Blue Lake seeking approval from ACA

Published 11:01 pm Friday, December 5, 2014

New Blue Lake Methodist Camp Director Steve Lewandowski said this week he is working to make changes to the camp to provide a safer environment, while seeking accreditation from the American Camping Association.

Lewandowski spoke to the Andalusia Lions Club on Wednesday, and said the improvements being made include bringing Pinewood cabins up to fire code.

“Looking at Pinewood, all the old cabins just had one door,” he said. “If you know anything about fire code, you can’t have a facility with one door and people sleeping in it. We are having to take out some beds to make room for the extra door.”

Lewandowski said getting the camp to ACA standards is one of the many things he was hired to do.

“Even if we didn’t have to go through the ACA standards, I would be making sure we put a door in to make sure we have safety for those kids in case something happened,” he said.

Another safety measure the camp will implement is the protocol for which campers check in and check out.

“What we are doing is going to slow down the process of checking in and checking out,” he said. “But we will be safer.”

Lewandowski said that parents or whomever checks in the child must specify how the child will get home.

“We will be stopping each vehicle on the way out to make sure everyone is with the proper people,” he said. “This is when they will get information about future camps and their medications back.”

Other things will include checking electrical throughout the camp.

“We are just trying to get everything up to the standard of what people expect,” he said. “For example, trained life guards and trained archery people, that kind of thing.”

Lewandowski said they have a two-inch thick book of things ranging from housekeeping to site and food services to health and wellness and intruder and emergency plans they have to work through.

“We are going to go through the accreditation process next summer,” he said. “It’s basically a Good Housekeeping seal of approval.”

Lewandowski said officials from ACA – visit for two days to review paperwork and check out the camp.