Scouting in Massachusetts

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Scouting in Massachusetts
Boy Scouts World Wars memorial
Boy Scouts World Wars memorial
Scouts at Fenway Park
Scouts at Fenway Park
Betty Ford with Girl Scouts
Betty Ford with Girl Scouts
Cambridge plaque
Cambridge plaque
 Scouting portal

Scouting in Massachusetts includes both Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations. Both were founded in the 1910s in Massachusetts. With a vigorous history, both organizations actively serve thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Early history (1910–1950)[edit]

By 1910, a scout like group, Boston City Guard, was founded by Frank O. Carpenter of the English High School. In June 1910, the American Boy Scouts started organizing the Department of New England which was operational in August or September under chief department scout General William H. Oakes and based in Boston.[1]

Camp Bonnie Brae Early History: 1919–1950's Founding of Camp Bonnie Brae The history of Girl Scouts in Central & Western Massachusetts began in 1916 when local councils were formed in Massachusetts. Just one year later, there were nearly 800 girl scouts in Massachusetts, with councils from Boston to Springfield. To fulfill the mission of Juliette Low for all girls to experience a healthy lifestyle including nature study and outdoor activities, this council searched for a location appropriate for a camp. This begins the history of Camp Bonnie Brae.[2]

The founders were Miss Edith Sinnett and Mrs Edith G. Newell. Unlike other organizations, the Girl Scouts have always been run completely by women. Unlike any other organizations, Girl Scouts have always had women in every position, top to bottom. The SGS set the vision of the camp experience as follows: “The girls will always be cheerful, a friend to every Girl Scout, they will enjoy camp fires and singing; they will be responsible by doing their tasks without shirking or complaining, by sharing and having fun. They also will respect nature, appreciate and utilize without harming it. They also will be courteous to old and new friends.”

In 1911, William T. and Margaret L. Dakin sold their property to the Springfield Girl Scout Council (SGS)[2] On March 12, 1914, William Dakin gave more land. In December 1915, the SGS bought several pieces of land for $1.00 each. In November 1916, they bought a piece of land for $7,000. Another large buy was in May 1917 for $2,500. And Margaret Dakin sold 143.2 acres of land for $10.00. She also reserved the island in the center of the pond (Big Pond) for herself. During the year of 1919, the Springfield Girl Scouts established “a committee to look into the matter of summer camp.” In the same year, they choose the camp at East Otis after “microscopical examinations.”

To get to Camp Bonnie Brae, most of the campers traveled 20 miles on a trolley from Springfield, then would ride on the camp truck the other 15 miles to East Otis. Camp Bonnie Brae was the first camp to use the 'buddy system'. In 1919 the schedule was as follows: At 6:00 am you were woken up. Exercises followed at 6:15 am, then you would go swimming in the lake at 6:30 am. Breakfast was at 7:00 am.

The program included nature study, sports and an overnight hike. No silk stockings or high-heels allowed! Uniform was a middy blouse and bloomers. The second year schedule remains as today: wake-up at 7:00 am. Swimming in the lake used to be early in the morning, but now it is saved for later in the day. The camp had 6 buildings: A main house, shed, farm house, barn and wonder house. In 1920, the mortgage was paid. In January 1925, the camp bought an unknown number of acres for $716.00. Traditional activities included Native American studies, dance, first aide, butterfly study, bugling, swimming, bird study, forestry, volley ball, obstacle golf, canoeing, signaling, and life-saving. Other work included astronomy, boating, child care, nursing, house-keeping, hiking, pioneering, and public health. The stated purpose of the camp experience was to provide a cheerful friend to every girl scout, to celebrate with campfires and singing, to learn responsibility by seeing through kapers without shirking or complaining, but by sharing and having fun; to respect nature with appreciation and utilize nature without harm, to be helpful and courteous and to have both old and new friends.

Historical Note[2]

Camp Bonnie Brae, located in East Otis, Massachusetts, is the oldest continuously operating Girl Scout camp in the United States. Begun in 1919, the camp is administered by the Girl Scouts of Pioneer Valley [Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts] in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The original building was an inn, also called Bonnie Brae, and was owned by Loring P. Lane. Edith Sinnett, first director of the Springfield Girl Scouts, and her friend, Edith G. Newell, wished to see the organization establish a summer camp, and in the summer of 1919 they rented Bonnie Brae from the Lane family and gave public notice that Girl Scouts could apply to attend. The fee was five dollars per week. The program for summer included nature study, as well as tennis, basketball, baseball, and volleyball.” “A bugler and a cook were hired for the summer, and two dietitians from Boston planned the menus for the camp. The success of the 1919 camp season made certain the continuation of the project, so accordingly the Girl Scout Council bought the 227 acres of land, the building, and the furniture from Mr. Lane for $10,000. Counselors served on a volunteer basis, and came from various occupations around the Springfield area. The camp maintained a 1:7 staff to camper ratio. In 1921, several troops of the Springfield Council donated money for scholarships so that girls who lacked the fees could attend. The camp has always accommodated persons of all races, creeds, and economic backgrounds. Also in 1921, the waterfront program at Camp Bonnie Brae was reorganized by an instructor from the American Red Cross. The campers were divided into three groups according to their swimming skills, and great emphasis was placed on graduating from one group to the next. The system of water buddies as a means of keep [sic] track of swimmers was instituted at Camp Bonnie Brae, the first camp in the country to do so. To enable Bonnie Brae to accommodate older girls, and to offer a better program for younger scouts, property was purchased a half-mile from Bonnie Brae and a Brownie Camp established there in 1941. Also in 1941, the Second Western Hemisphere Encampment wsa held at Camp Bonnie Brae. Girls from fourteen countries and from all over the United States attended. The guest of honor was Eleanor Roosevelt, and during her visit she spoke with the girls about democracy, proper nutrition, the bases of a post-war peace, and international cooperation. The camp has expanded its facilities over the years to include more campers and offer more activities. As of 2007, the summer program accommodated 140 girls from around the country and the world. There are also non-residential programs offered in spring, fall and winter.

Camp Bonnie Brae Evolves

In 1920 the Girl Scout rankings were: Tender Foot, Second Class, First Class, Corporal and Patrol Leader. In the 1920's Camp Bonnie Brae had Bonnie Brae Echoes, a newspaper. It cost 5 cents. A feast known as the Nature's Bouquet was the closing feature of the camp season, which was a great success. In 1921, some of the tents were substituted by cabins for the younger girls. Sunday worship happened at camp, and scholarships were established. During the year of 1922, the girls were taught to make their beds. If you went in the summer of 1923, you would have been taught how to weave on a loom. There were more athletics, and a Trail's End club for older girls. In 1924 and 25, the camp got electricity, and an archery program was developed. Sherwood, Camelot and the Jungle units were established. By 1926, the girl scout council system of self-government was recognized nationally. In 1927, Camp Bonnie Brae was run by the Massachusetts Girl Scouts.[2] There were 800 campers that season. In 1929, the Romani Patrin 'gypsy' unit was formed. As time went by, the end of program ceremonies became an important tradition in which girls created a skit, decorations, formations, poems and songs that were sung and played on instruments. Music and creativity continue to be a traditional component of girl scout camping.

During the year of 1930, the councilor training unit began. The girls there lived in white army tents. By 1930, many of the tents were replaced by cabins for the younger campers. This year, they had fewer campers (402) but they were still open the full 8 weeks. The rankings changed over the years. In 1931 it went from Brownies to Tawny Owl to Brown Owl to Girl Scout, Lieutenant and Captain. In 1933, the camp store held emblems, cards, stamps, flashlight batteries, bathing caps, films, knives, ink, kotex, ties, notebooks, belts, toothpaste, stationary, pins, and many other useful items. In 1935, Anchorage officially became a unit. There were 389 campers that year. In 1937, Miss Sinnett begins to develop a long range plans to meet the needs of both the younger and older girls at camp. The dining hall began to fail, and new construction began in 1938. Also in 1938, the boating program was instated which continued into 1956. A totem pole was built, and the girls would sing around it. Two other Girl Scout camps formed near Bonnie Brae, one called Dyerbrook and the other was Edith Sinnett; these were day camps for younger girls.[2]

In July 1940 the camp got electricity from the Pittsfield Electric Company, most of the structures were built and a new artesian well was dug. The fee was $5.00 per week. A new unit, Enchanted Forest, was established, with its own base a mile hike from the camp. There were 397 campers that year. In 1941 the state granted the Peck Lumber Company access to the forests; this company logged 200 acres (the lumbering continued until 1962).[2] Eleanor Roosevelt came and toured the camp this season, telling girls to “develop a seeing eye and an inquiring mind”, and she placed the camp on the International Girl Scout Camp list. During the 2nd Western Hemisphere Encampment in the same year, scouts from across the United States and more than 14 other countries exchanged recipes, camping ideas, customs and costumes. After her visit, Mrs. Roosevelt penned a special essay for her column “My Day”.

In 1945, there were 485 campers. A year later, the camp had a horse program from John Simpson of Hartford, with 6 horses, a truck and some grain and hay that cost $760. In 1948, the campers went on lots of biking trips. A camp improvement was the installation of an infirmary, which was dedicated with a special program. Included in the Infirmary dedication August 15, 1948 is the philosophical statement that "Loyalty and honor go hand in hand. One of these without the other would fade and our inner qualities would loose their fine touch, in many ways less tangible than games, these qualities are being put to practice when Girl Scouts honor foremost one's self, and then school, camp and ideas." In 1949, a new dishwashing system was developed with advice from the Cornell School of Home Economics.[2] By this time, In the late 1940s, the original inn burned down and was replaced by a building called Big House. The Big House held the camp store, art area and offices.

During the year of 1950, the Enchanted Forest became a unit for the oldest regular campers. Other units included Tanglewood, Jungle, Camelot, Wahpeton, and Sherwood. The campers earned special camp letters and awards by doing activities and quests. Braids were established as the official camp hair-do, and if you did not behave, your supper would be destined to be prunes! Scouts would compete to see who would get the most clams out of Big pond. Since clams were only found in the deep end of the swimming area, you had to swim under the water and grab one. Their sport field program included: track, golf, tennis, basketball, volleyball and baseball. Even then, families were told not to send in radios with their campers. In 1953, there were 506 campers.

In the summer of 1955, the camp program included sail-boating, a brand new activity.[2] Sailboats were purchased and were in use through 1956. This camp unit was Lochmar, a sailing unit for younger Girl Scouts. There were also Anchorage and Birnam Wood. Tyro was originally the counselor training unit, until Green Horizons took its place. Other continuing units were Sherwood, Viking Dalen and Enchanted Forest. The newspaper changed to The Bonnie Brae Bugle as well. Over time the Springfield Girl Scouts Became the Pioneer Valley Girl Scouts with Chicopee, Agawam, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Hampton, Monson, Wilberham, Palmer, Ware, Belchertown and Ludlow troops.

In 1960, the camp was run by the Pioneer Valley Girl Scout Council, Inc. Girls went on Quests and got special badges. Here is an example of a quest: 1. Find a spider's web. 2. Catch a fly and put it in the web. 3. Watch what the spider does, then tell about it. 4. Find which part of the web is sticky and which isn't. In 1968, the units changed back to age-based levels. In that year, Camp Bonnie Brae occupied 250 acres of land and had 120 campers. The oldest training unit is the counselor training unit.[2]

Scouting in Massachusetts today[edit]

  • Girl Scouts of the United States of America has three councils in Massachusetts.
  • Boy Scouts of America has ten regional councils in Massachusetts.

Full details for the regional councils are below.

Boy Scout Councils in Massachusetts[edit]

Boston Minuteman Council[edit]

Boston Minuteman Council
Location Milton, Massachusetts
Country United States
Scout Executive Chuck Eaton
 Scouting portal

The Boston Minuteman Council serves the greater Boston area. In 2015, it will be merging with Yankee Clipper Council headquartered in Haverhill, MA. The council will be named the Spirt of Adventure Council.

Camp Properties[edit]

Cape Cod and the Islands Council[edit]

The Cape Cod and the Islands Council serves Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. Greenough Scout Reservation as well as Camp Richard are the councils camps. The council is divided into the following districts:

  • Lower Cape District
  • Martha's Vineyard District
  • Nantucket District
  • Upper Cape District

Order of the Arrow – Abake Mi-Sa-Na-Ki Lodge

Knox Trail Council[edit]

Knox Trail Council
Knox Trail Council CSP.png
Country United States
 Scouting portal

Knox Trail Council is the result of the consolidation of the Norumbega and Algonquin Councils in 1996. It serves the greater MetroWest area of Eastern Massachusetts. It has two camping properties: The E. Paul Robsham Scout Reservation — in Bolton (Camp Resolute), and the Nobscot Scout Reservation — in Framingham/Sudbury. The council is divided into the following districts:

Order of the Arrow – Chippanyonk Lodge

Mohegan Council[edit]

Mohegan Council serves Central Massachusetts. Treasure Valley is its summer camp. The council is divided into the following districts:

  • Quinsigamond District (Auburn, Boylston, West Boylston, New Braintree, Holden, Leicester, Oakham, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Worcester)
  • Mill Town District

Order of the Arrow – Pachachaug Lodge

Narragansett Council[edit]

Narragansett Council is based in East Providence, Rhode Island, but has 3 service areas that serve communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut:

Massasoit Council[edit]

The Fall River Council rechartered as the Massasoit Council. It was headquartered in Fall River, Massachusetts and served that city and the surrounding communities of Somerset, Swansea, Westport, Tiverton and Little Compton. The Wampanoag District served Somerset and Swansea. The Council Office was located in the Women's Union Building on Rock Street. The Massasoit Council existed until 1972.

The primary source for Boy Scout uniforms and gear was McWhirr's department store on South Main Street in Fall River. Many Council-wide Scouting events were often held at Lincoln Park in Westport, Massachusetts. The Firestone Rubber Company, which had a large factory in Fall River, sponsored the Firestone Award for outstanding Boy Scouts in the Massasoit Council in the 1950s and 1960s. These recognition events were held at White's in Westport.


Camping for the Fall River Council began in 1917 at Camp Stanford in Fall River and provided an outlet for boys for four years. It was decided in 1921 at a Fall River Council Executive Board meeting that the purchase of a 100-acre (0.4 km2) wooded area would take place, naming it Camp Noquochoke. Additional land was purchased in Camp Noquochoke’s later years covering over 110 acres (0.4 km2) on the eastern shore of the Westport River in Westport. Camp site facilities ranged from undeveloped, to tent sites with platforms, to A-frames ("Adirondacks") to cabins with stoves and bunk beds.

The physical facilities were significantly improved in the late 1950s with a new dining hall (constructed by Fall River (Building) Trades Council with site work provided by the Navy SeabeesReservists) and an in-ground pool. The Navy Seabee Reservists did upgrade the camp road from the entrance on Pine Hill Road to its termination by the former or old dining hall ending at the river's bluff. The Seabees also did the site work for the new dining hall, dugout the archery range and may have partially or completely built the rifle range on the newly acquired Donovan property. This work done by the Seabees was part of their community service, especially non-profit agencies.

Camp legend, the basis for many campfire stories, was a character named "Three-fingered Willie." Camp Noquochoke continued to serve area youth until 1980.

Cachalot Council[edit]

On May 13, 1935, as part of complying with new rules of incorporation for Boy Scout councils in Massachusetts, the New Bedford Council changed its name to the Cachalot Council. The name, derived from the French and Portuguese words for sperm whale, was proposed by Joe Allen, of the [Martha's] Vineyard Gazette, in January 1933 to honor the history of whaling in New Bedford.

At the time, the Council did own a property that was used as a camp. This property, off Rock O' Dundee Road in South Dartmouth [2], was too small and lacked adequate water sources, both for drinking and swimming. For a short time, from 1937 through 1942, the council shared the summer camp facilities of the Fall River Council [3], but this was deemed "not satisfactory for many reasons." [4] From 1943 through 1945, summer camp was held at Camp Maxim, which was owned by the local Boys Club, and also failed to meet the needs of the program.

In 1945, the Cachalot Council conducted a capital fundraising campaign expressly for the purpose of acquiring a suitable camp. Many local businesses and individuals contributed, and the campaign successfully raised $75,000. At the same time, the council began looking for a suitable property. After considering several properties [5], they placed on offer on a large parcel adjacent to the southeastern corner of Myles Standish State Forest, owned by "The Five Mile Corporation." This corporation, headed by Theodore Steinway (of Steinway & Sons Piano), Albert Hathaway, and Russell Davis, had purchased the property during the Great Depression for a mere $12,000, and agreed to sell it to the council for the same price. The deed was signed over in January 1946, and preparations immediately commenced to open the Camp for its first summer camp season ever, with Roland Deneault as Camp Director, in summer of the same year. It has operated continuously since. Cachalot Scout Reservation remains to this day serving scouts in Southeast Massachusetts. Cachalot Council's Order of the Arrow lodge was Agawam Lodge 509 which had the totem of the whale.

Moby Dick Council[edit]

The Moby Dick Council (also known as Moby Dick Council of Massachusetts and Rhode Island) was formed in 1972 by a merger of the Cachalot Council of Greater New Bedford and the Massasoit Council of Greater Fall River. The two former councils were small, and fell victim to the BSA's desire to create larger councils. In 2001, Moby Dick Council suffered a similar fate, and merged with the Narragansett Council of Rhode Island, much to the chagrin of many old-timers of both the smaller councils and the larger Moby Dick Council. Camps Moby Dick Council originally had two camps: Camp Cachalot was the camp for Cachalot Council, and Camp Noquochoke was the camp for Massasoit Council. Camp Noquochoke was sold due to its smaller size and fewer prospects, and later became a residential neighborhood. Camp Cachalot still remains as a weekend and summer resident camp owned and operated by the Narragansett Council.

Massasoit Council's Noquochoke Lodge 124 of the Order of the Arrow merged with Cachalot Council's Agawam Lodge 509 to form Neemat Lodge 124.

Annawon Council 1930-2015[edit]

The Annawon Council is a local council of the Boy Scouts of America headquartered in Norton, Massachusetts. It is one of the few small councils that remained in the area.

In 1930 Annawon Council was organized, but it was not until January 9, 1931, that it was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts, and legally established as of April 20, 1933. At the time of organization, the Council included the communities of Attleboro, Mansfield, Norton, Taunton, Raynham, and Berkley. William Lee Abbott was appointed Scout Executive and secretary. Dr. Joseph L. Murphy of Taunton was the first Council president, Annawon was one of the last Councils in Massachusetts to be organized. In 1916 the first Scouting charters in Massachusetts were granted to the Fall River and the Fairhaven-New Bedford Councils. Annawon Council was incorporated in 1931. The state of Massachusetts required that both Fall River and Fairhaven-New Bedford council recharter under the articles of incorporation, at that time Fall River Council became known as the Massasoit Council and Fairhaven-New Bedford Council became known as the Cachalot Council.

During 1932 first serious consideration was given a Council-owned camp site for Annawon Scouts. Although considerable thought was given to a site on Lake Mashpee on Cape Cod, the Council reneged on a thirty day option to buy the property. During the summer of 1932 the invitation of Old Colony Council to camp with them at Camp Childs on Morey's Pond was accepted. on October 1, 1932, as a result of the permission of Mr. Clement Jeffers of Attleboro, a camp site for weekend camping was dedicated as Camp Jeffers. During the summer of 1933, the scouts camped on Greenwood Lake, West Mansfield, at Camp Annawon. This was the first year that a camp existed, the site was known as Camp Finberg, it was a YMCA camp. After considerable study in 1934, the Council purchased 25 Acres on Darby Pond in Plymouth for use as a camp site. The site was known as "Camp King" and was purchased from Phillip Cole for $2,500.00. From July 15 to August 19, scouts camped on the shore of Darby Pond at Camp Annawon. The original entrance road was off of Plymouth street just off of Carver St (Route 44). It crossed over the cranberry dam below the present BB Range. On June 24, 1935 William A. Collins of Norwich, Connecticut and a graduate of MIT was appointed Scout Executive. He immediately went into camp to direct the Council Camp, which was officially named Camp Norse for the first time. That year the boy week count rose to 165.

In 1940 the land north of the original property of 25 acres was purchased for $300.00, it included an abandoned house in a large field. This field became the ball field. A new entrance road into camp was built off of Partings way road. It was later enlarged by the National Guard Army Corps of Engineers. In 1950 Ellis Brewster from the Plymouth Cordage Company donated 100 acres to Annawon council to increase the size of Camp Norse. That same year, the shallow well was replaced with a deeper well and then was enclosed in a block house through a grant from the George Magee Memorial Fund. In 1960 the camp received a bronze bell, dated 1891. Howard Fowler, Editor of The Mansfield News and former Council President, was instrumental in procuring the bell from the Mansfield Fire Department. It came from an old firehouse on West Church St In Mansfield.

Camp Norse is the sole camp of the council located at 112 Parting Ways Rd. Kingston, MA. In 2014, it was announced that Annawon Council will be merging with a neighboring council. In the spring of 2015, Annawon Council's Executive Committee announced it will be starting merger talks with Narragansett Council headquartered in East Providence, Rhode Island. The council formally merged in September 2015. The council was divided into the following districts serving 11 communities in Bristol and Plymouth Counties:

In June 1941, Tulpe Lodge, Order of the Arrow was approved by the Executive Board. On August 2, 1943, the council applied for and received a charter for their new Order of the Arrow Lodge, and Tulpe Lodge was official. The turtle shell symbol came from the turtles from Camp Norse. Apparently it was custom at the time to hollow out a turtle shell and use it as a neckerchief slide. There is no chapter system in use for the two districts of the lodge/council. Tulpe has hosted three conclaves at Camp Norse for Area 1C, and Section NE-1B. The name Tulpe remained in the Narragansett Council Merger.

South East Camping Association[edit]

In 1993 Camp Norse officially became Camp Norse Cub World and was no longer used for the summer camp for the Scout Troops but rather was used by Cub Scouts through the South East Camping Association (SEMCA). This was a North East Region BSA sanctioned program that included the Cape Cod and Islands Council, Annawon Council, and the Moby Dick Council. This effort was designed to use the resources available in these three councils. Troop camping for all three Councils was to be at Camp Cachalot which was owned by the Moby Dick Council. The Cub Scout summer camp would be at Camp Norse, and the Boy Scout High Adventure summer camp, would be at Camp Greenough on Cape Cod.

The Original Narragansett Council 1917-2001[edit]

The Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America is part of a worldwide Scouting movement with over 15 million members in one hundred countries. Boy Scouting began in England in 1907 when the British military hero, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, organized the first Boy Scout camp. In 1908, he published Scouting for Boys and formed what would become the British Boy Scout Association.

As a result of a “good turn” performed by an English Scout in London for Chicago publisher William D. Boyce, Scouting came to America. The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in 1910 and chartered by Congress on June 15, 1916.

Scouting in Rhode Island began as the Rhode Island Boy Scouts which was first organized as a voluntary association on September 6, 1910. On April 13, 1911, it was chartered under state laws for the purpose of giving boys of Rhode Island an organization in which they could be formed into groups that mirrored the newly formed national Boy Scout Program. From 1910 to 1917, Rhode Island Boy Scouts established groups (troops) throughout Rhode Island, except in Newport, Blackstone Valley and Woonsocket. In these locations, troops were organized and affiliated with the National Council Boy Scouts of America.

In 1917, Rhode Island Boy Scouts ‘merged’ with the National movement. Under the terms of the agreement, the Greater Providence Council Boy Scouts of America was formed to take over the operation of the Scouting Program and supervision of troops. The National Council Boy Scouts of America recognized the date of the Council’s organization as September 6, 1910, and granted all members back service to that date. The National Council Boy Scouts of America also agreed that the Rhode Island Boy Scouts could maintain its corporate identity so that it could continue to receive bequests, hold funds and properties and acquire other funds and properties in the future; thus, the formation of Rhode Island Boy Scouts as a Trustee organization.

In 1929 and 1930, the Greater Providence Council Boy Scouts of America merged with the Newport County Council, the Pawtucket-Central Falls Council and the Woonsocket Council to form the Narragansett Council.

The Order of the Arrow Lodge was the Wincheck Lodge 534 which had the totem of the bear and specifically served Yawgoog Scout Reservation. It was formed in the 1950's from Yawgoog's honor society, The Wincheck Indians, when the Order of the Arrow became growing in national popularity.

Narragansett Council 2002-2015[edit]

On July 1, 2001, the Moby Dick Council headquartered in New Bedford, Massachusetts, merged with the Narragansett Council in Providence, Rhode Island, adding 17 more cities and towns in Massachusetts to the 6 cities and towns the Narragansett Council was already serving. The Council serves almost 26,000 registered youth members and Learning for Life participants and supports in excess of 5,000 registered adult volunteers. The Narragansett Council operates two Scout Shops/Service Centers (one in the Summit Square Plaza on Route 2 in Warwick, RI and one in the Swansea Mall in Swansea, MA) and owned and operated eight great camps: Camp Aquapaug in South Kingstown, RI, Buck Hill Scout Reservation in Burrillville, RI, Camp Buxton in Rehoboth, MA, Cub World at Buck Hill Scout Reservation in Burrillville, RI, Cachalot Scout Reservation in Carver, MA, Champlin Scout Reservation in Cranston, RI, Sandsland on Block Island, and Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Hopkinton, RI. Administrative functions are housed at 10 Risho Avenue in East Providence, RI.

The Order of the Arrow Lodge is Abnaki Lodge 102 with the totem of a bear and a peace pipe.

Narragansett Council began merger talks with Annawon Council based in Norton, MA in 2015 and officially merged on September 10, 2015 under the name Narragansett Council.

The Modern Narragansett Council[edit]

On September 10, 2015, the Annawon Council headquartered in Norton, Massachusetts, merged with the Narragansett Council in East Providence, Rhode Island, adding 11 more cities and towns in Massachusetts to the 23 cities and towns the Narragansett Council was already serving. The newly merged operation, which will take the name of the Narragansett Council, includes all of Rhode Island, 34 communities in Massachusetts and 1 in Connecticut, and boasts nearly 14,000 Scouts, the largest in Northeast Area 1. The Narragansett Council’s main headquarters remain at its current location in East Providence. The Narragansett Council operates three Scout Shops/Service Centers (one in the Summit Square Plaza on Route 2 in Warwick, RI, one in the past Annawon Council Office and Scout Shop in Norton, MA, and one in the Swansea Mall in Swansea, MA) and owns and operates nine great camps: Camp Norse in Kingston, MA, Camp Aquapaug in South Kingstown, RI, Buck Hill Scout Reservation in Burrillville, RI, Camp Buxton in Rehoboth, MA, Cub World at Buck Hill Scout Reservation in Burrillville, RI, Cachalot Scout Reservation in Carver, MA, Champlin Scout Reservation in Cranston, RI, Sandsland on Block Island, and Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Hopkinton, RI. Administrative functions are housed at 10 Risho Avenue in East Providence, RI.

The Order of the Arrow lodge of the new council is Tulpe Lodge 102 with the totem of the turtle, formed from a merger of Narragansett Council's Abnaki Lodge 102 and Annawon Council's Tulpe Lodge 245.

Nashua Valley Council[edit]

Main article: Nashua Valley Council

Nashua Valley Council [1] serves north-central Massachusetts.

Old Colony Council[edit]

Old Colony Council
Old Colony Council CSP.png
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Canton, Massachusetts
Country United States
 Scouting portal
Main article: Old Colony Council

Old Colony Council [2] based at Canton, Massachusetts serves southeastern Massachusetts.

Western Massachusetts Council[edit]

The Western Massachusetts Council was created on June 28, 2008 with the merger of Great Trails Council and Pioneer Valley Council. Geographically, it is the largest Boy Scout council in Massachusetts serving Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties and the town of Stamford, Vermont. The council operates Scout office-service centers in Westfield and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and year-round camping facilities at Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation in Russell and Chesterfield Scout Reservation in Chesterfield, Massachusetts.

The Western Massachusetts Council is divided into three districts:

  • Appalachian Trail District
  • Metacomet District
  • General Knox District

Order of the Arrow – The Pocumtuc Lodge of the Western Massachusetts Council was formed by the merger of Memsochet Lodge 507 (Great Trails Council) and Allogagan Lodge 83 (Pioneer Valley Council)[3] on September 28, 2008.

Yankee Clipper Council[edit]

Yankee Clipper Council
Yankee Clipper Council CSP.png
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Haverhill, MA
Country United States
Founded 1993
President N/A
Scout Executive Jonathan Pleva
 Scouting portal


The council had five districts: Aquila District, Greater Lowell District, Lone Tree District, North Essex District, and North Shore District. The council reorganized its districts down to three which are now called the Great East District, The Northern Lights district, and the West Wind district.

Program and activities[edit]

Services provided by the Yankee Clipper Council include training for volunteer leaders, a website, and abundant programs for Scouts of all ages. At the headquarters in Haverhill, YCC employs eight professional field staff members and four support staff members who work to maintain nearly 300 Scouting units. Scout Shops are located at both of the service centers for purchasing uniforms, BSA publications, equipment and advancement awards. The service centers are open for record keeping and program support. The main office is at 36 Amesbury Road, Haverhill, MA and the second at 189 North Main Street, Middleton, MA. The council's camps at Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation and Lone Tree Scout Reservation are supported by volunteers for year-round maintenance and operations. At each of the camps there are two part-time resident Camp Rangers. The YCC provides support of Chartering Organizations to maintain high quality Scouting programs. Liability insurance is provided for all volunteer leaders and chartering organizations. The Yankee Clipper Clipboard is the council newsletter and is published 4 times annually.[1]

The council was recently recognized by the National Council and the Northeast Region for growth in Scoutreach program in the city of Lawrence. Over 200 Scouts achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2007, the largest in Council history.

The council has an Eagle Scout Association which holds an Eagle Recognition Banquet that honors Eagle Scouts from the prior year through November. The banquet program is conducted by Eagles from each district and concludes with a keynote address from an interesting guest speaker. Any Eagle Scout registered in the Yankee Clipper Council who is a member of the Council Eagle Scout Association and under the age of twenty-one can apply for a scholarship from the YCC Eagle Scout Association. The scholarships are given to assist the student in his first year of college.[2]

Many editions of the Yankee Clipper Council shoulder patch have been made. They range from updated versions of the original, where spokes were added to the wheel totem for incoming districts and to issues for several national jamboree contingents, religious events and FOS fundraiser sets. [1]


Camp Onway Location Raymond, New Hampshire Founded 1929 Defunct 2007 Camp Onway was a camp of the Yankee Clipper Council from 1929 to 2007. It has since been sold.

Lone Tree Scout Reservation Location Kingston, New Hampshire Founded 1946 Ranger Wil Dinsmore Website Lone Tree Scout Reservation is a 125.1-acre (506,000 m2) camp in Kingston, New Hampshire on Country Pond; it currently hosts the council's Cub Scout camping program.[3]

From 1946 to 1994 Lone Tree Scout Reservation served as a residential summer camp for Boy Scouts during the summer season. Since 1994, the reservation has served as the Council's Cub Scout camp and continues to serve as a camping location for both Cub and Boy Scouts troops from September to June.

The Yankee Clipper Council holds many training sessions, including Wood Badge, Order of the Arrow events and district camping events at the Reservation throughout the year.

The reservation was purchased by the Lone Tree Council in September 1946,[4] with the proceeds from a World War II Boy Scout paper drive and the sale of Camp Lone Tree in Deerfield, New Hampshire. Camp Lone Tree was a 75-acre (300,000 m2) camping facility owned by the Lone Tree Council from 1928 to 1946.[5]

Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation Location Northwood, New Hampshire Coordinates 43°12′36″N 71°14′29″W / 43.21°N 71.24139°W Founded 1937 Ranger Tom Lothian Website Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation (WTCSR) is an overnight Boy Scout camp located in Northwood, New Hampshire. The camp belonged to the Greater Lowell Council until that council joined Yankee Clipper in 2000. Wah-Tut-Ca is a magical place it is one of the worlds many wonders. When scouts go to this life changing camp they transform into respectable young men. Scouts will meet life long friends and experience things they will take with them for the rest of their lives. Wah-Tut-Ca is on over 250 acres (100 ha), including frontage on Northwood Lake. Wah-Tut-Ca is a Native American term meaning "For Friends and Brothers".[6] The camp was founded in 1937.

Camp Wah-Tut-Ca offers an open program and a wide variety of activities for scouts to choose from. The areas at the camp include the Waterfront, COPE, Climbing, Sports, Frontier, Discovery, Handicrafts, Shooting Sports, Project Green, and the Trading Post. Each area is staffed by trained scouts who teach merit badges and scout skills to help scouts advance through the ranks of Scouting.

The Wah-Tut-Ca Senior Staff is made up of camp alumni, often National Camp School Certified, including many Arrowmen from Nanepashemet Lodge. Every summer, they return home to manage the summer camp program for the many resident campers. Junior staff members include veteran campers and staffers from Lone Tree Scout Reservation, Camp Onway and WTCSR. WTCSR Camp Staff is a rare group, owing to its youth and the fact that they run a very successful camp.

In the spring of 2007 the Key Foundation, an Order of the Arrow support group, published Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation.[7] It is the first national publication of the history of a Scout camp.[8]

The Spirit of Adventure Council[edit]

Spirit of Adventure Council
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Milton, MA
Country United States
Founded 2015
President N/A
Scout Executive Chuck Eaton
 Scouting portal

Spirit of Adventure Council was formed from a merger of the Yankee Clipper Council and Boston Minuteman Council on July 1, 2015. As part of this merger, New Hampshire towns of the former Yankee Clipper Council were transferred to Daniel Webster Council headquartered in Manchester, NH.

George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund[edit]

The George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund is a Massachusetts-based trust whose proceeds are used to support the purchase and improvement of the camps operated by Boy Scout Councils in Massachusetts.


George W. P. Magee was a theatrical agent and manager who most notably managed Boston's Grand Opera House from the 1890s through 1916. Being very involved in the community, he saw Scouting as a program making significant positive impact on the lives of young men. He turned this belief into a permanent commitment to Scouting, by establishing a trust upon his death. His will reads, in part:

"They shall pay the amounts, during their respective lives, to the individuals mentioned above, and they shall distribute the balance of the net income of the said Trust Fund to such of the councils of the BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA as are located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as, in the opinion of said Trustees, are performing the most efficient service, the said net income to be used, so far as possible, for the purchase and maintenance of summer camps or training camps in New England for the use of Boy Scouts. These payments shall be made by said Trustees after consultation with the officials of the Boy Scouts of America.

It is my desire that the said Councils to whom this Fund is distributed, shall, during the week of August sixth, which date is my birthday have such competitive games, drills and/or exhibitions as may, in the opinion of said Councils, be for the greatest benefit of the said boys and will also tend to permanently impress upon them the nature of the Fund, and, for such purpose, they may award such cups, badges or other recognition of merit as to them may seem proper.

In disbursing the said income, the Trustees have the right to erect in any Boy Scout camp or training field conducted under the auspices of Councils of the Boy Scouts located in Massachusetts, a lodge or general meeting place with a proper inscription showing that the said structure is erected and dedicated by this Fund."

George Magee died in 1939, with France Cornell and Frederick W. Cook becoming the original Trustees of the fund. It took nearly 5 years, until 1944, for the fund to reach the minimum level for income to be distributed ($500,000). In 1944, the fund distributed $11,000. Upon the death of Mr. Cornell in 1961, the Old Colony Trust Company became the sole corporate trustee of the fund.


As of 2004, the fund had a market value of approximately $7.3 million, with an annual distribution of $210,000. Over its lifetime, the fund has contributed over $6.2 million to hundreds of projects, impacting over a million youth, at various Boy Scout camps. Funds are held by the Private Bank at Bank of America, the current successor of the Old Colony Trust Company, and they are advised by a committee composed of local Scouting professionals and volunteers. Many Massachusetts camps conduct a "Magee Night" competition or other similar event to celebrate Mr. Magee's contribution, and it is quite easy to find buildings named after Mr. Magee or with plaques bearing his name.

Councils requesting money typically make proposals to the advisory committee, stating the purpose of the project, the amount being requested, and any moneys being provided through other sources. Only Councils located in Massachusetts are eligible, although as the will reads the camps that benefit may be located elsewhere in New England.

Girl Scout Councils in Massachusetts[edit]

Map of Girl Scout councils in Massachusetts

There are three Girl Scout councils serving Massachusetts, one of which is headquartered in Rhode Island.

Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts[edit]

Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts serves 15,000 girls in 186 communities. It was formed by a merger in early 2008 of three councils: Girl Scouts of Montachusett Council, Girl Scouts of Pioneer Valley, Girl Scouts of Western Massachusetts.

Headquarters: East Longmeadow, Massachusetts


Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts[edit]

The historic Ephraim Hammond House in Waltham. The estate is now owned by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts serves more than 45,000 girls and 17,000 adults in 177 Massachusetts communities and South Hampton, New Hampshire. It was formed February 1, 2008 by a merger of three councils: Girls Scouts, Patriots' Trail; Girl Scout Council of Southeastern Massachusetts; Girl Scouts of Spar and Spindle Council.

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

Service Centers[edit]


Girl Scouts of Rhode Island[edit]

This council supports Massachusetts girls in Bellingham, Blackstone, Attleboro, Fall River, North Attleboro, Plainville, Somerset, Swansea, Westport, Wrentham, Millville, Rehoboth and Seekonk.

Former Girl Scout Camps[edit]

Camp Muriel Flagg is a locale in Williamstown, Massachusetts named for Muriel Flagg, a Girl Scout leader and teacher. Originally a Girl Scout camp, it opened in June 1964 and probably ceased operations in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It is located at an elevation of 1,004 feet (306.0 m) and is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of Williamstown in Berkshire County Latitude 42°44′28″N 073°11′08″W / 42.74111°N 73.18556°W / 42.74111; -73.18556

Scouting museums[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Page 413-416. The Boy Scout Movement. New Boston: A Chronicle of Progress in Developing a Greater and Finer City, Volume 1. Boston 1915, Incorporated, 1910. Accessed on January 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Five College Archives & Manuscript Collections, Sophia Smith Collection, Camp Bonnie Brae Records, 1917-2007 (ongoing), Collection number: MS 592, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063.
  3. ^

External links[edit]