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The Importance of Summer Camp Staff

Summer camp staff teaches group of Boy Scouts how to tie a knot

We’ve all heard how fun summer camp is. Not only is it a blast, but campers actually benefit greatly from their time at camp: camp is proven to prevent summer learning loss, build self-esteem and social skills, and promote independence in children. Plus, kids get to spend time exploring the outdoors, which is one of our favorite parts at Montana Council BSA.

But campers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the summer camp experience — camp staff members also get a lot out of it.


Benefits of Summer Camp Counseling

Boy Scouts camp counselor speaks enthusiastically to a group at summer camp

Older Scouts (over 16 years) have the opportunity to act as a camp counselor for Montana Council BSA summer camps like Melita Island, Grizzly Base, MOHAB or K-M Scout Ranch; Scouts ages 14-15 can act as Counselors-in-Training. Camp Counselor responsibilities include helping campers learn skills for various merit badge requirements and making sure the program areas are clean and safe. This is a great summer employment opportunity — all the same adventures Scouts loved when they were younger, but now they’re earning work experience and additional compensation for doing them!

Not only that, but camp counseling is an excellent opportunity for young adults to act as a role model. Older Scouts have likely been campers before, and can perhaps relate and communicate more easily with campers under their supervision. Leadership, of course, is not only a BSA value, but it’s also a skill useful in many life situations. Counselors learn valuable skills in a fun, engaging learning environment.

Camp is also an opportunity for adults to act as camp directors and leaders — an opportunity to unplug, enjoy the outdoors, help Scouts learn new skills and maybe even learn something new yourself.


Summer Camp Staff Roles

Camp counselor teaches Boy Scout archery at summer camp

Montana Scouting offers a wide range of outdoor camping opportunities in the summer, from day camps to sailing on Flathead Lake to backcountry trekking in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Scouts can even mountain bike, river trek and ride ATVs — all at K-M Scout Ranch! Having qualified adults and older Scouts as leaders of these camps and trips is incredibly important; we wouldn’t be able to do any of it without the support of staff members!

Camp Director: an adult at least 21 years of age, the Camp Director assumes a lot of responsibility. The welfare of campers is the Camp Director’s primary concern, making sure each camper is healthy, safe and having a great time. Additionally, the Camp Director is responsible for overseeing camp operations, ensuring spending is within budget and monitoring the camp programs.

Program Director: the Program Director oversees the camp as well, but focuses a little more intently on the operation and coordination of program departments. The Program Director makes sure each program — especially those that satisfy merit badge requirements — are in accordance to the national Boy Scouts of America policies.

Boating Director: Boating Director overseas (see what we did there?) and trains staff working in the boating area, in addition to developing a well-rounded boating program. At camps like Melita Island, this role is incredibly important for the safety and enjoyment of all involved water enthusiasts!

Aquatics Director: also responsible for the smooth sailing of water programs is the Aquatics Director. The Aquatics Director carries out the waterfront program for campers and staff members, managing the BSA swim test required of all water program participants.

Area Director: each program area has a director responsible for maintaining the cleanliness, safety and appearance of their respective program area. They also oversee merit badge and skills courses, including course requirements and accurate advancement records. These areas can include anything from shooting sports to climbing to sailing.

Cook and Assistant Cook: at least 21 years or older, the cook is a crucial asset to the camp experience. They’re responsible for the food budgeting, preparation, cooking and serving. The cook also has an assistant cook (at least 18 years or older) to act as sous chef!

Camp Health Officer: Camp Health Officer takes care of injured campers and staff, administering basic first aid and keeping the Health Lodge clean. This position requires an EMT certification or higher.


Why These Roles are Important

As you can probably see, these roles each contribute to the success of the summer camps in unique ways. Summer camp is typically a highlight of a Scout’s summer … but without proper management, the camps wouldn’t even be there to enjoy.

Two camp counselors in red t-shirts talk to each other on a dock


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