A little over a year ago, local Cub Scout Leader Chris Brunelle convinced Vandenberg Air Force Base to grant the base Scouts the little-used area formerly called the San Antonio Picnic Area. Since then, volunteers have put a lot of work into creating a safe and accessible environment for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts.
Volunteers cleared birds out the buildings (for the most part), put up a flag pole for the morning ceremonies that begin camp and installed a campfire ring – complete with a stage for skits and presentations. All of this hard work can be accredited to Mr. Brunelle, the site manager. For the last year, he has spent weekend after weekend reaching out to organizations for donations, personally repairing the buildings, clearing the road up the site, and countless other jobs.
Although Mr. Brunelle did the bulk of the work himself, many community members pitched in to help make the site ready to use. For her Gold Award project, Ambassador Girl Scout Kiara Tomlinson took on replacing and redoing all of the damaged and outdated signs at the site. Part of her project included soliciting potential site names from the Scouts to rename the site and make it feel more Scout-like. She chose the name Halvorsen Woods to honor Gail Halvorsen, the famous candy bomber from World War II, who once commanded the Vandenberg Tracking Station. The site name is now proudly displayed on a handmade sign between the two main buildings. The base thrift shop, disposition services, material diversion center, horizontal shop, and fire protection were also instrumental in helping the Scouts acquire the supplies they needed to make a fully functional site. Along with key community members, the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of Vandenberg also rallied on Saturday work days to help clean and clear up the site.
The facility is now operational and actively used by Vandenberg Scouts for leader training and small overnight camps. Mr. Brunelle hopes that in the future, Scouts from all over will be able to come to the area to camp and learn outdoor skills.
On April 9th, 2016, about a year after the site was assigned to the Scouts, VAFB Boy Scout Troop 394 sponsored the area’s Boy Scout District Camporee at Halvorsen Woods, marking the first time non-Vandenberg Scouts used the restored site. Hopefully in the future, more non-Vandenberg Scouts will be able to use the area.
Until then, there is still much work to be done to make the area completely functional and accessible. There are a wide range of projects to be completed at Halvorsen Woods as well as materials that need to be collected for operations and maintenance. If you would like to support Halvorsen Woods in any way please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Halvorsen Woods has already done so much for Vandenberg’s Scouts and with continued support from the community, this area can make a difference in not just the hundreds of current Vandenberg Scouts and family members, but also many more in the surrounding communities.