The concept for the Association for Challenge Course Technology began in 1988 through a series of Ropes Course Builder Symposiums and evolved until the association was formally organized in 1993.
One of the first tasks for the new association was to set standards for the industry. The first edition of the standards was issued in 1994, and had installations standards only. The second edition was released in 1998, and also included Technical Standards for Challenge Course Operations. The most recent edition, the 8th, released in 2012, includes standards for Design, Performance, Equipment, Inspections, Operations, Practitioner Certification and Training.
ACCT has always sought to have a great variety of input from a number of sources while setting standards. For many of the standards, specific organizations’ input has been solicited, as well as systems set up for any interested party to be a reader. ACCT standards have been recognized as the industry standards in almost every court case since the standards have existed, some of them in courts outside of the US.
ACCT currently numbers more than 2500 members. This is definitely the largest representative group in the challenge course industry. Non-US membership is in the 8-10% range. Although started as a builders organization, ACCT now serves many more facilitators than builders, as well as insurance representatives, attorneys, course managers and owners, university professors who teach in this area, K-12 school teachers, park district personnel, camp personnel, and others interested in challenge courses.
The group of Professional Vendor Members, ACCT’s accredited vendors, number more than 40 as of February 2013. This group builds approximately 75% of the courses in the US. Increasingly, we are getting inquiries about PVM accreditation from companies located outside of North America.
ACCT is also active in the insurance, regulatory and legal arenas. Major insurance companies often contact ACCT for advice and clarification on issues, and have asked ACCT representatives to make presentations to their staff. ACCT made a presentation in spring of 2006 to the continuing education seminar for attorneys working in outdoor recreation law. As various jurisdictions look at regulating and overseeing the operations of challenge courses, we look to educate and advocate for programs suited specifically for challenge courses.
ACCT also maintains excellent and strong relationships with other organizations working in related fields, such as the Association for Experiential Education, the American Camp Association, the Christian Camp and Conference Center Association, and others. We seek ways to collaborate with such organizations to make our influence collectively stronger in many aspects of the outdoor and adventure fields.
Board of Directors Committees Standards Information