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Ask A Trooper: School patrol training camp still going

Question: I would like to know more about the Legionville School Patrol Camp. I know it has been going for a long time, and I wonder about its current status, and if the State Patrol is still involved?

Answer: There is a lot of information about Legionville School Patrol Training Camp. The camp is where school patrol students are taught the fundamentals of school patrol and school bus patrol. It is located just north of Brainerd, and it operated by the American Legion, using State Patrol Troopers as instructors. It is believed to be the only school patrol training camp in the world.

This summer, it is celebrating 75 years of instruction and is going on right now until the middle of August. It actually started 77 years ago, in 1936, but because of World War II, they missed instructing in 1942-43. The 'old familiar barn' is gone. A new one is being constructed and will be completed in time for the 2014 season.

School patrol training itself was started (informally) back in 1920, when Sister Carmella asked the older boys to help the younger children cross the streets from school in St. Paul.

Earle Brown (former Minnesota Gov. and former Minnesota "Highway Patrol" Chief) formalized the program and got the Highway Patrol (now called Minnesota State Patrol since about 1974) involved with the instruction at the Earle Brown Farm in the Twin Cities. Based on records from American Legion personnel, the training locations also included the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds, Camp Ripley and the present Legionville location north of Brainerd.

Besides school patrol and school bus patrol training by troopers, other instructors help complete the week with swimming, canoeing, games, first aid training and many other activities. The camp is a very active place. Parents can pay for their kids to go, even though there are also some limited numbers of scholarships available each year through the local schools, State Patrol Troopers Association, local American Legion posts and many other venues.

This year, the camp runs from the middle of June, until the middle of August. Legionville has a website if you want to know more than what I am writing about: