The campmaster corps is a group of selected, trained, and registered Scouters who serve at council weekend camps whenever Scouting units/Families are using any part of the camp property. Campmasters select their own time and frequency of service, but they usually serve two to four times a year. The group is organized under the leadership of the council camping committee. The entire project and its personnel are responsible to the Scout executive or camping director, or someone appointed by the Scout executive or camping director. The corps generally meets twice a year to evaluate its program, schedule ahead, and arrange for the training of any new members.
Campmasters are selected on the basis of their ability in several areas: outdoor skills, specialized knowledge of nature and conservation, and leadership skills. All campmasters must have a record of demonstrated ability to get along with people, to lead, and to act in an emergency. All campmasters must have a working knowledge of Scouting, and the Outdoor programs of the BSA. Experienced and registered Scouters, with the exception of unit leaders, are eligible for consideration as campmasters. (It is generally conceded that a unit leader’s major concern must be the particular unit served.)
The training prerequisite is determined by the council. It is important that the person have outdoor experience and people skills.
How to Get the Campmaster Corps Started
- Approval of the idea must come through the council camping committee to the council executive board.
- Upon board approval and the appointment of a chief campmaster, a dinner meeting is usually announced and all candidates are urged to attend as guests of the council, council president, council commissioner, or camping chairman. Note: Recruitment should take place before this dinner.
- At this gathering, the project is thoroughly explained and discussed. Following this, a six-month schedule is made with campmasters selecting their own dates of service. A complete roster is taken of all campmasters including names, addresses, and phone numbers. This roster is duplicated later and sent to everyone on the list.
- A primary concern at this meeting is the selection of a date, time, and place for campmaster training. No campmaster corps should function without first completing this orientation. A yearly update should also take place with experienced campmasters.
- A closing challenge and review of the purposes of this group should be given by the council president, council commissioner, or other responsible council representative.
General Duties of Campmasters
These principles will serve to guide the work of campmasters.
- Each two campmasters serve one to four units per weekend. Preferably, they stay in the general vicinity of the unit.
- They render commissioner-type service to the units in camp, working with and through the youth leaders and adult leaders as appropriate for the BSA program level.
- An annual or semiannual schedule is made up with campmasters assigned for each weekend camp. In case of schedule conflict, the campmaster arranges his/her own substitute among other corps members and notify the council service center and the camp ranger of any change.
- Campmasters supply their own transportation, bedding, and food.
- Campmasters serve two to four times a year.
- The corps is a select group and should not be limited to a fixed number.
- Campmasters must be trained in the Scout method of camping, purposes of Scout camping, and the patrol method in camping. They should have completed Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills.
- Campmasters coordinate the work of any specialists or merit badge counselors present so that units receive the maximum benefit from these skilled people.
- Campmasters submit a report to the camp ranger and council on their experience with each unit, along with an appraisal of its effectiveness.
- Campmasters are responsible to the Scout executive or to another staff member appointed by the Scout executive, or to the camp ranger. The campmaster corps should not be an organization. They do not become members of the council camping committee because of this service, but they do have a representative on the camping committee.
- Campmasters must attend campmaster training before performing their duties.
Prospective Campmaster Survey
The _____________________ Council has given formal approval for the formation of a campmaster corps to assist Scouting units and BSA leaders at all weekend camps (except during summer camp). Charter members of this corps will be selected by a special council committee.
Please look at the characteristics listed below and then list the names and addresses of the people who you feel would make good campmasters. Recruit at camporees, roundtables, summer camp, Order of the Arrow functions, etc.
- Would have an interest in assisting units at camp two to four weekends a year
- Is not presently a unit leader or assistant
- Has ability in outdoor Scouting skills—not necessarily an expert in all
- Has the ability to get along with people (very important)
- Has acceptable character traits (Scout Oath and Law)
- Would be eligible and willing to become a registered Scouter, if not one now
- Must take a weekend training session on how to be a successful campmaster
- Has leadership ability and can get results
- Can size up a situation and provide necessary support
- Is dependable
- Has completed Youth Protection Training
- Is certified in First Aid
Possible Sources of Campmaster Personnel
- Wood Badge Scouters
- Training committees
- Other council committees
- Certain commissioners
- Former successful Scoutmasters
- Merit badge counselors (outdoor subjects)
- Hobbyists of the area
- Eagle Scouts—now adults
- Troop committee members with outdoor experience
Now think over the above, look at rosters, and make your suggestions. Remember, you do not recruit these people. You don’t refuse for them. Just list some “right” names.
How Campmasters are Selected
After a member of the council camping committee is appointed or selected to head the campmaster group, the leader requests names of possible candidates for the corps. Suggestions may come from the council executive board, district committee chairmen, district commissioners, district executives, and advancement committee personnel. A careful appraisal should be made of these names before the candidates are invited to serve. The district executive or district commissioner may assist in this appraisal.
Again, it should be noted that no unit leader should be selected for this service. The number of campmasters needed will depend upon the number of camps to be served, the frequency of service by individuals, and the number of units in camp at one time. Each campmaster usually serves up to four units per weekend. For example, if 40 short-term camping sessions are to be covered September through June, and two campmasters are on duty each weekend with each two campmasters serving an average of three times in this period, a minimum of 27 campmasters would be needed. Campmasters should agree to serve a minimum of twice a year.
It is best to have two campmasters per weekend for companionship, coverage of more units, and to have a backup campmaster in the event one would have to leave camp in an emergency.
The council camp should supply the following for campmasters:
- Suitable quarters and sanitary cooking facilities
- Program tools and materials that may be available or obtainable for loan to units
- Campmaster corps certification and/or insignia
- Emergency equipment, facilities, and plans
- In-camp transportation, if needed
- Checkout and report forms
- Brief factual information about the units that will be in camp
- Information and schedule of any program specialists who will be in camp during the campout period
- Complete roster of names, addresses, and phone numbers of candidates