National Camp Accreditation Program

Purpose

The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America's National Camp Accreditation Program (NCAP) is to help councils elevate camps to new levels of excellence in delivering Scouting's promise to youth. Councils will engage in a rigorous review of camps and properties, continuous improvement, and correction or elimination of substandard practices.

The NCAP achieves this purpose through the following:

  • National camp standards
  • Application and Authorization to Operate review
  • Camp Strategic Analysis
  • Continuous Camp Improvement Program
  • Annual camp assessment process

Only camps that successfully complete all five aspects of the NCAP are BSA accredited camps.

You may direct questions about the National Camp Accreditation Program to the national Outdoor Programs team at outdoorprograms@scouting.org or ncap@scouting.org.

National Camp Standards

The BSA's national camp standards are established to do the following:

  • Ensure that each camper and leader has a fun, high-quality program consistent with the BSA brand.
  • Ensure the health, safety, and well-being of every camper, leader, visitor, and staff member while participating in a BSA accredited camp.

The local council is responsible for maintaining the BSA's national camp standards. The national camp standards are the foundation of the National Camp Accreditation Program, which assesses council and camp conformance with the requirements set forth in the national camp standards. The national camp standards consist of standards, which are mandatory when applicable, and recommended practices, which represent best practices recommended for all camps.

Resources

Camp Staff Youth Protection Training

Standard SQ-402B states that Youth Protection training is required for all staff members. We have now replaced Camp Leadership—Youth Protection Begins With YouTM, No. 623-127; and Seasonal Camp Staff Youth Protection and Personal Safety Training, No. 20-138, with Camp Staff Youth Protection Training, No. 430-149. Please use the new syllabus and PowerPoint presentation below instead of the ones listed in the manual.

Templates for Standards At-a-Glance for Each Type of Camp

The following Word templates for the Standards At-a-Glance will allow you to tailor your work on the camp standards to the type of camp you are working with. They will also allow you to delete any standards not appropriate or that do not apply to the operation of the specific camp you are operating. We encourage you to use these to guide your preparation.

Questions about the national camp standards should be directed to the area camp assessment chair or to Outdoor Programs at ncap@scouting.org.

 

Camp Strategic Analysis

Based on the Application to Operate, some councils will be asked to complete a full Camp Strategic Analysis, which is a process designed to help council management and council executive boards to better understand the impact of their camps on their Scouting program and on the bottom line.

The Camp Strategic Analysis provides tools to council boards and management to assess program quality, staffing, facilities quality, and the financial costs and benefits of the camping program. These tools will assist the council in recalibrating its camping program to achieve a fun, high-quality program that ensures the success of Scouting in the communities the council serves. Where improvements are needed, the resulting "improvement plan" will be incorporated into the Authorization to Operate.

Resource

 

Continuous Camp Improvement Program

The Continuous Camp Improvement Program provides camps with a structured approach to identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement. The program sets measurable goals (success criteria) for these areas and monitors progress against the success criteria. Because the annual accreditation process reviews only whether councils are participating in the continuous camp improvement process—not the council's achievement of its success criteria—councils are encouraged to set (and meet) challenging success criteria that will significantly improve their camp. Covering program, facilities, finances, staff, and attendees and participation, when implemented fully, this program will enable councils to deliver a program that is exciting, dynamic, and appealing to today's youth.  

Resource

Camp Health and Safety Information

The Health and Safety Support Committee has recently released or updated several resources to help your council and camp meet or exceed camp and regulatory standards. All of these can be found on the Scouting Safely Web page in the Guidelines/Policies/Model Plans section.

Annual Assessment Program

All BSA accredited camps undergo an annual assessment process. Resident, trek, and specialty-adventure and high-adventure camps go through a third-party assessment process coordinated by the responsible BSA area. Day camps and family camping programs are subject to a thorough self-assessment annually and are reviewed during the Application and Authorization to Operate process. Based on the results of the annual review, each BSA camp—regardless of type—will receive an individualized accreditation decision. Accreditation is the mark that the camp program provides a fun, high-quality, and safe program consistent with what the public expects of Scouting.  

Beginning in 2014, BSA accredited camps are eligible for accreditation with Silver or Gold Recognition, which recognizes camps with superior performance and a strong commitment to continuous improvement. All BSA camps are encouraged to review the criteria for Silver and Gold Recognition, which are listed in the pamphlet Requirements for Accreditation With Silver or Gold Recognition. 

Resources

Training Resources

The BSA has prepared several materials to assist councils and camps in understanding and implementing the National Camp Accreditation Program. Please refer to the resources below:

NCAP Circulars

The National Council periodically issues NCAP Circulars to provide authoritative guidance to councils, areas, and regions in implementing the program. 

Please direct any questions about the National Camp Accreditation Program to ncap@scouting.org.