Vässarö history

Vässarö was donated to the Scout Group of Stockholm in 1942 when the owner, Captain Ragnar Westin, disappeared amidst the waves when his ship was torpedoed.

Captain Westin began his career at sea when he was expelled from school as an obnoxious twelve-year old. In 1936, a good friend of his took him to Vässarö for the first time. The friend owned half the island and wanted Captain Westin to buy his half. Captain Westin fell in love with the island and bought the whole estate. His idea was to make a sea scout centre where he could also train ship officers. It was also a way for him to find himself a permanent home in Sweden.

When his will was opened after the tragic accident in 1942, it was clear that he had wanted the scouts to carry on with his intentions of a Sea Scout centre.

When the scouts initially took over Vässarö nothing really happened but in 1956 the first Christian Confirmation camps for scouts and guides were arranged. Since then these camps, and many others, have been held every year.

As Vässarö used to inhabit three farms, two of which are still visible today, our campsites, the old farm meadows, are a natural part of the landscape.

The camp office is situated in one of the old farm houses and the Programme office is in the other. The largest part of the island, however, is forest. The ”civilized” area is very small compared to the lush, green forest that encompasses the island. You will find that Vässarö retains quite a few old buildings, remnants of its farming days and they stand proudly alongside our new buildings.

Vässarö today
The Scout Group of Stockholm no longer exists, but today a large number of Scout Groups together own the Vässarö Scout Centre. As the Stockholm Scout District of the Swedish Guide and Scout Association is such a large district, it has six employees. All staff spends part of the summer season on Vässarö, which is why we (the District office) change our address during the summer.

Apart from the six people involved in the long-term development of Vässarö, a number of committees plan the activities and take care of the maintenance. These committees consist only of volunteers, who care for Vässarö.

The island is closed from October to the end of April, mostly due to the fact that our Northern climate actually prevents us from getting to Vässarö (snow, ice, -or lack of ice!). In the spring and autumn, schoolchildren go to the island for ”camp-school”, but from June to August Vässarö is mainly visited by Scouts and Guides from all over Sweden and all over the world.

All work on the island is carried out by volunteers from 18 years and older. You too, are welcome to apply as a Vässarö Volunteer (called ”Funk”, because they carry out different “Functions”).

Our volunteers work in a patrol system with different tasks, such as land transportation, sea transport, kitchen, food supply, sailing instructors and programme staff.

In these pages we will provide you with information regarding programme activities and practical information that will help you to plan your summer camp at Vässarö.