It’s Not A Job, It’s An Urban Adventure
No, we’re not talking about one of those woodsy spots with rustic cabins (or space to pitch tents). This camp is located on the edge of Fort Snelling, where the freeways intersect. It’s an easy hike from the Fort Snelling light rail stop. And you don’t need a tent—it’s nearly all indoors.
Welcome to Base Camp, owned and operated by the Northern Star Council chapter of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Opened in October 2010, Base Camp is housed in a 35,000-square-foot building that features rope courses, an archery range, and a climbing wall modeled on the sheer bluffs at Taylors Falls. During warmer months, campers can use the outdoor climbing walls and rope courses, or use the camp’s bicycles to hit the bike trails in Fort Snelling State Park.
Base Camp’s edifice was constructed in 1907 as a dirt-floored drill hall for the men and mounts of the U.S. Army Calvary stationed at the fort. As horses became a less favored form of military technology, the drill hall fell into disuse. The Northern Star Council purchased it in fall 2008 for $4.2 million and put about the same amount in to renovate it.
The only urban BSA “camp” in the country, Base Camp was established, “to positively influence the youth in our area, and they don’t need to be Scouts” to use the facility, says Kathryn Wyatt, Base Camp’s director. Besides school groups, businesses including Comcast, UnitedHealth Group, and Target have used it for corporate gatherings. Campers don’t need to be young, except at heart.