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  • Summer Camp Commissioner

    I was recently recruited by my District Executive who also serves as Summer Camp Director to serve as a Camp Commissioner in August.

    What kinds of things would you like to see a Camp Commissioner do.... or not do?(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

  • #2

    I am ssuming this is a Boy Scout camp (as opposed to WEBELOS) but the task are basically simular.

    Visit the camsites with the leaders, see if there is anything they need, ask for comments about the camp (as in how to improve), and tell them where/how to find you if they need anything. That, in a perfect world would be it.

    You may be called upon for some resource guidance, YPT, why "Timmy" can NOT take this or that specific Merit Badge, camp cleanliness, LNT basics, noise,.... Hopefully not.

    I said WEBELOS as I was a Commisioner at a WEBELOS camp years ago. Even thoug they only spend 4 days & 3 nights, some Dens got on the nerves of some other Packs Dens. Boys of that age are sometimes like herding cats...

    So smile a LOT, keep hydrated, try to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

    My $0.02



    • #3
      Our Boy Scout Camp commissioners help people get settled, check in with the unit if there are issues, do campsite inspections, and they usher boys thru to wash their hands for the dining hall, and count heads at various times. Not hard work at all, just extra bodies to help camp run smoothly.


      • #4
        5year hits the head a good deal. When I was camp commish, I helped with check in, did campsite inspections, brought the coffee and newspaper to the adults in their campsites, and most importantly dealt with any complaints and problems.

        I do disagree with the comment that it is "Not hard work at all." While it is not as physically demanding as running a COPE Course, working aquatics, or working the HA program, I did a lot of problem solving and customer service work, which can be challenging.


        • #5
          I did this for one summer.
          The camp was sectioned into 3 areas, each with a Commish.
          Day one was very much a meet and greet and try to ensure that everyone got to where they were to be.
          Each day the Commish Staff visited all the sites for a daily site inspection and a chat with the SM's.
          I remember drinking a lot of really bad coffee!
          There was a fair amount of sorting out little problems.
          The Commish acts as the eyes and ears of the camp and reports back to the program and Camp Directors.


          • #6
            I was considering offering to lead a seminar for adult leaders on, say, Recruiting Scouts to Troops and/or methods of identifying and signing up adult troop leaders.

            I would envision this as an optional activity for interested adults for an hour.

            Anyone think something like this might be of interest to adult leaders at camp?

            If you think the idea of a seminar is worth considering, any topics you think might be attractive to adult leaders at camp?

            (This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


            • #7
              My thinking is that if I hired someone to do a job and then they went off doing stuff that had nothing to do with the job at hand.
              I wouldn't be very happy.
              If the guys involved with training or membership want to come up to the camp and do a few sessions? That's up to them.
              But taking a camp staff member away from his job.
              I think not.


              • #8

                I know of one camp that hired a person specifically to do IOLS during summer camp.

                Also I know camps that have changed folks positions due to the needs of the camp. I know I was hired for a HA program, but ended up doing COPE. Alsoanother camp I worked placed me in 3 positions due to the needs of the camp.


                • #9
                  Forgot to add that it was 3 positions during one summer camp season. I was camp commish, then got moved to Dining Hall when that director quit b/c of the business director and we were about to loose the rest of the DH staff b/c of him ([sarcasm on] that was a fun stint [sarcasm off], then as Lifesaving MBC for one week when that counselor was needed to go out with a HA group. That was actually a fun week.


                  • #10
                    From the comments offered, it doesn't sound like the usual demands of a Camp Commissioner are especially taxing. I'm always interested in things that will contribute to a quality program.

                    And just what methods are going to allow you to stay in touch with Troop leaders during the week? "Weather looks good today" seems a bit trite. I'd rather chat with people about how their troops are doing and what kinds of things they do well or need help with.

                    Recruiting new Scouts and recruiting new adult leaders are two of the most reliable issues in Scout units in my experience. Some do that job well and many need help with ideas. If you can identify troops that are in camp and do those things well and organize a seminar to discuss one of those issues, it would seem to be a worthwhile project.

                    And of course it's something I would only do if the Camp Director were interested. The Camp Director is the District Executive in my district and we get on very well.

                    I'm surprised at the lack of interest in this. But that's why I asked for opinions. Thanks for the comments.


                    • #11
                      Are you a commissioner or the commissioner?

                      If you're simply on the commissioner's staff, chat with the head commissioner to find out what your basic duties are, and make sure he or she is on board with having you do other things, such as training. There is a basic job description to follow.

                      If you're the head commissioner, you should be attending National Camping School. They shouldn't just be dumping you into the job without preparation. BSA's national camp standards require one commissioner to have current NCS certification (though it's not a mandatory standard). However, I'm fairly certain that there are no more NCS sessions running before August.

                      Commissioners can have other duties, to be sure. During my years on staff, I was a commissioner, but also taught Scoutcraft merit badge classes and taught in the first-year-camper program.

                      Commissioners typically are responsible for unit relations, troubleshooting and problem-solving. They do daily campsite visits, can conduct camp inspections and chat with the leaders. At my camp, the head commissioner also coordinated the daily SPL meeting after lunch, where all the troops sent their top youth leader to coordinate inter-unit programs and the closing campfire. He also was responsible for signing out program materials - if a troop or patrol wanted to borrow bow saws, axes, tents, dutch ovens, etc., they saw the commissioner. And he sat in on the opening and closing nights' leaders' meetings, introduced himself and made sure they knew his metaphorical tent flap was always open.

                      Whether it's a full-time job or not depends on a lot of factors - your camp's geography (will it take you all day to hike around and visit all the troops?), whether you're splitting the job with others, whether you do campsite inspections, etc.

                      In my neck of the woods, the camp commissioner was also third in the camp chain of command. He worked with the camp director to plan out troop campsite assignments and oversaw tent and equipment setup. If the camp director and program director were out of camp simultaneously for some reason, the commissioner was acting camp director. So it can be a lot of responsibility.

                      If you really want to help with training, though, I'd suggest sticking to the basics first. Make sure they have YPT, the online intro courses, first aid, CPR. That's the really important stuff.(This message has been edited by shortridge)


                      • #12
                        I haven't been informed of what I can expect my role to be at camp. Show up in uniform and we'll go from there. So I don't know what to expect.

                        The DE/Camp Director is at camp beginning this week, so I don't expect more information. I can play it by ear, but I was thinking that being prepared with a Plan B like the seminar idea might be worth considering as a possibility.

                        I'm expecting it to be interesting to be on the "management" side of summer camp, rather than being on the "customer" side of summer camp as a Scoutmaster or Troop Committee member attending summer camp with a troop.

                        As a district committee person, I'm pretty used to that role on the district level, and have been pretty successful with it.

                        And yes, this is a Boy Scout Camp.

                        One thing occurs to me --- I'm going to see if I can get the information on the program that is sent out to Scoutmasters and bone up on the content of the program. I can be informed on that and make a list of any questions I see that might need an answer.

                        (This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


                        • #13
                          Offering Training's at camp does have a lot going for it.
                          The big one being that the people who might be in need of the training's are there.
                          Still something just doesn't sit well with me.
                          1/ Is this the right time and the right place?
                          Do we attend Summer Camp to take care of the Scouts in our charge or take training?
                          2/ I'm not sure how it is elsewhere, but our Camp doesn't charge adult leaders to attend camp. There is some kind of ratio, I can't remember exactly how it works.
                          But is it fair that the camp pays a staff member to train adults when the salary /pay is coming from the camp budget?
                          I think not.
                          Paying someone to present adult leader training, might very well be a bridge that we might not want to cross?
                          While maybe it's a stretch? But it might mean that a Council is taking on more liability than it might like, being as the person presenting the training is an employee of the Council.
                          Summer Camp is all about and for the campers, these add ons only cloud the real reason why we are there.


                          • #14
                            Why not have some training at summer camp? The camp I attend has the waterfront director do Safe Swim and Safety afloat. Not kids don't swim because he teaches a 1.5 hour class once a week.
                            The climbing instructor does the same for Clime on Safely.

                            Do I or the other adults need to follow our scouts around all day? Do they want us to?
                            I think not. The idea is to be visible, be where problems are most likely to pop up (think bath house) to keep them from occurring, and sure, get some training.

                            It's the perfect time and place. And it costs me $$ to attend camp.


                            • #15
                              I will be a volunteer Camp Commissioner, except for getting room & board.

                              Based on the discussion in this thread, I'm not going to prepare any training. I was asked to show up in uniform and that's what I'll do. I'll find out what tasks I'm needed for on the job.

                              I expect it will be an interesting experience.