Orientation Guidelines

Under the State Department’s regulations (See Federal Register, 22CFR62.30(d), Participant Orientation), sponsors are required to offer orientation to all exchange visitors. The following checklist of orientation points should be covered before the International Camp Staff counselor’s arrival in the United States and at your camp. Add other points as they apply to your camp.

  1. Make certain salary is reaffirmed and method of payment is discussed.

  2. Review job description and responsibilities.

  3. View return ticket so that confirmations can be made at the appropriate time.

  4. Explain to whom the counselor is responsible.

  5. Go over personnel policies.

  6. Explain policies on time off and regulations for leaving camp.

  7. Cover procedures for receiving medical care, medical recheck, medical insurance, and prompt reporting for claims.

  8. Discuss the importance of personal hygiene and care of personal gear and quarters.

  9. Discuss care of personal valuables. Review petty theft problems in camp and how to protect personal gear and valuables.

  10. Explain guidelines for personal dress and regulations regarding staff uniforms.

  11. Review where the camp director lives, where the camp nurse (or medical officer) lives, where the immediate supervisor lives, and the location of toilets, quarters, dining hall, etc.

  12. Explain meal hours and procedures, menus, and expected mealtime behavior.

  13. Verify correct pronunciation of counselor’s name and pronunciation of key staff names for counselors.

  14. Review the BSA and camp policy on smoking.

  15. Review the BSA and camp policy on use of beer, wine, and alcohol on camp property.

  16. Review the BSA and camp policy on possession or use of illegal drugs and controlled substances.

  17. Review the BSA and camp policy on all types of child abuse. Ensure counselor has taken Youth Protection Training and, if not, provide instructions on how to do so.

  18. Conduct a physical tour of camp.

  19. Present a briefing on camp community and nearby cities: things to see, things to do, and opportunities for home hospitalities.

  20. Review people on camp staff, individually and collectively.

  21. Explain special local or state laws of which counselors should be aware.

  22. Emphasize policy and procedure on camp telephone calls. EMPHASIZE RESPONSIBILITY FOR LONG-DISTANCE CALLS.

  23. Check songs, stunts, stories, menus, Scout skills, and special features for which the counselor is qualified and/or prepared to offer to camp program. Agree on how and when each can be utilized.

  24. Review camp history, camp traditions, camp operating policies, and patterns. Provide instructions for taking any required training for members of the camp staff.

  25. Review local culture and features unique to the local area of the United States.

  26. Advise how to cash a traveler’s check, if necessary, and review denomination of U.S. coins and currency.

  27. Explain how to utilize Wi-Fi at camp and the type of plugs and wattage used in the U.S.

Suggested Activities for an International Day at Camp

  1. Before one meal, ask the international counselor to lead the troops in a grace from his or her country.

  2. Feature a dish or menu from the international counselor’s country at one camp meal.

  3. Have the international counselor teach one or two songs from his country.

  4. Feature the international counselor in a program activity during the day: a special pioneering project, a special camp cooking demonstration,

    or an audio-visual presentation on counselor’s country and/or Scout association.

  5. Play a game from the international counselor’s country.

  6. Stage a special flag ceremony highlighting the history and tradition of the international counselor’s national flag.

  7. Hold a World Brotherhood Campfire featuring the international camp counselor, and take up a collection for the World Friendship Fund.

  8. Have your international counselor perform a song or dance, tell a story native to his or her country, or exhibit and explain an item unique to his or her homeland.

  9. Have the international counselor conduct a “Scouting in England” show (or the appropriate nationality) each week.

Suggested World Friendship Campfire Program

  1. Opening ceremony and fire lighting
    Use a traditional camp ceremony or one offered by international counselor.

  2. Songs
    From country of international counselor or other countries. (See Scout Songbook—International Songs)

  3. International camp counselor
    Tell briefly about Scouting in his or her country.

  4. Songs

  5. World Friendship Fund
    Briefly explain, using World Friendship Fund brochure for reference; pass containers around campfire giving audience the opportunity to contribute to assist Scouting in other countries.

  6. Announcements

  7. Scout Vesper Song

  8. Scout Oath
    Have international counselor repeat the Scout oath of his or her country; then have Scouts repeat Scout Oath of the BSA.

  9. Closing ceremony

Ask everyone to stand and form a complete circle around the campfire; each person grasping the right wrist of his neighbor with his own left hand. The leader reads the following: We have formed a circle. It is round like the world. The earth, sun, moon, stars—and all the constellations above us—are round and represent to us the endless wonder of God.

If the principles of Scouting were accepted and used by the nations of the world, we would soon then realize the one great hope of mankind, of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” Each of you can help bring this about by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. A Scout is a friend to all other Scouts.

Sample Email From Camp Director to Counselor

From: Camp Director/International Representative
To: Robert (International Camp Staffer)
Subject: Welcome to Camp Awesome!

Dear Robert:

On behalf of the Takeany Council, I wish to welcome you as a member of our summer camp staff. We are excited about having you as a part of our team to add an international flavor to the camp experience for Scouts in our area.

Your primary position at camp will be Scoutcraft skills director, which will allow you to share the outdoor Scout skills you listed on your application. Also, we will provide you the opportunity to share information on your country with campers each week. You will need to take the BSA’s Youth Protection Training by visiting (provide instructions) and send me proof of completion. You will also be expected to take the following trainings: (list any necessary trainings that can be completed ahead of time and the instructions on how to complete them).

Our Camp Awesome covers 1,440 acres, with a 70-acre lake, in upstate New York. Please plan your travel to Albany, New York, where we will meet you on arrival.

You will be part of our 35-member staff family. We begin setting up camp and begin staff training on June 7. The first week with campers begins on June 14. We close our last camper period on August 1, and the staff is released on August 4.

During your stay with us, we will see that you have the opportunity to visit local points of interest and visit in the homes of host families.

Our weather is generally 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 32 degrees Celsius) during the day and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 21 degrees Celsius) at night.

It is usually dry, but we do get rain occasionally. All of our staff and campers live in tents. You will be assigned a tent, 8 feet by 10 feet (2.4 meters by 3 meters), equipped with a wood floor, cot, mattress, and a storage chest for personal belongings.

Enclosed you will find a list of suggested items to bring, plus information on our area. If you have any special dietary or religious needs while you are in camp, please let us know.

I look forward to hearing from you at an early date. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask.


George P. World
Camp Director

cc: International Department, BSA


Equipment List
Camp Brochures and Staff Guide
State Map of New York

Suggested Equipment List

(Ensure your list is specific to your camp.)

Use the following list as a guide in determining what to bring. Appropriate clothes will be needed for travel to and from the United States, and for six to 11 weeks (specify exact number of weeks) of camp life. Plan for hot weather with possible cool nights.

Personal Equipment Required

  • Two complete Scout uniforms

  • Two blankets or a sleeping bag

  • Poncho or raincoat

  • Laundry bag

  • Rubber-soled shoes

  • Towels and handkerchiefs

  • Bible, testament, or prayer book

  • Dress-up outfit: Shirt, tie, coat, trousers (men) or dress (women)

  • Duffel bag or pack

  • Sweater or jacket

  • Underwear, socks, pajamas

  • Bathing suit

  • Toiletry and sewing kits

  • Flashlight and Scout pocketknife

  • T-shirts and shorts


  • Watch, camera, film, notebook, pen, pencil, drinking cup (collapsible), musical instrument, duffel bag lock, air pillow (small), songbook, coin purse or wallet, sunglasses.

  • $200 to $600 (or more) pocket spending money if you plan to buy souvenirs or go sightseeing. The money should be on a reloadable prepaid card or in the form of traveler’s checks to avoid loss or theft.

  • International calling card or cellphone with international calling capabilities.

  • Gifts are not necessary, but you may wish to carry a few small things with you to give to people whom you visit. These items should be inexpensive, lightweight, and not breakable. You may wish to consider some of the following items of interest from home:

—Pamphlets of your country

—Tourist leaflets

—Postage stamps from your country

—Small coins (to give as mementos)

—Picture postcards

—Scout mementos (patches and neckerchiefs)

—Small flags