Scouting in Wisconsin

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Scouting in Wisconsin has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

BSA Councils serving Wisconsin.

Boy Scouts of America[edit]

map of the state of Wisconsin with red lines dividing it into shapes corresponding to the service area of each council
USA Wisconsin BSA council boundaries.png
Bay Lakes
Bay Lakes
Three Harbors
Three Harbors
Potawatomi Area
Glacier's Edge
Glacier's Edge
Blackhawk Area
Blackhawk Area
Gateway Area
Gateway Area
Chippewa Valley
Chippewa Valley
Northern Star
Northern Star
Voyageur's Area
Voyageur's Area
BSA councils serving Wisconsin

There are seven Boy Scouts of America local councils headquartered in Wisconsin. Additionally, some adjacent councils in Illinois and Minnesota serve portions of Wisconsin. Besides these councils, some out of state councils maintain camp facilities in Wisconsin. For example, Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation is a Boy Scouts of America property and High Adventure base 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.[1]

Bay-Lakes Council[edit]

The Bay-Lakes Council is headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, and also serves Scouts in Michigan. Bay-Lakes Council #635 was formed on July 1, 1973, and is geographically one of the largest Boy Scout councils in the United States.

Blackhawk Area Council[edit]

Blackhawk Area Council is headquartered in Rockford, Illinois and serves southwestern Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois.

Chippewa Valley Council[edit]

The Chippewa Valley Council is headquartered in Eau Claire.[2]


  • Blue Hills
  • Clear Water
  • Glaciers End
  • Tall Oaks


  • L.E. Phillips Scout Reservation (Rice Lake)

Order of the Arrow:

  • Otyokwa Lodge #337

Gateway Area Council[edit]

The Gateway Area Council, headquartered in La Crosse, serves Scouts in Wisconsin and Minnesota.[3]


  • Seven Rivers- Houston County (MN), School District of La Crosse, Onalaska, Prairie du Chien, Stoddard
  • The Great Soaring Eagle- Buffalo & Trempealeau Counties, School District of Holmen
  • Winding Trails- Jackson, Monroe, Juneau, Vernon, Crawford Counties, School District of West Salem, Bangor


  • Camp Decorah, located approximately 4 miles (6 km) southeast of Galesville, Wisconsin on the Black River, is 330 acres (1.3 km2) of wooded sand hills that overlook the Black River. The camp is easily accessible with its main entrance on Council Bay Road, seven miles north of Holmen, WI, and four miles southeast of Galesville, WI.
  • Hoffman Park provides rustic adventures near Black River Falls, WI.

Order of the Arrow:

  • Ni-Sanak-Tani Lodge #381

Glacier's Edge Council[edit]

The Glacier's Edge Council provides Scouting services to communities in the counties of Adams, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk, Rock, Walworth in Wisconsin as well as Winnebago and Boone counties in Illinois. It is composed of representatives of more than 250 community organizations holding charters to operate a program of the Boy Scouts of America. The council meets annually in May to elect officers and board members. It was organized in 2005 growing from a consolidation of the Four Lakes and Sinnissippi Councils and granted a charter by the Boy Scouts of America.

Mission Statement: To prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

Vision Statement: The Glacier's Edge Council, Boy Scouts of America is the area's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the future, the Glacier's Edge Council will continue to

  • Offer young people responsible fun and adventure;
  • Instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law;
  • Train young people in citizenship, service and leadership;
  • Serve its communities and families with its quality, values-based program.

Sinnissippi Council #626 served Scouts in south-central Wisconsin and north-central Illinois before it merged with the Madison-area Four Lakes Council #628 in 2005 to form Glacier's Edge Council #620.[4][5] It is headquartered in Madison, with a service center in Janesville.[6]


  • Indian Trails
  • Mohawk
  • Wisconsin River
  • Yahara


  • Camp Indian Trails on the Rock River near Janesville
  • Ed Bryant Scout Reservation on the Castle Rock Flowage near Mauston

Order of the Arrow:

  • Bigfoot Lodge (Chartered 5/5/2018 - formerly Takoda Lodge 2006-2018)

Northern Star Council[edit]

Indianhead Council merged with Viking Council in 2005 to create Northern Star Council. The Indianhead Council was a geographic subdivision of the Boy Scouts of America headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and including Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota, and much of western Wisconsin. Its name came from the shape of the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, which is said to resemble that of the head of an Indian. As well as the office building in Saint Paul, facilities included Tomahawk Scout Reservation near Rice Lake, Wisconsin,[9] Phillippo Scout Reservation near Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp near Hudson, Wisconsin, and Kiwanis Scout Camp near Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota.

Potawatomi Area Council[edit]

The Potawatomi Area Council is headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The Potawatomi Area Council serves all of Waukesha County and portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Walworth and Washington Counties. The Wag-O-Shag Lodge is the Order of the Arrow lodge for the Potawatomi Area Council. And has 1 summer camp named Camp Long Lake.

Samoset Council[edit]

Samoset Council is headquartered in Weston (near Wausau), and serves the north central part of Wisconsin and was founded in 1920. It gets its name from an early Boy Scout camp in the town of Harrison, named Camp Sam-O-Set which closed in 1934, a year before the construction of Camp Tesomas.

Three Harbors Council[edit]

In September 2011, Southeast Wisconsin Council and Milwaukee County Council merged to form Three Harbors Council.[10]

Voyageurs Area Council[edit]

Headquartered in Hermantown, Minnesota, Voyageurs Area Council serves Scouts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Its Order of the Arrow Lodge is Ka'niss Ma'ingan Lodge #196.

Girl Scouts of the USA[edit]

map of the state of Wisconsin with red lines dividing it into shapes corresponding to the service area of each council
USA Wisconsin GSUSA council boundaries.png
Wisconsin Southeast
Wisconsin Southeast
Lakes & Pines
Lakes & Pines
River Valleys
River Valleys
Northwestern Great Lakes
Northwestern Great Lakes
GSUSA councils serving Wisconsin

There are four councils of the Girl Scouts of the USA headquartered in Wisconsin. Additionally, two adjacent councils in Minnesota serve portions of Wisconsin.

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin - Badgerland Council[edit]

Badgerland Council serves more than 14,200 girls and has some 4,500 adult volunteers in south-central and south-western Wisconsin. It was formed in June 2009 by the merge of three councils and part of a fourth: Girl Scouts of Badger Council, Girl Scouts of Black Hawk Council, Girl Scouts of Riverland Council, and the Wisconsin part of Girl Scouts of Green Hills Council.[11]

Services centers: Beloit, Madison, La Crosse, and Platteville


  • Camp Brandenberg is located northwest of Madison, and is available for use year-round.
  • Camp Black Hawk is located near Antigo, Wisconsin and is a summer resident camp.
  • Camp Ehawee is located near La Crosse, and is a summer resident camp.
  • Stetler is a camping area east of Madison, available for use year-round.

Girl Scouts of Manitou Council[edit]

Manitou Council serves 7,500 girls in Calumet, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Washington counties in Wisconsin.[12]

It was slated to be merged with several other councils into Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. In December 2008, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals gave a preliminary injunction enjoining the national organization from changing the status of Manitou Council.[13]

Headquarters: Sheboygan, Wisconsin


Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines[edit]

This council was formed on January 1, 2008, from the merger of Girl Scouts – Land of Lakes Council, Girl Scouts – Northern Pine Council and a portion of the Peacepipe and the Pine to Prairie Councils.[16] Only one of this council's camps is located in Wisconsin.

Headquarters: Waite Park, Minnesota[17]


Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys[edit]

Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys serves 32,000 girls and 11,000 volunteers in southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.[19] It was created in 2007 as the result of a merger of five Minnesota councils.[20] Only one of its camps is located in Wisconsin.

Headquarters: St. Paul, Minnesota[21]


  • Camp Northwoods is 420 acres in Mason, WI. Girl Scouts first began camping there in 1956.[22]

Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes[edit]

In partnership with over 6,000 adult volunteers, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes (GSNWGL) serves nearly 15,000 girls in 58 counties in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The council's jurisdiction spans about 400 miles from east to west and about 300 miles from north to south.[23]

It was formed on May 1, 2008 by the merger of Girl Scouts of Birch Trails Council, Girl Scouts of the Fox River Area, Girl Scouts of Indian Waters, Girl Scouts of Lac Baie Council, Girl Scouts of Peninsula Waters and Girl Scouts of Woodland Council.

Headquarters: Green Bay, Wisconsin


Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast[edit]

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) serves some 33,000 girls in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha, as well as the southern part of Ozaukee and eastern parts of Dodge and Jefferson counties.[26]

Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Camps and centers:

  • Alice Chester Center, East Troy
  • Camp Pottawatomie Hills, East Troy
  • Camp Winding River, Neosho
  • Chinook Program Center & Activity Station, Waukesha
  • Girl Scout Service Center, Racine
  • Marion Chester Read Center, Milwaukee
  • Silverbrook Program Center, West Bend
  • Trefoil Oaks Program Center, Kenosha
  • Volunteer Center/Council Office, Waukesha
  • Woodhaven, Kenosha

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation - Pearson, Wisconsin". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  2. ^ "Council637". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  3. ^ "Gateway Area Council BSA". Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 5" (DOC). Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 6" (DOC). Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Service Centers - Glaciers Edge Council". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  7. ^ "Districts - Glaciers Edge Council". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  8. ^ "Camping - Glaciers Edge Council". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  9. ^ Tomahawk Scout Reservation
  10. ^ "Scoutheast Wisconsin Council and Milwaukee County Council Approve Consolidation". Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Girl Scouts of Badgerland Wisconsin". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "Girl Scouts of Manitou". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "Manitou Girl Scout Council proves to be one tough cookie". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  14. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Girl Scouts of MN & WI Lakes & Pines". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ "Girl Scouts River Valleys – Discover. Connect. Take Action". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ "Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes". Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  24. ^ "Properties & Facilities » Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes". Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  25. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ "GSWISE - Girl Scouts of WI SE - Home Page". Retrieved September 15, 2015.

External links[edit]