Last Sunday, our Troop spent the day at Northern Star Council’s newest camp – Base Camp. From their website: “It is designed as a place – “Where expeditions begin” – to introduce young people from all communities to the type of activities that are core elements of Scouting and our “learning by doing” approach to non-formal education. Young people of all ages and backgrounds can experience the adventures of Scouting right in the heart of the metro area.”
We had 9 boys and 4 adults take part in the day’s fun activities. So that’s 13 people total, and we had the place to ourselves. 2 staff members with us all day and an extra staffer was with us during the high ropes portion of the day. We started off with indoor archery. The first 6 or 8 rounds were your typical archery – just shooting arrows at the targets. Then they spiced it up a bit and gave us a few different challenges – like trying to get one arrow in each color on the target, and placing paper cups and balloons on the targets to see if we could hit them.
Then it was off to the rock wall. Seemed to be the most anticipated thing of the day – and many of the older boys ate this up. I was impressed to see that all of the boys had been climbing already, and they all worked as teams very well together. Lots of encouragement, and lots of help to find the right hand and foot holds.
Lunch time was pizza – and all but 3 pieces remained. The Mrs. and I debated on how many to order, and I’m glad we kept it at 6 pizzas (I over-order most of the time). By this time in the day, the boys were getting a little tired both physically and mentally, so lunch and a breather was a great idea.
After lunch it was time to hit the high ropes course. This is indoors as well, and during this time is when the tornado hit the Minneapolis area. Our director for the day, Karl, had this ‘deer in headlights’ look as he approached me to inform me of the weather situation, and if it moved any closer to us, we’d have to get the kids off the course quickly and into the designated storm shelter. No big whoop, just like summer camp, really. We wound up not having to do it, but we were ready to just in case.
Finally, it was time for the Space Shuttle simulator. Being the space geek that I am, I was really looking forward to this. Sadly, it was the most disappointing thing we did all day. Very little instruction, and we all came out of it feeling like we didn’t gain a thing from it. The staff seemed to think the software was goofed up, and I sure hope so for their sake. But, you live and you learn. I really doubt if we return to Base Camp that they’ll want to do this part over.
We were then treated to an unplanned bike ride around Fort Snelling. The weather had cleared up, and it was a beautiful afternoon for a bike ride. The bikes provided were very nice, and we didn’t really bike all that far. It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful day, however.
To recap, I would have to say that Base Camp is definitely worth the cost. (Cost is based on what activities you want to do, and whether or not you need them to be staffed – see their website for details.) All of us, including the adults, had a great time. What’s not to like about it? You’re basically getting to do most of the things that are the highlights of summer camp, closer to home and anytime of the year. I think this place is going to wind up on our annual planning agenda in August. A HUGE thank you to the Mrs. for setting all of this up – I hope you can come with if we go again, I think you’ll love it too.