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Staff & Staff Training

ximuyBelow you will find activities that have been added by different camps. You can click on the topic/title to view these resources.

Summer Camp Staff Retention

2022 Summer Camp Recruit 

Sample Summer Camp Staff Manuals

Many thanks for these camps who graciously shared their staff manuals:

Summer Camp Safety

Here are some resources (PowerPoints) you might find useful in training your staff:

Summer Staff College Scholarships

Andrews University (as of 8.22.23)
Andrews University offers a Summer Ministries scholarship that is $220.00 per week with a cap of 13 weeks.  (They ask that the camp email or fax a list of employees that will be attending Andrews University with the number of weeks that the each staff member worked along with their student ID number...if they have that information....by August 15 as it does help with student’s financial clearance. Fax is 269-471-3228).

Atlantic Union College  (Closed)
No information

Burman University (as of 10.06.22)
Students who are paid by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for summer service may recieve a scholarhisp equal to 30% of summer ministry earnings deposited on their school account by August 31st with verification from the employer of the summer earnings. The maximum award for any one or combination of 'Summer' scholarships is $1000. (NOTE: The US exchange is usually in your favor because students get an added bonus as we will calculate the exchange rate first on the payment made and then calculate the scholarship of 30% in Canadian dollars.  For example if a student earns $1000US and deposits it on their Burman student account, at a 1.30 exchange rate they would be depositing $1300Cdn approximately which would give them a $390Cdn scholarship for the year.)

La Sierra University  (as of 1.25.17)
La Sierra University will give a matching scholarship to students who work for the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a summer camp personnel during the summer prior to their fall enrollment. The university will match student's certified summer earnings that are applied to their fall term accounts. Matching funds are not available for reduced-tuition or off-campus programs. Students from the Pacific Union are matched 100% up to $2,000. Those outside the union are matched 50% up to $1,500. (NOTE: the payroll checks cannot be cashed, but submitted at the fall registration for payment on their bill). This information is subject to change for the 2017-2018 school year).

Oakwood College - No Information

Pacific Union College  (as of 10.06.22)
PUC matches 100 percent of certified earnings applied to tuition by students who work at a SDA youth camp or in a youth ministry program in the summer prior to Fall quarter enrollment, up to $2,000.

Southern Adventist University  (as of 8.24.23)
Southern Adventist University offers $175.00 for every week that a student works at summer camp up to a maximum of 12 weeks ($2,100). The total gets divided between the fall and winter semesters.

Southwestern Adventist University  (as of 1.25.17)
Students who work at summer camp that attend Southwestern Adventist University received a 75% match up to $2,000 in the spring on whatever the student puts down from their summer camp earnings on their bill in the fall.

Union College  (as of 6.24.21)
If you work at a Christian summer camp, Union will match 75% of net summer camp earnings or summer camp scholarships applied to your account up to $2,000.


  • December 1 deadline to submit all paystubs and place earnings on account.
  • Scholarship match is applied to student account for spring semester.
  • Income must be from summer employment prior to fall semester enrollment. (Exceptions are made for students serving as task force, international volunteers or studying through Adventist Colleges Abroad.)
  • Open to all Christian camps.
  • Excludes student church interns, conference or union office workers.
  • International students must provide a letter from the camp/conference stating net earning if they did not receive a paystub.
  • This scholarship is available to incoming freshman, current students and transfer students with the following exceptions: graduate students, guaranteed education students, baccalaureate bonus students and Board of Trustee recipients.

Walla Walla University (as of 10.11.22)
WWU matches up to 75% of the student's gross summer earnings up to a maximum match of $2,000 when a student works as an overnight summer camp staff member. (Day camps, student church interns, conference or union office workers are not eligible for this scholarship.) The award is distributed half winter quarter and half spring quarter.

Training and Certification for Camp Staff

Summer Camp Directors:
Here is a few easy ways to get your activity staff the training and certification they need. Check out the attached flyers and learn what Southern Adventist University’s Outdoor Education Department can do for you!

A New Tool for Staff Training

Now some of my best material is available to all of your staff, right over the Internet and you can begin training staff as soon as they're hired.  Each module teaches critical leadership skills that every camp counselor needs to effectively deal with the social, behavioral, and disciplinary situations that arise at all day and resident summer camps. Together, the modules complement the face-to-face training that you or I might conduct with your staff.

Leadership Essentials combines an accessible, cost-effective format with cutting edge content.  And from your Director Dashboard, you'll be able to track when staff log on, who has watched which modules, and what their post-module quiz scores were.  You can even add custom content for your staff in the form of PDFs or MP4s. 

— Dr. Chris Thurber

Check out these great tools for staff training!

Domestic Violence Resources

Camp Professionals at times have to deal with domestic violence issues. Here are some web sites taken from the 411 newsletter that might be a good resource to you.

Staff Training Spiritual Resources

The 2008 BlueTreeResources Staff Devotional – by Nancy Ferguson

Provide your summer staff with the resources they need to strengthen their faith and deepen their own spiritual growth. The devotional consists of eight weeks of devotional material with a scripture reading, reflection, and prayer included for each day. The focus of this summer’s devotional is the Creation. You purchase the original as a CD or download as well as permission to make as many copies as you need for the your camp staff in the summer of 2008. The devotionals are available for $40 at www.BlueTreeResoures.org

Training Staff to Be Spiritual Leaders – by Nancy Ferguson

In response to the recent conversation among camp leaders about strengthening the spiritual development of staff and campers, this book contains activities for staff training as well as a foundation of understanding about Christian spirituality. Beginning with a detailed review of the Six Spiritual Steps, the majority of the book is committed to providing dozens of activities based on the spiritual steps you can use with your staff. Published by Healthy Learnings/ACA Bookstore, the book is available for $19.95 from www.acacamps.org/bookstore

Nancy Ferguson, a Presbyterian minister and educator, has more than 30 years of experience working with church camps and developing resources for them. She is the author of Retreats for Renewal (Discipleship Resources, 2008), and Christian Educator’s Guide to Evaluating and Developing Curriculum (Judson Press, 2008) as well as co-author with Kevin Witt of The Retreat Leader’s Manual (Discipleship Resources, 2006). Her website –BlueTreeResources - is committed to providing resources for outdoor ministry leaders.

Nancy Ferguson
Outdoor Ministries Consultant

Reconnecting Children and Nature

Richard Louv's important book, Last Child in the Woods, started a movement that is sweeping the country. Research clearly shows the benefits of outdoor play for children—physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually!  And camps have always championed those connections with the natural world, whether in urban or rural settings, in day or resident camps. 

Check out the Web site of The Children and Nature Network, www.cnaturenet.org, the group started by Rich Louv to help grass-roots efforts across the country. They have just published a fine report of all the activity so far and you can download the report on their home page.