Staff Development Program

SDP Week 1 is full on Girl’s Side

The Staff Development Program is a week-long leadership program for teens entering 9th-12th grade that focuses on service and character development. This program is for teens who want to learn the skills necessary to transition from camper to camp counselor. SDPs learn about leadership, camp counseling techniques, including how to be a positive role model for the campers, and how to facilitate camp activities. SDPs who successfully complete the four levels of this program will have a skill set that will transfer to any career path.

“I remember coming to camp for the first time and what an impact my SDP and Counselor had on me. When I found out that I could do what they did for me and for other kids, there was no doubt in my mind that this was what I wanted to do.”- A Real SDP


Freshman SDPs, those entering 9th or 10th grade in the fall, can attend SDP Training Week where they will live with other first-year SDPs practicing skills to be a more experienced SDP. The freshman level is a great step to learning our SDP C.H.A.M.P model. A retreat attendance is required for acceptance as a Freshman SDP.


Come to camp for 1 ADVENTURE Camp week and live with the campers and counselors serving as a role-model for the cabin. Training intensifies becoming more program specific as you will be in charge of campers at various parts for the day. You will also have a daily meeting with the camp’s Leadership Staff in which you will talk about the process and learn new skills to help you become a better SDP.

Sophomore SDP Price: $370


Come to camp for 2 ADVENTURE Camp weeks for the price of one. Juniors have increased responsibility, time with campers and expectations. Camp Benson is much more selective of who progresses to this level as we will seriously begin to talk about their role as future staff members at YMCA Camp Benson.

Junior SDP Price: $270


Come to camp for 3 weeks for only $70 each session. Senior SDPs will experience top level responsibility including cabin responsibilities and leadership. Senior SDPs are the largest pool of potential staff members.  All seniors are granted a formal staff interview in the winter.

Senior SDP Price: $70