History-Making Scout Camporee to be Hosted at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Photo of boy scouts raising an American flag at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center.
In the spring of 2018, scouts raised the flag at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center before performing service hours to earn their Scout Ranger Badge. By the time of the April Camporee, 100 scouts will have donated service hours to the national park.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: April 19, 2018

Contact: Tracy Fortmann, Superintendent, (360) 816-6205

Contact: Bob Cromwell, Chief of Interpretation, (360) 816-6253

The National Park Service is pleased to announce that Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host the 2018 Camporee of the Fort Vancouver District of the Cascade Pacific Council, Boy Scouts of America: "Road to Fort Vancouver: The Trappers." The Camporee will take place on April 27 through April 29, 2018.

"The National Park Service has a long-standing relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. Our organizations share the goals of instilling the value of resource stewardship and conservation in young people, and recognize that our young are our nation's leaders of tomorrow. Both the Boy Scouts and the National Park Service aim to educate youth about our nation's most precious natural and cultural resources and parks," said Tracy Fortmann, Superintendent of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

The Camporee will showcase exciting scouting skills that connect to the nationally-significant fur trade and military history of Fort Vancouver. "We are anticipating that 350 scouts will be in attendance at this historic Camporee," said David Carsten, Camporee Chief. "This will be a celebration of how scouts can come together with the National Park Service, the Cowlitz Tribe, and many other partners to engage youth in the nearly 200-year history of Fort Vancouver."

The Camporee will also host a leadership-training program for scout-aged girls who are interested in becoming part of the scouting program. Girls will learn scouting essentials and compete with the other scouts in the activities of the Camporee. "The Cascade Pacific Council is an early adopter of family scouting, which will include girls aged 11-17 in the scouting program scheduled for February 2019," said Mike Filbin, Fort Vancouver District Chairman. "The Fort Vancouver District is taking the initiative to prepare these girls to take on leadership roles in scouting and in life."

Scouts and scouting leadership will begin arriving at the national park on Friday afternoon, April 27, and will be staying overnight both Friday and Saturday nights. The scouts will camp on the historic Parade Ground in the same locations where U.S. Army soldiers camped on bivouac in the 19th and early 20th centuries. On Saturday, April 28, 2018, there will be a full day of fun, educational, and competitive opportunities for scouts at various stations, where scouts demonstrate their skills in orienteering, Chinook trade language, fire building, lashing, trade axe, bucksaw, and plants and animals.

The Cowlitz Tribe has collaborated with the Fort Vancouver District to kick off the Camporee on Saturday morning with its renowned drumming group, tribal elders, and religious leaders. During the day, tribal members will teach the Chinook jargon trade language to the scouts. Tanna Engdahl, Female Religious Leader for the Cowlitz Tribe stated, "The Cowlitz Tribe continues to master its own history coming back to this fort as a sovereign tribe under its own flag. We come to stand with the youth of this nation at a time when girls are joining the scouting movement. This is an amazing trifecta of time when one views an ancient people in a historic fort overseeing a major shift in a century of scouting. The change-agents of the future will be seen here."

Scouts who provide three hours of service to the national park and attend the Camporee will earn the National Park Service Scout Ranger patch. Many scouts have already accomplished these service hours earlier in the spring of 2018. "We are exceedingly pleased that so many scouts have provided service hours to the park so far, including orchard maintenance, painting, trash pickup, and other important work that really helps us and can instill the value of work and stewardship for these boys and young men," said Alex Patterson, Chief of Maintenance of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

In addition, The Eatery at the Grant House, which is also open during the Camporee, is sponsoring a Dutch Oven Cook-Off for the scouts and adult scouters. As the sponsor, The Eatery at the Grant House will provide the ingredients for the cook-off as well as the judges. Each team will be required to cook an authentic 1845 dessert using the spices and ingredients that were available at Fort Vancouver in the early 19th century.

While the camporee events are not open to the public, the national park will still be open during the event. The public can still visit the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Visitor Center, the reconstructed fort, and Pearson Air Museum. The public is also encouraged to watch the events from a safe distance and cheer on the scouts! If members of the public are interested in learning more about scouting opportunities in general, there will be information available at the picnic shelter adjacent to the national park's visitor center.

Last updated: April 19, 2018

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