These 13 core competencies:

  • Establish standards of practice that help guide career development systems as well as provide recognition to professionals in the camp community. 
  • Serve as the framework for development of new as well as existing professional development opportunities and resources.
  • Focus explicitly on what individuals need to know and do, as opposed to standards for accreditation that emphasize what programs must do to ensure safe, effective services.  

stock photo

Develop and implement sound business practices that include fiscal responsibility, marketing, e-business, and other technological applications.

Competency Aspiration

Develop a business model and practices that are implemented in an ethical and responsible manner and adhere to legal policies and practices resulting in customer satisfaction and organizational sustainability.

Create an environment that builds capacity within the camp community to understand, accept, value, and honor the unique contributions of all people.

Competency Aspiration

Maintain an inclusive camp community that eliminates stereotypes, bias, and bullying based on differences that include but are not limited to age, gender, ability, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, and socio-economic status.

Observe, assess, and evaluate to document that program/curricula meets the needs of the participants as well as the stated goals of the program. 

Competency Aspiration

Implement systems for observation, assessment, and evaluation as a way to benchmark program practices, improve program quality, and document participant growth and learning.

Family in a canoe

Understand the role of the family and community in the development and growth of participants.

Competency Aspiration

Maintain connectedness and civic engagement within communities by linking camp processes and outcomes to external communities.

stock photo of young teen looking sad

Establish and maintain an environment in which program and management practices support the physical and emotional well-being of the camp community.

Competency Aspiration

Establish a camp community that fosters wellness as well as encourages healthy lifestyle choices.

camp staff with camper

Design and administer policies and practices focused on staff recruitment, selection, training, and retention that align with organizational goals.

Competency Aspiration

Develop systematic personnel policies and practices to promote professional development, diversity, organizational behaviors, and leadership development that support all staff needs. 

campers and counselor smiling for camera

Serve youth/families/adults in a professional manner and participate in the community as a representative of the camp profession.

Competency Aspiration

Serve youth/families/adults in a relevant, up-to-date, and ethical manner that demonstrates a strong sense of professionalism through evidence informed professional practice.

See all Leadership resources

campers reading under tree

Create an environment that provides learning experiences that meet each individual’s needs, capabilities, and interests in ways that complement developmental tasks in all domains.

Competency Aspiration

Provide support for the development of learning skills that complement individual learning styles to minimize learning loss, increase learning readiness, and acquire specific content knowledge appropriate to the camp’s mission and goals. 

See all Learning & Curricula resources

volunteers cleaning up outdoors

Establish a learning environment that capitalizes on the experiential opportunities offered within the camp setting to facilitate an emotional connection to — and stewardship of — nature.

Competency Aspiration

Build participants’ appreciation of nature as well as model practices that promote stewardship and sustainability. 

See all Nature & Environment resources

Staff running

Design and implement appropriate youth/adult programs that engage and empower participants.

Competency Aspiration

Provide programs/curricula that support mission, goals, and desired intentional outcomes of the camp experience. 

Risk Management

Establish and maintain an environment in which risk assessment and management practices are implemented.

Competency Aspiration

Establish and maintain proactive risk management practices that address safety within the camp experience and environment for staff and participants.

stock photo

Develop and maintain infrastructures of the program site to support sustainable and safe operations that follow sound environmental management practices.

Competency Aspiration

Develop and maintain structures, spaces, and properties in safe, well-maintained, and inviting conditions that promote the well-being of participants and the camp setting as well as encourage organizational sustainability.

staff sitting on grass

Understand and apply to the camp experience how all youth and young adults learn and develop in physical, social, emotional, and cognitive domains.

Competency Aspiration

Adopt a systematic approach to embrace inclusive positive youth and adult development practices in the camp experience.