An exciting time for Scouting here in Minnesota. The Base Camp
open house happens tomorrow (Oct. 2). If you're in the area, or traveling through soon, you really should check it out.
I got to tour the facility earlier this week and it is amazing
! I expect it will be heavily used during the winter months when it's too cold for some folks to camp outside. Base Camp has lots of meeting spaces, a library, offices, plus a few real attention-grabbers:
- A space flight simulator - I didn't get to see this. It's just tugged into a corner room, compared to the vastness of the whole place.
- The indoor ampitheater is a cool, sunken seating area where there will probably be a propane fire or something similar. It even has a flag pole to the audience's left for scouts to use for ceremonies.
- The ropes course will be a real challenge for anyone. I mean the indoor ropes course, but there is also a massive outdoor double tower and high ropes cours!
- My favorite part - by far - is the climbing facility. In the photo you can only see the front view. But, there are climbing surfaces completely surrounding the structure and on the back wall behind it.
This climbing facility is just too cool for words - you've really got to see it to understand what I mean. There are manual and auto-belays as well as a great bouldering wall and the equipment is stored in a hidden area under the mountain.
The climbing surface is so realistic, you have to touch it. I bet most people that come to climb will say - "Where's the handholds?" - expecting a climbing wall with screwed in holds. This wall is a completely natural textured cliff with handholds whereever you can find purchase.
Even the floor will surprise you - it looks just like pea gravel, but when you walk on it you notice it is shredded, colored rubber.
The coolest thing about the climbing is right outside. Walk just south of the building and look at the rock beside the road - it is exactly like the artificial rockface inside! They've done a super job of making the wall match what you would climb if you were on the rive bluff faces.
If you've followed my blogging much, you've read me criticize some BSA things. I'm usually concerned with how our money gets spent. This Base Camp facility has been a big expense, but it appears to me to be a great investment for the future of scouting in the Northern Star Council. With our bitter cold winters, an indoor facility to practice scouting skills year-round has huge potential.
If you are not based in the area, but your troop makes plans to visit Northern Tier for canoeing, you should consider stopping at Base Camp. It is right at the MSP international airport so you might be able to do a lay-over night right here on your way 'Up North'.
Check out more at the official Base Camp site
Posted: 8:42 10-01-2010 525 Previous Post Next Post
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