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Scouting in Wisconsin

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.

Early history (1910-1950)

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 in size.

Scouting in Wisconsin today

There are thirteen Boy Scouts of America local councils in Wisconsin.

Bay-Lakes Council

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; the product of a merger between six Northeast Wisconsin Councils: Badger, based in Fond du Lac, Waumaegesako, based in Manitowoc, Nicolet Area, based in Green Bay, Valley, based in Menasha, Twin Lakes, based in Oshkosh, and Kettle Moraine, based in Sheboygan. Bay-Lakes Council is one of the largest Boy Scout Councils in the United States.

The Bay-Lakes Council offers three 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, and Bear Paw Scout Camp (located in Mountain, Wisconsin),

Bear Paw Scout Camp

Bear Paw Scout Camp is a Boy Scout Camp that offers 36 merit badges and numerous activities. Bear Paw Scout Camp offers 36 different merit badges to the scouts. It has year round camping, of both indoor and outdoor. The Order of the Arrow Callout Ceremonies are one of the best. The Bear Paw Trading Post was recently redone. It offers many things from candy to Bear Paw gear to camping supplies to games/toys! It is on a nice lake that you can go swimming in on hot days. All the staff is really friendly and has a works hard to give each and every scout a week of fun and enjoyment. They try and be very customer service based. Lots of scouts enter their gate each year for summer camp. Nearby rock outcroppings offer climbing opportunities for Scout visitors. They are working on a joint program between Bear Paw and Gardner Dam for climbing and white water kayaking. Each year the staff surprises them selves with what they can do, and what the possiblies are at Bear Paw Scout Camp. The camp's website is and the online forum is


  • Gathering Waters District
  • Kettle Country District
  • Lakeshore District
  • Ledge to Lakes District
  • Northern Lights District
  • Twin Lakes District
  • Voyageur District

AWASE Lodge #61

Bay-Lakes Council is also the home to the AWASE Lodge #61 of the Order of the Arrow. AWASE Lodge 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 #61 (founded 03/11/1932), Sinawa #73 (founded 11/27/1934), Chequah #194 (founded 3/4/1941), Wa Zi Ya Ta # 233 (founded 4/28/1943), Day Noomp #244 (founded 7/20/1943), and Wolverine #501 (12/22/1953) chose Lodge #61 for the new AWASE Lodge. Some arrowmen have chosen to correlate the lodge number "61" to signify "six lodges to one."

Blackhawk Area Council

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.

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

Chippewa Valley Council

The Chippewa Valley Council is headquartered in Eau Claire.

  • Blue Hills District
  • Clearwater District
  • Glacier's End District
  • Tall Oaks District

Gateway Area Council

Gateway Area Council serves Scouts in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Glacier's Edge Council

Sinnissippi Council served Scouts in South-central Wisconsin and North-central Illinois, before it merged with the Madison area Four Lakes Council. It is now called Glacier's Edge Council. It is headquarted in Madison, WI with an additional service center in Janesville, WI. The council operates three camping facilities: Camp Indian Trails, Ed Bryant Scout Reservation, and the Woodman Center for Camping and Education.

  • Indian Trails District
  • Mohawk District
  • Southern Lakes District
  • Wisconsin River District
  • Yahara District

Hiawathaland Council

Hiawathaland Council serves Scouts in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Indianhead Council

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, Phillipo Scout Reservation near Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp near Hudson, Wisconsin, and Kiwanis Scout Camp near Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota.

Milwaukee County Council

The Milwaukee County Council (MCC) currently has two Scout camps.

Potawatomi Area Council

Camp Long Lake is the council camp for Potawatomi Area Council. PAC is headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The Wag-O-Shag Lodge is the Order of the Arrow lodge for the Potawatomi Area Council. PAC is divided into the following districts:

  • Fox River District
  • Glacier Hills District
  • Southern Trails District
  • Sunset Waters District

Camp Long Lake is located in St. Cloud, Wisconsin. It is located on Long Lake, an approximately , shallow lake caused by glaciation. Camp Long Lake has the following merit badge areas:

  • "Aqualand" (Lifesaving, Swimming, Watersports, Small Boat Sailing, Snorkeling, Lifesaving BSA, Mile Swim)
  • Archery
  • Boating (Canoeing, Motorboating, Rowing, Kayaking BSA)
  • Camp Craft (Camping, Cooking, Orienteering, Pioneering, Wilderness Survival)
  • Handicrafts (Basketry, Leatherworking, Woodcarving)
  • Climbing Tower
  • Project First Class Area (New Scout skills, introductory skills, Fireman Chip, Totin Chit, Chemical Fuel Chit)
  • Shotgun and Rifle Range
  • Ecology/Conservation (12 different Eco/Con badges)
  • Trail to Eagle (Citizenship in the World, Citizenship in the Nation, Personal Fitness, Golf, Photography)
  • Health Lodge (provides emergency services, also First Aid and Medicine merit badges)

It also contains the following:

  • A large mess hall and kitchen
  • Two buildings for winter camping
  • Three shower facilities divided by gender and age groups
  • Various support and maintenance facilities

Samoset Council

Samoset Council has the distinction of having the only Scouting symbol designed by Walt Disney, a character called Smiley the Tent, which is the official logo for Tesomas Scout Camp. The Council is headquartered in Weston (near Wausau), and serves the north central part of Wisconsin. The council 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. Tesomas is one of three camps that are part of Crystal Lake Scout Reservation, the others being Akela's World Cub Scout Camp, and Hanna Venture Base. Samoset Council is served by Tom Kita Chara Lodge #96 of the Order of the Arrow.

Crystal Lake Scout Reservation

Crystal Lake Scout Reservation (CLSR), near Rhinelander, Wisconsin, consists of three Scouting summer camps: Akela's World, a camp for Cub Scouts; Tesomas Scout Camp, a Boy Scout summer camp; and Hanna Venture Base, for Venture Scouts. Located on the shores of Crystal Lake, all three Scouting camps at CLSR are operated by Samoset Council, an area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. It is also the home of Tom Kita Chara Lodge #96, of the Order of the Arrow.

Tesomas was founded in 1935, and serves over 2,400 campers per summer. Akela's World was established in 1992, and serves about 1,800 campers per summer. Hanna Venture Base is the newest addition to CLSR, being established in 2000.

The most notable portion of CLSR is Camp Tesomas, which has developed into a camp of regional and national fame, due to its popular summer camp program. Boy Scout Troops from across the nation have camped at Tesomas. The history of Scouting in Wisconsin would not be complete without mention of Tesomas. However, the other camps at CLSR are attaining a noteworthy reputation as well.

Samoset council has two other camping facilities that are not part of CLSR, but are worth mentioning. Phillips Scout Camp is available for short-term camping, and is open to non-scouting organizations. And the Flambeau Canoe Base, located on the south fork of the Flambeau River, includes several campsites, a covered shelter, and a tiered camp fire area.

Of all Samoset Council's facilities, Crystal Lake Scout Reservation gets the majority of use from both in-council and out-of-council Scout troops.

Tesomas Scout Camp
Tesomas Scout Camp is a Boy Scout Summer Camp, located north of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It is part of the Crystal Lake Scout Reservation, and operated by Samoset Council, of the Boy Scouts of America.

The camp operates for eight weeks during the summer. The Scouts who camp at Tesomas typically stay one week with their Scout Troop. Many of the Boy Scout Troops that attend Tesomas are from cities located in the Samoset Council area of Wisconsin. However, several Troops from around the country travel to Tesomas to experience the camp's award-winning summer program. Troops have traveled from as far away as Germany.

Tesomas is an exceptional Scout Camp, earning many accolades and awards from the Scouting National Accreditation Committee, for being the top Boy Scout Camps in the nation. There are many activities for Scouts to participate in while at Tesomas. The Camp is the home of Tom Kita Chara Lodge #96, of the Order of the Arrow.

Tesomas was founded in 1935, and celebrated its 70th anniversary as a camp in 2005. Over the years, Tesomas has not only become a hub for Scouting in Wisconsin, but also regionally across the entire midwest. It is a sizable summer camp, with over of land and 70 staff members. The camp comprises most of the land around Crystal Lake, a spring-fed lake with many species of freshwater fish.

The camp's logo is Disney's Smiley the Tent, a tent with a large smile, wearing a gold crown. Smiley is usually pictured with the camp's slogan, "Where Camping is King!" Samoset Council and Tesomas have the unique honor of holding the rights to the design, which was penned by Disney while he was camping in the Northwoods.

Hanna Venture Base

Hanna Venture Base was named after, and financially backed by Mr. Al Hanna, whose achievements include climbing to the top of Mount Everest.

Akela's World Cub Scout Camp

Akela's World was built in 1992-1993, just north of Rhinelander. Akela's World is home to the Lost Ship, Huck Finns, Tipi Village, and many more areas. Akela's World serves both Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts during the summer, and was the #1 Cub Scout Resident Camp in the nation for 2001, 2002 and 2003. In 2004 it was #1 in the Central Region and #2 in the country.

Tom Kita Chara

Tom Kita Chara is a Lodge of the Order of the Arrow, and is affiliated with the Samoset Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

After being chartered in December 1936, the first formal Lodge meeting was held early in 1937 in Wausau, Wisconsin. That same summer Samoset Council's Executive Board approved the Order of the Arrow as an official part of the Council's Boy Scout camping program. As tradition indicates, a deer leaped through the first Lodge Ceremony. The name of the Lodge, Tom Kita Chara, means "leaping buck" in the language of the Chippewa Indians, who lived in north-central Wisconsin. The Lodge number is 96, meaning that it was the 96th Lodge of the Order of the Arrow to be formed.

In 1946, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was made an honorary member of the Lodge, honored the Lodge with a visit. In turn, he presented the Lodge with a letter and a sword, which are now located in the Archives Room at Tesomas Scout Camp, and is available for public viewing. The sword was part of his family for many generations and is indicated by the original spelling of his family name - Eisenhauer.

In 2006, TKC Lodge celebrated its 70th anniversary as a Lodge. The previous year, when Tesomas Scout Camp celebrated its 70th camp anniversary in 2005, the lodge had the opportunity to welcome Robert Tank, its first Lodge Chief, back to the Camp for a weekend of remembrance and celebration. All former chiefs of Tom Kita Chara Lodge present at the anniversary banquet signed a Vigil sash, now also on display in the Tesomas Archives Room.

And in 2008 TKC Lodge was voted the most arrogant and overrated lodge in the entire central region. This really is an amazing accomplishment. Please don't forget this whenever dealing with a member.

Samoset Council Districts

  • Ahdawagam District serves Scouts in the cities of Adams, Arkdale, Babcock, Friendship, Grand Marsh, Nekoosa, Pittsville, Port Edwards, Rudolph, Vesper, and Wisconsin Rapids.

  • Crystal Lake District serves Scouts in the cities of Antigo, Crandon, Eagle River, Elcho, Harshaw, Land O’Lakes, Laona, McNaughton, Newbold, Phelps, St. Germain, Rhinelander, and Three Lakes.

  • Mushkodany District serves Scouts in the cities of Almond, Amherst, Amherst Junction, Bancroft, Birnamwood, Custer, Gresham, Junction City, Milladore, Mosinee, Plover, Rosholt, Stevens Point, and Wittenberg.

  • Northwoods District serves Scouts in the cities of Boulder Junction, Butternut, Gleason, Medford, Merrill, Minocqua, Park Falls, Phillips, Prentice, Rib Lake, Stetsonville, Tomahawk, and Woodruff.

  • Ojibwa District serves Scouts in the cities of Abbotsford, Athens, Auburndale, Blenker, Colby, Edgar, Hewitt, Marathon, Marshfield, Spencer, Stratford, Unity, and Withee.

  • Rib Mountain District serves Scouts in the cities of Hatley, Hewitt/Texas, Kronenwetter, Maine, Rib Mountain, Ringle, Rothschild, Schofield, Stettin, and Wausau.

Southeast Wisconsin Council

  • The Fox River District serves the sections of Kenosha and Racine Counties west of I-94.
  • The Gateway District serves the Kenosha area, east of I-94.
  • The Lighthouse District serves the Racine area, east of I-94.

Recently Learning-For-Life was dissolved into each respective district. This includes Lighted Schoolhouse, Exploring, and Venturing.

Council Camps

  • Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta - located in Burlington, Wisconsin offers complete year-round facilities for Cub Packs, Scout Troops, and Venture Crews. The camp encompasses of beautiful rolling hills and woodlands including waterfront on Dyer Lake.
  • Camp Lyle - Operated by the Southeast Wisconsin Council Boy Scouts of America, the Robert S. Lyle Scout Reservation is a wilderness Boy Scout Camp. The Reservation, located Northeast of Antigo, Wisconsin, encompasses two lakes, Aninan and Perch, and has the Wolf River running through it. Also one of the few scout camps that uses patrol cooking. Where food is provided but the scouts cook the meals themselves.

Voyageurs Area Council

Headquartered in Hermantown, Minnesota, Voyageurs Area Council serves Scouts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The council website is . The Ka'niss Ma'ingan Lodge is the local Order of the Arrow Lodge for Voyageurs Council. The council camps include Camp Horace Johnson, Camp Barksdale, and Camp Newman.

  • Appleget District
  • Gitche Gumee District
  • Great Bear District
  • North Border District
  • North Star District
  • Paul Bunyan District
  • Sleeping Giant District
  • Wah Da Bong District

Girl Scouting in Wisconsin

There are currently 13 Girl Scout councils in Wisconsin.

Girl Scouts of Badger Council Beloit, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Birch Trails Council Wisconsin Weston, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Black Hawk Council Madison, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of The Fox River Area Appleton, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts - Great Blue Heron Council, Incorporated New Berlin, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Indian Waters Council Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Girl Scout Council of Kenosha County Kenosha, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Lac Baie Council Green Bay, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Manitou Council Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Milwaukee Area Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Racine County Racine, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Riverland Council La Crosse, Wisconsin

Girl Scouts of Woodland Council Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Effective Fall 2008, the councils will be combined into three councils for the state of Wisconsin: Wisconsin North, Wisconsin Southeast, and Wisconsin West. This is part of a larger council realignment nationwide.

See also

External links

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