2018 Annual Fort Snelling Cemetery Service Project
More than 700 volunteers braved snow and cold temps
On Saturday, February 3, 2018, hundreds of local Scouts took part in
a massive cleanup effort at Fort Snelling. The Kaposia Order of the
Arrow helps organize a volunteer day at Fort Snelling National Cemetery
every February to clean up old Christmas wreaths.
Kaposia OA Organizes Fort Snelling National Cemetery Cleanup
15th Year for the Project to Honor Fallen Veterans
Braving the snowy conditions and single digit temperatures, more
than 740 Scouts, leaders and community volunteers removed over 35,000
Christmas Wreaths from headstones at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on
Saturday, February 3. This was the 15th year of the Fort Snelling
National Cemetery Cleanup, which is organized and hosted by the youth
members of the Kaposia District Order of the Arrow Chapter and adult
adviser Mark Ellenberger.
There are more than 200,000 graves in Fort Snelling National
Cemetery, most of them a small slab of white/gray marble. In December,
Christmas wreaths are placed on the snow-covered headstones to honor
the soldiers buried there. By February, the once green wreaths are
The cleanup is visually impressive as hundreds of Scouts and
volunteers spread across the cemetery removing the now unsightly
wreaths, retuning it to the pristine white/gray of headstones and snow.
The entire project was completed between 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon, filling
at least seven roll-off truck sized dumpsters.
The Kaposia District first organized the group cleanup in 2004 with
36 volunteers. It has now grown to more than 700 people who people
gather on a Saturday morning in early February to care for this very
"People really like it,” Ellenberger says. “They make the connection
that they’re helping a very meaningful place in the community."
The event is entirely run by Scouts in the Order of the Arrow, a
service organization and national honor society of the Boy Scouts of
America. Members are elected from within their units and recognized as
those who best live the ideals of brotherhood, cheerfulness and
Helping care for this very important place is just one example of
how Scouting motivates young people to build their communities by
serving others. Well done!