Historic camp celebrates 75 years in Sooke

Camp Barnard donated to Scouts Canada in 1944

Scouts in the early days of Camp Barnard, near Sooke. (Contributed)

Seventy-five years ago – back when fishtraps graced the harbour and decades before Sooke became a municipality – Canadian Senator George Barnard donated his hunting lodge at Otter Point to the Scouts.

The lodge was surrounded by a vast wilderness area. But fast-forward to 2019, and you’ll find numerous campsites, 58 buildings, trails, recreation areas – and stampedes of kids making lifelong memories.

The lodge is known as Camp Barnard, and it’s one of 10 Scouts Canada camps in B.C.

Sept. 20 marked the palladium jubilee.

RELATED: 2,200 Scouts descend on Sooke’s Camp Barnard

“It’s a quiet little gem you’ve got out there,” said Penny Hill of the Camp Barnard management committee, adding that over the years Scouts Canada has evolved the camp to become a cornerstone of the community.

A storied past

What started out as just an area of wilderness where intrepid Scouts would bring everything they needed to build a campsite and look after themselves, has grown into a more developed camp facility.

Over time, some smaller acreages have been added creating the now 250-acre facility.

RELATED: Camp Barnard transformation

There are still areas of wilderness camping, but with some niceties such as potable water and outhouses.

This year, the camp hosted more than 30,000 camper nights, including the Pacific Jamboree that saw nearly 3,000 Scouts call the camp home for a week.

“Camp Barnard provides facilities for the youngest and least experienced camper to develop skills and confidence with residential camp settings, rustic cabin circles with dining hall and kitchen, and back country tenting sites for more advanced and adventurous leave-no-trace camping,” Hill said.

Building up community

Today, Camp Barnard opens its gates to more than 120 groups, from school groups to recovery support, and rates are purposely kept low to ensure that camping is financially achievable to organizations.

The camp is also used as a muster station for community emergencies.

“We try to be a good neighbour and provide more than just a setting for camping,” Hill said.

Hill said she’s proud to be part of the organization.

“It’s a source of inspiration for people,” Hill said.

“We [the committee] all have an emotional attachment to the camp because as Scouters we all took our training out there. We spent many a night sleeping on uncomfortable cots.”

•••

Who was Senator Barnard?

Senator George Barnard (1868-1954, a lawyer, was elected mayor of Victoria in 1904. He served two terms.

In 1908, he was elected to the House of Commons (Liberal-Conservative Party) where he promoted Victoria as a seaport resulting in the building of the Ogden Point wharves. In 1917, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate, where he served until 1945 when he retired to Victoria.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sailings cancelled between Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay

Due to a mechanical issue with the MV Klitsa

Council tags two more Oak Bay homes for bylaw infringement

Monterey homeowner covers front yard in gravel and stone

New accessible playground opens at View Royal’s Eagle View Elementary School

Students overjoyed while faculty and parents feel relief

Periods of rain ahead for Friday

Plus a look at this weekend’s forecast

Advice for first-time Rocky Horror Picture Show attendees

Get ready to dance, sing and throw toast

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Most Read