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Guide for District Unit Leaders

III.  Encampment logistics

C. Campground and campsite layouts.
1. General campground layout.
Campers and staff members participating in the MVE will camp in a large field that is northwest of the mansion and northern outbuildings at Mount Vernon. The field slopes gently down toward the mansion and the river. The campground will be laid out with all units fronting on a broad central boulevard, which will run diagonally through the field. All units will have a specified amount of space fronting on the boulevard. The side boundaries of each unit's campsite will be perpendicular to the boulevard and parallel to each other. There will not be any back boundaries, thereby allowing units to move as far back into their sites as is necessary and reasonable. Front and side boundaries of sites will be clearly marked with engineers tape, and small markers at each site will enable units to quickly confirm whether they have found the right site on Friday evening.
2. Layouts within unit campsites.
To the extent possible, units should arrange tents and other items within campsites in general accordance with the Regulations for the Order and Discipline of Troops of the United States, which were developed by Baron von Steuben for General George Washington's Continental Army. The "order of encampment" for laying out a camp called for troops to camp "as they are formed in the order of battle," so they could respond quickly and go into battle within minutes, even in the middle of the night. Von Steuben's regulations called for the two rows of tents of footsoldiers (and their sergeants) to parallel the front of the campsite. A row of tents housing captains would be next, followed by a row of tents were commanding officers, the quartermaster, and surgeon would reside. Kitchens and supply wagons were at the rear of the campsite. A general diagram of this arrangement shows these ordered rows:







W      W      W       W

K      K      K       K

O   O   O   O   O   O    O




Central Boulevard

W Wagons K Kitchens
O Commanding Officers C Captains
F Footsoldiers S Sergeants

Units camping at the MVE will have to adapt this arrangement, with most needing more than two rows of tents for Scouts toward the front of their campsite. Nonetheless, it is hoped that units will use von Steuben's regulations to the greatest extent possible, with orderly rows of Scout tents facing the front of the campsite followed by rows of leader tents and with cooking areas toward the rear.
3. Location of unit campsites.
Unit leaders will be given plans showing the location of their campsites within the campground by no later than November 1.
4. Application of LNT principles.
Although it will be impossible for hundreds of campers to leave no trace on their group campground, all campers and staff should employ Leave-No-Trace camping principles to the greatest extent possible to minimize adverse impact on the campground. In particular, no holes or ditches should be dug in the ground, and all trash should be removed. Because no ground fires or charcoal will be allowed in the campground, no fire scars should be evident. When units depart the campground on Sunday, they should ensure that aside from some areas where grass has been trampled because of heavy foot traffic, no harm has come to the campground or any part of the estate.


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This site is provided as a service to Scouts and Scouters by the Colonial District, NCAC, BSA, which includes George Washington's Mount Vernon.  Although not an official site of the NCAC, BSA, or Mount Vernon, the site is maintained by Tom Baerwald, who has been appointed by the NCAC to direct the Mount Vernon Encampment, so information should be reasonably accurate.