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.
The project will continue in 2019 on Saturday, February 2 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. See the related 2019  Service Project Flyer for more details. 


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 brown.

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 important place.

"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 service.

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!

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2018 Annual Fort Snelling Cemetery Service Project

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