Bay-Lakes Council

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Bay-Lakes Council
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Appleton, Wisconsin
Country United States
Founded 1973
President Dr. Susan May
Council Commissioner Scott Spiller
Scout Executive Jason P. Wolf[1][2]
 Scouting portal

The Bay-Lakes Council is the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) council serving eastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, it is geographically one of the largest local BSA councils. Bay-Lakes Council #635 was formed on July 1, 1973, the product of a merger between six east Wisconsin councils. The council is served by Kon Wapos Lodge #635 of the Order of the Arrow.


Bay-Lakes Council has a professional staff of approximately 33 people. There are over 27,000 boys in the council's 23 counties in Eastern Wisconsin, and 14 counties (all but Gogebic) in Michigan's upper peninsula. There are 320 Cub Scout packs, 230 Boy Scout troops, 90 Venturing crews and 75 Explorer posts and over 6,000 adult volunteers.


Bay-Lakes Council is divided into eight districts.

  • Gathering Waters District covers parts of Calumet, Winnebago & Waupaca and all of Outagamie and Shawano counties.
  • Hiawathaland District covers Michigan's upper peninsula; formerly Hiawathaland Council.
  • Kettle Country District covers Ozaukee county, and parts of Dodge and Washington counties.
  • Lakeshore District covers Calumet, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties.
  • Ledge to Lakes District covers Fond du Lac, Green Lake, and Marquette counties.
  • Northern Lights District covers Marinette, Oconto and Langlade Counties and part of Menominee county in Upper Michigan.
  • Twin Lakes District covers Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago counties.
  • Voyageur District covers Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties.

Board of Directors[edit]

The council's board of directors comprises the seven district chairpersons, the council president, council commissioner, and council treasurer.


An endowment fund has been created for Bay-Lakes Council to help ensure the financial viability of the council into the future.


Neckerchief slide from historical Waumegesako Council

Bay-Lakes Council was formed in 1973 by a merger of the following councils: Badger (based in Fond du Lac), Waumegesako (based in Manitowoc), Nicolet Area (based in Green Bay), Valley (based in Menasha), Twin Lakes (based in Oshkosh), and Kettle Moraine (based in Sheboygan). The Hiawathaland Council joined in 2012. The history of each of these parent councils is depicted below.[3][4]

Fond du Lac #622
founded 1920
Manitowoc #625
founded 1919
Green Bay
founded 1920
founded 1920
founded 1920
Oshkosh #630
founded 1919
Sheboygan County #632
founded 1919
Marquette #271
founded 1915
Sault Ste. Marie
founded 1917
Green Bay
ended 1922
Valley #635
merged 1922
Chippewa County #259
name changed 1920
Fox River Valley #635
name changed 1924
Marquette #271
ended 1928
Copper County #260
founded 1923
Badger #622
name changed 1926
Manitowoc County #625
name changed 1929
Green Bay Area #621
founded 1930
Valley #635
name changed 1925
Marquette Area #261
founded 1931
Chippewa Area #256
name changed 1929
Waumegesako #625
name changed 1940
Nicolet Area #621
name changed 1934
Twin Lakes #630
name changed 1935
Kettle Moraine #632
name changed 1935
Hiawatha Area #261
name changed 1933
Iron Range #649
founded 1938
Red Buck #263
founded 1938
Hiawathaland #261
merged 1945
Bay-Lakes #635
merged 1973
Bay-Lakes #635
merged 2012


map of Wisconsin with markers for the location of each council camp
Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes
Gardner Dam
Gardner Dam
Bay-Lakes Council camps (click on markers for Geohack maps)

The Bay-Lakes Council offers five main summer camp programs:

  • Cub Scout World Camp Rokilio, a three-day Cub Scout camp
  • Gardner Dam Scout Camp, which is geared toward older Scouts and offers many high-adventure activities
  • Bear Paw Scout Camp, primarily for week-long summer camping
  • Camp Twin Lakes offering a 4-day program for Webelos to transition into Boy Scouts
  • Camp Hiawatha for Boy Scout and Cub Scout resident camping in the UP.

As well as one group camp without a summer program:

  • JAX Camp in Door County is a base for high adventure such as sea kayaking and sailing.

Bear Paw Scout Camp[edit]

Main entrance to Bear Paw
Bear Paw's waterfront, viewed from Chapel Point

Nestled on the shores of beautiful Bear Paw Lake 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Mountain, Wisconsin in the Nicolet National Forest, Bear Paw Scout Camp has year-round camping, both indoor and outdoor, but is primarily a week-long resident summer camp for Boy Scouts. In addition to rustic campsites and heated cabins for camping, Bear Paw has several permanent buildings supporting its program areas, a well-stocked trading post for snacks and memorabilia, a spacious enclosed chapel on a wooded point overlooking the water, a large and modern dining hall providing the camaraderie of communal meals, a lakeside fire circle for evening council fires and ceremonies, and a nine-hole disc golf course. Hiking trails range from short, in-camp jaunts to destinations such as Explorer Point to longer treks to Oconto County features such as Lost Mountain, Staff Mountain, and Waupee Rapids. Marked cycling trails up to 50 miles (80 km) long criss-cross the peaceful forest roads in the vicinity of camp.

The following merit badges and fun activities are offered at each of these program areas during summer camp:[5]

  • Adventure: Cycling merit badge; backpacking and mountain biking overnights and day trips, lake canoeing/kayaking/sailing, whitewater tubing, volleyball, disc golf
  • Aquatics: Canoeing, Lifesaving, Motorboating, Rowing, Small Boat Sailing, and Swimming merit badges; open swimming/snorkeling/boating
  • Climbing: Climbing merit badge; open climbing
  • Order of the Arrow: Indian Lore and Archeology merit badges; also the lodge holds calling-out and brotherhood ceremonies and offers the Kon Wapos Award for Scouts to earn.
  • Outdoor Skills: Camping, Fingerprinting, First Aid, Fishing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Pioneering, and Wilderness Survival merit badges; Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit classes, day hikes, Outdoor Code and Leave No Trace sessions, Paul Bunyan Woodsman Award, and badminton
  • Eagle Challenge: advancement requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks
  • Ecology/Conservation: Astronomy, Energy, Environmental Science, Fish/Wildlife Management, Forestry, Mammal Study, Nature, Reptile/Amphibian Study, Soil and Water Conservation, Space Exploration, and Weather merit badges; nature center and nature trail, star hikes, rocketry
  • Handicraft: Art, Basketry, Communications, Leatherwork, Woodcarving merit badges; learn how to make leather projects, tie-dyed clothing, hemp necklaces, and survival wristbands
  • Shooting Sports: Archery, Rifle, and Shotgun merit badges; open shooting, including black powder muzzleloaders

Besides summer camp weeks, Bear Paw's sixteen campsites and four heated cabins can be rented by Scouts.[6] Some events and programs offered throughout the year include shooting sports, Maple Syrup Days, Cooking merit badge, Paul Bunyan Woodsman Award, geocaching, orienteering, and wilderness search and rescue.

The camp has a website.

Camp Twin Lakes[edit]

Camp Twin Lakes is located on County Road K, 11 miles (18 km) south of Waupaca, WI. The camp is 425 acres (1.72 km2) of woods and meadowland. It has three lakes that are used for swimming, boating, canoeing, and fishing. During spring, summer, and fall seasons, there are sixteen campsites. The sites range from improved sites for group camping to leave-no-trace sites that are ideal for backpacking. Some of the campsites are family campsites for registered Scouters and family.

The camp has many hiking trails both in camp and out of camp. There are a 0.5-mile (0.80 km) nature trail and 2-mile (3.2 km), 3-mile (4.8 km), and 5-mile (8.0 km) trails. Out of camp trips can be 10–15 miles (16–24 km).

There are three winter buildings, two housing twenty-four people and one for eighteen. At the present time[when?] none of the buildings are co-ed. Separate arrangements can be made for female leaders for sleeping at camp with their units.

Camp Twin Lakes is close to Nordic Mt. Ski Hill and Hartman Creek State Park for cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and ice fishing are available in the winter in camp.

Originally designed for Cub Scout Day Camp, Camp Twin Lakes is now the home of Twin Lakes Webelos Resident Camp. It is open during the summer for sessions that last four days (Sun-Wed and Wed-Sat). Webelos get a taste of what it is like to be a Boy Scout. This not only helps out the number of Webelos crossing over to Boy Scouts, but it also helps the Webelos have a better summer experience.

Gardner Dam Scout Camp[edit]

Founded in 1932,Gardner Dam Scout Camp is located along the Wolf River near the town of White Lake in Langlade County. Gardner Dam offers a variety of merit badges and numerous High Adventure opportunities. Located along the Wolf River, Gardner Dam features Whitewater Kayaking, Tubing, and Fishing. The camp inhabits both sides of the river with one side being dedicated to campsites and the other side being dedicated to the numerous program areas. Unlike most camps, Gardner Dam is a patrol cooking camp, meaning that the Scout troops cook their own meals in their campsites being provided the various ingredients from the camp's commissary. There is a man-made "pond" fed directly from the Wolf River. The water flows freely through the pond and is held in by a dam. Because of this design, the water avoids becoming stagnant, because fresh water is constantly being fed from the river. Gardner Dam also has a 40 ft (12 m) climbing tower available for Climbing merit badge and climbing during free time. In 2008 a new shooting sports facility was built. The shooting sports area has a section for both rifle shooting and shotgun trap shooting. The camp is also available in spring, fall, and winter months for Scout troops to come and camp on their own. In the off-season, troops may stay in either the older Wisconsin Electric lodge, or the newer Wausau Homes Adventure Lodge, which has indoor bathrooms, including showers.

Cub Scout World, Camp Rokilio[edit]

This camp was founded in 1924 as a Boy Scout Camp. Original funding came from several service clubs: the Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and later the Optimist clubs, hence the name Rokilio. Cabins were built and Rokilio became a winter destination as well. Sledding down the driveway from the cabins to the dining hall became classic. Camp Rokilio is 213 acres (0.86 km2) of hilly terrain with tall timber located in the Kettle Moraine 7 mi (11 km) east of Kiel, Wisconsin. The camp is on Cedar lake and has a waterfront. In the late 1990s, Cub Scout day camp moved from Twin Lakes, and Cub Scout World at Rokilio was created. The camp features six program theme buildings: Fort J.J. Keller, Gold Miner's Village (this is no longer in use due to the new Webelos camp, Twin Lakes), Gunderson Viking Bäten, Knauf Space Station, Kohler Castle, and Oertle Train Station.

The buildings are home to 15 sessions of four-day and three-night Cub Scout resident camp from June through August, and weekend use by all units the remainder of the year. Cub Scout World, Camp Rokilio offers waterfront activities in Cedar Lake, BB guns and archery ranges, and a natural bog conducive to nature hikes and environmental studies.

Camp Hiawatha[edit]

Founded in 1967, this camp now consists of 800 acres around Bunting Lake in the Hiawatha National Forest south of Munising, Michigan. The camp provides eight developed campsites for Boy Scout and Cub Scout resident camps, a number of buildings to serve the programs and activities, and a few cabins that can be rented by families.[7]

JAX Camp[edit]

JAX Camp is a rustic weekend camp that offers basic amenities, and is located near Sturgeon Bay, WI.[8]

Former camps[edit]

map of Wisconsin with markers for the location of each former camp
Red Buck
Red Buck
Former Bay-Lakes Council camps (click on markers for Geohack maps)

The following properties were originally owned by the council (or one of its predecessor councils) or operated by the council as a camp:

  • Camp Maywood-Wilderness, founded 1970, (over 200 acres near Wautoma) was primarily used for Wood Badge and JLT courses. In addition to some rustic campsites, it had a heated barn with kitchen and bunkhouse, a pavilion, a private lake, hiking trails, and geocaching.[9] The camp was sold to private buyers in 2014 as a part of the Imagine 2024 initiative, and some of its assets given to the other Bay-Lakes camps.
  • Camp Sinawa[10][11] is a privately run camp in Valders, WI . Sites are rented out by the public and various youth groups.[12]
  • Camp Red Buck was an early Boy Scout summer camp located on Scout, Council, and Red Jacket Lakes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near Munising. The camp was closed with the opening of Camp Hiawatha. The site is currently occupied by the Council Lake Dispersed Campsite in the Hiawatha National Forest.[13]

Order of the Arrow[edit]

Bay-Lakes Council is served by the Kon Wapos Lodge of the Order of the Arrow. The Kon Wapos totem is the snow shoe hare,[14] and the number is 635.[15] This lodge was formed as the 2013 merger of Ag-Im and Awase lodges.

Awase Lodge #61 was chartered on January 1, 1974. The name Awase, originally derived from the word owasse, which means "bear" in the Menominee Indian language, was adopted as the name for this lodge, which was created as new lodge, due to the merger of the six Northeast Wisconsin Councils. The original lodges, Shaginappi, Sinawa, Chequah, Wa Zi Ya Ta, Day Noomp, and Wolverine chose lodge #61 for the new Awase Lodge. Some arrowmen have chosen to correlate the lodge number "61" to signify "six lodges to one" (circa 2010).

Ag-Im Lodge #156 was formed in 1945 from Northwoods Circle Lodge #156 (originally part of Copper Country Council), Ottawa Lodge #198 (originally part of Iron Range Council), and Minnewasco Lodge #250 (originally part of Red Buck Council).

The ancestry of each of these lodges is depicted below.[16][17]

Shaginappi #61
founded 1932
Ay-Ashe #73
founded 1934
Northwoods Circle #156
founded 1939
Ba-Ta-Wa-Ga-Ma #198
founded 1941
Sinawa #73
name changed 1937
Chequah #194
founded 1941
Wa Zi Ya Ta #233
founded 1943
Day Noomp #244
founded 1943
Ottawa #198
name changed 1943
Minnewasco #250
founded 1943
Wolverine #501
founded 1953
Ag-Im #156
merged 1945
Awase #61
merged 1974
Kon Wapos #635
merged 2013

Imagine 2024[edit]

The primary mission of Imagine 2024 as stated by the its website:

"The mission of the “Imagine 2024” Plan is to enhance Council properties ensuring that they support and compliment a diverse year-round program offering. This plan will focus on: Fiscal responsibility of valuable Council resources; Utilization of the unique natural qualities of each property, as well as surrounding program opportunities to enhance program offerings; Provide continuous improvement to allow for growth and flexibility of the plan as needs change; and Create sustainable camp models..."

As of June 2016, the following changes were made:

  • The Dining Hall at Camp Rokilio had its roof replaced.
  • Camp Maywood-Wilderness was sold.
  • 20 acres of JAX camp were sold.[18]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Wolf named area Boy Scout executive". Daily Press. Escanaba. March 29, 2016. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 5" (DOC). Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Council Guide 2012 Edition, Vol 6" (DOC). Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bear Paw 2012 Leader's Guide" (PDF). Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Bear Paw Short Term Camping Leader's Guide" (PDF). Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Camp Hiawatha". Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ "JAX Camp - Weekend Camping". Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  9. ^ "2014 Bay Lakes Council Annual Report". Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Sinawa events". Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  13. ^ "Facility Details - COUNCIL LAKE DISPERSED CAMPSITE, MI -". Retrieved June 11, 2018. 
  14. ^ "OAImages Blog » 2013 » April » 06". Archived from the original on May 24, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ "LISTSERV 15.5 - SCOUTS-L Archives". Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Lodge Merger History Chart". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Lodge Merger History Chart". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Imagine 2024". Retrieved 2016-06-25.