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Joni4TA

Cub Summer Day camp- 2 days long

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I think I bit off more than I can chew on this one. I volunteered for the Summer Day Camp program director, figuring I wouldn't be the only one in my Pack that wanted to help put one together. Well, not only am I the only one, I am also no longer with the Pack. (That's another story altogether.)

 

Anyway, just trying to get ideas for what other districts/packs/councils DO for their summer camp. Mine is only two days, a full day Saturday and a half day Sunday. I've got some activity ideas lined up but something tells me I am missing the big picture here!

 

I am new at this kind of thing, mainly been a Den Leader and Advancement Chair, so any ideas, web links, etc. I would be totally grateful for!

 

Thanks,

Joni

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Is this a brand-new camp or are you taking over from someone else? Developing a whole new program is a much different question than taking over an existing one.

 

Technically, Day Camp Program Director is a position which requires National Camp School certification. Camp school teaches you how to go about setting up a camp program. The "final exam" is to develop a plan for a hypothetical day camp including programs, staffing, health and safety, facilities, administration and finance. Unfortunately, I think most of the Camp Schools are over for this year.

 

It's very difficult to try and tell you what kind of programs to offer at your camp. What you can do depends greatly on the facilities, staff and budget you have. I can tell you that our camp runs on a "round robin" format with the boys organized into dens which rotate through different stations. Our stations include crafts, games, nature trail, fishing, BB range, archery, canoeing and sports. BBs, archery and canoeing are the most difficult to pull off since they require specially trained staff, facilities and equipment.

 

If you can provide more information on what resources you have, I'll be glad to help with some suggestions. But you really need to be working closely with the camp director and your DE. BSA requirements for running a day camp are very detailed. Hopefully the camp director is trained and experienced in running the camp and can help you out.

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Joni:

 

Let me begin by saying that I don't believe you've bitten off more than you can chew. I think you'll be just fine.

 

It's been a long time since I attended or taught at national camp school for cub scouting, but I believe that the short duration of your program means that you don't have to meet all the standards set by national for a Cub Scout Day Camp. Your Scout Executive and/or camping committee made that determination. They may call it Day Camp, but I believe the standard is set for a duration of time and that your's falls under the category of a council activity.

 

That means you don't have to head to Missouri from Japan to attend a weekend camp school.

 

As for specific advice on how to get started, let me see if I can help you at least in some small way. I agree that it's late in the ball game (depending on when your camp is.)

 

First of all, consult with your director and DE. Is there a committee? Has a theme been decided. If so, find out what it is. If not, then pick one. Under the Big Top, Things from Outer Space, whatever.

 

Once the theme is chosen, it will help you decide which games, crafts, staff uniforms, t-shirts, whatever you want to use. Then recruit a staff to do them. Or recruit a staff to develop the program they'll offer according to the theme. Develop a schedule. Regardless of whether this is a council activity or certified Day Camp, the day should begin with registration, parent orientation, and some sort of meaningful opening ceremony. You should rotate the dens through a schedule so that each kid gets to participate in each area at least once and post the schedule in clear view.

 

This is all stuff your DE or staff advisor should be able to help you with.

 

There should be a rest period after lunch, during which a theme-related, but the kids-just-get-to-sit-there program can be put on.

 

At the end of the day, close with a meaningful closing ceremony. If you can fit it into your time-table, have some sort of parent activity where they can watch their kids -- like a campfire with skits.

 

I hope this helps.

 

DS

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Okay, let me explain a little further-

 

I am on an island in the Pacific Ocean and so far I can tell ya, this District/Council does things totally different than I am used to in the states.

 

We used to have only one centrally located Cub Day Camp, but everyone on the northern part of the island complained they had to drive.. and same with the southern part. So, this year they decided to split up the camp into 3 camps, a south, central and northern camp. Well, the south camp couldn't find volunteers so they dropped out. The central camp has a committee, has a plan and is almost ready to roll in August.

 

I am doing the northern camp, have no committee, only one volunteer to staff and am more lost than I know what to do with. My camp is supposed to go in mid JULY!!!!!!! We do have a theme, our Council is 50 yrs old this year so we are doing "All things GOlden" The central camp is doing a SUrf's up theme and I am doing a GOld Rush theme.

 

I have gone through the Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelo books and pretty much figured out what the program is going to be through those and the combination of the Gold Rush theme. I've got the sessions and stations per day worked out, the rotation worked out, etc. The District will provide the Archery and BBs (as always). I have been in constant contact with the Program Director for the Central camp and she's doing what she can to help me and I am ever grateful but she won't be here (going on vacation) mid July to REALLY HELP!

 

The Deputy Camp Commander (I am on a military base) is also a local Pack Wolf Leader and I was dealing with him on an informal level to secure an area for the camp, some canopies, chairs, stuff like that and get some things set up. Unfortunately he's leaving this June/July for Virginia or somewhere statebound and now I am even more lost because MANY PEOPLE are leaving Okinawa this summer thanks to the Armed Services lifting the Stop-Loss, Stop-Move policy that was mandated due to the war with Iraq.

 

Anyway, I can't seem to get volunteers fast enough! Between that, being 6 months pregnant and losing my contacts, I really feel overwhelmed. I have our Unit Commissioner trying to recruit Marines and Sailors from neighboring camps to try and help and I have started a major campaign to enlist people. Like I said, I only got a Pack Coordinator to volunteer so far and someone else to assist the District Rep. doing the BBs!!! Needless to say I am still short about 8 people, at LEAST for arts, crafts, sports, games, nutrition and first aid, etc!

 

Wish me luck!!!!

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On the volunteers issue, visit the local roundtable and seek out some older Boy Scouts with fond memories of cub camp. If you're lucky, you might even get a parent or two with them. I know my son (15) is looking forward to volunteering at cub camp this summer, as he's passing up both a church retreat and a beach campout to attend. And don't rule out the boys that seem a little ADHD, might not be a leader in their own troops yet - they are often very much in touch with what's fun and what's not, and can do very well in a leadership role with younger kids. Just be sure to make your expectations clear.

 

Julia

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Joni:

 

Thanks for the clarification. I didn't know we were talking about a recruiting issue here. Hopefully my suggestions will help.

 

Nothing says that your camp has to be staffed by BSA folks . . . at least not that I'm aware of. Check local policies. It does say, in the Cub Scout Day Camp National Standards, that every member of the staff must be registered by the BSA. There is a registration status for camp staff that you could register non-scouters under without having to tie them to a unit or year-round responsibilities.

 

Are there ladies auxilary groups? I think I just mis-spelled a word, sorry. Are three military spouses who could teach a craft, or cover other areas for a day? Perhaps you could turn to some of the locals or 15+ year-old children of military personnel.

 

Just a few thoughts . . .

 

DS

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I don't want to disagree with the Man of Steele, but I'd double-check the exemption from day camp standards based on the short duration of your camp. I'm looking at two, three-inch binders of stuff from camp school and don't see anything about an exemption. Talk to your DE or SE. If you get the green light from them, at least you've covered you assets, so to speak.

 

My I speak frankly, Joni? Honey, you need help. I'm no doctor, but it's pretty easy to figure that July isn't going to be a good time for you to be running a day camp. Cub Scout Day Camp is a DISTRICT function and needs to be supported by the DISTRICT. I'd be at roundtable and district committee meetings standing on my head, demanding help. If the district isn't willing to support you, then the district doesn't need a day camp. The standard is to have one adult volunteer for every five boys. My camp (excuse me, the camp at which I serve) is more like 1:2 or 1:3, which is more realistic when you include both den leaders and camp staff. Unless you're only expecting 10-15 boys, you need a whole bunch more folks to help.

 

You do have a little wiggle room with the issue of registered leaders. The standard is that "full-time" camp staff must be registered. Of course with a two-day camp, almost everyone will be full-time. Our camp is held over two sessions, so we count full time as anyone working both sessions. As DS points out, you can register someone as a district volunteer if they aren't affiliated with a specific unit.

 

I can tell you that you do need to use trained range officers for archery and BBs. I'm no expert in BSA shooting sport policy, but I believe law enforcement officers qualify as a BB instructor without the BSA training. I would certainly think active-duty military would count too. We've always neededd BSA-qualified people to run the archery range.

 

But again, get in the back pocket of your DE, district chairman or activity chairman. Not only are they the ones who can give you the local answer to all these questions, but they need to be helping you out, too.

 

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If possible, contact some of the area's military ombudsmans to see if they can help in the recruiting. Most military Commanders I've asked through their command's ombudsmans have sent their best people over TAD to give us an assist....

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Hey thanks all of you for the responses! Twocub... you're right on the money, I DO need help! :-)

 

We do have a 1:6 ratio Den Guide requirement this year. And I should probably clarify that this is not an overnighter camp either, it's 8-5 on Sat. and 12-6 on Sunday. So, this makes it a little easier on me, too.

 

I am visiting a Senior Girl Scout Troop tonight to pitch to them. Hopefully they'll want to help out at the "Tot Lot", kind of an astro jumper I'll have for Den Guide and Staffers' kids over 2yrs old. I am hoping to have the Tot Lot because that's the main reason I get no volunteerism out here. Military spouses are reluctant to volunteer because their other halves are deployed (usually it's the men deployed, and they are the registered leaders) and they have other children, younger Scout siblings to take care of. And I'll be frank, too.. I have a 2yr old that I need to do something with both days at the Camp because my husband (a registered ASM) is going to be helping run a booth. Unfortunately my 11yr old Boy Scout isn't old enough to run a booth or trust me, he'd be signed up, too.. lol

 

I am going to meet with the Senior SE probably Wednesday to see what he can do to help staff us. The registration deadline is June 9 and believe me, if I am not totally staffed by June 9, I am not going to beat myself up about it, I will have no choice but to retreat and cancel the camp! And I told the Camp Director for the Central camp that if that happens, I will be more than happy to do ANYTHING she needs at that camp to help!

 

What irks me is how the northerners (Packs) on the island complained about having to drive to the central and southern camps all the time for events and when we (The District) offer a camp in their neck o' the woods, I get one freaking volunteer and that's it! Granted some of these guys are staffing the resident summer camp in June, and maybe they feel that's enough for them to do or their kids won't be attending my (THE) July Day Camp but that's a pretty selfish outlook on Scouting don't ya'll think?

 

Oh well, I"ll keep ya posted!

Thanks for everything!

Joni

 

 

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If I may shed a little light (Joni, correct me if I'm wrong.) According to the research I've done and the report I have in front of me, your council's headquarters is in Tokyo, Japan. Your council serves Americans in Japan, Korea, the Phillipines, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Ryukyu Islands, and Thailand. In the latest report I have of unit serving executives (dated 12/31/2002) you have Two District Executives and a Scout Executives. Seems to me that those guys are stretched pretty thin. That means that your volunteer structure is also stretched pretty thin. It's no slam against you, Joni. I'm just trying to point it out to others.

 

If your council is considering your 2 day day camp as a council activity, you probably don't have to meet the national standards for a day camp. I'm half-way sure of it, but, as Twocubdad points out, and as I pointed out in my original post -- check the standards. You'll never offend me by checking on what I tell you. If I don't quote the source it's probably because I don't have the source in front of me and you'll do well to not trust my memory. I was wrong once in the early 90's and the scar hasn't left me. :) I'm kidding. I'm right more than I'm wrong, but that doesn't mean I'm not wrong often. I'm not going to claim knowledge on every aspect of scouting. It's too rich and vast for anyone to do that.

 

As to weather you cancel or not, Joni, that's up to your district and council leadership. I don't have all the facts and any guesses I have would be speculation. That's not fair to either one of us when we're half a world apart.

 

Now, to clarify what I meant by not having to meet the national standards for Cub Scout Day Camp, let me use the following example. Remember that I was speculating when I brought forth the theory. (And I don't mean to belittle your council.)

 

If I were the Scout Executive of this sprawling council for americans in a foreign land, I could have a two day day camp and say that it isn't a day camp, it's two Cub Scout field days held back to back. Some of the kids repeat it, but why do I need to be held to the standards which are designed for 3 or more days of the same camp held consecutively at the same location?

 

DS

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Hi dsteele, you're so right about our sole SE being stretched thin! As far as I know we only have one SE on this island (Okinawa) and he's always flying to Thailand, the Phillipines, Zama, etc. In fact, he came in from Thailand just this past Friday night and we opened our Jamborette and International Pinewood Derby bright and early on Saturday morning with the SAJ (Scouting Assoc. of Japan). Aside from him there is one District Commisioner and mainly between these two guys, our District survives somehow! :-)

 

Of course there are others, myself included, I do District Membership and am a Troop Committee member. You may remember on a separate thread some issues I had with a local Pack where I was the Advancement Chair, which I am no longer with also. But those two (the SE and DC) deserve the spark plug award for the District, definitely! They keep us running!

 

And this is a District Day Camp I am dealing with instead of a Council Camp so I do have some leeway in gathering "volunteers." As far as I know it is not open to the SAJ, just the Military Scouts. I pitched to the local Senior Girl Scout Troop tonight, as well as the boys in my son's Troop and neighboring Troops and Packs. Like I said, I am meeting with the SE on Wed. to try and see where he might be able to assist the staffing. I have faith it will all come together, just trying to bring as many people as I can into the loop. The registration deadline is June 9 so typically by then I should know if I have enough staffers to make this baby fly.

 

Staffers have to attend staff training though it's severely shortened due to not being a resident camp and only basically a 14 hour camp split in two days. I believe they are still required to turn in a Class 2 physical and our Den Guides (on the 1:6 ratio) also have to attend Den Guide training. Packs that don't provide and register Den Guides don't get to participate and that's the way the cookie crumbles!

 

I do find it harder to get Scout things done here, not sure if it's because we're military, on an island, or what. But... it seems we're out here several hundred miles from the Council, separated by an ocean.... we're sort of out of sight, out of mind! And we're nowhere near the other Districts within the council either, we're ALL ON DIFFERENT ISLANDS.. lol

 

The majority of our military personnel on the island are single Marines, Sailors and Airmen, some are here for 6 months and some for a year. Even some/most of the families that are here on accompanied tours for 3 years experience the service member (usually the Dad) getting deployed frequently which puts a dampner on Scouting activities. It's mostly the Dads that are our Cub and Boy Scout volunteer leaders.

 

We don't get the FOS support or Corporate sponsors like is possible in the states so fundraisers are difficult but totally necessary. Our fundraisers are not allowed to compete with AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Service) or MCCS (Marine Corps Community Services) either, so that means anything that can be bought in a military store, Scouts can't use for fundraisers ie; candy, etc.

 

It's got it's downfalls, being here and Scouting but the upswing to that is more leaniancy when it comes to events such as District Summer Day Camp! WOO HOO! :-)

 

Welp, gotta go, thanks for the reply!

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Joni,

 

I am in the Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma. We are a very large council covering 24 counties with 12 districts, 35,000 scouts and 8,000 scouters. Our day camp is 5 days long (Mon thru Fri) for all 4 weeks in June and 2 week long twilight camps in July. A total of 6 weeks of day camp! Here is the day camp page on our website: http://www.lastfrontiercouncil.org/Daycamp03.htm

 

I'm sure you can contact our council by e-mail and they would be more than happy to put you in touch with some of the staff who may be able to assist you with program ideas. you can e-mail the council at lfrontie@bsamail.org or Camp Director Larry Arnold at larnold@bsamail.org

 

Good luck!

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