In September 2017, the southeastern United States was struck by two category five hurricanes, Irma and Maria. With winds that reached 175 miles per hour, the storms caused significant damage through coastal flooding, mudslides, and flash floods. Many people in affected areas lost power for weeks, and suffered extreme property damage. Two notable properties that were impacted are the BSA Sea Base and the Puerto Rico Council’s camp, Guajataka.
Although the main campus of Sea Base in Islamorada remained largely untouched, this was not the case for properties throughout the Florida Keys and BSA facilities operated by local councils. Camp Sawyer and Big Munson Island were both hit heavily, with camping facilities having been destroyed by the storm and felled trees.
Camp Guajataka also suffered the onslaught of Hurricane María. Campsites were flooded with over three feet of water. Many trees have fallen, making transportation and recovery operations at the camp difficult. The camp has no electricity, save for power generators running on diesel (which is now an expensive commodity), and running water is hard to come by. All of the camp’s buildings were damaged by flooding. Camp has no electricity or water. It would appear that all of the equipment stored in the campsites such as bunks and mattresses were damaged.
Arrowmen across the country have been exemplifying cheerful service in the months since the storm to assist the areas that have been most affected. Section NE-5 developed a patch fundraiser that raised over $50,000 for the repair of Camp Guajataka, and countless lodges raised funds as well. Work weekends at Sea Base have also helped to alleviate some of the damage there.
In response to the storm, two major initiatives have been planned for the spring of 2018 which will let Arrowmen give service to Sea Base and Camp Guajataka. Hosted by the Southern Region, SeaBreak will be an opportunity to help repair parts of Sea Base, Camp Sawyer, and Big Munson Island. It will run from March 4-10, 2018. Section NE-5 will also be organizing the Puerto Rico Arrowcorps from March 11-17, 2018 where participants will work to rebuild Camp Guajataka.
Due to the generosity of Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh, the only fees associated with these events will be transportation to and from the sites. Registration is also open for both opportunities through the National OA Event Registration System. Please reach out to Harrison Fry (@email) for any questions about SeaBreak, and Jeremy Bedient (@email) for any questions about the Puerto Rico Arrowcorps.