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Family Fun Directory of Things To Do with Kids:
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. Its 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. They have special outreach programs for under-served populations.
Base Camp Pre-K Days
Join in group games, outdoor activities, and crafts during these open programs. Pre-K Days are designed specifically for 2-5 year olds and their grown up. Sessions run from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and each has a different theme. $10 per child each day.
Base Camp Open Climb Days
On the first Tuesday of each month, Base Camp opens up for drop in climbing between 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. There is no minimum group size (bur large groups are not allowed) and no reservations required at these events. Base Camp has 16 unique indoor natural rock climbing routes to choose from. Climb one or all. This program is for ages 5 and up. $7/participant. More details and rules here.
Birthday Parties at Base Camp
Birthday parties start at $9-$30 per participant plus a room fee. Find more details at 5 Unique Birthday Parties for Kids on Location.
Meet David Donovan - Base Camp Program Director*
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!
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.
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.