Scouting in Illinois

Scouting in Illinois

Scouting in Illinois 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. Illinois is the homestate of the BSA founder, W.D. Boyce.


Early history (1910-1950)

In 1946, the National Order of the Arrow Lodge Meeting was held at Chanute Field.

Recent history (1950-1990)

The 1963 and 1971 National Order of the Arrow Conferences were held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Scouting in Illinois today

There are thirteen Boy Scouts of America local councils based in Illinois. Additionally six councils is neighboring states also serve portions of Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln Council

Abraham Lincoln Council is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois and serves central Illinois. It operates Camp Bunn in Hettick, Illinois, Camp Illinek in Springfield, Illinois, and is served by the Illinek Order of the Arrow Lodge. The council website is Abraham Lincoln Council.

The three districts in the council are:

  • Honest Abe District (serving Cass, Morgan, Scott & northern half of Green Counties)
  • Lincoln Home District (serving Sangamon & Menard Counties)
  • Log Cabin / Railsplitter District (serving Montgomery and the western 3/4 of Christian County & the northern half of Macoupin County)

The U.S. Scouting Service Project has created a link to all known websites (districts, troops, packs, Venturing Crews, O.A. Lodge & Chapter, etc. websites) located within the Abraham Lincoln Council which can be found at Scout Site Search.

The U.S. Scouting Service Project also maintaines the website which provides general information and a place for leader comments on the two camps operated by the Abraham Lincoln Council at Camp Bunn and Camp Illinek

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. The Council was formed by the merging of the U.S. Grant Council in the west and Blackhawk Council in the east portion of what is now the Blackhawk Area Council. Formerly, the two councils each had one camp. The council also owns a cabin in Mount Carroll, Illinois. The word Wulapeju (one spirit) refers to the merger of the Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (Chief Blackhawk's name) Lodge and Wetassa Lodge #227 as part of the council merger. Some older members of the former Wetassa Lodge still proudly wear their pre-1973 raccoon Wetassa Lodge flap on their uniforms.Blackhawk Area Council Camp Lowden celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2010.[1]

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

Buffalo Trace Council

Buffalo Trace Council is a Boy Scout council based in Evansville, Indiana that serves southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. Its affiliated Order of the Arrow lodge is Kiondaga Lodge.Buffalo Trace Council

Calumet Council

Calumet Council is headquartered in Munster, Indiana and serves Scouts in Indiana and Illinois.Calumet Council

Serving the youth of the 54 communities comprising the south suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana since 1917, the Calumet Council is the local entity of the Boy Scouts of America and Learning for Life Programs.

Calumet Council was formed in 1966, and was the result of a merger of the Pokagon Trails Council in Hammond, Indiana and the Sauk Trails Council in Gary, Indiana. In 1971 the Twin City Council in East Chicago, Indiana joined to make up the current structure. Camp Frank H. Betz, located in Berrien Springs, MI (USA) is operated by the Calumet Council. 'Betz' has served Scouts in the South Suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana since 1922.

In 2008, over 13,000 young men and women were active members of the Scouting program in the Calumet Council. Over 4,100 adult volunteers, supported by a small staff, provide a top quality "values based" program, with an emphasis on outdoor programs and life skills.

Due to the unique demographics of the Calumet Council, a special program designed to serve the hardest to reach "at risk" youth, called Scoutreach, is used in lower income communities. In 2008, sixty six Scoutreach Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venture Crews were active in nine different communities with over 1,400 members.

The Eagle Scout Award, the highest award a boy can earn in Scouting, was presented to 74 young men in 2006. These newest Eagles totaled over 3,200 combined service hours in the 74 different community service projects which they carried out as part of the Eagle Scout requirement.

The Council operates four districts: Crossroads, Nishnabec, Prairie Dunes, and Thunderbird. These service areas were formed in 2005 as a result of a restructuring to utilize volunteer resources better.

The Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society. The council's chapter is Michigamea Order of the Arrow Lodge number 110. It is youth-run and advised by adult volunteers. Michigamea lodge has over 600 active members. In 2008, the Lodge received The National Service Award for their work on the new Frank H. Betz firebowl. This annual award is only presented to eight lodges nationally.

The Council Executive board is made up of 44 local business and community leaders who guide to the year-round operation of the Council. The Council Key III is made up of President James K. Larson, Council Commissioner Albin Sporny III and Scout Executive James Lakeman.

Chicago Area Council

Chicago Area Council operates Owasippe Scout Reservation in Michigan. It is served by Owasippe Lodge #7.Chicago Area Council

Camp Bass Lake swim area - 1959 - Troop 664

The Bass Lake lone troop Scout camp was part of the Owasippe Scout Reservation operated by the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Bass Lake camp was a single camp on a small (approximately 600 feet wide) lake in the Owasippe reservation. A single troop would take over the entire camp, usually for a two week period, preparing all their own food and overseeing all aspects of the camp life. Active in the 1950s and 1960s, Bass Lake camp is no longer in use.

  • Arrowhead District
  • Fort Dearborn District
  • Greater Southside District
  • Indian Trails District
  • Iroquois District
  • River Trails District
  • Western Trails District

Des Plaines Valley Council

Des Plaines Valley Council is headquartered in La Grange, Illinois.

Glacier's Edge Council

Sinnissippi Council served Scouts in Wisconsin and Illinois, before it merged with Four Lakes Council. It is now called Glacier's Edge Council and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.Glacier's Edge Council[citation needed]

Greater Saint Louis Area Council

The Greater Saint Louis Area Council is based in Saint Louis, Missouri, and serves Scouts in the Saint Louis Metro area, southeast Missouri, and southern Illinois.

Illowa Council

Illowa Council serves Scouts in western Illinois and eastern Iowa in the Quad Cities area.Illowa Council

  • Chief Blackhawk District
  • Hoover District
  • Kittan District
  • Medicine Lodge District
  • Mesquakie District
  • Saukenuk District
  • Sha-Bo-Na District

Lincoln Trails Council

Lincoln Trails Council has its headquarters in Decatur, Illinois, and is served by Woapink Lodge #167.Lincoln Trails Council

  • Railsplitter District
  • Two Rivers District
  • Redhawk District

In 2007, Lincoln Trails Council ran a Scoutreach program in inner city areas.[1] Boys are offered constructive, fun activities and learn about Scouting. This can keep the boys from wandering the streets unsupervised and getting into trouble.

Lewis & Clark Council

Sign at the entrance to Camp Joy

The Lewis & Clark Council was formed from the 2009 merger of Okaw Valley Council (OVC) and Trails West Council (TWC). The Lewis & Clark council has its headquarters in Belleville, Illinois. The Lewis and Clark owns four camps: Camp Joy in Carlyle, Illinois, and Camp Sunnen in Potosi, Missouri, Camp Warren Levis in Godfrey, Illinois, Camp Vandeventer in Waterloo, Illinois. There are six districts in the Lewis & Clark Council which are the Illini District, Black Gold District, Kaskaskia District, Cahokia Mounds District, Piasa Bird District, and St. Clair District. Okaw Valley Council and the Trails West Council merged to help curb operating costs and increase efficiency on January 6, 2009 to create the Lewis & Clark Council. The council can be found online at

The two councils from which Lewis & Clark has been formed are themselves the product of mergers. The Trails West Council was founded in 1991 when the Piasa Bird Council and the Cahokia Mounds Council joined. The Okaw Valley Council was somewhat older at the time of the merger; it was formed in 1965 following the consolidation of the Kaskaskia Council and the Tennessee Valley Council.

The Order of the Arrow is represented in this Council by the Nisha Kittan Lodge, part of the regional section C3-B. This lodge replace Kishkakon Lodge #112 (TWC) and Taleka Lodge 81 (OVC).

Mississippi Valley Council

Mississippi Valley Council is headquartered in Quincy, Illinois, and is served by Black Hawk Lodge #67. This council serves Scouts in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa.[2]

Northeast Illinois Council

Northeast Illinois Council has its headquarters in Highland Park, Illinois. It runs Camp Sol R. Crown in Trevor, Wisconsin, Camp Oakarro near Wadsworth, Illinois, Camp Dan Beard in Northbrook, Illinois and Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation near Antigo, Wisconsin. The council is served by Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Lodge #40. Northeast Illinois Council

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 1,560 acres (6 km2) in size.

North East Illinois Council is composed of three districts:

  • Aptakisic District
  • North Star District
  • Potawatomi District

Current Camp Information [3] Historical information on Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Scout Reservation [4] Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Lodge 40s Website is [5]

Northwest Suburban Council

Northwest Suburban Council is headquartered in Mount Prospect, Illinois. It operates Camp Lakota outside Woodstock, Illinois and Napowan Adventure Base (Camp Napowan) [6] near Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Northwest Suburban Council is served by Lakota Lodge #175.[7]

The Key Three for 2010 is composed of Council President Marie Diffley along with Council Commissioner Rick Romani, and Scout Executive Stephen J. Taylor, CFRE.

The Northwest Suburban National Scout Shop is located within the NWSC Volunteer Service Center located at 600 N. Wheeling Road in Mount Prospect, IL.

In 2009, the Northwest Suburban Council earned the National Centennial Quality Council Award, four of its six districts earned the National Quality District Award, the Council was recognized as a National Learning for Life Council of Distinction, earned the Central Region Scoutreach Award, and earned the National Major Gifts Award. It led the Central Region in youth membership retention.

The Northwest Suburban Council has an ongoing Capital and Endowment Development Campaign. So far over $2.2 Million has been pledged to the effort by nearly 300 donors. New rowboats, shooting sports equipment, and lighting at Camp Napowan have already been acquired as a result of the campaign. Major building refurbishments have also been accomplished at Camp Lakota. Funding has also been provided for expanded program support of Scoutreach and Learning for Life. The new pool and the new Don Yacktman's Eagle Lodge at Camp Lakota have recently been constructed. A new poolhouse for Lakota is almost complete and the new Jerry and Adele Epstein Dining Pavilion at Napowan was dedicated in May 2009 and has been in usage since then.

In 2006, the Northwest Suburban Council served as host to the BSA National Endowment Art Tour, the Biennial Meeting of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, and the Annual Meeting of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.

Lakota Lodge #175 is the local Order of the Arrow Lodge of the Northwest Suburban Council with Robert Gale being the current Lodge Chief. Lakota Lodge's website is [] operated by Joey Bracco, Vigil Honor Member and Eagle Scout which is updated to keep members up to date with everything going on in the lodge.

Past Lakota Lodge Chief Don Hough was elected as Order of the Arrow Section Chief and also 2008 Central Region Chief. Also Richie Ferolo was elected as Order of the Arrow 2010 Central Region Chief.

The council's service area includes 34 communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with Skokie as the eastern border, Barrington on the west, Lake Zurich on the north, and O'Hare International Airport on the south with the council territory remaining unchanged since its founding in 1926. The population served by Northwest Suburban Council is quite diverse, as it is composed of 15% Latino/Hispanic, 8% Asian, 3% Eastern European, 1% African-American, and 73% Caucasian.

The council newsletter recently changed its name to "The Drum Beat" when it went electronic and is now available on-line. The council's website is located at

The council's annual operating budget is just under $2.5 Million annually with $485,000 being raised through its Friends of Scouting Annual Giving Campaign. Popcorn sales net income for the council account for approximately $400,000 in annual income. Camping/activity revenue account for another $650,000 in income. Scout Shop sales are approximately $50,000 net annually. Special events such as the Golf Outing, Distinguished Citizen Banquet, and Sports Events account for another $125,000. United Way income totals approximately $40,000 annually. Project Sales total $20,000. Interest Income from the Endowment is approximately $50,000. The council conducts an independent annual audit through Robert Hofmeier, CPA of Gurnee, Illinois which is reviewed by a volunteer Council Audit Committee, and approved by the Council Executive Board. For 2009, the council earned an "unqualified" or "clean" audit opinion.

Its local districts are:

  • Blackhawk District
  • North Woods District
  • Pathfinder District
  • Signal Hill District
  • Aguila/Scoutreach District
  • Learning for Life

Napowan Adventure Base (Camp Napowan)

Napowan Adventure Base (Camp Napowan) is a camp in the pine forests of Wisconsin. It sits on land that was once farmed and has many European plants brought to the United States hundreds of years ago but lacks more recent invasive plants. The camp owns lake front property on both Hills Lake and Lake Napowan. It is owned and operated by the Northwest Suburban Council of the Boy Scouts of America . The Camp was founded in 1946, its legend of founding is the story of Boot Hill, which involves a fight between the owner and Gypsies. There are a few different areas that make up Napowan. Aquatics (swimming and boating); Nature; Shooting Sports; Sherwood (scoutcraft); Verona (fine arts); and Flintlock, a mock 1870s frontier village. The camp staff are registered with Venture Crew 0477 and live on the camp grounds during the summer. The camp runs for eight weeks during the summer, including one week of preparation. During that time, there are three weekends when Webelos may visit the camp and one Venturing weekend.

Counselors at Napowan teach Merit Badges. Over the course of the week, Scouts can have an opportunity to take as many badges as they would like. Staff also arrange "Special Program" which is an opportunity for the scouts to get to know the staff and engage in activities outside of the merit badge program. Scouts usually arrive Sunday afternoon, and depart Saturday morning. Some troops stay for two weeks, but the majority stay only for one.

The Sunday campers arrive, the staff treats the Scouts to a campfire, on Friday, the staff treats them to a closing campfire.[8]

Within the past fifteen years, after the initial eight weeks of Scouts has ended, the camp is typically rented for one week. Camp Gan Israel is not Scout related and caters to the those of Jewish faith in northern Chicago. Typically fifty to sixty kids, ages ranging from eight to fourteen, come up for a week. Their activities include swimming, canoeing, field sports. The boys are organized into 'bunks.' Throughout the week, the bunks compete for points.

Prairielands Council

Prairielands Council serves Scouts in east central Illinois and western Indiana.

Rainbow Council

Rainbow Council is headquartered in Morris, Illinois. It operates RSR (Rainbow Scout Reservation) near Morris, Illinois. RSR runs a complete Boy Scout Summer Camp program as well as Cub Scout Resident Camps each summer. Programs at RSR include a high quality first year camper program, expanded programs for older scouts, and over 45 merit badges. RSR has earned a reputation for its highly dedicated and enthusiastic staff. RSR information can be found at []. The council also owns Camp Theakiki near Kankakee, Illinois. Rainbow Council is served by Waupecan Lodge #197.Rainbow Council

  • Ishkote District {South I 80}

Bryan Schroeder District Director Ryan M. Gust District Executive

  • Wappi Lenaswa District {North I 80}

Matt Skelly Field Director John Blomquist District Executive

Shawnee Trails Council

Shawnee Trails Council serves Scouts in Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee.Shawnee Trails Council

Three Fires Council

Three Fires Council is located in St. Charles, Illinois, where it also operates a scout shop. A second scout shop is located in West Chicago, Illinois.

W. D. Boyce Council

Formerly the Starved Rock Area Council, Corn Belt Council and the Creve Coeur Council, W.D. Boyce Council was created by merger and renamed in 1972 in honor of the founder of the BSA, whose grave lies within the grounds of the Ottawa Scouting Museum in Ottawa, Illinois. Its headquarters is in Peoria, Illinois. The council runs Ingersoll Scout Reservation west of Peoria and Cache Lake Scout Camp in Ontario, Canada. W.D. Boyce Council is served by Wenasa Quenhotan Lodge #23.W.D. Boyce Council

Camp Ki-Shau-Wau is a former Boy Scout camp owned by the Starved Rock Area Council (and later by the W.D. Boyce Council after the merger in 1972) located one mile east of Lowell, Illinois along the Vermillion river. The last summer camp program was held in 1976. The camp opened in the 1920s and was sold in 1989. The site is a private retreat today where cabins can be rented. The Native American name chosen for the camp is unclear. It could be a derivative of Kishwaukee – a Potawatomi word meaning "river of the sycamore." (Indians dug canoes out of the trunks of sycamore trees) The name could also be an acronym for Kicapoo (a tribe), Shabbona (a nineteenth century Potawatomi chief, and Waubonsee, (also a nineteenth century Potawatomi chief). In the movie "Fracture", Ryan Gosling's character can be seen wearing a Camp Ki-Shau-Wau Staff shirt in one scene.

Camp Heffernan is a former Boy Scout camp owned by the Corn Belt Council. It is located north of Normal, Illinois on Lake Bloomington. It is now owned by Easter Seals of Central Illinois and as been renamed Timber Pointe Outdoor Center.

Camp Wokanda is a former Boy Scout camp located just north of the city of Peoria, Illinois. The grounds are set on the edge of the Illinois River Valley and are bordered by Mossville Road, Mossville proper (and the natural gas pipeline) Colony Point and Deerbrook Subdivisions, and Cedar Hills Road.

The Boy Scouts sold the property to the Peoria Park District in the 1990s and built a new camp farther north of the city. The Park District rents out the main meeting house for parties and created a few new trails that cross from the Camp over to Robinson Park, which abuts the campgrounds.

  • Crossroads District
  • Heartland District
  • Lowaneu District
  • Wotamalo District

Girl Scouting in Illinois

There are 10 Girl Scout councils in Illinois but during the current realignment the numbers will drop.

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois serves 25,000 girls and has 6,000 adult volunteers.

It was formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of Centrillio Council, Girl Scouts-Kickapoo Council, Girl Scouts of Two Rivers Council, Shemamo Girl Scout Council of Illinois, Girl Scouts, Land of Lincoln Council, and Girl Scouts of Green Meadows Council.

Headquarters: Springfield, Illinois


  • Bloomington covers Livingston, Logan and McLean counties
  • Champaign covers Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermillion counties
  • Decatur covers Christian, DeWitt, Macon, Moultries, Piatt, and Shelby counties
  • Peoria covers Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford counties
  • Quincy covers Adams, Brown, Pike, and Schulyer counties
  • Springfield covers Cass, Greene, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Sangamon, and Scott counties
  • Macomb covers Fulton, Hancock, and McDonough counties
  • Peru covers Bureau, LaSalle, and Putnam counties

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois serves 20,000 girls and has 5,000 adult volunteers in Eastern Iowa as well as those in Rock Island, Mercer, Henderson, Warren, Knox, Henry, and Jo Daviess counties in Illinois.

Formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of Conestoga Council, Girl Scouts Little Cloud Council, Girl Scouts of the Mississippi Valley, and Girl Scouts of Shining Trail Council.

Headquarters: Rock Island, Illinois

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Serves more than 94,000 girls and is the largest Girl Scout council by membership in the United States. It includes Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake and Will counties in Illinois and Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter counties in Indiana.

It was formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of the Calumet Council Indiana, Girl Scouts of Chicago, Drifting Dunes Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts — Illinois Crossroads Council, Girl Scouts — Prairie Winds, Girl Scouts of South Cook County, and Girl Scouts of Trailways Council on July 1, 2008.

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Girl Scouts of Raintree Council

See Scouting in Indiana for full information. Serves girls in White County, Illinois.

Headquarters: Evansville, Indiana

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois was formed on October 1, 2009 from a merger of Fox Valley, Rock River Valley, Green Hills, and Sybaquay councils. The council serves Kane, Kendall, McHenry, DeKalb, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, Jo Davies, Carroll and Whiteside counties.


Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois

Thie council was formed in October 2009 from a merger of River Bluffs and Shagbark Councils.


Scouting museums in Illinois

International Scouting units in Illinois

In addition, there were Belarusian Scouts in Exile in Chicago through the 1980s, and Lietuvos skautų sąjunga still exists there. Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség Hungarian Scouting also maintains a troop in Chicago, and there are large contingents of active Plast Ukrainian Scouts in Chicago.

See also


  1. ^ Wells, Valerie (2007-07-21). "Inner-city youths scout new ways to enjoy life through outreach program". Herald & Review. Retrieved 2007-07-23. 

External links

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