Staff Training

Staff Training is an integral part of preparing the staff to create the safe and caring atmosphere that makes Sandy Hill such a special place. There are two sessions of staff training. Many staff attend one of the "Specialty Training" sessions (Waterfront, Ropes, Equestrian) depending on your specific skills and staff position. All staff must attend the "All-Staff Training" week from June 14-21. 

Training Types:

  • Waterfront Training

  • Ropes Training

  • Equestrian Training

  • Creative Arts Training

  • Kitchen and Support Staff Training

  • All-Staff Training


Waterfront Training

For staff members with skills in boating, the intense 8-day Waterfront Training is held here at camp from June 5th to 13th and is divided into three sections:

  1. Introduction to the Sandy Hill Waterfront

  2. Red Cross Lifeguard Training

  3. Certification in either sailing, canoeing, or waterskiing/boat-driving

Waterfront Training begins by exposing the staff to all aspects of the Sandy Hill waterfront. By familiarizing all staff with the basics of each part of the waterfront, you will learn how to assist with activities, emergencies, and care of the equipment and facilities. Staff typically rotate through stations that involve proper technique and safety for canoeing, sailing, basic boat driving, boat maintenance, rescue skills, knot-tying, and more.

Part 2 of the Waterfront Training week is lifeguard training by the American Red Cross. The pre-requisites to become a lifeguard include a 500 meter swim (200m freestyle, 200m breaststroke, 100m freestyle or breaststroke) and retrieving a weighted object from the bottom of the deep end. Some staff only do the lifeguard portion of the Waterfront Training week, while most continue on to the remaining section.

Finally, staff members earn their certification in one of three tracks - canoeing, sailing, or waterski/boat-driving. Canoers are certified as Instructors by the American Canoe Association. Sailors are certified by the US Sailing Association. And waterski folks are certified as Level 1 Instructors by WaterskiWorks. 

Before your arrival at camp, all sailors and boat-drivers must complete the online Maryland Boat Operator's course.


Ropes Training

Sandy Hill has an outstanding high and low challenge course. From June 5th to 13th, staff attending Ropes Training will learn about safety, setup, equipment care, emergency procedures, rescues, climbing techniques, knots, and more. You'll also get to practice both as a participant and a facilitator on each other and on some camp-age kids under the supervision of trained Ropes Staff. Staff who successfully complete the final written and hands-on exams will be certified to operate all or portions of the ropes course. We have a lot of fun getting to know each other through it all too!


Equestrian Training

Equestrian trained staff are expected to already be very familiar with riding and horse care. Equestrian Training week offers the chance to get familiar with Sandy Hill horses, procedures, equipment, and facilities. We have 23 horses in the summer (approximately 2/3 are owned by Sandy Hill and free-leased in the off-season to families and riding teams). Much time is devoted to riding the newly arrived horses and getting them ready for camp.

Equestrian training is from June 5th to 13th and includes instructor certification by CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association). 


Creative Arts Training

Counselors not already in waterfront, ropes, or equestrian training may be invited to participate in the Creative Arts (CA) training. CA Training focuses on three specific areas within Creative Arts: International Cooking (aka "iCook"), Photography and Crafts. It runs from June 11th to 13th. In addition to safety training, counselors prepare all of the menus for International Cooking class and Sweet Tooth elective, learn about the photography curriculum and equipment, and create many of the sample crafts made in Crafts class and Free Time crafts. It is also a great way to get to know some of your fellow staff members before All-Staff training begins.


Kitchen and Support Staff Training

For all Assistant Counselors, Kitchen Counselors and Support Staff, Pre-Training provides an opportunity for staff members to begin to get to know one another and get familiar with the Sandy Hill campus before the formal All-Staff Training week begins. This 24-hour training is chock full of "get-to-know-you" activities, as well as some specific training sessions. Assistant Counselor's and Kitchen Counselors will receive basic food-service training at this time and an orientation to the camp kitchen equipment and procedures. 


All-Staff Training

This is the week of required staff training that covers a variety of topics. Learn about issues including emergency procedures, first aid, behavior management, effective teaching methods, learning disabilities, the camp schedule, and camper health and hygiene. Staff training is also a lot of fun as you meet and begin relationships with the rest of our great staff. For those interested, archery certification is also available during this week. All-Staff Training week from June 14-21 is mandatory for all first-time Counselors, Support, and Leadership Staff.