The History of the Scout Brigade of Fort George Camp
The Scout Brigade of Fort George began in 1984 with less than 250 attendees. Before 1984 there had been a similar event running every other year at Fort York in Toronto and a group of Scouters who attended that event decided that the facilities at Fort George were far more conducive to building a large scale annual event.
From its earliest days, the founders tried to strike a balance between providing a fun scouting experience and historical accuracy. We took the War of 1812 and a day in the life of an infantry soldier as the framework for the camp to provide youth-friendly awareness of what it may have been like to be a soldier more than 200 years ago.
Like most large camps, we divide the attendees into sub-camps, each of the sub-camps takes on the persona of one of the regiments that were active in the Niagara Peninsula during the early 19th century. In the beginning, Canadian Scouts attended as members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry and from the first days, we have been thrilled to have members of the Boy Scouts of America join in on the fun and attend as members of the 6th US Regiment of Infantry.
Over the years, as the camp grew and news of it spread far and wide, two additional sub camps were added to the Canadian ranks: The 8th Kings Regiment and the 49th Regiment of Foot.
About 1990, the camp had outgrown the property immediately beside Fort George where we had traditionally camped and so it was relocated across the road to the Polo Field on Commons near the Butlers Barracks historic site, where we has been ever since.
In the early 2000’s, as we expanded the reach of the event, we added a Cub Scout program. The Canadian Cub Scouts attend as members of the Canadian Fencible Regiment and the Boy Scouts of America Cubs attend as members of WestPoint Academy. These program areas allow younger members to get a taste of the program while having fun, interesting and distinct activities to keep them busy.
We also created a separate program for Venturer Scouts attended as members of the Royal Artillery Regiment in the early 19thCentury. The camp also provides the older youth to take on leadership roles and do something new and unique after attending for a few years in an infantry regiment.
2020 saw a major change as we were unable to run in-person events during the COVID-19 pandemic – so our team responded with a series of virtual camps (both Fall and Winter) held entirely online and the creation of many hours of instructional video programme – and much of this video programme remains available as part of the Fort George Military Academy to which all registered participants have access.
The SBFG has become the largest and most unique international event in Canadian Scouting. It has attracted more than 3000 attendees in some years and continues to be an excellent way to kick off the Scouting year.
Since 1984, there have been 8 different Camp Chiefs, each driving to grow and evolve the event and keep it interesting. Those camp chiefs have been: