NEW NCS Camp Director Training – What makes it new? And why should I sign up?

By – Samantha Mensinger, Hawkeye Area Council

This year, all local BSA council and National High Adventure Base camp directors who need to certified will participate in the newly updated week-long National Camp School training course. As no recertification courses will be offered, all camp directors get to dive headfirst into the new 2021 curriculum in preparation for this summer.

Hold up! What makes it different? What do you mean NEW? (Take a deep breath! I’ve got you!)

We all know it is best to “Be Prepared” – but there is so much more to running a successful summer program than NCAP standard mastery and writing inspiring incident reports. As part of the first class of camp directors to complete the new course, here are my top 4 take aways from the updated NCS camp director program and why you should reserve your spot today.

  • Implementing programs with short term camp administrator training for year-round camp opportunities – The meat and bones of outdoor programming is found in our summer camp opportunities. But why should the fun stop in August? By learning the ins and outs of short-term camping, you’ll be equipped for program opportunities all year long. Want to open the camp this fall with a weekend of activities hosted by the summer camp staff? You got it! How about a holiday weekend in the winter for your camp staff? Why not? The standards bring the safety, and you bring the camp goodness.
  • Practicing new ways to connect to your staff (and public) with microlearning – Be honest, now: anyone else hooked on TikTok as much as me? The platform is so successful because the videos are short and fun. I often find myself passing over reading an article if it looks too long, but I can always make time for a short video with a recipe or new DIY idea. (And cat videos. Definitely cat videos.) Our staff and campers have the same attention span. The new curriculum gives camp directors a chance to learn what type of information can be squeezed into 2 minutes or less of microlearning, as well as practice filming and editing them.
  • Remembering the importance of mental health for your staff AND you – You can’t pour from an empty bucket, and neither can your camp staff. Sessions on mental health at camp, staff morale, and delegation give you the tools you need to lead and support your staff with confidence. Sometimes that means keeping a stash of chocolate in your office. No judgement here.
  • Role playing real life scenarios to get out of the classroom and into the action – Of all the new lessons included in the NCS camp director curriculum, “Day in the Life of a Camp Director” got me out of the classroom and into head first into the action of a day running summer camp. The scenarios presented to us challenged every skill we developed over the week including delegation, conflict resolution, discipline, and prioritizing. I laughed. I cried. I got angry. And I walked away a more capable camp director.

My favorite part of the week, however, was getting to meet and work with other camp professionals from across the country. And that collaboration means just a bit more after last year.

Don’t miss your chance to take part in the exciting opportunities the new NCS camp director program has to offer! For dates and registration, head over to the website.