wood haven

Scouting in Pennsylvania

Scouting in Pennsylvania has a long and rich tradition, 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)

Scouting in Pennsylvania formally began in 1911 with the founding of the Delaware & Montgomery County Council in 1911. This council eventually became the former Valley Forge Council, now part of the Cradle of Liberty Council.

Sixteen councils were chartered in America between 1910 and 1913. The seventeenth was the Warren County Council headquartered in Warren, Pennsylvania. This Council later changed its name to Chief Cornplanter Council and is still in operation. It is currently the oldest existing, continuously registered council in America. The other preceding 16 councils either went out of business or merged with another Council at some point in their history. The information for this paragraph was provided by the Registration Department of the National Office of the BSA, Irving, TX in October 2007.

Also in 1913, the Philadelphia Council opened the first American scout camp, Treasure Island Scout Reservation, near Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Two years later, Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carrol Edson founded the Order of the Arrow, which inducted its first members on July 16, 1915 at Treasure Island.

In 1914, the Allegheny County Council, forerunner of today's Greater Pittsburgh Council, was chartered. Also in 1914, the Philadelphia council was chartered.

In 1915 charters were first granted to the councils headquartered in Erie, Wilkes-Barre, and Oil City, Pennsylvania.

In 1916, councils were chartered in Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Scranton, among others. The Council in Harrisburg is still currently registered as the Keystone Area Council.

In 1917 Meadville, State College and Bethlehem were granted charters by the National Office, along with nine other councils.

1919 saw the councils in Williamsport, Altoona and Chester County formed. Like Chief Cornplanter, the Chester County Council is still in operation today and they represent only a handful of small one-county councils left in America. The other one in PA, Bucks County Council, received its first charter in 1927.

By 1920, forty-six Councils had been chartered in Pennsylvania. Most of these were small Councils no larger than the town they were named after. Some of these were known as "Second Class Councils".

In the following years, other currently chartered councils were started: Juniata Valley in 1929; Bucktail in 1930; Columbia-Montour in 1931; and York-Adams in 1932.

1937 saw the formation of the current Westmoreland-Fayette Council in Greensburg.

All other current Councils in Pennsylvania are the result of mergers which began to occur in the 1960s through present day.

1941 saw the creation of Camp Ockanickon, in Bucks County Council. It is now the most successful camp in the region

Among the claimants for First Boy Scout Troop in the United States is Troop 1 in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is also home to the oldest annual Scouting event in the nation, the Valley Forge Pilgrimage and Encampment.

In 1928, Eagle Scout (and Erie native) Paul Siple was one of the first Scouts to travel to Antarctica with Admiral Richard Byrd. Byrd had held a national contest to invite worthy Eagle Scouts along with the expedition. Paul Siple later went on to develop what is now known as the "Wind Chill Factor"

The 1921 and 1931 National Order of the Arrow Lodge Meetings were held at Philadelphia, the 1922 and 1927 National Lodge Meetings were held at Reading, Pennsylvania, and the 1940 National Lodge Meeting was held at Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

The 1950 National Scout Jamboree was held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Recent history (1950-1990)

Outside of the few small Councils mentioned above, the history of Pennsylvania Councils over the past 50 years has been one of mergers.

Beginning in 1962, the Mid-Valley Council, headquartered in Peckville merged with the former Dan Beard Council in Scranton to form the Forest Lakes Council. Meanwhile, in 1970, the former Anthracite Council (Hazleton) merged with the former Wyoming Valley Council (Wilkes-Barre) to form the Penn Mountains Council. In 1984, the area comprising the former Anthracite Council removed itself from the Penn Mountains Council and joined neighboring Minsi Trails Council. Forest Lakes Council and Penn Mountains Council merged in 1990 to form the current Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, in Moosic, PA.

In 1967, the former Nemacolin Trails Council in Washington, PA merged with the Allegheny Council in Pittsburgh to become the former Allegheny Trails Council. This Council merged again in 1993 with East Valley Council to become the current Greater Pittsburgh Council.

In 1969, the Lehigh County Council ( Allentown), Bethlehem Area Council (Bethlehem) and Delaware Valley Area Council ( Easton) merged to form the current Minsi Trails Council in Allentown.

In 1970, the former Appalachian Trail Council and Daniel Boone Council merged to form the current Hawk Mountain Council in Reading.

In 1971, the Lancaster County Council and Lebanon County Councils merged to form the Lancaster-Lebanon Council. This Council changed its name in 1995 to Pennsylvania Dutch Council and is headquartered in Lancaster, PA. 1971 also saw the merger of Blair-Bedford Area Council (Altoona), William Penn Council ( Indiana, PA) and Admiral Robert E. Peary Council (Johnstown, Pennsylvania) into the current Penns Woods Council in Ebensburg.

In 1972, the Washington Trail Council (Erie), Colonel Drake Council (Oil City) and Custaloga Council ( Sharon) merged to form the current French Creek Council, headquartered in Erie.

1973 saw the merger of the former Lawrence County Council ( New Castle) with the former Pioneer Trails Council ( Butler, PA), forming the current Moraine Trails Council. Host to two National Jamborees (see below).

Also in 1973, the former Elk Lick Council, in Bradford, PA merged into Allegheny Highlands Council headquartered in Falconer, NY

In 1974, the former West Branch Council (Williamsport) and Susquehanna Valley Area Council ( Sunbury) merged to form the current Susquehanna Council in Williamsport.

Other notable happenings in Pennsylvania Scouting at this time include:

The 1957 and 1964 National Scout Jamborees were held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Half of the 1973 National Scout Jamboree (Jamboree East) was held at Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania, where the 1977 National Scout Jamboree was also held.

During 1975 and 1976, Scouts in the Philadelphia area could earn a Colonial Philadelphia merit badge. It could only be counted towards palms, not any rank, and came in a green border and a very yellow-green border. This was the only time BSA National approved a regional merit badge for any such use.

Scouting in Pennsylvania today

Twenty-four Boy Scouts of America local councils serve portions of Pennsylvania.

Allegheny Highlands Council

Allegheny Highlands Council serves Scouts in New York and McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania.

Baden-Powell Council

The Baden-Powell Council serves Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania and parts of New York .

Bucks County Council

Bucktail Council

Covering Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, Jefferson and Northern Centre Counties of Pennsylvania Districts

  • Pa Wilds
  • Ah'Tic Lodge #139 Order of the Arrow

Chester County Council

The Chester County Councilserves Scouts in Chester County, Pennsylvania and Northeastern Cecil County, Maryland. It is one of the oldest Councils in the nation, and is one of three single-county councils left in Pennsylvania (the other two being the Chief Cornplanter Councilin Warren, PA and the Bucks County Council in Doylestown, PA) The Philadelphia Area Council was a single-county council, covering Philadelphia County, but has since become part of the three-county Cradle of Liberty Council).

Chief Cornplanter Council

The Chief Cornplanter Council, Boy Scouts of America, with headquarters in Warren, Pennsylvania, serves roughly 1,000 youth members throughout Warren County, Pennsylvania and Hamilton Twp. in McKean County. It is the oldest existing continuously-registered, non-merged council in America.

The Council received its first charter from the National Office of the BSA in July of 1913 as the Warren County Council. Sixteen other councils were chartered before this time, however, these councils either went out of business or merged with another Council at some point in their history.

The Warren County Council changed its name to Chief Cornplanter Council in 1954 to honor a famous local Seneca Chief.

In 2008, the Council is celebrating its 95th anniversary with various events and activities, including a visit by Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca on July 25. This marks the first-ever visit by a Chief Scout Executive to the Chief Cornplanter Council.

Camp Olmsted

The Council's camp property is Camp Olmsted. Situated on the Allegheny Reservoir in the midst of the Allegheny National Forest, Camp Olmsted provides nearly of natural woodlands and offers a waterfront with every water-oriented merit badge offered. The camp was named after George W. Olmsted, founder of the Long Island Lighting Company and former Chairman of the National Camping Committee of the BSA, who donated significant funding towards the construction of the camp. Mr. Olmsted was the recipient of both the Silver Beaver Award from the Warren County Council as well as the Silver Buffalo Award from the National Council. Mr. Olmsted received the Silver Buffalo in 1931, just 6 years after the award was initiated. He also served as the Chairman of the National Camping Committee of the BSA.

The original camp opened in 1927 along the banks of the Allegheny River, but was relocated up the hill from the original site when the Kinzua Dam was built in the early 1960s, creating the Allegheny Reservoir. The new location was first used in August 1965.

In 2007 the Council took a major step in increasing the quality of the program offered at Camp Olmsted, moving to just one week of summer camp for Boy Scouts and catering only to Chief Cornplanter Council Troops. The camp staff is made up of all adult volunteers who give a week of their time to conduct the program for the Scouts. Camp Olmsted also has a "Youth Corps" consisting of Scouts who are First Class and above and who also volunteer their time. In exchange for their time and hard work, the Youth Corps members get to camp at no cost and may work on up to three merit badges during the week. No out-of-council Troops are accepted.

Order of the Arrow

Chief Cornplanter Council's Order of the Arrow Lodge, Gyantwachia Lodge #255, provides service to the council's Camp Olmsted. The lodge was first organized in 1944 as "Cornplanter Lodge", ultimately changing its name to "Gyantwachia", which means "the planter," or "he who plants (corn)" referring to the Seneca name of Chief Cornplanter. The Lodge totem is the wolf.

Columbia-Montour Council

  • Iroquois District [OLD]
  • Susquehannocks District [OLD]
  • Lenni Lenape [2007 to Present]

The Columbia-Montour Council has now combined its two districts into one, its new name is Lenni Lenape. The Council has since been split up into several service areas to lighten the load for Commissioners and District Executives within it.

Cradle of Liberty Council

The Cradle of Liberty Council is a Boy Scouts of America council created in 1996 with the merger of the former Philadelphia Area Council, covering the city and county of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the former Valley Forge Council, covering both Delaware County, Pennsylvania and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. It is the largest council in Pennsylvania and one of the ten largest in the entire Boy Scouts of America. The Unami Lodge is the oldest lodge in the Order of the Arrow.

Five Rivers Council

Five Rivers Council serves Scouts in New York and Pennsylvania.

French Creek Council

The French Creek Council with headquarters in Erie, PA was organized in 1972 from a merger of the former Washington Trail Council (Erie), Custaloga Council (Sharon, PA) and Col. Drake Council (Oil City, PA).

The Council serves Scouts in six counties in northwestern Pennsylvania and one Township in Ohio. The council's summer camp, Custaloga Town Scout Reservation is located along the banks of the French Creek near Carlton, PA.

Langundowi Lodge #46 is the council's Order of the Arrow lodge. The Lodge came into existence in 1972 with the merger of the former Eriez Lodge #46 (Erie, PA), Hoh-Squa-Sa-Gah-Da Lodge #251 (Sharon, PA), and the Skanondo Inyan Lodge #256 (Oil City, PA).

The name "Langundowi" means "Peaceful One" in Lenape. The Lodge totem is the Iroquois Great Tree of Peace.

Greater Pittsburgh Council (commonly referred to as GPC)


  • Beaver Valley District
  • Conestoga District
  • Fort Pitt District
  • Frontier District
  • Greene District
  • Japeechen District
  • Mingo Trails District
  • Mon Valley District
  • Seneca District
  • Steel City District
  • Tecumsa District

Council camps

  • Heritage Reservation

    *Camp Freedom
    *Camp Liberty
    *Camp Independence (Cub Scout)

  • Camp Twin Echo
  • Camp Anawanna
  • Camp Baker
  • Camp Guyasuta

Enda Lechauhanne is the Order of the Arrow lodge belonging to the Greater Pittsburgh Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Enda Lechauhanne, commonly referred to as Enda, is the largest lodge in Section NE-4B, enlisting over 2000 members in good standing.

Hawk Mountain Council

Serving Berks, Schuylkill and western Carbon Counties.

  • Appalachian District
  • Black Rock District
  • Cacoosing District
  • Frontier District
  • Indian Run District
  • Kittatinny Lodge #5, Order of the Arrow

Hawk Mountain Council, BSA #528
Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation
Kittatinny Lodge #5
Patches of the Hawk Mountain Council
The Joining of Two Council: The forming of Hawk Mountain Council
Herbie Hawk, the Council Symbol
Randy Rowe, Eagle Scout -- 1922-1978

Hudson Valley Council

The Hudson Valley Council is headquartered in Salisbury Mills, New York, and also serves Scouts in Pike County, Pennsylvania.

Juniata Valley Council

  • Oneida District (Huntingdon County)
  • Nittany Mountain District (Centre County)
  • Shawnee District (Mifflin and Juniata Counties)

Council Web site Monaken Lodge Web site

Camp: Located just off US Rt. 322 between Lewistown, PA and State College, PA. Seven Mountains Boy Scout Camp Uses the chartered troop plan, its own leadership, and the "patrol method", (which is recognized as the ideal method for Scout camping). Offers four (4) weeks of Boy Scout resident camping, two (2) weeks of Webelos resident camping, Cub/Parent overnight camping, and Family camping.

Keystone Area Council

The Keystone Area Council serves Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, most of Franklin and part of York Counties.

  • Adventure District
  • Blue Mountain District
  • Frontier District
  • Kittattinny District
  • Union Canal District

Council camp: Hidden Valley Scout Reservation

Mason-Dixon Council

The Mason-Dixon Council serves southern Franklin and Fulton Counties in Pennsylvania and Washington County of Maryland.

Minsi Trails Council

The Minsi Trails Council is a council of the Boy Scouts of America that serves Scouts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Moraine Trails Council

Moraine Trails Council is home to Camp Bucoco (Boy Scouts) and Camp Agawam (Cub Scouts). Moraine State Park is also located within the council boundaries, and was the site for two National Jamborees.

  • King Beaver District
  • Glacier Ridge District
  • River Valley District

Northeastern Pennsylvania Council

Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, with headquarters in Moosic, Pennsylvania, formed in 1990 from the merger of Forest Lakes Council and Penn Mountains Council.

Penn's Woods Council

  • Chestnut Ridge District
  • Chief Logan District
  • Forbes Trail District
  • Keystone District

Nachamawat lodge

Nachamawat is a Boy Scout lodge with the Order of the Arrow, chartered through Penn's Woods Council and serves the scouting movement in several counties in west-central Pennsylvania. The lodge is assigned the number 275, although new scouting regulations do not involve numbers such as this, and instead use council numbers. Nachamawat has a membership of about 500 members, with about 100 active members.

As an Order of the Arrow lodge, members are elected from both member and non-member youths in Boy Scout troops.

Nachamawat primarily uses two council camps, Camp Seph Mack in Indiana, PA, and Camp Anderson in Tyrone, PA.

As an Order of the Arrow lodge, Nachamawat works to follow traditions of the Lenape in ceremonies, names, and other traditions.

Nachamawat is Lenape for "Three in One". This name is derived from the origin of Nachamawat Lodge, which came about by the merging of three older lodges — Wopsononock, Hopocan, and Amadahi. This merger occurred in 1970 and happened because of the merger of their individual councils.

Using this history, the lodge designed a totem of three arrows in one quiver to symbolize the merger and subsequent name.

Every year Nachamawat hosts several events which its members can partake in.

The Vigil Breakfast is a meeting of Vigil members and sometimes their families. It is held early in the year, normally in January. Vigil members go to an area restaurant to enjoy breakfast while renewing friendships and having friendly discussions.

Spring Thaw is a fellowship event in March dedicated to having fun. Because it is often cold at the event, activities are tailored to be indoor, with outdoor activities occurring spontaneously is good weather appears. Activities include staff making, wood burning, featherwork, beadwork, patches, Native American dance, rope making, or maybe just playing cards. Food is prepared by an amazing set of cooks, and meals in the past have included roasted pig, steak, roast beef, and even Chinese food.

Ordeals occur in May, June, and sometimes in August. These weekends serve to induct new members, and revolve around service to one of the council camps. Ceremonies occur and the food is excellent.

The Vigil Weekend is a weekend where the new Vigil candidates are inducted into Vigil membership. It is a sacred weekend above all others and is strictly limited to Vigil members and candidates.

Nachy Games is a fellowship weekend that occurs in the fall, either in September or October. This weekend is spent playing games outdoors, including football, frisbee, and Orange Golf. Orange Golf is like golf, but played with an orange. A course is established and is designed to destroy the orange with traps, difficult obstacles, and impossible holes. A main focus of the game is to cheat without it being too noticeable. Food is amazing, with meals traditionally being steak Saturday for dinner.

The annual lodge banquet was traditionally been held in the first months of the year, but has recently been moved to the end. The banquet is a time where awards are presented and a feast is eaten. Guest speakers are also in attendance, and are often prominent members of scouting or past lodge leaders.

Pennsylvania Dutch Council

The Pennsylvania Dutch Council, Pennsylvania is a Council of the Boy Scouts of America.


  • Conestoga River District
  • Harvest District
  • Horse-Shoe Trail District

Susquehanna Council

  • Susquehannock District
  • North Woods District
  • Penn's Woods District
  • Camp Karoondinha is a camp owned and operated byt the Susquehanna Council.

York-Adams Area Council

The York-Adams Area Council is a council of the Boy Scouts of America serving South-Central Pennsylvania.

Westmoreland-Fayette Council

  • Braddock Trail District

The Following School Districts are included in Braddock Trails

Connellsville Area

Southmoreland Area

Mt. Pleasant Area

The Following School Districts are included in Bushy Run

Norwin School District

Hempfield Area

Penn Trafford

  • Laurel Hills District

*Old Trails District Old Trails Includes the Following School Districts

Albert Gallatin Area

Laurel Highlands Area

Brownsville Area

Uniontown Area

Wagion Lodge #6
Westmoreland-Fayette Council's local Order of the Arrow lodge is Wagion Lodge #6. It is the sixth oldest lodge in the nation and serves the Council's summer camp Camp Conestoga and its less developed camp Camp Tenacharison. Wagion Lodge is the oldest Order of the Arrow lodge in the nation to have never merged with another lodge.

Girl Scouting in Pennsylvania

As of January 2007 there are 13 Girl Scout council offices in Pennsylvania; however, they are in the midst of a realignment which will result in three councils. In addition Bradford and Tioga Counties will remain part of Seven Lakes council whose council office is in New York.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania

Created on May 1, 2007 by the merger of Penn Laurel, Scranton Pocono, Penn's Woods, Hemlock councils. It serves some 45,000 girls and headquarters is at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is joined by Pike County (formerly part of Sarah Wells Council). Frederick County, Maryland, which had been part of Penn Laurel, will join a new council in Maryland.

Penn Laurel Girl Scout Council
York, Pennsylvania
Web Site:

Penn Laurel was founded in 1961

Hemlock Girl Scout Council, Inc
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Web Site:

Girl Scouts, Scranton Pocono Council
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Web Site:

Scranton Pocono was chartered in 1961 and the area has been serving girls since 1917.

Penn's Woods Girl Scout Council
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Web Site:

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania

In western Pennsylvania, the following councils have recently merged as of April 2008: Penn Lakes, Keystone Tall Tree, Beaver & Lawrence Counties, Talus Rock, and Trillium. They are now Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. Web Site:

Girl Scouts of Beaver and Lawrence Counties Beaver, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Keystone Tall Tree Girl Scout Council Kittanning, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Penn Lakes Girl Scout Council, Inc Edinboro, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Girl Scouts of Talus Rock Council, Inc Johnstown, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Girl Scouts — Trillium Council Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania

Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania council was officially created on May 1, 2007 from the previous councils of Great Valley, Freedom Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The new council cover Berks, Bucks, (parts of) Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia counties and serves over 50,000 girls. Its headquarters is in Miquon, Montgomery County.

Girl Scouts — Great Valley Council, inc Allentown, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Inc Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania Web Site:

Girl Scouts of Freedom Valley Valley Forge, Pennsylvania Web Site:


The council has nine camps.

  • Camp Mosey Wood — Carbon county, in the Pocono Mountains
  • Camp Wood Haven — Schuylkill County
  • Camp Mountain House - 15 acres near Allentown and Bethlehem (day camp)
  • Camp Hidden Falls - Dingmans Ferry, Pike County
  • Camp Laughing Waters - Gilbertsville, Montgomery County
  • Shelly Ridge Day Camp — Miquon, Montgomery County (day camp)
  • Camp Tohikanee — Bucks County
  • Camp Tweedale — Oxford
  • Valley Forge Day Camp — Montgomery County (day camp)

Great Valley Council-Camp Mosey Wood Song

Some call it fun and others call it madness.
So come along and join us and wipe away your sadness.
Happy campers are we, having fun 'neath the trees,
And when we are gone, we'll remember this song.
Oh camp, Camp Mosey Wood, camp, Camp Mosey Wood, camp, Camp Mosey Wood, camp, Camp Mosey Wood, Cam

Scouting museums in Pennsylvania

The World of Scouting Museum is in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. World Of Scouting Museum

International Scouting units in Pennsylvania

In addition, there are Homenetmen Armenian Scouts in Philadelphia, and Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség Hungarian Scouting maintains two troops in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh.

See also


External links

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