Each year, the Boy Scouts of America invites Scouts and Scout leaders ages 18 to 30 from around the world to come to the United States spend the summer as an International Camp Staff member of a BSA summer camp or Cub Scout day camp. The days are long and hard. But the trip and what you see and do can be an exciting time of your life.
As a camp staff member, you will
- Spend 8 to 11 weeks as a member of the staff of a BSA summer camp in the United States.
- Make friends with Scouts from another country.
- Receive free food and lodging while in camp.
- Teach BSA Scouts about Scouting and life in your country.
- Learn about another Scout association.
- Live in another culture.
- Improve your English language skills.
To be a camp staff member, you must
- Be approved by your Scout association.
- Be a member of a national Scout association and between the ages of 18 and 30.
- Be able to speak English well enough to instruct Scouts in skills.
- Be able to teach Scouting skills to Scouts in a summer camp program.
- Be available for at least 6 weeks beginning in June.
- Agree to live by the culture and laws of the United States and by the BSA code of conduct.
Boy Scout Camping in the USA
Through the year, Boy Scouts camp with their troops in campsites near their homes. They learn the basic Scout skills and how to live in the out-of-doors.
In the summer, Scouts go to a permanent BSA camp. There are more than 400 Boy Scout camps in the United States. These camps have organized programs for the boys where Scouting skills and ideas are presented.
Some of the camps are small, less than 40 hectares (100 acres) of land, and some are large, more than 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres). Each camp period usually lasts one week. Each camp will have 6 to 11 one-week camp periods. The average camp will have 150 to 200 boys from 10 to 15 different troops in camp each week.
Many things are taught in camp. Some of them are swimming, first aid, canoeing, nature, orienteering, archery, pioneering, camping, hiking, crafts, wood carving, conservation, and other outdoor skills.
The camp staff puts on this program. The camp staff is made up of adult Scouters and older Boy Scouts. The number of staff members ranges from 15 to 20 people in a small camp to as many as 75 in a large camp. Cub Scouts participate in day camp programs filled with exciting activities for younger boys.
You as a Staff Member
For 1 week before the camp opens, you and the rest of the staff will receive training. You and the other staff members will eat in a dining hall and sleep in a tent or in a small cabin. There is little free time, as the staff works on programs all through the day and evening.
The camp director or camp director’s representative will be available to help you with any problem that you may have. This friendly Scouter wants your experiences in this country to be happy ones.
Most camps are located in the country, far away from large cities. However, you will receive an occasional free day when you can visit nearby towns or the home of a staff member.
You will have a few costs in camp. You should bring extra money to cover the cost of admission to places of interest, tours, entertainment, postage, snacks, laundry, and souvenir items.
The Scout uniform is worn at all times by staff members. You should wear your Scout association uniform at all times while serving as a member of a camp staff. It is suggested that you bring at least two uniforms to camp.
Accident and medical insurance will be paid by the International Department of the Boy Scouts of America.
While serving in the assigned council camp, you will be paid a salary equal to what is paid to American counselors at that camp. You will be advised of the amount of the salary upon acceptance by a BSA local council camp for employment. You will also receive room and board during camp.
Visa and Travel
The International Department of the Boy Scouts of America will provide specific documents (DS-2019 visa and I-901 SEVIS forms) to secure your J-1 visa. The International Department will no longer be able to provide a visa grant or travel scholarship to assist with your fees. Please prepare financially to pay for your own visa, SEVIS, and airfare costs.
Following the completion of their program (the period defined on form DS-2019), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows participants a 30-day travel period, commonly referred to as the “grace period.” During this 30-day grace period, participants are no longer in J-visa status and are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS. The USCIS grants this period to allow participants to settle their affairs and to prepare to return to their home countries. Program participants may no longer continue and/or complete exchange activities, nor may they work. Although participants may travel in the United States, it is recommended that they do not travel beyond the borders of the United States, as they may not be permitted re-entry.
How to Apply
If you meet the requirements and would like to be a BSA camp staff member in the United States, you should apply now.
- Download an application form for the International Camp Staff program.
Fill out the application and medical form and send it to your national Scout association for their approval before January 1.
Your national Scout association will approve your application and send it to: International Department, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Texas 75015-2079, U.S.A. All applications must be received by the BSA by February 15. Applications received after this date will not be considered for placement.
The BSA will notify you of your acceptance.
If you have any questions, contact your Scout association.