By Dave Pack
May 05, 2017

Summer Camp Staff = Mission Preparation

I worked at camp when I was a teenager because I thought it would be a fun job. It was a lot of fun, but I had no idea that it’d help me prepare for my mission. There are several parts of the Scout camp experience that make it one of the very best opportunities to prepare for a mission.

2012-06-15-capturing-the-vision-of-scouting-eng_Trust Walk#1- A significant away-from-home experience

Elder Perry has taught that each missionary would be better prepared to serve if they could have a significant away-from-home experience before they go. Scout camp is ideal for that. It lasts 7 to 8 weeks of the summer. Youth can return home on the weekends and, during the week, they have to take care of their living quarters and interrelate with other staff members.

Group Hug#2- Companion unity

One of the big tests on a mission is companion unity. Camp provides a preview as they have a tent mate that helps them to learn new ways to relate to a peer. A full summer will provide many opportunities to learn humility, kindness, tolerance, meekness, and love. All of these skills are required for mission success.

2012-06-15-capturing-the-vision-of-scouting-eng_Bicycles#3- Teaching correct principles

Scout camp is unique when it comes to this. There are very few jobs that a teenager can get that will allow him to teach skills to others. They have to prepare lesson plans. They are trained in best teaching methods. They have to be able to be flexible and teach at a level that the people they teach will understand and demonstrate that they have learned the teaching objectives. Most staff members teach more than one subject which helps them to prepare to teach multiple lessons and principles on their missions.

2012-06-15-capturing-the-vision-of-scouting-eng_Archery#4- Leadership skills

Scouting is best at helping people hone their leadership ability. Each summer the council offers over 40 leadership training courses called NYLT. It is an intense leadership course that is a week long and very good at teaching leadership skills that are difficult to learn anywhere else. A youth could serve on both camp staff and NYLT staff in the same summer. The ability to lead in the mission field is required and too many missionaries have to learn on the job instead of having the skills when they start.

2012-06-15-capturing-the-vision-of-scouting-eng (1)#5- Learn to do hard things

Currently, work opportunities are not as available as they used to be. There are also a lot more conflicts for a teenager’s time than there used to be. Too many start their missions having never learned the value of hard work. Too many come home early, because they aren’t prepared to do the work that is necessary. Camp staff can help them learn how to work hard.

If you are engaged in the process of preparing missionaries, you need to seriously consider the opportunity to utilize summer camp staff as an important part of the process. If you can help us by having your best and brightest apply for summer employment at Scout camp, not only would camp improve in its delivery of a great experience, but you would also see an increase in the quality of preparation of missionaries that serve.

The BEFORE and...

The BEFORE and…

...the AFTER! Summer camp staff prepares missionaries!

…the AFTER! Summer camp staff prepares missionaries!

When I had the opportunity to serve as a bishop in the church,  I tried very hard to make these experiences available to the youth in my ward. Most took advantage and served. In the end, over my tenure as bishop, we sent over 95% on missions and none came home early. There are multiple reasons for this good success, but summer camp was a sizable piece to the success. Let us know if we can help you create opportunity for your future missionaries.

For more information and the summer camp staff application, click here.

Did you work on camp staff? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Dave Pack wrote this article at the end of 2014. With summer camp season coming up, we thought this was a perfect time to showcase the impact working at Scout camp can have on a young person’s life:



Author:  David C. Pack | Scout Executive, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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3 thoughts on “Summer Camp Staff = Mission Preparation

  1. ScottScott

    I totally agree. I am sure the list can go on and on but one thing I like to add when talking about this is the Uniform. There shouldn’t be a time at camp (other than night time) when a staff member should be out of uniform, so it is with missionaries. Serving a mission comes with many adjustments and the fewer physical adjustments a young man can make, the more he can focus on the spiritual ones.

  2. Avatarpei99

    All of my kids have served on camp staff and loved it!! They have learned tons of things as well as made life long friends. I also never here “I’m bored, what can I do?”. I’ve had two sons serve missions. The first credits camp staff and Timberline as what helped him the most to be ready for mission life. My other son recently wrote that serving on camp staff has made it so much easier to talk to people. He mentioned that he doesn’t even think twice speaking to a stranger because he did that every day at camp.

  3. Derrick LarsenDerrick Larsen

    There are few ways that a young man can grow immensely so quickly and that is by way of Scout Camp Staff. Other amazing opportunities like a two week Philmont Trek are what a boy needs to get him outside away from family and discovering his talents and his God. My two week experience at Philmont when I was a youth was a precursor for me to serve a mission. My Philmont experience was hard and because it was it made a mission not look so hard. I am so grateful for these awesome experiences and I would promote Camp Staff and Philmont for ever!


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