The Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center in St. Paul, Minn., is a program of The American Legion Department of Minnesota. The patrol school’s primary function is to teach boys and girls, ages 10 to 13, the procedures of school-safety patrol work at intersections and in bus patrol work.
The idea of a school patrol program originated with Sister Carmela of the Cathedral School in Saint Paul in 1921 when the first patrolmen were stationed at the intersection of Kellogg Boulevard and Summit Avenue. St. Paul police adopted the program in 1922, and in 1935 the Minnesota highway patrol adopted it. Earl Brown, the first chief of the Minnesota highway patrol, felt that a uniform program for school safety patrols was needed and came to The American Legion for assistance. In 1936, The American Legion started a statewide training program held at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds in Brainerd, Minn., with two years at Camp Ripley. In 1948, the Minnesota American Legion Department set up a committee to raise funds to construct a permanent training center for the school patrol and, with the funds raised, the original 560-acre site on North Long Lake was purchased. The training center is staffed by members of the Minnesota Highway Patrol, qualified Legionnaires and support staff.
The school’s safety patrol training is conducted by the Minnesota highway patrol public information officers. There are also counselors for first aide, swimming and water safety. Between 800 to 900 campers attend Legionville each summer and more than 92,000 campers have graduated from the program. Many are third generation campers as parents and grandparents still talk about their experiences at camp.
Most people don’t realize that Legionville covers more than 600 acres with 1,000 feet of shoreline. And thanks to the Sons of the American Legion, Legionville is now open for disabled veterans to go deer hunting. There are about four disabled veterans that are brought up to Legionville each year. If they are able to harvest a deer, the SAL provides processing and delivery back to the hunter. This event is getting more popular each year. Additionally, the Auxiliary juniors come up for a weekend each summer.
There are a number of ways the camp could and should be used to stay within the guidelines of its school status. The board of directors is in the process of raising funds to replace the barn, which was taken down last year. Approximately $500,000 dollars is needed to do this. Many SAL detachments and Auxiliary units make direct contributions to Legionville for maintaining the center and adding needed equipment. For example, last year our SAL detachment donated a new snapper utility vehicle for helping the caretakers with the facility. This was the second vehicle of its kind that was donated by the detachment. We believe that this is the only camp of its kind in the nation, and I would like to thank a friend of mine Joe Bayer from The American Legion Department of Minnesota for information on Legionville.
Vist the Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center's website at http://www.legionville.org/index.html.
National Children and Youth Commission