A brief history of the Wilderness Rendezvous Scout Camp
The idea…. A camp with a pioneering and survival theme was often discussed among the Prairie Gold District Scouters at their spring and fall camps. They felt that they had to be more creative, if they were to keep the youth of the day interested and to make scouting a little more of a challenge.
This of course, was not as easy as it sounded, what was lacking, was the ideal site. Other campers were using all the popular areas and they wanted a unique area to set this camp up in.
Corporal Jerry Eagan, one of the Scouters in Kindersley suggested the West Block of the Cypress Hills, as he had taken his equestrian training with the RCMP at Fort Walsh. He said the area was perfect due to its beauty, ruggedness and so rich in history. Scouter Ernie Shea from Eston, a troop leader and the District Commissioner for Prairie Gold added his endorsement for the area, as he had taken his troop out there several times. He had used the small picnic ground as his base camp.
In early spring of 1971 Scouter Don Lavers, (Field Executive, S.W. Area) attended a Prairie Gold District meeting and the idea of the camp was discussed in some detail. It turned out Scouter Don had a similar thoughts, but as an Area Camp. Scouter Don agreed to personally survey the Cypress Hills during the summer.
The following fall, Don visited the Prairie Gold District and reported his findings. He was very enthusiastic about what he had seen. Tentative plans were made for an Area Camp the following summer. Scouter Don would promote the idea with the other Districts in the Area over the winter months. Applications were sent to the S.W. Area Scouters in early 1972. A pioneering Camp would be held, that summer, in the West Block of the Cypress Hills. In the meantime Scouter Don would persuade the Federal and Provincial Parks personnel to support such a camp. There was a lot of work to do clearing red tape in order to obtain permission for such a camp.
There was limited response form the S.W. Area the First Year, all of the Scouters thought it was a great idea and there was a lot of interest. What was missing was the commitment! Although the Kindersley Venturers led by Scouters Lloyd Quickfall, Larry Bomersback and Keith Hall did camp in the area in the fall of 1972. Later that fall Scouters Don Lavers, Jerry Eagan, Scotty McMonigal and Keith Hall met and plans were made for a S.W. Area Scouters meeting in Swift Current. This meeting did create concrete plans for 1973. Scouter Don had a great partner in Scouter Jim Oxley. Together they did the majority of the planning, and encouraged the other Scouters in the Area to take an active part in the Camp.
In July 1973 (July 14 – 22) it did become reality. It was called “The S.W. Area Survival Camp and Pioneering School”. The name was changed to Wilderness Rendezvous in 1974
Since that time, over 6,000 youth and adults have attended camp and over 200,000 km have been hiked!