Nashua Valley Council
|Nashua Valley Council|
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
The Nashua Valley Council is a Boy Scouts of America council serving Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews in north central Massachusetts with administrative support, program resources, activities, events, and camping properties. The council was formed in 1965 from the merger of the Wachusett Council and the Fitchburg Area Council.
The council is divided into the following districts:
- Massasoit District, serving the eastern half of the council (Acton, Ashby, Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Clinton, Fitchburg, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Lunenburg, Pepperell, Shirley, and Townsend).
- Wachusett District, serving the western half of the council (Ashburnham, Athol, Barre, Gardner, Hardwick, Hubbardston, Leominster, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Sterling, Templeton, Westminster, and Winchendon).
The council maintains two camp properties. Camp Wanocksett, in Dublin, New Hampshire, operates a summer week-long Boy Scout residential camp, and Camp Split Rock, in Ashburnham, operates a week-long day camp for Cub Scouts. Both camps are available to all Scouting units for year-round camping and programs.
Main field of Camp Wanocksett, from the Administration building porch
|Location||Dublin, New Hampshire|
Camp Wanocksett is a 250-acre (1.0 km2) Boy Scouts of America camp located in Dublin, New Hampshire, about two miles (3 km) east of Monadnock State Park. It is used by the Nashua Valley Council, which is based in north-central Massachusetts, and the Order of the Arrow Grand Monadnock Lodge. Located in the forest, Camp Wanocksett borders Thorndike Pond.
Camp Wanocksett generally has a staff of around 60 people every summer. The staff consists of councilors in training (CITs) who must be at least 14 years old, a junior staff of boys age 15-17, and senior staff, who are at least age 18 (and sometimes 21 based on the position/responsibility). The senior staff are generally the program area directors. The administration consists of the Camp Director, Program Director, and their assistants, and the CIT Director. The administration positions require a minimum age of 21, with the exception of CIT Director.
The camp was started in 1924 on land that had previously been a farm. Its name is derived from a combination of three mountains in the area; Watatic, Monadnock, and Wachusett. Its first camp director was Ted Boutlier. It was originally the council summer camp for the Wachusett Council, serving Massachusetts towns from Leominster through Petersham. In 1965 the Fitchburg Area Council, between Lancaster and Acton, Massachusetts, merged with the Wachusett Council to form the present-day Nashua Valley Council.
In the mid-1960s, Scouting was thriving throughout the United States. Camp Wanocksett ran eight full weeks of camp programs. After the Vietnam War, Scouting's popularity nationwide declined. Other Boy Scout summer camps in nearby council camps in Massachusetts, such as Camp Resolute in Bolton of the Knox Trail Council, continued to enjoy a certain success. Camp Wanocksett suffered steeply declining attendance. By the early 1980s, very few scouts attended summer camp, and the 1985 camp staff employed less than 20 Scouters. Through the hard work of reformers such as John Coyle, Camp Wanocksett's spirit was revived. Compared to the 1985 camp season, the 1986 season exploded; the number of scouts attending camp was much higher than it had been in previous years. The 1986 season is known as the "Year of the Revival". Camp Wanocksett steadily grew from the efforts of those men and women into the excellent program that is known around the Northeast Region today.
In 1990, Tim Todd became the Camp Director after having served as Program Director under Paul Burns in 1989. Tim brought much to the camp, primarily a sense of excitement which helped the young staff at the time to grow and learn. Many a Friday evening campfire was capped off with Tim Todd's rendition of a campfire story. Dan Somes was the Program Director under Tim Todd in 1990 and then Dale Baskin (Archery Director 1990) continued in that position from 1991 to 1993. At the end of the 1991 season, Tim Todd left and Tom Swift became the Camp Director. Under his leadership and with Dale Baskin as the Program Director, Wes Durant as the Camping Committee Chairperson, plenty of young staff members, and a deep reservoir of alumni volunteers, Camp Wanocksett began to grow. The Hullabaloo song was added, the campfire format was altered to make it more of a show, and Sunday nights saw the Merit Badge Fair on the main field. The Shotgun Merit Badge was added in 1994 along with many other programs and activities.
Camp Wanocksett continues to thrive, and runs seven full program weeks each summer. In 2005, seven-year Camp Director Jeff Dee retired, and was succeeded by Matthew Ford. He returned in 2008 for his third and final year as Camp Director. Program Director Daniel Megan, who has been coming to Camp Wanocksett for 26 years, returned for his 24th year on staff in 2013 as the new Camp Director. All troops in the Nashua Valley Council attend summer camp, alongside an equal amount of troops from outside of the council. To this day, Camp Wanocksett continues its legacy of a great Scouting program and strong tradition of excellence.
Currently, Camp Wanocksett is one of the few Boy Scout summer camps generating profit, representing roughly half of the Nashua Valley Council's yearly budget.
The tent sites around the camp provide shelter for the Scouts who stay there during the summer. These sites are generally occupied by a single Troop each. The sites (named Abnaki, Apache, Arrowhead, Blackfoot, Crow, Iroquois, Kiowa, King Philip, Merrimac, Monadnock, Provisional, Rotary, Sioux, and Nipmuc) feature an Adirondack, two-person canvas platform tents, a latrine, and campfire pit.
In 2005, the camp's new amphitheater was opened for use. The amphitheater is used for the opening and closing campfires each week as well as the Songfest every Wednesday night(except in foul weather, where it is moved to Memorial Lodge).
Chapel Point lies at the southern end of camp, secluded from other areas of the camp. An all-faiths religious service is held at the Chapel every Thursday evening during the camp season.
The main field is the center of Camp Wanocksett life. Many of the important buildings are located around its perimeter, including the Administration and Trading Post building, staff cabins, and the Aquatics, Handicraft, and C.O.P.E. program areas or stations. Every morning, all the campers gather for the flag-raising ceremony, and in the evening, just before dinner, for retreat.
Order of the Arrow tap-outs occur every Wednesday night during the camp season at the OA field. The Gischachsummen team, a group of Native American-style dancers, of Grand Monadnock Lodge, performs the ritual in which members become Ordeal candidates for the Order of the Arrow.
Grand Monadnock Lodge
|Grand Monadnock Lodge|
|Lodge Chief||Zach Rellstab|
|Lodge Adviser||Matt Ciampaglia|
|Staff Adviser||Gary Savignano|
The Grand Monadnock Lodge is an Order of the Arrow lodge serving Central Massachusetts, roughly the same area as Nashua Valley Council. The lodge is run by its Executive Board, including five elected positions such as the Chief, 2 Vice Chiefs, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Board is also made of several appointed chairmen including Publications, Inductions, Conversions, Dance Team, and Ceremonies Chairman. The Board meets once a month at the Council Office in Lancaster Massachusetts.
The Lodge manages and conducts several events throughout the course of a year, including a Spring Fellowship Weekend, Fall Fellowship Weekend, Winter Fellowship Weekend, and a Lodge Banquet. The Lodge has over 400 members, 80% of which are active in events.