Watch this behind-the-scenes footage from Camp Meriwether:
NOT ALL POLAR BEAR swims are created equal. Only the bravest campers can grin and bear it at Camp Meriwether, located two hours west of Portland, Ore.
The northern Pacific coast sees the nation’s lowest coastal summer water temperatures outside of Alaska, but these Scouts think nothing of waking up at 6 a.m. to dash into the 55-degree water. Brrr!
Compare that to the Atlantic Ocean near Baltimore and its mid-70s July temperatures or the Gulf of Mexico’s mid-80s.
Now that they’re fully awake, Scouts have plenty to keep them busy in this 780-acre coastal rain forest featuring 2 miles of Pacific Ocean beach. Activities include:
A full-scale replica of Fort Clatsop, the historic stockade built at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805. The fort’s staff offers daily re-enactments of life on the frontier in the 1800s, and Scouts can make candles, shoot muzzle-loaded rifles and throw tomahawks.
Sandboarding, snowboarding’s summer cousin, where Scouts slide down massive sand dunes.
Stagecraft, an art center that teaches Theater, Public Speaking, Game Design and Communications merit badges.
A three-day excursion during which Scouts earn Search and Rescue and Cooking merit badges.
Ready to head for the coast? Go to the council’s website, cpcbsa.org, and click on “Camp.”