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Cub Scout Day Camp Camp Director Training

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Looks like I may wind up being a Cub Scout Day Camp Program Director.


I'm told you must take the National Day Camp training to fill the Camp Director or Program Director position,  and need to retake it after five years.



I'm told that takes three days!  Which seems like a huge time  commitment to expect from volunteers. April 10th-12 at a camp outside of Olympia,  Wa around here.


I'd be interested in the experiences anyone has had with this training.

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You're going to have a blast!  This will be the most rewarding and exhausting Scout training you've ever had.    I been on NCS-CS faculty 12 years.  One of the biggest complaints we get on the feedb

Sorry - you hit a nerve. Patently ridiculous is the notion that an archery range or BB range certification needs to be renewed every 2 years. The bow and arrow has stopped evolving; repetitive train

You're going to have a blast!  This will be the most rewarding and exhausting Scout training you've ever had. 


I been on NCS-CS faculty 12 years.  One of the biggest complaints we get on the feedback sheets is three days wasn't enough time for the volume of material covered.  Of course no one wants to go for an extra day, so....  And actually, it's really a two-day class.  There isn't a lot of focused instruction Sunday morning, mostly review, wrap-up, a Scouts' Own service and graduation.  The syllabus calls for check-out by noon.


But it is VERY, VERY intense.  It's like Wood Badge except all the info is critical and stuff you need to know so no slacking off.  Typical schedule is from 7:30 am to 9:30 at night. And after that you will need to spend time with your den working on you case study projects.



  • If the camp offers the option of arriving Thursday and bunking at the camp for the night, take it.  Check in is typically early Friday morning.  People who think they can get up at 3:00am and drive to the camp crash and burn.  Whatever the logistics, start the weekend well rested. 
  • Take a stadium seat cushion.  The camp staff works hard (at least ours does) to keep you on your feet and moving, but there a lot of lecture.  We used to have a lot of skits and crazy stuff to break up the lectures, but the last revision of the syllabus about four years ago eliminated a lot of the time we had for that. 
  • Like Wood Badge, you'll be in a den and A LOT of time with those folks.  But also like WB, it's a lot about sharing info and making contacts.  If nothing else, get to know the folks sitting at the table behind you.  But most especially, get to know the staff and pick their brains during breaks.  I bet our staff has a collective 200 years experience in Scouting.  Some of them have been teaching this course for 25 years.
  • Eat well. Of course I don't know what the chow will be at your school, but if BSA is paying for it, it ain't going to be Michelin rated.  There will be plenty of opportunities to guzzle coffee and cookies, but when the sugar/caffeine crashes, it gets ugly.   I always show up with a couple bags of apples and oranges.  I happy colon makes for a happy camper.
  • Ear plugs.  You don't know who you;ll be bunking with.
  • Be nice to the staff.  They started a day earlier and stay till late the day you leave.  They also put weeks of work into preparing for the course.  And when they leave you working on your den project, they're headed off to a staff meeting then come back and reset the room for the next day.  Twenty-hour days is not uncommon for the staff.
  • Remember why you're there and get into the spirit of things.  It's all about the Cub Scouts so one of the things we try to communicate is that day camp should geared for 7- to 10-year-olds.  We try to have fun and be silly to remind people their camp should be fun and entertaining to a Cub-aged kid.  GO WITH IT.  Sing along, get into the cheers and skits. Make sure the rest of your den does too.  Every now and then we get some retired Marine colonel who is there to whip those little buggers into shape.  Wrong attitude.
  • Last, PAY ATTENTION!  I absolutely guarantee you this will be the best Cub Scout training you will EVER have.  Whether or not you ever set foot in a day camp, this training will make you a far better Cub Scout leader regardless of your volunteer position.
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As 2cub said, you will have a blast. I concur with his recomendations.


My day camp had some issues. My day camp director didn't share anything, and kept doing the same olf thing over and over and over without ever updating it.  Program was poor and needed revamping. Since I have prior day camp and summer camp staff expereince, including a NCS for COPE. i essentially came up with a rough outline of what I wanted to do. The staffer assigned to my den was PHENOMINAL and looked over what I put together and changed at nite after the day's sessions.



in another post, you aid you are doing Knights theme. PM me as we did that theme and I beleive I still have that information on my computer.

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Go thou on said quest. Taketh thee thy CSDCDirectors Handbook and be thee ready for the Camp!  Thy GRRRRRRAIL is found!

And what  Eagle94 said...  If you don't have a good time, let'em know....

And take some silly hats with you . And extra sash cord rope. And duct tape. 

If you are to be the Program Director, as opposed to the Camp Director,  discuss those differences . My good wife went to Camp School, came home pumped to be Camp Director, but could find no Program D, so yours truly became (official title!))  the First Assistant Everything Else.   We had a ball, enlisted new people when they saw how much fun we were having and how easy it (appeared) to be!  The next CSDCD and PD were our proteges .


And, DO NOT take on any other Scout responsibility until Camp is over.   Believe me in this. 

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And, DO NOT take on any other Scout responsibility until Camp is over.   Believe me in this. 

DO BELEIVE HIM AS I SECOND IT! ( and yes that is me screaming at the top of my lungs saying don't do more than one job.)


I was a DL and CSDC PD (doig both the PD and CD work) and it is a PITA! did it for the first 2 summers  3rd summer I was a TCDL, but then when the CSDC director got fired, I got recrutied to be PD again. And I was a DL and CSRTC.


burnt out was an understatement.

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I went through NCS for Cub Scout Day Camps about 30 years ago - and note that everything Twocub stated came back to me in a rush - nothing much seems to have changed.  Our group was fairly small - 4 from my Council (at the time, we had transitioned from each district doing their own day camp to Council doing day camp - 6 one week sessions all in one place) so in addition to a Camp Director and a Program Director, we had two Assistant Program Directors who also doubled up as program area heads), and 6 from other Councils  - camp school was held in Indiana and we had folks from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia in attendance so we had two dens and had a blast. 


In addition to Twocub's suggestions, I would suggest that you make particular note of anything stated in training on policies that you may need to discuss and clarify with your own Council.  My example is the policy of informing the Scout Executive of any suspicions of child abuse and leave the reporting to the authorities in their hands which conflicted with state laws in Illinois and West Virginia which make EMT's a required reporter, regardless of whether they are employed as an EMT or not (the other states may have the same law but in our class, we had one EMT from West Virginia and one from Illinois (which happened to be me).  Something like that is a question that is best discussed with your Council when you get back - it's really a question beyond the scope of the camp school.  Your Council might also have stricter policies on something like BB Gun storage, etc. etc. - I'm sure you get the jist of it.


I'll make one last observation - Twocub is right that this training will make you a far better Cub Scout leader - what he doesn't mention is this training will make you a far better Scout leader, regardless of program.

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Another Den Leader and I are considering sharing the Program Director job.


Unfortunately,  the Camp Director has done pretty much nothing so far,  and volunteer resources from previous years are minimal.


So we are aiming at salvaging a weak program.


Fortunately,  new and vigorous District leadership offers some support. 


My philosophy:  In Cub Scouts,  we Do Our Best. 


The Day Camp School is scheduled for April 10-12  ---this weekend.  I wont be able to attend and whether the other Den Leadwer will be able to do so I don't know.  We may wind up with no trained Program Director.


The other leader is an engineer and Den Leader and excellent at planning.  My own strengths are a decade of in depth experience with Cub Scouts and a good sense of how to present program.



Does this sound promising --- or something we should avoid?


There are no other leader prospects stepping forward to be Program Director,  although you never know.

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It's a national standard to have an NCS trained CD and PD. I only know of one exception, and that was due to death of the CD about 2 weeks before day camp. That district filled out some type of waiver process to be accreditied.


Now my first year staffing, we did not have a volunteer PD as no one wanted to work with the CD.  Our DE at the time was not only NCS certified as a day camp director/program director, but also a multiyear NCS staffer. So he had to spend the entire week at camp as the PD. He did a great job, and got folks thinking outside of the box for day camp as we were stuck in a rut.

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I got the NDCS patch, necker & coffecup  :cool:

And I loved it. 

Was around 2010 in Heidelberg, Germany with TAC (Trans Atlantic Council) 


Prepare to lug a big binder home - take an extra (empty) back with you  :rolleyes:  tons of paper  :confused:  


But learned a lot, met lots of other scouters from all over, had a great team & time & food ...


Makes me want to go again - oh wait someone said every 5 years ???  :D   ;)

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Our Daycamp Director has taken this training,  but those who will be doing the Program Director role are not taking it.



We had the first very good day camp planning meeting last night and I think we are getting the show on the road.


In any case --- in Cub Scouts,  we "do our best."

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It's beyond me how a council allows a camp to proceed without properly trained staff. What other positions do they allow unqualified folks to fill? Range safety officer? Health officer? Program Director is more than den leader for a really big den. It's about knowing the national standard for CSDC and operating a safe camp. One of the primary standards is having the camp director and program director NCS certified.


Daped -- You may have been miss-informed about the training. CSDC certification is not a council-level training. It is offered only through National Camping School.

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