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 firstname.lastname@example.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. All camps that are operated by a Boy Scouts of America council are required to meet the standards that fit the type of camp being operated.
The Standards At-A-Glance have been updated in an Excel format for ease of use as working documents. The Council Camping Leadership and the Area Assessment Team Leader should mutually agree on which standards are not applicable to the camp and delete them from the form leaving a cleaner document of only those standards which do apply for use during the assessment process.
- Standards At-a-Glance
Intent to Operate
As part of the National Camp Accreditation Program (NCAP) process each and every camp must complete an Intent to Operate. 2018 brings a new method to gathering this data.
If a camp does not complete the Intent to Operate they do not meet the NCAP standards so please make certain that your camp does not become “non-compliant” because of missing paperwork
Council Authorization of Camps
The NCAP’s multiyear authorization cycle begins with the council submitting an application to the region through the NCAP Committee. This process is designed to help a council review its program and property and realize the true impact it has on its operation. The application contains a description of each of the council’s camps for which it is seeking an Authorization to Operate. The council will use the Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool, an objective assessment of council camp facilities from a brand perspective, and the Council and Camp Sustainability Data Sheets that provide an objective assessment of the contribution of the camps, individually and collectively, to the council’s financial sustainability. The council will then develop a Continuous Camp Improvement Program to review the programs, staffing, attendance, finances, and facilities, and then develop a plan to improve and grow in all areas.
The application requires a review and approval by the council’s executive committee or executive board so that everyone understands the impact of the camp on the council. After completion of the documents, the region’s NCAP team will review all documents and plans, and then authorize the council to operate the various facilities.
- Council Application for Authorization to Operate, No. 430-079
- Council Sustainability Data Sheet, No. 430-090
- Camp Sustainability Data Sheet, No. 430-940
- Continuous Camp Improvement Plan help sheet
- Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool, No. 430-085
Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool
The evaluation of your facilities needs to be an ongoing process by a team from the council looking at every aspect of the camp and the program it offers. Evaluate the buildings to see if they are sound and can physically handle the wear and tear of the operations of the property. The team also needs to make certain that a building meets the needs of the program that is being offered. A building that doesn’t meet the program needs—and maybe hampers the program—isn’t a good fit for the camp.
Is the camp appealing to the people who come to it? When a parent or community member drives into the camp, do the buildings and grounds meet the BSA’s brand? Does the camp make them want to stay or does it make them want to take their child, turn around, and never come back? The BSA and your council have an image. Does this camp and its buildings meet the image that you are trying to project?
In the evaluation of the buildings and program areas, items to be considered by a team are:
- Is the building/program area in good physical shape (no structural problems)?
- Does the building/program area meet the BSA’s brand?
- Does the building/program area meet the program needs?
- Are the building’s maintenance needs covered?
- Are the grounds maintained, and do the buildings have a fresh coat of paint on them?
- Is the sign at the camp entrance inviting?
The council should use the following document at least every other year (if not every year) to assist in this process.
Camp Commissioner Training
The Camp Commissioner’s requirement changed starting on January 1, 2017. To be certified to be a Camp Commissioner you have to have one of the following:
- Have a current certification in the Resident Camp Administration section of National Camping School.
- Have a current certification in the Resident Camp Director section of National Camping School.
- Have a current certification in the Resident Camp Program Director section of National Camping School.
- Be a registered active (for at least 6 months) and trained commissioner in your council, have your Council Commissioner’s approval, and complete the Camp Commissioner training with your Camp Director or his/her designee.
- Camp Commissioner Orientation Facilitators Guide
- Role of Camp Commissioner
- Skills for Working with Units
- Health & Safety Guidelines
- Camp Staff Job Description
- Common Camp Commissioner Duties
- Customer Service Facts
The Camp Chaplain’s requirement changed starting on January 1, 2017. Chaplains should be recognized as a qualified clergyman, seminarian, or layman by his or her own church body and is 21 years of age or older. We encourage chaplains to either complete the National Camping School section for Chaplains, or complete the training below so they understand the BSA and your camping program.
National Camping School
National Camping School is designed to help guide camp leadership to have successful strong programs in all Boy Scouts of America camping programs. See the link below for information on the schools that are scheduled in 2018 and a description of the courses that will be offered. Students are signed up by their council leadership. If you need the access link, please email email@example.com and request it.
Continuous Camp Improvement Program
The Continuous Camp Improvement Program provides camps the opportunity to review the program, facilities, finances, and staffing, then develop a process for improvements. In this document, the council commits to conduct an Annual Camp Continuous Improvement process, for each camp, which minimally:
- Utilizes the feedback obtained from the previous year’s camp evaluations.
- Involves council operating committees and camp management in the review, SWOT analysis, and prioritization/selection of at least three areas to be addressed for each camp.
- Annually, creates specific, measurable, SMART goals with timelines and implementation steps for each of the areas to be improved. (Continuous improvement goals should include the following: program, communications, facilities, finances, staff, attendees/participation.)
- Includes the desired CFET goal to be achieved within the proposed authorization term (five years) for each property and improvement goals for any camp facilities currently rated as fair (D) or poor (F), needing to be brought up to acceptable levels.
- Provides a written overview of the process goals and results to the assessment team as part of the annual Declaration of Readiness and subsequently discusses the process and progress during each assessment.
The council includes an updated progress summary of each year’s CCI goals as part of its next NCAP application process.
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.
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:
- National Camp Accreditation Program Info Sheet, No. 430-136
- Introduction to the National Camp Accreditation Program
- NCAP Orientation and Overview PowerPoint
- NCAP Assessor Training PowerPoint
- NCAP Program Info Sheet, No. 430-136
- Postcamp/Precamp Inspection Checklist, No. 430-310
- Declaration of Readiness, No. 430-072
- NCAP FAQs
- Request for Waiver or Variance, No. 430-083
- Council Implementation Guide, No. 430-073
- Area Implementation Guide, No. 430-074
- Financial and Technical Assistance Programs for Conservation on Scout Camp Properties
- Invasive Species Management Plan Template
- Considerations for Harvesting Timber on Scout Camp Properties
- Hunting Lease Templates
- Conservation Plan Template
- Sustainable Trails: Doing It Right the First Time
The National Council periodically issues NCAP Circulars to provide authoritative guidance to councils, areas, and regions in implementing the program.
- NCAP Circular No. 1
- NCAP Circular No. 2
- NCAP Circular No. 3
- NCAP Circular No. 4
- NCAP Circular No. 5
- NCAP Circular No. 6
- NCAP Circular No. 7
- NCAP Circular No. 8
- NCAP Circular No. 9
- NCAP Circular No. 10 (Corrected version dated November 10, 2017)
Please direct any questions about the National Camp Accreditation Program to firstname.lastname@example.org.