the beginning, Walden West has provided students with high quality educational experiences that encourage them to explore, respect and care for their environment,” said Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “Completion of the ACA accreditation further validates this important program and acknowledges the effort required to maintain the standard of excellence we are committed to achieve.”
According to the ACA, accreditation provides a framework to manage resources, offer best practices in policies and procedures, and strive for continuous improvement. It also 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.
“Receiving the ACA accreditation means that Walden West Outdoor Science School and Summer Camp cares enough about the youth and community they serve, to undergo a thorough peer review of its operation — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management,” said SCCOE Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Dr. Jessica Bonduris.
The ACA also understands the importance of partnerships and collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices at Walden West reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Camps and ACA form relationships that promote growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.
For more information about Walden West, visit waldenwest.org or learn more about the accreditation process and ACA camps at ACAcamps.org.
About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.
For more information about the Santa Clara County Office of Education, please visit www.sccoe.org and follow us @SCCOE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.