Helps for Presidencies
Principles of Camp Leadership

Principles of Camp Leadership

“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10).

Youth and adults can become successful camp leaders as they follow the leadership principles found in General Handbook: prepare spiritually, participate in councils, minister to others, and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ (see General Handbook, 4.2 and the class presidency leadership lessons found in Leadership Lessons.

leader praying

Your spiritual preparation will guide your efforts as you plan and prepare for camp.

Prepare Spiritually

As a leader, you can receive inspiration as you pray, study the scriptures, and fast while keeping the young women in mind. Consider attending the temple, where possible. Your spiritual preparation will guide your efforts as you plan and prepare for camp.

Participate in Councils

Young Women presidencies, adult camp leaders, and youth camp leaders meet to counsel together about camp. Counseling together in this way invites inspiration from the Holy Ghost and will help you discover effective ways to meet the needs of the young women and their families through camp. All those who participate in these councils should feel that their comments and ideas are valued (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:122; General Handbook, 4.2.5).

Priesthood Leaders

Ward and stake priesthood leaders have the primary responsibility for the young women and need to approve all plans for camp. Young Women presidencies should complete the Event and Activity Plan and counsel with and receive guidance from priesthood leaders about the purpose, goals, location, activity details, and schedule of camp. The priesthood leaders should also approve the budget guidelines and the plans for camp safety and security, which include selecting appropriate chaperones and determining camp standards for behavior and dress.

Priesthood leaders can call women from the ward and stake to help plan and administer camp. (If the camp includes young women from only the ward, then adult leaders should be called from that ward and not from the stake). They should also plan for a sufficient number of priesthood leaders to attend and visit camp. Two or more Melchizedek Priesthood brethren need to be present at all times during the camp to provide support and protection (see General Handbook, 20.5.5). For overnight activities, these priesthood leaders should stay in facilities that are separate from the young women and the adult women leaders. Priesthood leaders should avoid one-on-one situations with any female leader or young woman unless clearly visible to others.

Young Women Camp Leaders

Women in the ward or stake must be called by their priesthood leaders to be Young Women camp leaders. These camp leaders work with youth camp leaders to organize and conduct the camp under the direction of the Young Women presidency.


Youth Camp Leaders

Camp is an opportunity for the young women to develop and practice leadership skills as they plan for and lead at camp. Young women ages 16 and 17 can be called as youth camp leaders. These youth camp leaders should have the primary responsibility for planning, directing, and evaluating camp. They counsel with the Young Women presidency, ward and stake camp leaders, and priesthood leaders. If a ward or stake does not have young women this age, young women of other ages can fulfill these roles. Class presidencies may also have leadership responsibilities at camp. For resources to help the young women prepare for these leadership roles, see General Handbook section 4.2 and the class presidency leadership lessons found in Leadership Lessons.

Typical youth camp leader responsibilities include conducting the planning meetings, choosing and planning the activities, directing and conducting specific activities, and evaluating camp.

girls at camp

Minister to Others

“And they taught, and did minister one to another” (3 Nephi 26:19).

When we minister, we serve and teach others. Through ministering, all leaders have the opportunity at camp to strengthen relationships with and develop trust among the young women. Ministering requires love, sincere friendship, and a desire to strengthen others. Camp provides an environment where young women can become more like the Savior as they learn to minister to one another. As a leader, you can be an example of ministering as you lift others, build confidence through words and actions, choose to be patient, act as a peacemaker, avoid complaining, share your testimony, and reach out to include all.

If you are a youth camp leader, you have an even greater opportunity to minister to the young women at camp because you are more closely involved in their experiences. As a youth camp leader, you can minister to the young women at camp in the following ways:

  • Meet with each young woman individually. Get to know her and help her understand what to expect at camp.

  • Pray for each young woman by name before camp and each day during camp. Make sure each young woman is included and feels loved.

  • Perform simple acts of kindness and service.

  • Teach the young women about ministering. Invite them to minister to one another. At the end of each day share your experiences with one another.

girls at camp

Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ

All camp leaders are teachers by example and testimony. Camp should be rich with both spiritual and temporal learning. As you plan what to teach at camp, pray and ponder about each young woman. Provide each young woman with opportunities to feel the Spirit. Help her apply the doctrines of the gospel to daily experiences. Teach her skills that will prepare her for her future and protect her and her family in an emergency. Whatever principles you choose to teach, keep in mind that everything you do at camp should help each young woman accomplish the following outcomes (see also General Handbook, 11.1.1):

  • Strengthen her faith in and testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

  • Understand her identity as a daughter of God.

  • Live a worthy life as she obeys the commandments and lives gospel standards.

  • Receive, recognize, and rely on the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

  • Prepare for her divine roles as a leader, wife, and mother.

  • Understand and keep the covenants she has made.

  • Develop friendships and have fun.