Washington Crossing Council

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Washington Crossing Council (#777)
Bucks County Council CSP.png
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Country United States
Founded August 13, 1928
President Michael J Shavel
Scout Executive Magne Gundersen
 Scouting portal

Washington Crossing Council serves Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Mercer County, New Jersey and Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The council achieved the top "Gold" level in its 2014 Journey to Excellence.


The council has four districts:

  • Tamanend District (Lower Bucks County)
  • Tohickon District (Upper Bucks County)
  • Hunterdon Arrowhead District (Hunterdon County, NJ)
  • Mercer Area District (Mercer County, NJ and small portions of Middlesex and Somerset Counties, NJ)


Ockanickon Scout Reservation[edit]

Ockanickon Scout Reservation
Ockanickon Scout Reservation.png
Coordinates 40°26′13″N 75°05′13″W / 40.4369°N 75.0869°W / 40.4369; -75.0869

Ockanickon Scout Reservation is located in Pipersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The camp was founded in 1941 and named after a Lenape chief who assisted William Penn in the exploration of the Bucks Country area. The camp is run as a weekend camp during spring, fall and winter, and as a full-time summer camp during the summer. There are fifteen separate camp sites, and a wide range of activities and programs including the first ever Scout Science Center.[1]

Camp Ockanickon contains 15 campsites which are available to troops during the summer, and a sixteenth which is occupied by staff during the summer but is available for camping during the off-season. Currently, the camp hosts about five hundred Scouts and adult leaders during each of eight weeks of summer camp. Camp Ockanickon is notable for the GE Betz Science center, its air-conditioned dining hall, and the numerous awards it has received from the BSA National Office for excellence.


GE Betz Science Center

The GE Betz Science Center [1], came about when the Betz Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Betz Laboratories, Inc. (later acquired by General Electric), granted Camp Ockanickon money to establish a program in which to teach science merit badges. GE continues to support the science center with annual contributions dedicated to upkeep of the center. Besides being the first of its kind, the science center is notable for:

  • A room-sized inflatable planetarium for use in merit badges such as Astronomy and Weather
  • A collection of telescopes, also for merit badges use
  • A real-time weather station [2]
  • Copious amounts of liquid nitrogen used for demonstrations and merit badge support
  • "The Eagle": A tribute to Eagle Scouts, all Eagle Scouts that enter the science center are asked to sign the guest book below the Eagle. The Eagle was a donation from GE Water and Process Technologies to the Science Center.

Future plans for the science center include an observatory with a 19" telescope.

Other departments
  • The Ecology department offers nature and conservation merit badges. The Ecology lodge is home to the largest turkey ever shot in Bucks County. A hunter who accidentally shot the bird on Ockanickon's property decided to donate it in exchange for dropping poaching charges. A traffic light in the highest window of the lodge shows how many fires are allowed in camp: a red light means a total ban on fires, a yellow light means one small fire per campsite, and a green light (only ever used during heavy rain) means no limit on fires. The rule is not always followed because a lot of times in the summer, two troops will occupy one campsite and each will have their own fire.
  • Scoutcraft offers programs and merit badges related to camping, wilderness survival, and other wilderness skills.
  • Dan Beard is a program designed for first year campers, who are focused more on learning the basic Scouting skills required for 1st Class rank than on earning merit badges. The Dan Beard program does offer two merit badges: Swimming and Art to its first year campers.
  • The Eagle department is dedicated to teaching merit badges which are required for the rank of Eagle Scout, but which do not fit neatly with any other departments at camp. The department was dismantled in 2016. Some badges went towards the creation of the Health & Safety, Field Sports, and Civics departments.
  • Located in Memorial Lodge, the Civics department teaches badges such as Citizenship in the Nation, American Heritage, and Entrepreneurship.
  • The Aquatics department is in charge of the pool, where Swimming and Lifesaving are taught, and the lake, where Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rowing merit badges are taught. Aquatics also offers a Scuba program and moderates the Water Carnival. Because it has multiple areas of responsibility, each of which is very popular on hot summer days, this is the largest department in the camp.
  • Adventure Sports (formerly Spoke n' Rope) is a high adventure department, and offers mountain biking, mountain boarding, and COPE. COPE, short for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience, comes in two varieties: High COPE, which focuses on individual feats, and Low COPE, which consists of team-based exercises. In 2008, 'Spoke 'n Rope' was re-branded the 'Adventure Sports' Department, splitting into several crews: Endurance Crew (the climbing department), Nautical Crew (the sailing department), Velocity Crew(mountain biking/boarding), and the Challenge Crew.
  • Handicraft teaches art- and craft-based merit badges as well as Indian Lore, Fingerprinting, Textiles, and Pulp & Paper
  • Trading Post is the local store that is run by camp staff. It sells everything a Scout could need including candy, food, drinks, shirts, knives and ropes. It is a very popular hangout for Scouts when they are not getting merit badges.
  • Shooting Sports offers rifle and shotgun shooting merit badges, as well as archery. It is located at the end of the Ho Chi Mischke Trail, the name of which is a portmanteau of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the camp director's name. Added in 2017, Sporting Arrows is a game where kids and adults can shoot discs launched from a trap with arrows.
  • The Sailing Department, closely affiliated with Aquatics, offers sailing trips as well as a merit badge at Lake Nockamixon. In 2008, the Sailing Department joined the re-branded 'Adventure Sports' department, and is known also known as the 'Nautical Crew'.
  • The Health & Safety department teaches badges like First Aid and Traffic Safety.
  • The Field Sports department, created in 2016, offers Personal Fitness, Sports, and the Athletics merit badges. In 2017, the Ironman competition was created.
  • Media/Technology department teaches badges such as Game Design, Animation, and Photography. The department is located in the Photo Lab behind the Dining Hall.
  • Though not strictly departments, merit badges and demonstrations are available for photography, radio, horsemanship, music, law, and golf.

Summer camp[edit]

Favorite non-merit badge activities at the camp include lunchtime Ultimate Frisbee challenges against the camp staff, the inter-troop Water Carnival on Wednesday nights, Thursday night's volleyball tournament, an Airband competition, and the opening and closing campfires. There is also times when Scouts can woodburn, free shoot, free swim, and, free canoe. Most of these activities are done on Friday because many merit badges last only four days.

Order of the Arrow[edit]

Ajapeu Lodge #2 (formerly #33) serves Washington Crossing Council as its Order of the Arrow Lodge.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Welcome to the GE Betz Science Center at Ockanickon Scout Reservation!". Ockanickon Scout Reservation. Retrieved 2007-11-03.