Located in the century-old Cavalry Drill Hall near Fort Snelling, Minnesota, Base Camp is owned and operated by the Northern Star Council, Boy Scouts of America. Our mission is to serve all youth of the greater Twin Cities metro area through school field trips, lock-ins, retreats, summer camps, private parties, and community group use. We have special outreach programs for under-served populations.
Northern Star Council Base Camp 201 Bloomington Road Fort Snelling, MN 55111
Northern Star Council Base Camp
201 Bloomington Road
Fort Snelling, MN 55111
Recently becoming the program director, David Donovan brings a unique perspective to Base Camp.
I am jumping out of my seat with excitement to introduce you to David–not because his ideas sound exciting (which they do) or because he is an amazing naturalist (which he is), but because he means so much to our family!
Teacher David, as my kids affectionately call him, taught a nature/art preschool class that my boys attended before they started Kindergarten. And he. Was. Incredible. Down to earth. Sincere. Creative. Organized.
He has enthusiastically jumped into planning Base Camp’s Pre-K Days. A perfect adventure for families with active kids, especially the littlest ones. Base Camp has a huge indoor space if there is inclement weather and thousands of acres to explore when the weather is great!
Base Camp Pre-K Days
Join in group games, outdoor activities, and crafts during these open programs. Check out our awesome themed sessions. Our Pre-K Days are designed specifically for 2-5 year olds. All youth participants must attend with a grown-up. Sessions run from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. and each has a different theme.
June 13 – The Outdoors: campfires, tents, hikes and other wonders of the outdoors!
June 20 – Plants: Learn all about plants through scavenger hunts, games and even planting your own seed.
July 11 – Get Active: Obstacle courses, games, dancing and songs!
August 8 – Bugs and Birds: Discover the insects and birds all around us.
Sessions are $10 per child each day, or sign up for all four days at once and receive a $10 discount! Adults are free.
Don’t miss your chance to sign up at
Without further adieu, here’s my interview with David Donovan.
What is your background with the Boy Scouts and working with kids?
I have been involved in Scouting since 2012, when I started as a guide facilitating programs at Base Camp, and most recently stepped into the role of Program Director beginning just in March. Previously, I have worked as a naturalist specializing in arts and outdoor education with early childhood learners. (including MY boys!)
What are a couple of your favorite experiences at Base Camp?
Some of my favorite times at Base Camp have involved some of the unexpected encounters with animals! We have played host to a number of birds and reptiles through unique partnerships with staff from neighboring parks and nature centers. They have been known to show up in our Homeschool and Pre-K Days, and we can’t wait to have them out again this summer!
Are there any funny stories you would like to share?
Perhaps the best time I’ve had while working with the Council was the time I was entrusted to don the costume of our loveable mascot Leo the Lion during the Twin Cities Marathon last year. I am not entirely sure I knew what I was getting into, because before long, I was ushered to the starting line of what became the mascot race. Though I came in a distant second to Minnesota United’s Loon (I am still convinced he was a ringer!), the hugs and high fives certainly made up for it. I have a good feeling about my chances this year though, I’ve been training.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
The most challenging part of our work at Base Camp is dealing with fear, as this is a universally human trait, but identifying and managing it among each of our learners is always different. As facilitators, we are constantly building trust with our participants and creating a supportive environment for them to feel as comfortable as possible with being uncomfortable – allowing for growth and learning of new skills.
What has been the most rewarding experience?
A rewarding experience I have had while working at Base Camp has been developing relationships with so many of the neighboring communities through a unique program we have offered, known as Camping Initiative. In this program, we have had the privilege of providing so many youth from local urban areas with their very first experiences in camping and, in many cases, simply appreciating being outside. The skills these young learners have practiced will without question be with them for the rest of their lives, and I have been lucky to have been a part of sharing my knowledge and experience with them.
If you have more questions for David Donovan, feel free to contact him here.
David Donovan, Program Director
Northern Star Council Base Camp
A Little More About Base Camp
Base Camp offers programs for any type of youth or adult group including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Girl Scouts, school groups, community groups, birthday parties, and many more. Our programs include rock climbing, archery, high ropes, leadership and team building, camping and outdoor skills, space simulator, and cycling. We are open year-round and operate on a reservation based system with programs occurring on weekdays, evenings, and weekends.
Absolutely anyone can participate in the activities offered at Base Camp. The emphasis of our mission is to positively influence the development of Minnesota’s youth through experiences that build confidence.
Base Camp Summer Adventure Club
This summer, Base Camp is offering a program called Summer Adventure Club. It is a drop-off program for kids ages 5-11.
Details about Summer Adventure.
Hop on board and experience hiking, outdoor games, crafts, climbing, archery, bb guns, Historic Fort Snelling, a camp visit, swimming, a state park, and much more! Each day will begin and end at Base Camp, located at Fort Snelling. Transportation will be provided to each activity and back to camp. There’s also an option to extend the day for those who need flexible pick-up or drop-off times as early as 8:00 AM and late as 5:00 PM. for an extra fee. There are multiple sessions to choose from. Attend one, or all three!
Monday June 20 to Friday June 24: 9:00 AM -3:00 PM
Monday June 27 to Friday July 1: 9:00 AM -3:00 PM
Monday July 11 to Friday July 15: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
An affordable experience, camp is $175/week or $200/week for early drop off/late pick up. Register at www.scoutingevent.com?summeradventureclub2016
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