Scouting in Illinois

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Scouting in Illinois has a long and rich tradition, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live. Illinois is the home state of the BSA founder, W.D. Boyce.

BSA Councils serving Illinois.
BSA Councils serving the Greater Chigago Area.

Early history (1910-1950)[edit]

In 1946, the National Order of the Arrow Lodge Meeting was held at Chanute Field.

Recent history (1950-2014)[edit]

In April 2014, the following councils announced that they will merge to better serve youth:

  • Calumet Council
  • Chicago Area Council
  • Des Plaines Valley Council
  • Northwest Suburban Council

The 1963 and 1971 National Order of the Arrow Conferences were held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Scouting in Illinois today[edit]

There are thirteen Boy Scouts of America local councils based in Illinois. Additionally six councils is neighboring states also serve portions of Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln Council[edit]

Abraham Lincoln Council is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois and serves central Illinois. It operates Camp Bunn in Hettick, Illinois, Camp Illinek in Springfield, Illinois, and is served by the Illinek Order of the Arrow Lodge. The council website is Abraham Lincoln Council.

The three districts in the council are:

  • Honest Abe District (serving Cass, Morgan, Scott & northern half of Green Counties)
  • Lincoln Home District (serving Sangamon & Menard Counties)
  • Log Cabin / Railsplitter District (serving Montgomery and the western 3/4 of Christian County & the northern half of Macoupin County)

The U.S. Scouting Service Project has created a link to all known websites (districts, troops, packs, Venturing Crews, O.A. Lodge & Chapter, etc. websites) located within the Abraham Lincoln Council which can be found at its official site.

The U.S. Scouting Service Project also maintaines the ScoutCamp.org website which provides general information and a place for leader comments on the two camps operated by the Abraham Lincoln Council at Camp Bunn and Camp Illinek.

Blackhawk Area Council[edit]

Blackhawk Area Council is headquartered in Rockford, Illinois and serves southwestern Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois. It runs Canyon Camp, located between Stockton and Apple River, Illinois, as well as Camp Lowden near Oregon, Illinois, and is served by Wulapeju Lodge #140. The Council was formed by the merging of the U.S. Grant Council in the west and Blackhawk Council in the east portion of what is now the Blackhawk Area Council. Formerly, the two councils each had one camp. The council also owns a cabin in Mount Carroll, Illinois. The word Wulapeju (one spirit) refers to the merger of the Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (Chief Blackhawk's name) Lodge and Wetassa Lodge #227 as part of the council merger. Some older members of the former Wetassa Lodge still proudly wear their pre-1973 raccoon Wetassa Lodge flap on their uniforms. Blackhawk Area Council Camp Lowden celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2010.[1]

  • Arrowhead District
  • Sycamore District
  • Wanchanagi District
  • Wetassa District
  • White Eagle District

Buffalo Trace Council[edit]

Main article: Scouting in Indiana

Buffalo Trace Council is a Boy Scout council based in Evansville, Indiana that serves southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. Its affiliated Order of the Arrow lodge is Kiondaga Lodge.Buffalo Trace Council

Calumet Council[edit]

Main article: Scouting in Indiana

In April 2014, it was announced that Calumet Council will be merging with three other area councils: Chicago Area Council, Des Plains Valley Council, and Northwest Suburban Council.

Calumet Council is headquartered in Munster, Indiana and serves Scouts in Indiana and Illinois.

Serving the youth of the 54 communities comprising the south suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana since 1917, the Calumet Council is the local entity of the Boy Scouts of America and Learning for Life Programs.

Calumet Council was formed in 1966, and was the result of a merger of the Pokagon Trails Council in Hammond, Indiana and the Sauk Trails Council in Gary, Indiana. In 1971 the Twin City Council in East Chicago, Indiana joined to make up the current structure. Camp Frank S. Betz, located in Berrien Springs, MI (USA) is operated by the Calumet Council. 'Betz' has served Scouts in the South Suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana since 1922.

In 2008, over 13,000 young men and women were active members of the Scouting program in the Calumet Council. Over 4,100 adult volunteers, supported by a small staff, provide a top quality "values based" program, with an emphasis on outdoor programs and life skills.

Due to the unique demographics of the Calumet Council, a special program designed to serve the hardest to reach "at risk" youth, called Scoutreach, is used in lower income communities. In 2008, sixty six Scoutreach Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venture Crews were active in nine different communities with over 1,400 members.

The Eagle Scout Award, the highest award a boy can earn in Scouting, was presented to 74 young men in 2006. These newest Eagles totaled over 3,200 combined service hours in the 74 different community service projects which they carried out as part of the Eagle Scout requirement.

The Council operates four districts: Crossroads, Nishnabec, Prairie Dunes, and Thunderbird. These service areas were formed in 2005 as a result of a restructuring to utilize volunteer resources better.

The Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society. The council's chapter is Michigamea Order of the Arrow Lodge number 110. It is youth-run and advised by adult volunteers. Michigamea lodge has over 600 active members. In 2008, the Lodge received The National Service Award for their work on the new Frank S. Betz firebowl. This annual award is only presented to eight lodges nationally.

The Council Executive board is made up of 44 local business and community leaders who guide to the year-round operation of the Council. The Council Key III is made up of President T. Edward Page, Council Commissioner Todd Dykton and Acting Scout Executive Matthew Thornton.

Chicago Area Council[edit]

In April 2014, it was announced that Chicago Area Council will be merging with three other area councils: Calumet Council, Des Plains Valley Council, and Northwest Suburban Council.

Chicago Area Council operates Owasippe Scout Reservation in Michigan. It is served by Owasippe Lodge #7.

Camp Bass Lake swim area - 1959 - Troop 664

The Bass Lake lone troop Scout camp was part of the Owasippe Scout Reservation operated by the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Bass Lake camp was a single camp on a small (approximately 600 feet wide) lake in the Owasippe reservation. A single troop would take over the entire camp, usually for a two-week period, preparing all their own food and overseeing all aspects of the camp life. Active in the 1950s and 1960s, Bass Lake camp is no longer in use.

  • Arrowhead District
  • Fort Dearborn District
  • Greater Southside District
  • Indian Trails District
  • Iroquois District
  • North River District
  • River Trails District
  • Western Trails District

Des Plaines Valley Council[edit]

In April 2014, it was announced that Des Plaines Valley Council will be merging with three other area councils: Calumet Council, Chicago Area Council, and Northwest Suburban Council.

Des Plaines Valley Council is headquartered in La Grange, Illinois.

Glacier's Edge Council[edit]

Main article: Scouting in Wisconsin

Sinnissippi Council served Scouts in Wisconsin and Illinois, before it merged with Four Lakes Council. It is now called Glacier's Edge Council and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Glacier's Edge Council[citation needed]

Greater Saint Louis Area Council[edit]

The Greater Saint Louis Area Council is based in Saint Louis, Missouri, and serves Scouts in the Saint Louis Metro area, southeast Missouri, and southern Illinois.

Illowa Council[edit]

Illowa Council serves Scouts in western Illinois and eastern Iowa in the Quad Cities area.

  • Chief Blackhawk District
  • Hoover District
  • Kittan District
  • Medicine Lodge District
  • Mesquakie District
  • Saukenuk District
  • Sha-Bo-Na District

Lincoln Trails Council[edit]

Lincoln Trails Council has its headquarters in Decatur, Illinois, and is served by Woapink Lodge #167.

  • Railsplitter District
  • Two Rivers District
  • Redhawk District

In 2007, Lincoln Trails Council ran a Scoutreach program in inner city areas.[2] Boys are offered constructive, fun activities and learn about Scouting. This can keep the boys from wandering the streets unsupervised and getting into trouble.

Lewis & Clark Council[edit]

Sign at the entrance to Camp Joy

The Lewis & Clark Council was formed from the 2009 merger of Okaw Valley Council (OVC) and Trails West Council (TWC). The Lewis & Clark council has its headquarters in Belleville, Illinois. The Lewis and Clark owns four camps: Camp Joy in Carlyle, Illinois, and Camp Sunnen in Potosi, Missouri, Camp Warren Levis in Godfrey, Illinois, Camp Vandeventer in Waterloo, Illinois. There are six districts in the Lewis & Clark Council which are the Illini District, Black Gold District, Kaskaskia District, Cahokia Mounds District, Piasa Bird District, and St. Clair District. Okaw Valley Council and the Trails West Council merged to help curb operating costs and increase efficiency on January 6, 2009 to create the Lewis & Clark Council.

The two councils from which Lewis & Clark has been formed are themselves the product of mergers. The Trails West Council was founded in 1991 when the Piasa Bird Council and the Cahokia Mounds Council joined. The Okaw Valley Council was somewhat older at the time of the merger; it was formed in 1965 following the consolidation of the Kaskaskia Council and the Mississippi Valley Council.

The Order of the Arrow is represented in this Council by the Nisha Kittan Lodge, part of the regional section C3-B. The Nisha Kittan lodge #112 replaced Kishkakon Lodge #32 (TWC) and Taleka Lodge 81 (OVC).

Mississippi Valley Council[edit]

Mississippi Valley Council is headquartered in Quincy, Illinois, and is served by Black Hawk Lodge 67. This council serves Scouts in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa with two camps, Camp Saukenauk and Camp Eastman. The Council was merged in 1993 by the Saukee Area Council and the Southeastern Iowa Council.

Northeast Illinois Council[edit]

Northeast Illinois Council has its headquarters in Highland Park, Illinois. It runs Camp Sol R. Crown in Trevor, Wisconsin, Camp Oakarro near Wadsworth, Illinois, Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook, Illinois and Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation near Antigo, Wisconsin. The council is served by Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Lodge #40.

Lake Killian, the lake surrounded by Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan

Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation is a Boy Scouts of America property located in Northern Wisconsin and serves the Scouts of the Northeast Illinois Council based in Highland Park, Illinois. Originally a logging camp, the Scouts purchased the land and first had campers in 1929. The camp is 1,560 acres (6 km2) in size. The camp serves over 2,300 scouts each summer in addition to hundreds of leaders, cub scouts and high adventure treks. Scouts attending Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan have the opportunity to work on over 65 merit badges and attend hundreds of engaging programs. Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan also operates a nationally accredited high adventure base that offers units 11 unique trek opportunities. Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan, as of 2014, is one of only a few bases nationwide that has a perfect BSA accreditation rating.[3]

Northeast Illinois Council is composed of three districts:

  • Aptakisic District
  • North Star District
  • Potawatomi District

In addition, the council's Order of the Arrow lodge is split into three chapters with the same boundaries as its districts:

  • Yakwahay Chapter (North Star)
  • Namachani Chapter (Potawatomi)
  • Aptakisic Chapter (Aptakisic)

Northwest Suburban Council[edit]

In April 2014, it was announced that Northwest Suburban Council will be merging with three other area councils: Calumet Council, Chicago Area Council, and Des Plaines Valley Council.

Northwest Suburban Council is headquartered in Mount Prospect, Illinois. It operates Camp Lakota outside Woodstock, Illinois and Camp Napowan near Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Northwest Suburban Council is served by Lakota Lodge #175.

The Key Three for 2010 is composed of Council President David Shepard along with Council Commissioner Rick Romani, and Scout Executive Matthew Thornton.

The Northwest Suburban National Scout Shop is located within the NWSC Volunteer Service Center located at 600 N. Wheeling Road in Mount Prospect, IL.

In 2009, the Northwest Suburban Council earned the National Centennial Quality Council Award, four of its six districts earned the National Quality District Award, the Council was recognized as a National Learning for Life Council of Distinction, earned the Central Region Scoutreach Award, and earned the National Major Gifts Award. It led the Central Region in youth membership retention.

The Northwest Suburban Council has an ongoing Capital and Endowment Development Campaign. So far over $2.2 Million has been pledged to the effort by nearly 300 donors. New rowboats, shooting sports equipment, and lighting at Camp Napowan have already been acquired as a result of the campaign. Major building refurbishments have also been accomplished at Camp Lakota. Funding has also been provided for expanded program support of Scoutreach and Learning for Life. The new pool and the new Don Yacktman's Eagle Lodge at Camp Lakota have recently been constructed. A new poolhouse for Lakota is completed and the new Jerry and Adele Epstein Dining Pavilion at Napowan was dedicated in May 2009 and has been in usage since then.

In 2006, the Northwest Suburban Council served as host to the BSA National Endowment Art Tour, the Biennial Meeting of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, and the Annual Meeting of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.

Lakota Lodge #175 is the local Order of the Arrow Lodge of the Northwest Suburban Council with Robert Gale being the current Lodge Chief. Lakota Lodge's website is [www.lakotalodge.org] operated by Joey Bracco, Vigil Honor Member and Eagle Scout which is updated to keep members up to date with everything going on in the lodge.

Past Lakota Lodge Chief Don Hough was elected as Order of the Arrow Section Chief and also 2007 Central Region Chief. Also Richie Ferolo was elected as Order of the Arrow 2010 Central Region Chief.

The council's service area includes 34 communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with Skokie as the eastern border, Barrington on the west, Lake Zurich on the north, and O'Hare International Airport on the south with the council territory remaining unchanged since its founding in 1926. The population served by Northwest Suburban Council is quite diverse, as it is composed of 15% Latino/Hispanic, 8% Asian, 3% Eastern European, 1% African-American, and 73% Caucasian.

The council newsletter recently changed its name to "The Drum Beat" when it went electronic and is now available on-line. The council's website is located at www.nwsc.org.

The council's annual operating budget is just under $2.5 Million annually with $485,000 being raised through its Friends of Scouting Annual Giving Campaign. Popcorn sales net income for the council account for approximately $400,000 in annual income. Camping/activity revenue account for another $650,000 in income. Scout Shop sales are approximately $50,000 net annually. Special events such as the Golf Outing, Distinguished Citizen Banquet, and Sports Events account for another $125,000. United Way income totals approximately $40,000 annually. Project Sales total $20,000. Interest Income from the Endowment is approximately $50,000. The council conducts an independent annual audit through Robert Hofmeier, CPA of Gurnee, Illinois which is reviewed by a volunteer Council Audit Committee, and approved by the Council Executive Board. For 2009, the council earned an "unqualified" or "clean" audit opinion.

Its local districts are:

  • Blackhawk District
  • North Woods District
  • Pathfinder District
  • Signal Hill District
  • Aguila/Scoutreach District
  • Learning for Life

Camp Napowan[edit]

Camp Napowan, located in Wild Rose, WI, is a 400 acre Boy Scout camp owned by Northwest Suburban Council and was founded in 1946. This camp is located between Hills lake and Lake Napowan with the pine forests surrounding the rest of the camp. During the summer months, this camp operates an eight week camping experience for scouts that stay for one or two week sessions. This camp typically draws around 4,000 campers each summer.[4]

Camp Napowan entrance sign

The camp staff are registered with Venturing Crew 0477 and live on the camp grounds during the summer; in total there are usually over 70 staff members during the summer session. Harrison Ford worked in the Nature program area in 1957.[4][5]

A new Diing Pavilion was constructed in 2009 in the 'back forty' with the dedication occurring on April 16, 2009; food is not prepared in this facility.[4][6][7] The camp's main office is located in the heart of the camp, near the main parade field, housing most of the administration (Assistant Camp Director (if filled), Business Manager (if filled), Camp Director, Commissioner, Health Officer,& Program Director). The camp has a enclosed Dining Hall near the main parade field with a full kitchen attached (outside of this structure stood a dining fly where campers ate under until the build of the Dining Pavilion in 2009).[6]

Prairielands Council[edit]

Main article: Prairielands Council

Prairielands Council serves Scouts in east central Illinois and western Indiana.

Rainbow Council[edit]

Rainbow Council is headquartered in Morris, Illinois. It serves communities in Will, Grundy, and Kankakee counties. Currently Marc Ryan serves as the council Scout Executive. Rainbow Council has made a concerted effort to focus on unit support and kicked off 2014 with the motto of "One Council; One Mission."

Rainbow Council operates Rainbow Scout Reservation (RSR) near Morris, Illinois. This over 700 acre property hosts year round camping, including Boy Scout and Cub Scout Resident Camping. RSR runs a complete Boy Scout Summer Camp program as well as Cub Scout Resident Camps each summer. Programs at RSR include a high quality first year camper program, expanded programs for older scouts, and over 45 merit badges. RSR has earned a reputation for its highly dedicated and enthusiastic staff. RSR information can be found at [www.rsrcamp.org].

The council also owns Camp Theakiki near Kankakee, Illinois. Rainbow Council is served by Order of the Arrow Waupecan Lodge #197.

  • Ishkote District {South I 80}

Steve Schuester, District Executive Dora Kruger Quality Unit Executive

  • Wappi Lenaswa District {North I 80}

Chris Isit, District Director

Open

Shawnee Trails Council[edit]

Main article: Scouting in Kentucky

Shawnee Trails Council serves Scouts in Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee.

Three Fires Council[edit]

Main article: Three Fires Council

Three Fires Council is located in St. Charles, Illinois, where it also operates a scout shop. A second scout shop is located in West Chicago, Illinois.

W. D. Boyce Council[edit]

Main article: W. D. Boyce Council

The W. D. Boyce Council serves youth in central Illinois, from Lincoln to Ottawa, and Peoria to Bloomington.

Girl Scouting in Illinois[edit]

There are 10 Girl Scout councils in Illinois but during the current realignment the numbers will drop.

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois[edit]

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois serves 25,000 girls and has 6,000 adult volunteers.

It was formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of Centrillio Council, Girl Scouts-Kickapoo Council, Girl Scouts of Two Rivers Council, Shemamo Girl Scout Council of Illinois, Girl Scouts, Land of Lincoln Council, and Girl Scouts of Green Meadows Council.

Headquarters: Springfield, Illinois
Website: http://www.girlscouts-gsci.org/

Regions:

  • Bloomington covers Livingston, Logan and McLean counties
  • Champaign covers Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermillion counties
  • Decatur covers Christian, DeWitt, Macon, Moultries, Piatt, and Shelby counties
  • Peoria covers Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford counties
  • Quincy covers Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schulyer counties
  • Springfield covers Cass, Greene, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon, and Scott counties
  • Macomb covers Fulton, Hancock, and McDonough counties
  • Peru covers Bureau, LaSalle, and Putnam counties

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois[edit]

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois serves 20,000 girls and has 5,000 adult volunteers in Eastern Iowa as well as those in Rock Island, Mercer, Henderson, Warren, Knox, Henry, and Jo Daviess counties in Illinois.

Formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of Conestoga Council, Girl Scouts Little Butt Council, Girl Scouts of the Mississippi Valley, and Girl Scouts of Shining Trail Council.

Headquarters: Rock Island, Illinois
Website: http://www.gseiwi.org/

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana[edit]

Serves more than 94,000 girls and is the largest Girl Scout council by membership in the United States. It includes Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake and Will counties in Illinois and Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter counties in Indiana.

It was formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of the Calumet Council Indiana, Girl Scouts of Chicago, Drifting Dunes Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts — Illinois Crossroads Council, Girl Scouts — Prairie Winds, Girl Scouts of South Cook County, and Girl Scouts of Trailways Council on July 1, 2008.

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
Website: http://www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org/

Girl Scouts of Raintree Council[edit]

See Scouting in Indiana for full information. Serves girls in White County, Illinois.

Headquarters: Evansville, Indiana
Website: http://www.girlscouts-raintree.org

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois[edit]

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois was formed on October 1, 2009 from a merger of Fox Valley, Rock River Valley, Green Hills, and Sybaquay councils. The council serves Kane, Kendall, McHenry, DeKalb, Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, Ogle, Lee, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside counties.

Website: http://www.girlscoutsni.org/

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois[edit]

The council was formed in October 2009 from a merger of River Bluffs and Shagbark Councils.

Website: http://www.girlscoutsofsouthernillinois.org/

Scouting museums in Illinois[edit]

International Scouting units in Illinois[edit]

In addition, there were Belarusian Scouts in Exile in Chicago through the 1980s, and Lietuvos skautų sąjunga still exists there. Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség Hungarian Scouting also maintains a troop in Chicago, and there are large contingents of active Plast Ukrainian Scouts in Chicago.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.oglecountynews.com/articles/2010/09/09/39175567/index.xml
  2. ^ Wells, Valerie (2007-07-21). "Inner-city youths scout new ways to enjoy life through outreach program". Herald & Review. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  3. ^ "Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan website". NEIC. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Daday, E. O. (2005, Sep 10). Maintaining a legacy boy scouts begin drive to update facilities. Daily Herald Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/313109829?accountid=7398
  5. ^ Zwecker, B. (2006, Jan 06). 'Housewives' sheridan, hatcher stay busy with love life, legal battles. Chicago Sun - Times Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/259512413?accountid=7398
  6. ^ a b Daday, E. O. (2007, Apr 17). Upgrades progressing quickly at boy scout's summer camp. Daily Herald Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/313204348?accountid=7398
  7. ^ "Dedication opens new dining pavilion at Napowan" "Drum Beat" 2009

External links[edit]