Island District Service Camporee Makes Big Impact
By Rich Mueller
The tents have been dried, the camping gear is put away and it is time to reflect on another wonderful weekend of Scouting adventure. This weekend was definitely more special than most because it is camporee season and this was ours. Island District has a reputation of doing things a little different than most and this year’s camporee was a shining example of that unique, out of the box thinking.
In lieu of a “traditional” event where patrols compete against one another to see who can build the best fire or tie the best knot. Instead of trying to outdo one another we decided to work together make a positive change for a beloved park and a piece of American history. Two hundred Scout and Scouters gathered at Fort Casey State Park for a weekend of service, learning and fellowship. Our camporee started on Friday with an evening presentation from the Island County Historical Society on how the land was used before “settlement” and how those who came before used the land.
Saturday came and it was time to get to work, and work we did. Seven different projects simultaneously spread across the park. Some were relatively simple trail maintenance and site cleaning but the central focus of all of the work was the blazing of a trail to a rarely visited area of the park. Big deal, right? Well actually, yes, a very big deal. You see this trail was built following the original path the U. S. Army put in back in the beginning of the twentieth century. Back when this fort was needed for the defense of Puget Sound. This was a trail that park management has been trying to reopen for decades. Never under estimate the power of motivated Scouts. With nothing more than basic hand tools and a positive attitude we made it happen. So much so that when I gave one of the Park Rangers a tour of the trail he actually got emotional. His appreciation for the Scout’s work was evident.
After our work, we took time out for more education and some plain old fun. The Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion gave all of our Scouts a behind the scenes tour of the main fort and batteries. Back in the camp area there was human Foosball, Cooking competition and a bubble wrap stomp. The evening ended with a camp fire put on by the Island Chapter OA where they recognized Scouts elected by their peers .
By the numbers – 3 days, 2 nights, 200 Scouts and Scouters, 14 units from 3 districts, 7 service projects, 1,023 hours of total service, two very happy Rangers and one piece of American history preserved for future generations. Not a bad weekend…
The Island Chapter, Willit, meetings are on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 6:00pm
Located at the Troop 59 Scout Hall 311 SE 8th Ave Oak Harbor, Washington
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