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Boy Scout Troop 66
(Hagerstown, Maryland)
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Guneukitschik OA Lodge 317 

Lodge History

This is a letter written by J. Warren Large about the beginning of the Lodge:

In the summer of 1945, when we were still using the old name of the Washington Area Council, our first council-wide camp was established on rented land on the west shore of the lake at Cowan?s Gap State Park. Scout Executive Bern Hagedorn made arrangements with the Arrowmen at Camp Hidden Valley to have an Ordeal Team visit the camp to form a local lodge of the Order of the Arrow.

The name Guneukitschik, which is the ancient Indian spelling of the Conococheague, was chosen and we were assigned the number 317. The name of the Conococheague Creek was selected for the lodge name since it flows through the length of our council area. Guneukitschik is a Delaware term which can be translated as ?Indeed a long way.?  The rattlesnake coiled down the shaft of the arrow was adopted as the totem. For it can be found throughout the council.

The seven who were tapped out by the visiting Ordeal Team were: Jim Spofford, Harvey Miller, Peck Sterling, Lloyd Miller, Earl Watson, Charles Morrison, and Bill Calhoun. The first four, who formed the Ordeal Team for the succeeding weeks of the camp, held the offices of: Allowat Sakima, Meteu, Nutiket, and Kichkinet respectively.

During the three years of our Council Camp at Cowan?s Gap, the candidates were tapped out at the Friday night Retreat Ceremony. The Ordeal which began that night after camp fire was completed after the camp fire on Saturday night. The candidates received their big meal at the time of the evening meal.

In 1948 we occupied our present Camp Sinoquipe on council owned land just north of Fort Littleton, PA. We adopted the system of holding two ordeals, one at the end of the first half of camp and the other at the end of the last camp period. In 1949 a team of Ordeal Members visited Camp Hidden Valley to receive Brotherhood instruction but no group was started upon return. About 1950 we also adopted the plan preparing a banquet for all members at the close of the final ceremonies.

In the spring of 1950 two carloads of scouts and scouters traveled to the Regional Pow Wow at Camp Broadcreek in the Pocono Mountain. The underlying purpose of this trip was to prepare boys to form a Brotherhood Team for our Lodge. In the spring of 1951 five scouters traveled to Camp Nisatin of the Appalachian Trail Council at Pottsville to attend the Region Pow Wow. The group comprised of: Noel Murray, who passed the Vigil Honor; Robert Bruce, H. W. Zimmerman, Wilbur Kline, and J. Warren Large, Lodge Chief. The latter four all passed into the Brotherhood at this meeting. From this time on we conducted regular Brotherhood Ceremonies at the end of the camping season.

During the early 1950?s the Council name was changed to the Mason-Dixon Council. During that this time there was no Vigil activity stemming from the lone Vigil member, who by mid 1950?s had moved out of the area. At the fall business meeting in 196 J. Warren Large was elected to take the Vigil Ceremony. Arrangements were made to do this at the Area Pow Wow at Camp Hidden Valley in 1957. The allotted number of other Vigil Candidates were chosen and approved by the following summer. These candidates were conducted to Camp Hidden Valley for a special fall Vigil Ceremony. After this time all three groups of our Lodge have continued a normal growth in accordance with the development of activities in the Council.

Due to many complications stemming from our huge membership and the lateness of the hour we dropped the final banquet in 1963. This banquet has been very successfully held later in the Leitersburg Grange for the past three years.

During the years of its existence the Lodge has completed many small projects about the camp as they have been requested by the Camping Committee. In the early years of the camp the Lodge managed a major tree planting project. The Lodge sponsored the building of a Camp Chapel and furnished many hours of ordinary labor for the project. The Lodge also cleared the undergrowth from a low-lying area in camp, arranged for the acquisition of seedlings and replanted the area.

                                                                                                J. Warren Large; July, 1966