Minsi Trails Council

Minsi Trails Council
Minsi Trails Council
Minsi Trails Council
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Headquarters Allentown, Pennsylvania
Founded 1969
President Joseph E. Brake
Commissioner Eric J. Chiles
Scout Executive Craig Poland
Scouting portal

Minsi Trails Council is a council of the Boy Scouts of America that serves Scouts of eastern Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley and Pocono regions as well as parts of western New Jersey.

The council was formed in 1969, after the merger of the Bethlehem Area Council, Delaware Valley Area Council, and Lehigh Council. The council consists of six districts and maintains two camps: Camp Minsi and Trexler Scout Reservation.

During the past 25 years, Minsi Trails Council has experienced substantial growth. Youth participation has grown 118% to over 31,4000 members.[1] Camp attendance has kept pace, rising 115% to over 3,800 campers. Over 36% of all local Scout-age youth are involved in the program.



The council is divided into six districts. A seventh "Urban Scouting District" runs the national Scoutreach program. Districts are divided by county and school district boundaries based on geographic location and size.

  • Anthracite
  • Forks of Delaware
  • North Valley
  • Pocono
  • South Mountain
  • Trexler


Minsi Trails Council has three camps which they run and maintain. Camp Minsi, a Boy Scout camp, is the largest of the three camps, encompassing over 1,200 acres (5 km2). The other two camps, Akelaland (Cub Scout camp) and Settlers Camp (Boy Scout camp), both share the almost 900 acres (3.6 km2) of Trexler Scout Reservation.

Camp Minsi

Camp Minsi
Camp Minsi
Location Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania
Country United States
Founded 1949

Camp Minsi is a located on the shores of the 314 acres (1 km2) Stillwater Lake in Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania. The camp was formerly owned by Bethlehem Area Council prior to the establishment of Minsi Trails Council. The camp was donated to the Boy Scouts in 1949 by Samuel Rubel. Camp Minsi encompasses 1,200 acres (5 km2) of relatively flat woodlands, holds over 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails and varied wildlife.[2] The camp is owned by the Minsi Trails Council, and was formerly a part of the Bethlehem Area Council prior to council merging and reorganizing. The camp was first opened 1949.[3] Camp Minsi encompasses 1200 acres (5 km²) of relatively flat woodlands, holds over 20 miles (30 km) of hiking trails and varied wildlife.

A central feature of the camp is the 315 acre (1.3 km²) Stillwater Lake.[4] Stillwater Lake provides sailing, fishing and other aquatic activities to the hundreds of Scouts and Scouters who attend weekly throughout the summer season.

Camp Minsi has over 20 buildings, 10 established troop sites, 10 primitive outpost sites, four fresh-water springs, miles of trails and several historical and natural points of interest.[4]


  • Site 1: Mohican
  • Site 2: Tuscarora
  • Site 3: Iroquois
  • Site 4: Mohawk
  • Site 5: Onondoga
  • Site 6: Oneida
  • Site 7: Cayuga
  • Site 8: Seneca
  • Site 9: Lenape
  • Site 10: Shawnee

Summer camp program areas

  • Ecology conservation (E-CON)
  • Waterfront
  • Scoutcraft
  • Handicraft
  • Ranger Crew
  • Activities coordinator
  • Shooting sports
  • Trail to Adventure (TTA)

Special awards and programs

Scouts take a break along Mini's famous Muck Hike
Muck Hike

One of Minsi’s most proud traditions[5] - the Muck Hike is run every Wednesday afternoon throughout the summer. The special E-CON hike, takes Scouts through the muddy swamps on the border of camp. This afternoon activity draws a large crowd, each week over 41% of the camp will participate in the event.

Frigid Froggy

A Camp Minsi tradition of a pre-breakfast swims is run each morning at 6:30am throughout the summer camp program. Scouts who attend all week earn the Frigid Froggy award and specialty patch. Troops with perfect attendance all week also win a special award.

The Indiana Jones award

Along with merit badges, this program is for those Scouts that wan additional challenges at camp. The Ecology Conservation Area offers this award. The award originated in the 1990s and still continues as a strong part of the camp's unique program. By attending a series of challenging and inventive hikes, scouts will introduce the scout to the variety of ecological features that Camp Minsi has to offer. A special award patch is presented at the end of camp to those who complete the award requirements.[6]

Scout Leader merit badge

A program for leaders at Minsi, the Scout Leader Merit Badge program gives advance requirements to encourage Scoutmasters to participate in program, get involved, and receive a special patch. The program has multiple-levels for returning Scoutmasters to earn. Currently the highest level is the seventh year Scout Leader Merit Badge.

Iorn Chef cook-off;

The Iorn Chef cook-off has become a long tradition each Thursday during the summer camp season. Rather than the regular dining hall dinner, Troops must cook their own meal in their sites and present their dish to be judged by the staff. Winners are announced at the end of the week and given a special award.

Trail to Adventure;

The Trail to Adventure Program (TTA) is the first year camper program at Camp Minsi. The program provides a structured week by which your boys can optimize their camping experience. Requirements from Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class are covered in the program. The program also includes an overnight outpost for all participants. Totin’ Chip and Fireman Chit are also available to be earned by participation in the program.

The Ultimate Scouting Adventure'

The Ultimate Scouting Adventure, previously the Hiker's of Minsi, is a program for youth that have attended camp for two or more years that involves outpost camping and hiking, as well as, opportunities to earn several merit badges. The program runs Monday through Friday during the summer camp season. Meals are provided and prepared at the Sub Stations by the Scouts. The program incorporates hiking, scouting activities, outdoor survival skills, and Merit Badges. Activities include a canoe trek across Lake Stillwater; exploring the ice house ruins; building a monkey bridge across creek; using two-man saws, axes and other woodstools; tomahawk throwing and field archery; a compass orienteering course; a GPS navigation course; swamp hiking; boating; and snorkeling.

Winter camping

A special winter camping program is also run by the Minsi Trails Council at Camp Minsi. Winter camp is a permanent annual activity at Camp Minsi, which started in 1997 running during Martin Luther King Weekend in January of each year.[7] Activities of the 4-day camp include: ice fishing, ice skating, ice hockey, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, rifle and shotgun shooting, a live demonstration of ice rescue, winter camping survival skills, use of GPS system, a hike over frozen Lake Stillwater, 3 Arctic Patrol Competitions and snow tubing at Camelback Ski Area.

Merit badges were introduced to Winter Camp's program in 2006. Scouts have a chance to work on Ice-Skating, Snow Sports, Wilderness Survival, First Aid, Cooking, Astronomy, Camping, Rifle, Shotgun and Orienteering. The camp utilizes the activities field and state-of-the-art winter tents. The tents used are large, wall tents that sleep up to 8 Scouts; and are heated by wood stoves. Each tent is erected on a wooden platform and is furnished with bunk beds. Camp Minsi's winter camp sees more than 50 participants each year.[7]

Other programs

Since before 1972, the camp has operated a week-long Cub Scout day camp for boys from Monroe and Pike counties.[8] Camp Minsi hosted the NE-4A Order of the Arrow conclaves in 1996 and 2004.[9]

Additionally, the camp has been used for many regional, council and district level camporees, trainings, services, Klondike derbies, trade-orees, fellowship events, service events, meetings and other activities. The Scouts of the BSA's Northeast Region held their post-Jamboree events at Camp Minsi in September 2007 where they reflected on and shared their experiences from the 21st World Scout Jamboree.[10]

Outside of Scouting, the International Game Fish Association held their 2006 junior angler tournament at Camp Minsi.[11]


The Native Americans of Minsi (1600s - 1778)

Years ago the Native Americans called the land of Camp Minsi home. The area which is now Lake Stillwater was an impenetrable, dense swamp. The forest was full of large trees. Stories tell of tree trunks so large that six men could not wrap their arms around them, and the Natives of the area told tales of the forests being so dense with trees that a squirrel could go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River without having to touch the ground.

The Lenape (or Lenni-Lenape) were inhabitants of the land in the 17th century. The Lenape were a mobile hunter-gatherer society in the region around the Delaware River and the lower Hudson River, and were native to the area of current Camp Minsi. The Lenape were organized in phratries, which were groups of two or more small clans, identified by an animal sign. Three Lenape phratries emerge in the early historical records: the Unami, the Ungalachtigo, and the Minsi. The camp's name, Minsi, derives from the Lenape Minsis. The Minsi phratry has also been referred to as Munsi, Munsee, Monsi, and Muncey. The symbol of the Unami (the turtle) has been adopted as the symbol of Camp Minsi.

Sullivan Expedition (1778)

During the height of the American Revolutionary War (July 3, 1778 to be exact), over three hundred American patriots were killed in an Iroquois raid on Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley (the area around Scranton and Wilkes-Barre). The Americans called it an "unwarranted massacre". The event incensed General Washington. He feared for the safety of settlers living along the Appalachian Mountains and worried about possible future raids on his army and supplies. In order to eliminate the problem, Washington ordered Major General John Sullivan to march with 2,000 soldiers from Easton, Pennsylvania to the Wyoming Valley. Their orders were to wipe out all the Indian villages he encountered.

As Sullivan and his men marched north, they created a new trail. The route, known as Sullivan's Trail, would become a major road for transportation following the campaign. In fact, much of the original trail was used as the foundation for the highways, roads and trails of the area still in use today.

Sullivan's March brought Sullivan and his men into the Pocono region and into what is the current Camp Minsi.[12] Sullivan's Trail runs through Camp Minsi and is still used today. (The main trail that goes from the parking lot up behind the backside of the parade field; continues past the trading post, the fire circle, chapel and current Scoutcraft location; and continues down over the creek where "Second Bridge" now stands out towards Hunter's Cabin.)[12]

Sullivan was quickly moving north when the local tribes heard of Sullivan’s plan. The Natives assembled in an attempt to thwart his efforts before he could reach the Wyoming Valley. The Native Americans of the area collected their warriors and waited patiently for Sullivan and his men in the area of the current day camp.

As Sullivan and his men continued to march on their mission, they came to a place where the heavy woods transitioned to an area of low bushes and shrubs (where, today, the camp's yellow trails rejoin the path to Hunter's Cabin – about 150 yards (140 m) after Second Bridge). It was an ideal place for an ambush.

When Sullivan reached this point, he and his men were attacked by the Natives. According to Sullivan, the Natives, at first, held the advantage over his surprised men. However, with their superior firepower over the bow and arrow, Sullivan's men turned the ambush into a rout of the Natives, wiping out approximately 90% of the estimated 1,000 warriors who turned up that day. Today, the area is known as "Bloody Angle" in honor of this bloody encounter and the many slaughtered Natives.

After his "victory", Sullivan did not linger. He and his men were riding hard for the Wyoming Valley area to complete their mission. Sullivan's army continued to carry out a scorched earth campaign, methodically destroying at least fifty Iroquois villages throughout Pennsylvania and New York.

After the clash at Bloody Angle, the local tribes gathered up their wounded and moved them back to their home tribes. However, the issue over where to bury the nearly 900 dead was a more complicated matter for the Natives. Many suggested burying the dead on the battle site directly next to Sullivan's Trail. However, many local Chiefs worried passersby using the trail might desecrate the grave markers. After much debate, the Chiefs decided on a partially cleared area further back down the trail. This area, a few hundred yards off the main trail, was far enough away from the main route to ensure that those passing by would not even know they were there. The Natives relocated and buried the dead in close low and rocky graves. This area became wholly sacred to the Native Americans in the area.

The dead were relocated to the area that is now used as the shotgun range.[13]

The Area Hunters (1778 - 1870s)

General Sullivan and his troops cut a road from Easton through current Camp Minsi and on to northern Pennsylvania and New York on their march north. The road, known as Sullivan's Trail (and the Wilkes-Barre and Easton Turnpike), brought a substantial amount of traffic through the area. The area of Camp Minsi remained largely undeveloped, as it was not suitable for farming. However hunters, trappers, and traders inhabited the area around the busy trail.

In the 19th century a man named Wismer lived in what is now the Northwest area of camp. An outpost site currently resides where "Wismer's Cabin" once stood, next to the appropriately named Wismer's Swamp. Dotter was another hunter/trapper of the area. The Dotter's Cabin site (located next to the aptly named Dotter's Spring and Dotter's Run) is found in the center of Minsi's back-woods. Schlicker's cabin site and other sites from the period also exist on the camp's property. Each site holds its own legends and myths surrounding the hunters who once inhabited the land.

The area's trading post was the Hunter’s Cabin, which is on the eastern boundary of the camp near Sand Spring. Hunter’s Cabin was a popular stop-off point for many locals and travelers along Sullivan's Trail. Many used the cabin on either a bi-weekly or monthly basis to sell their goods and to purchase supplies needed for the next few weeks. Many of the items sold were animal skins, pelts, and tools. A tall stone chimney and fireplace is all that remains of the trading post today.

Rise of the Lumber Industry (1870s – 1880s)

Up until the 1870s, most of the land of the Pocono Plateau was pristine forest. The area where current Camp Minsi stands was full of large trees and dense swamp. During this time, businessmen from New York City and surrounding areas began buying up the land from local residents and clear-cutting the plateau to harvest the lumber.

In the first years of the 19th century, the vast forests of pine and hemlock were the focus of considerable interest as the market for timber increased in large cities along the Atlantic coast. The swamps around Minsi were destroyed and cut away to make room for man-made lakes designed to transport the cut timber downstream to waiting sawmills. Three very small streams and underground springs fed the newly made “Lake Stillwater”, with Tunkhannock Creek being the major outlet for the lake. A dam was built to control the water flow and the level of the lake. Logs were sent from Lake Stillwater down Tunkhannock Creek to Lake Naomi, and then down another stream to the sawmill on Lake Pocono.

By the 1830s, lumbering was taking place on a massive scale throughout the region. By 1860, Pennsylvania, with over 28 million acres (110,000 km²) of land (much of which was densely forested) had become America's lumbering champion.

Ice Harvest on Lake Stillwater (1880s - 1930s)
Ice cutting plow pulled by horse on the lakes near Minsi

With the dwindling forests and growing markets, the businesses who had harvested all of the lumber began looking for new avenues of revenue—they turned to the ice industry. From the late 1880s until the 1930s, the ice industry of the Poconos was king. Before the 1930s and the advent of refrigeration, food was preserved through salting, spicing, pickling, or smoking. Meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables were all subject to spoilage. These products were only sold in the local markets, since shipping them was not practical. Consumers' choices were limited because they could not store these products for any substantial time. The solution to these problems was found in the harvesting of natural ice.[14]

Numerous ice companies sprung up in the area as ice was harvested from the shallow freshwater lakes. Soon, the Pocono Mountain Ice Company, run by Samuel Rubel and based in Hoboken, New Jersey, became the leading ice company in the area, buying up many of the smaller ice companies. Large ice houses were built around Lake Stillwater to store the large blocks of ice. Remnants of some of those facilities can still be seen at camp today.[5]

Pennsylvania was the nation's third largest producer of ice, following Maine and New York. Pennsylvania consumed about 1 million tons annually, cut on the state's lakes and rivers. Aside from Stillwater Lake, Pocono Mountain Ice Company harvested ice on Saylor's Lake, Trout Lake, Lake Naomi, Pocono Lake, Mountain Spring Lake, and the Lakes at Tobyhanna.[14] It was reported that the Pocono Mountain Ice Company was harvesting ice for 6 cents per ton. Ice workers out on the lake were paid 30 cents an hour, while those working in the icehouse, where 300-pound ice cakes were being pushed around, were paid 35 cents an hour. The Pocono Mountain Ice Company employed over 500 men during the height of the harvest.[15]

Beginning in the 1930s with the advent of refrigeration, the harvesting of the ice from the lakes became less and less profitable. Eventually, the ice companies folded, while still controlling large tracts of land.[16]

The Scouts and Minsi (1949 - present)

Delaware Valley Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, operated Weygadt Scout Reservation in the Delaware Water Gap on the Delaware River from 1931 until 1968.[17] Weygadt Scout Reservation was originally home to two Scout camps — the Easton Council's Camp Weygadt on the southern part of the reservation and the Bethlehem Area Council's Camp Minsi on the northern section of the reservation.[17][18] In the later part of the 1930s, the Bethlehem Council moved Camp Minsi to the Poconos, and the entire reservation in the Water Gap became Camp Weygadt.[5][18]

Throughout 1920s and 1930s the summer camp for the Bethlehem Area Council moved from place to place in the Poconos. Once it was held in Tobyhanna State Park. In 1949, Samuel Rubel and the Mountain Ice Company donated the land around Lake Stillwater to the Bethlehem Area Council for a small $10 transaction fee.[16]

At this time the council was able to set up a permanent camp. A camp was established on the southern shore of the lake — what is now known as the Weygadt side of the lake. The old buildings of the Ice Company were used for the staff housing, dining hall, health lodge, indoor rifle range and the ranger’s lodging.

The council sought to expand its programming for summer camp and the plans were drawn up for a bigger and better Camp Minsi. In the mid-to-late 1950s the plans were realized, chiefly through the donations given to the council from Bethlehem Steel. As construction took shape in the new camp, several buildings in the original camp were torn down and the ranger took up residence in the building currently known as Weygadt Conference Center.

Construction of the current camp, along the western side of the lake, was completed in 1958. The newly expanded camp opened for the first time in the summer of 1959. In 1968 Weygadt Scout Resevation was forced to sell their property due to the impending Tocks Island Dam project on the Delaware River; however many of the camp's resources and legacies, have been able to live on at Camp Minsi. The cannon currently in use in the parade field was originally from Camp Weygadt; and funds from the sale of the Weygadt property has funded many projects at Camp Minsi — including the expansion and dedication of the "Weygadt Trust Dining Hall" in 2007.[18]

Camp Minsi, now part of Minsi Trails Council due to the merging of councils, continues to serve Scouts. Over the past 50-years the number of campsites has increased from the original eight sites to ten, and each site has also grown in capacity and design. Several program areas and facilities have been moved and added throughout the years. The fire circle was improved and expanded in 1980 by Post 940 and again in 2004 by the local Order of the Arrow lodge. A chapel was built in 1981; the "state of the art" central shower house was constructed in 1998; and the camp dedicated the newly built "Derrer Pavalion" in the Trail to Adventure program area in 2006. In 2007 Minsi expanded the camp's Dining Hall by an additional 80 feet (24 m) as well as a returned a porch to the building along with other improvements. Also in 2007, the camp dedicated newly renovated and improved "Walter F. and Joan C. Williams" Waterfront facilities.[5]

Venturing Crew 940

Camp Minsi also is home of Venturing Crew 940 (formally Explorer Post 940). The crew is the staff alumni organization, and is made up of the current and former staff of the Minsi summer camp. The crew and post partake in fellowship and service events around the camp throughout the year.[19]

Trexler Scout Reservation

Trexler Scout Reservation
Trexler Scout Reservation
Location Jonas, Pennsylvania
Country United States
Coordinates 40°57′29″N 75°29′30″W / 40.9581°N 75.4916°W / 40.9581; -75.4916
Founded 1927
Founder General Harry Clay Trexler

Trexler Scout Reservation is a 900-acre (3.6 km2) reservation owned by Minsi Trails Council. The reservation is home to Akelaland, Settlers Camp and Hawkeye Wilderness camp. The reservation is located in Jonas, Pennsylvania. The camp was donated to the Boy Scouts of the Lehigh Valley in 1927 by General Harry Clay Trexler.

The Reservation features two small lakes (Trexler Lake and Lake Minsi) which are shared by the two camps. The reservation contains 25 miles (40 km) of hiking trails.[citation needed] The reservation is also home to the largest Project COPE course in the Northeast Region of the Boy Scouts of America.[citation needed] Trexler is also offered to Girl Scouts during the winter.


Trexler Scout Reservation in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, is the Northeast Region's foremost Boy Scout Camp. In 1927, decorated war hero Henry C. Trexler turned a tract of land in Monroe County into a camp for the Boy Scouts of the Lehigh County Council. the camp opened in 1928 and during 2008 the camp will celebrate its 80th Anniversary.

Today, premier attributes of this 900-acre (3.6 km2) Scout Reservation include: Separate Boy Scout and Cub Scout Resident Camps, two lakes with Fishing, Boating, and Canoeing and two fully staffed waterfronts. The reservation also has over 25 miles (40 km) of hiking and orienteering trails to offer.


Settlers Camp

Settlers Camp is one of Minsi Trails Council's two Boy Scout camps, the other being Camp Minsi. Settlers Camp is nestled in the woods of Trexler Scout Reservation. The camp holds 17 camp sites and runs a summer program including merit badges, open swimming, ecology, shooting, climbing, arts and crafts, sports, vespers, rank advancement workshops, special adult leader programs and meal time dining programs.

A major part of the Settlers Camp program is their rocker patch panel program.[citation needed] Segments are earned based upon participation in different program areas and camp-wide events. The rocker program consists of 18 unique rocker segments. While they change every summer camp year most segments include scoutcraft lashings, mile swim, COPE, BSA Lifeguard, "the Handicraft Eager Beaver", Nature Conservation, rifle/shotgun, athletics, archery, and others. All scouts receive a "1 Week at Camp" rocker just for coming to camp. The rockers and patches are known to be desired items within the patch trading communities — including jamborees, Order of the Arrow conclaves, and even eBay .[citation needed]

Venturing Crew 1928

Settlers Camp also is home of Venturing Crew 1928 (formally Explorer Post 1928). The crew is the staff alumni organization, and is made up of the current and former staff of the Settlers summer camp. The crew and post partake in fellowship and service events around the camp throughout the year. Originally, Post/Crew 1928 served the entire Trexler Scout Reservation.


Akelaland is a Cub Scout resident camp located with in Trexler Scout Reservation. Akelaland is the council's week-long resident Cub Scout camp, and is one of the few week-long resident Cub Scout camps in the North East Region.

Akelaland was formally "Pioneer Camp", Minsi Trails Council's rustic Scout camp which encompassed over 200 acres (0.81 km2) of Trexler Scout Reservation. In the mid- 1980's the camp was closed and converted to a Cub Scout resident camp. The Pioneer building (a small one-room building with a wood burning stove) still stands today, as well as other parts of the original camp.

Changes over the years and the increased attendance have brought many improvements to the facility. Akelaland has an 18-hole miniature golf course. The camp includes a Health Lodge and Trading Post located in the center of camp, along with Fort James, the Dining Hall, the Parade Field and shower houses. Past the Parade Field there are Shooting Ranges, an Action Archery range, and an activities field. Renovations to the Dining Hall began in 2006, and a new dining hall, now twice the original size, stands facing the new parade field. The camp also has a lake, Lake Pioneer, which they share with Setters Camp. The Minsi Trails Council has begun a swimming pool construction project to be completed in the near future.

The camp has 18 campsites, each with site capacity ranging from 10 to 20 campers.[20]

Akelaland is also home to Venture Crew 1629. This venturing crew is for staff members only and is mainly used for service projects to their camp. In fact, their motto is D.T.S., or dedicated to service, to show their pride for their camp.

Each summer Akelaland is runs 7 weeks of summer camp program for Cub Scout packs. The week-long resident camp program includes swimming, boating, nature, archery, BB Gun, handicraft, athletics, outdoor skills, water games, fishing, hiking, astronomy, flag ceremonies, singing, scavenger hunts and special theme related events. "Mini Weeks" are also available for Scouts running from Sunday to Wednesday each week.

Venturing Crew 1629

Akelaland also is home of Venturing Crew 1629. The crew is the staff alumni organization, and is made up of the current and former staff of the Akelaland summer camp. The crew and post partake in fellowship and service events around the camp throughout the year.

Off-Season camping

Trexler Scout Reservation is open year round for individual use or other council functions. Additionally, during the fall and spring two weekends of camp program are run for scouts and their families. "Fall Family Camp" is run during the fall, a couple months after the last week of summer camp. Scouts bring their families along for weekend of camp program (Friday-Sunday). "Beaver Day" is run during the spring, a couple months before the first week of summer resident camp. Just like "Fall Family Camp", regular program is provided for Scouts along with a chance to prepare and begin set-up for the summer program.

Council Service Center

The Minsi Trails Council maintains a central headquarters and service center in Allentown (991 Postal Road). The service center includes offices, training center, conference rooms, and a large council shop. A capital finance campaign is currently running to gain funds to enlarge the center to accommodate the continually growing council. A copy of the R. Tait McKenzie sculpture The Ideal Scout stands outside the center.

Order of the Arrow

Witauchsoman Lodge
Witauchsoman Lodge

Minsi Trails Council is home to the Witauchsoman Lodge of the Order of the Arrow. Witauchsoman means "to be in fellowship with somebody".

In 1928, thirteen years after the introduction of the Order of the Arrow into scouting, Minsi Lodge #5 emerged. The Minsi Lodge served the Lehigh Council that operated Trexler Scout Reservation at the time. In 1936, the Pohopoco Lodge #44 replaced the Minsi Lodge. For thirty-three years the Pohopoco Lodge acted as a pilot lodge, helping to start new lodges in the area.

In January 1969, Pohopoco merged with two other lodges forming the first tri-merger in the history of the Order of the Arrow. The other lodges were the Tunkhannock Lodge #476 of the Bethlehem Area Council operating Camp Minsi, and the Ah’Pace Lodge #58 of the Delaware Valley Area Council operating Camp Weygadt. The tri-merger was named the Witauchsoman Lodge #44. The totem of the lodge is three peace pipes (symbolizing the three predecessor lodges) strong on a bow. The lodge has become a strong and vibrant force in the Minsi Trails Council. In 1980, a new chapter that formerly served the Anthracite Scouting Organization joined the brotherhood of the lodge. This was a result of the Organization becoming a new district in the Minsi Trails Council. In 1994, Witauchsoman re-established chapters. Each of the council's six scouting districts operates a chapter.

Witauchsoman Lodge has since continued its growth. The lodge has hosted four Section Conclaves. In 1978 and 1988, the lodge hosted the NE-5A Conclave at the Trexler Scout Reservation. In 1996 and 2004, they hosted the NE-4A Conclave at Camp Minsi.

In 2003, for the first time in the 34 year history of the lodge, it became a National Quality Lodge.


  • Ah'Pace Chapter (Forks of the Delaware District)
  • Quekolis Chapter (Anthracite District)
  • Pohopoco Chapter (Trexler District)
  • Tunkhannock Chapter (South Mountain District)
  • Pokawachne Chapter (Pocono District)
  • Wapagokhos Chapter (North Valley District)

Notable Members & Executives

  • John B. Callahan, Mayor of Bethlehem, PA
  • Charlie Dent, United States Congressman
  • Paul F. McHale, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security
  • Samuel Rubel, CEO of the Pocono Mountain Ice Company
  • Harry Clay Trexler, General

Silver Beaver Award Recipients


  • Craig M. Brady
  • Dr. F. Javier Cevallos
  • Richard L. Price Jr.
  • Thomas Stalsitz
  • Bernhard J. Suess
  • J. Verkade

Venturing Leadership Award Recipients


  • Steven Thompson
  • Timothy Williams


  • Jason Capone

See also


External links

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