Purpose of the National Camp Accreditation Program
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:
- Application and Authorization to Operate review
- National camp standards
- 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 email@example.com.
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
To help you determine which of the standards covers your camp, here are the listing of standards by “camp type”. Make certain that you have confirmed with your Assessment Team Leader and your Council’s NCAP Chairman to make certain you all agree that you are not missing any standards.
Due to the rapidly changing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on councils and their camps across the country, the BSA is accelerating the annual timeline for councils to submit their “Intent to Operate” for the 2021 long-term camp season. The 2021 Intent to Operate for long-term camps and council properties due date is now September 30, 2020. Per each council’s Authorization to Operate, and as required by NCAP standard AO-802, each council must file an annual “Intent to Operate”. An Intent to Operate must be submitted for the following properties and programs:
- Camp Properties Intent to Operates are due for all properties owned and operated by the Council that have outdoor programs conducted on them (including units camping). If you fill out an intent to operate for a long-term camp, you need not submit an additional camp property intent to operate. Due date is no later than September 30, 2020.
- Long-Term Camp Intent to Operates are due for all long-term (Resident) programs for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA and Venturing operated by the council. Due date is no later than September 30, 2020.
Changes for 2021
NEW! Day camps do not have to submit an intent to operate to the national council. In addition, Short-Term Camps (new NCAP classification beginning 1/1/2021) will also not require an intent to operate be filed nationally. As locally managed programs under the council’s NCAP Authorization, these approvals will take place locally using the new form, “NCAP Local Council Authorization and Assessment Declaration”. These forms must be approved by the Scout Executive and retained locally with the required NCAP documentation per NCAP standards. The forms will be available starting November 1, 2020.
Before you start your Intent to Operate – you will need the following information:
- 2019 camping attendance
- 2021 forecast 6/30 membership
- Camp capacity(s)
- Anticipated 2021 camp attendance by type (campers, adults and by program)
To file your 2021 Intent to Operate find your link here:
Long Term Camps enter here
Camp Properties enter here
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.
- 2021 NCAP Council Application for Authorization to Operate
- 2021 Council Sustainability Data Sheet
- 2021 NCAP Camp Properties Sustainability Data Sheet
- 2021 Guide to NCAP Continuous Camp Improvement Program
- 2021 NCAP Continuous Camp Improvement Plan Help Sheet
- 2021 NCAP Sustainability Commitments Application Form
- Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool (CFET) 2021 version
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.
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.
Annual Assessment Program - Scoresheets
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.
There are two types of assessments:
Self-Assessments – Conducted by the Council for Day Camps, Family Camps and Properties
Area Led Assessments – Conducted for all other camps and led by the Area NCAP team
The Scoresheet itself has changed and we have converted to a new program. It is a web-based program that can be done on a computer, tablet or your phone. The questions have stayed the same as before, but the actual program is different – you must have access to the internet to make this work and you need to complete it in one sitting.
The program is designed to automatically send the results to the required people and will ask you at the end of the scoresheet for your email address and the camp director’s email address so that you both also get a copy of the report. Those receiving copies are: Region NCAP Assessment Chair, Area Assessment Chair, Scout Executive, and the National NCAP Team. We then ask that the Assessment Team Leader make a PDF copy once you are done and send it to the Camp Director for their files.
To look at the scoresheet and to practice, if you desire, go to: Scoresheet Practice. In the practice scoresheet the emails will not go out to various people
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.
For the Latest information on National Camping School click HERE
- Area Implementation Guide, No. 430-074
- ATV Program Application – 2021
- Camp Director Resources Page
- Camp Health and Safety Information
- Council Implementation Guide, No. 430-073
- Declaration of Readiness – Day and Family Camps
- Declaration of Readiness – Long-term Camp
- Food Safety Cooking Chart
- Handbook of Personal Watercraft Basic
- NCAP Info Sheet, No. 430-136
- 2021 NCAP Local Council Authorization and Assessment Declaration Form
- NCAP Site Appraisal Form
- Personal Watercraft (PWC) Program Application – 2021
- Personal Watercraft Lesson Plans
- Postcamp / Precamp Inspection Checklist, No. 430-310
- Postcamp/Precamp Inspection Checklist, No. 430-310 (Fillable- version)
- Request for Waiver or Variance, No. 430-083
- Shooting Sports Application
The National Council periodically issues NCAP Circulars to provide authoritative guidance to councils, areas, and regions in implementing the program.
NCAP Circular No. 10 (Corrected version dated November 10, 2017)
NCAP Circular No. 13 (Issued April 9, 2019)
- NCAP Circular No. 15 (Issued January 26, 2021)
Please direct any questions about the National Camp Accreditation Program to firstname.lastname@example.org