Scouts endure tough conditions at 57th annual West Point Camporee

By Col. Brad Wambeke Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering

May 16th, 2019 | News, News and Features
 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack Love assisted with handing out awards and served as the honorary member of the reviewing party during the 57th annual West Point Camporee held April 26-28 at Lake Frederick.

Approximately 250 Scout Troops, scoutmasters and parents, totaling about 6,000 people, attended the 57th West Point Camporee from April 26-28 at Lake Frederick.
The camporee is run by the academy’s Scoutmasters’ Council, which was established in 1961 as an official cadet club that plans, organizes and runs events for the scouting community. Class of 2019 Cadet Andrew Valkenburg is the SMC commander and provided the overall leadership and guidance to approximately 225 cadets who helped plan and run the camporee.
This year, the SMC selected the First Infantry Division as the honorary unit for the camporee. The Big Red One is the oldest continuously serving division in the regular Army, and has seen continuous service since its organization began in 1917 during World War I.
Scouts endured chilly temperatures, rain, strong winds and lots of mud, but still had a tremendous experience. The scouts arrived on Friday and got their campsites set up. Saturday morning kicked off with physical training, and then the scouts had the opportunity to experience a variety of military and scout-based competitions and sites to include: wilderness survival, Ranger challenge, land navigation, drill (marching), camouflage, leader’s reaction course, zodiac, fire building, knot tying, rifle (pellet gun) range, Commandant’s challenge, fitness, first aid, swiss seat, TAC challenge and weapons assembly. Scouts wrapped up the day with a bonfire and entertainment provided by DJ Xtreme.
Sunday morning consisted of an awards ceremony and pass-in-review. Troops received ribbons for earning first, second and third places in the individual events. The awards for best troop overall went to Troop 29 from Pennsylvania in first place, Troop 777 from Maryland in second place and Venture Crew 2097 from Pennsylvania in third place.  Command Sgt. Maj. Jack Love assisted with handing out awards and served as the honorary member of the reviewing party.
The camporee provides an outstanding opportunity for cadets to develop their leadership and planning skills, and it also serves as a tremendous strategic outreach event for the academy.
Approximately 15 percent of the Corps of Cadets achieved the rank of Eagle Scout or Gold Award (Girl Scout Equivalent), and several chose to apply to the academy due to their attendance at the camporee. The admissions office provided an information briefing to approximately 150 Scouts on Saturday. Overall, the camporee was a tremendous success due to the effort and positive attitude of the cadets who ran it.
They served as exceptional stewards of the Army profession and undoubtedly inspired countless scouts during the weekend.