GILLETTE, Wyo. — Another hurdle has been cleared for the approaching International Pathfinder Camporee with the Campbell County Public Land Board approving two key documents during a special meeting Wednesday.
Scheduled for Gillette in 2024, the International Pathfinder Camporee is a major religious festival put on by the Seventh Day Adventist Church that is projected to bring 55,000 people to the community during the six-day event that will be closed to the public.
The documents — one a revised version of a Memorandum of Understanding and the other an event contract between the city, county, and the Pathfinder Camporee — were both approved during a six-minute special land board meeting on Aug. 24 with minimal discussion by the board and no public comment period.
The MOU approved by the land board is the revised edition kicked back to them earlier this month by the Campbell County Commissioners, who removed a section that would have provided $600,000 to cover additional event costs on top of the $1.5 million to lay the groundwork for an outdoor amphitheater at Cam-Plex Park.
Last week, the Gillette City Council passed a resolution supporting both the original MOU with the additional cost provision and an amphitheater spending cap of $1.7 million, depending on which version was accepted by the county and the land board.
The approval followed comments raised by Land Board Member Larry Mills, who expressed displeasure at the way the 2024 International Pathfinder Camporee issue was being handled by the board and at the timing of the contract.
“If this was such a good deal, we would not be trying to jam the contract through now, at this late of date, it would have already been signed,” Mills said, adding that if the camporee was so grand, the board would figure out how to get the event to Gillette without city and county funding.
Mills said the camporee was a process started by a former Gillette Mayor, Louise Carter King, with questionable ethics to a former Cam-Plex executive director, Jeff Esposito, who was uneducated about the venue, the clients, and the community he worked for.
“The board serves at the discretion of the council and the commissioners,” Mills said. “With that being said, the arrogance and disrespect that this board has shown towards the funding agencies is appalling to me.”
Mills made a point that his stance was nothing against the camporee, saying that he loves God and that he’s for an event that will bring Christian youth into the community.
“But I am not for the way this is going down,” he said.