Camp Bernard to host 3,000 at jamboree

Boy Scout camp looking to renovate and update camp

Preparation for 2015 BC/Yukon Provincial Jamboree underway at Camp Barnard

If you live near Camp Barnard on Young Lake Road in Sooke, you may have noticed an increase in activity at the 250 acre Scouts Canada Camp. Why? They have invited Scouts from throughout BC and the Yukon, across Canada, the U.S., and internationally to come and spend a week at Camp Barnard in July 2015. Work has begun to prepare the site and to upgrade the infrastructure at camp. There is much to be done to feed, house, and entertain the youth and staff of Pacific Jamboree 2015 (PJ2015). Camp Barnard has not hosted a Jamboree since 1987. It is estimated that site development, food services, and program for this event will pump $1.3 million dollars into the economy of the CRD… plus the monies spent by those attending the Jamboree!

One of the major developments at camp is a new accessible washroom for use by those with physical challenges and their caregivers. Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2013.

So how is Camp Barnard funding this structure? Well, in addition to funds from Pacific Jamboree, Christmas tree sales, the Barnard Club Corporate Breakfast, Apple Day, Polar Bear Swim, hot dog sales, grants, and sponsorships, as with most non-profit groups, they have gotten creative and launched the “Barnard Blockhead Campaign” in January.  The goal is to raise $10,000 towards the estimated $175,000 construction budget. Each person donating $5.00 for the purchase of a block will be immortalized on a plaque to be located on the exterior of the new building… from the smallest Beaver Scout to Scouting Alumni, to those in the community who just want to help out; everyone can support this new and much needed development at Camp.

The campaign revolves around the adventures of a young Barney C. Block whose dream is to live full time at Camp Barnard, but alas he can’t be at camp alone and needs to have friends to share his adventures. Barney’s adventures on his weekend at camp included hiking, canoeing, archery, flashlight tag, singing, playacting, delicious meals, meeting new friends, and much more. Through the use of the camp website, Face Book and Twitter the message is spreading and the campaign has raised $3,600 to date.

Scouts Canada was incorporated in 1914 and since then Victoria has had a very active Scouting community. In 1945 Senator Barnard donated a large property near Sooke to Scouting. Subsequently, some smaller acreages have been added, creating the now 250 acre facility with a variety of camping accommodations and activities. It is open year round, and usage varies from year-to-year but, on average, hosts about 40% non-Scouting youth organizations and 60% Scouting youth. The majority of our campers choose to stay in the lodges with their commercial kitchen/dining area or in the cabin areas that are served by two separate commercial kitchens. Wilderness tenting areas are well-used by older youth, and we have room for a great variety of activities on site: hiking, archery, water sports, field sports, etc. As a place to put camping skills into practice, it is an amazing facility that greatly enhances the programs we offer in Scouting. For other youth/community organizations, it offers easy accommodation in a safe environment at very reasonable rates.

There are no age or group size restrictions for youth organizations wanting to use the camp, beyond the need for insurance coverage. Rental rates are purposefully kept low (below actual operating costs) to ensure that camping is financially achievable for the majority of youth groups. We budget to collect 50 per cent of our needed revenue from camp fees. For the rest, we look to our membership and our community as we continue to develop facilities and accommodations to best meet the needs of youth organizations using the camp. The Camp is owned by Scouts Canada and operated by a committee of volunteers.

Donations can be made to Scouts Canada, 505 Marigold Avenue, Victoria, BC. V8Z 4R5.  Please indicate that the donation is for Camp Barnard.