Compass FALL/WINTER 2013 Community Foundation of North Texas Grant Supports Quality Improvement The Community Foundation of North Texas awarded Camp Fire First Texas a ToolBox grant to support the organization’s focus on program quality improvement. The grant provided Camp Fire the funds to support staff trainers and program assessors. Throughout the past year, Camp Fire’s Program Quality Assessment team implemented a series of assessment tools for camps, after school programs, day and overnight camps, teen programs and outdoor education. These assessments, coupled with professional development have helped set the foundation for a trajectory of increased quality in the areas of establishing an emotionally and physically safe and supportive environment that engages youth in problem-solving and leadership skills, as well as fostering positive peer interactions that support a sense of belonging. Final results of the year’s implementation will be available in November. Camp Fire strives to achieve a consistent and high level of program quality, but recognizes that an organization cannot rest on past accomplishments or assume best practices are being implemented. “We are so thankful for this grant. It allows us to identify and implement ways to keep all our programs operating at the optimal level of quality so that every experience or encounter with a Camp Fire program is the best it can be, and if it isn’t we have the tools to correct that. This grant helped ensure the children and youth in our programs get the very best that they deserve,” said Diane Phillips, program quality lead team member. National Accreditation Com mi ssi on Camp Fire Child Development Center Receives National Accreditation Camp Fire Child Development Center became the newest program to be awarded accreditation by the Association for Early Learning Leaders’ National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Program (NAC). This accreditation recognizes Camp Fire Child Development Center as an early care and education program exemplifying excellence in the care of young children. Programs recognized by NAC must demonstrate and document quality performance using research-based criteria. The system recognizes the diversity of programs and the uniqueness of each through the self-study and award process. “This has been an intense, yet gratifying process for all the teachers and staff at the Camp Fire Child Development Center. It was an effort achieved through the work and collaboration of many and really challenged all of us to think a little differently about our approach to early childhood education. We are extremely excited about the results. Not only the accreditation, but the way it allowed us all to come together and work toward a common goal to support the children and families we care so much about,“ said center director Kathy Wymer of the accreditation process. Camp Fire Child Development Center is one of only 12 centers in Fort Worth to carry this distinction and only 121 child care providers are recognized in the state of Texas.* A long-time advocate for children and youth, Camp Fire First Texas opened the Child Development Center in 1993 as a lab/learning school and has continued to develop and grow by implementing research based practices. *Data extracted from the NACCP website’s public listing of accredited programs.