BDLC Principles

The following principles guide the structure and conduct of the Baltimore Dakota Learning Camps.

Principle 1: Steering Committees/Teams Organization

How is the team comprised?

  • Members of the BDSC will be:
    • BDSC Chair – voting – Will serve through November of 2025 under new BDLC partnership.
    • Vice Chair – voting – Will start a one year term in September of 2024 – November of 2025 – This person will become the new BDSC Chair in January of 2025 and will serve a 5 year term until the signing of the next BDLC partnership. (October and November of 2026.)
    • Recording Secretary – voting –1 year renewable term
    • Camp Representatives – 2 per camp – voting – 3 year renewable term. May have extension if needed.
    • Member At Large – 1 – voting – 3 year renewable term
    • Budget Analyst – non-voting – 1 year renewable term
  • COR will receive a list of BDSC members, both voting and non-voting, each November/December.


  • Only members of the Presbytery of Baltimore may serve as voting members of the BDSC.
  • BDSC meetings are open to non-P of B persons who have a strong interest in the work of BDLC.


  • The BDSC meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month – January through May and September through November – 7:00 to 9:00 PM virtually via Zoom. One meeting a year to be in person.
  • The monthly minutes are shared with the BDSC and the Chair of the Commission on Reconciliation.
  • All decisions are shared either via email or at meetings, and all BDSC members may voice opinions regarding BDLC issues; however, only voting members of the BDSC will make the final decision.

Principle 2: Finances

Budget Preparation:

  • Camp budgets may be presented at the BDLC Partners’ Business Meeting starting in the fall of 2015.
  • A budget is prepared by the BDSC Chair, BDSC Vice Chair (when serving) and the Budget Analyst after the BDLC Partners’ Business Meeting and after the BDSC has had input on possible changes for the next year’s budget at the October BDSC meeting.

Budget Approval:

  • The proposed BDLC budget is then presented to the members of the BDSC via email prior to the November BDSC meeting.
  • The BDLC Budget will be approved at the November BDSC meeting by the voting members of the BDSC.

COR Review:

  • The BDLC Budget will be available for COR review and vote at the November/December COR meeting.

Budget Review and Expenditure Decisions:

  • The BDSC members will receive updates on the non-camp budget line items as decisions regarding above budget spending is needed or a review of expenses to date is deemed necessary. This information may be shared via email or at the monthly meeting of the BDSC.
  • Budget decisions will be made by the BDSC voting members and may be accomplished by email if the budget decisions need to be made before the BDSC will meet.
  • Reimbursements for expenses are handled by standard Presbytery of Baltimore vouchers.
  • The BDLC has a BDLC Financial Policy that was adopted by the BDSC.  All vouchers have a 30-day period deadline and must have an actual receipt to receive reimbursement. Credit card statements are not accepted.  Camp vouchers must be submitted by September 1.

Principle 3: Communications

Primary communicators:

  • With partners – Camp Leadership Teams with the BDSC Chair copied on email communication.  The chair of COR may also receive these emails as deemed necessary.
  • With COR – BDSC Chair or designated BDSC member.
  • With Presbytery – COR Chair with assistance from BDSC Chair/member as needed.

Who Speaks for the Reconciliation?

  • The BDSC Chair will be the primary spokesperson unless the BDSC has discussed designating another person to speak on behalf of the BDSC.  This decision will be made by the BDSC through discussion and their vote as needed.

Violation of Communication Chain:

  • If a member of the BDSC speaks for the group without prior discussion and authorization, the incident will be discussed by the BDSC and the person will be informed of the violation.  The COR Chair will be informed regarding these issues.
  • The person may be asked to communicate with the parties involved regarding the incident and the miscommunication.  The BDSC Chair and the COR Chair will also be involved in the communication that will need to take place.  The exact form and content of the communication will be discussed and agreed on by the BDSC, and the COR Chair will be informed of the decision.

Principle 4: Travel

Who Goes on Travel for BDLC?

  • Site visits are taken by the Presbytery of Baltimore BDLC camp leadership members or substitutes approved by BDSC each spring to meet with camp partners.
  • The BDLC Partners’ Annual Business Meeting will include one BDSC camp representative for each camp, the BDSC Chair and Vice Chair (when serving) starting the year before the BDLC partnership signing (October of 2024).  The BDSC Chair and Vice Chair will also attend in the partnership signing year (October 2025). This meeting is to take place at the Fall Stated Meeting of the Dakota Presbytery.
  • Two members of the BDSC will attend the Spring Stated meeting of the Dakota Presbytery as budget funds allow.   BDSC will make the decision regarding who will attend this meeting and will consider site visits that could be combined with the DP meeting. Site visit budgets may be expanded to allow for attendance at the DP meeting, and budget requests will be considered by the BDSC. BDSC members who wish to attend the DP meeting and pay their own travel costs may do so and should bring this request to the BDSC for approval.
  • Travel to the BDLC camps each summer is open to persons who apply and are selected through a series of interview questions which the BDSC has discussed and approved. The camp leadership will decide if a person is not a suitable candidate for a return to the learning camp in successive years based on success as a camp staff member.  The COR Chair will receive this information.
  • The BDSC seeks to recruit new persons to become a part of the BDLC experience through recruitment efforts each fall and early winter through visits to churches, ministry group meetings, personal contacts, and articles in Presbytery of Baltimore communications such as PresbyTidings.

Principle 5: Inter-Presbytery/Entity Relationship

Our Role with the Dakota Presbytery:

  • As we seek to strengthen our relationship with the Dakota Presbytery, the BDSC will attend the Fall and Spring Stated meetings of the Dakota Presbytery.
  • We will always consider budget constraints in regard to these visits and will discuss as the BDSC ways to help make these bi-annual trips a reality.

Principle 6: Cultural Sensitivity

Educating our BDLC participants:

  • BDLC applicants will receive mandatory staff training that will educate them about the people they will be relating to as a part of the BDLC.
  • Each learning camp has unique cultural traditions, and the camp leadership will work with their DP partners to assure that they include important aspects of this cultural education.
  • Some of the cultural sensitivity training will take place prior to the actual BDLC and will continue with the partners at the BDLC site during the camp week.
  • The cultural sensitivity training will include a time for questions and discussion so that all BDLC staff members will feel comfortable with the information they have received and the expectations that are being asked of them.
  • A BDLC library is present at all staff training and is customized to the particular campsite. Members are encouraged to check out books and read them prior the BDLC week.  Camp leadership will highlight specific books as a part of the staff training.  All staff is given a copy of “The Lakota Way”, and this book may be used as the basis for the morning devotions and/or evening reflections. Camp leaders may also choose other books of a similar nature to give to staff members in place of The Lakota Way.
  • Children and youth who go as campers with a BDLC will be given orientation information prior to the camp and also at the campsite by the camp leadership and the partners.
  • All BDLC participants will receive mandatory Child Protection training that is specific to the BDLC experience.
  • Prior to the start of camp, BDLC child protection policies will be discussed with our partners giving consideration to any partner’s cultural norms or concerns and we will discuss their child protection policies at this time.