How to Run a Bead Reward and Recognition Program at Summer Camp

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Reward and Recognition programs are a great way to recognize effort and reward positive behavior. There are a number of programs you can run at camp, but my favorite is the bead program.

A bead program is where campers (and staff) earn beads that they show off on a necklace. Beads are given for displaying positive behavior, showing positive traits, accomplishing tasks, and more.

Starting a Bead Reward and Recognition program is one of the best things I have ever done at camp, program-wise. There are easier and less expensive reward and recognition programs, but at the time that I was trying different ones at the day camp I was directing, the bead program was the one that took hold of the camp when other programs did not.

It gives campers a wonderful take-away that they can hang in their room as a reminded of camp, all-year-long.


  • It promotes the behaviors you want to see from campers…and staff.
  • It includes everyone, not just the campers that are smart or athletic or outgoing.
  • It enhances the culture of camp.
  • It builds team spirit amongst the staff via peer-to-peer bead recommendations.
  • It helps with retention, as campers want to return for another week, or summer, to collect more beads.
  • It shows parents that their child was successful at camp.
  • It encourages campers to try new activities.

Warning: This program is not as easy as just giving out raffle tickets, stickers or camper-of-the-week certificates. It is quite involved and requires an investment in time and money. However, its impact goes way beyond those raffle tickets, stickers and certificates.

It’s also a program that can fail if not done correctly.

In this booklet I go over everything you need to know about running a successful bead necklace program.

The Wandering Moose

Welcome to my Patchwork store. Here you will find all sorts of resources on camp programming, as well as a few other odds and ends. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

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