Camp Chickagami Virtual Museum

Tapawingo Lodge     The Camp Chickagami Caretakers

Order of the Arrow Lodge #368 was first charted in 1941, the same year that Camp Chickagami opened.   Over the years it provided tens of thousands of hours of service to the camp.   Each spring there would be an Ordeal where Arrowmen would clean up the camp from the previous winter.   A June Brotherhood Ceremony was used to set up the wall tents that would be used for camp.   When the OA was able to do this, it saved the camp staff from having to do it during their staff week and allowed them more time for training.   A summer Ordeal in August was used to take the tents down and a subsequent fall Ordeal helped put the rest of the camp    to bed    for the winter.

The OA was an integral part of the Summer Camp program.   Each night before supper during retreat when the flag was lowered an arrow guard came forward and raised the OA flag to the crackling sound of an old 78 record with a bugle blowing Hobby Call.   Thursday nights at camp were tap-outs, an elaborate ceremony for calling out and recognizing new members.   In 1977 they became    call-outs    as the practice of tapping new candidates on the shoulder was no longer used due to Ohio   s new hazing laws.   The ceremonies were colorful with youth dressed in Indian Costumes marching in to the beat of a drum.   Some years they were led in by an Indian on horseback.   Some years they came across the lake in lashed canoes with a campfire burning on the canoe decks.  

From 1987-1995 Tapawingo Lodge hosted a Beaver Day in April.   Troops could camp for free and the lodge provided lunch in the dining hall.   In return the troops would perform service projects throughout the day.   Those projects were coordinated between the lodge and the Camp Ranger.   There was usually a Saturday night campfire as well.

A totem pole stood off the southwest corner of the dining hall in a stand of bushes.   This was the Lodge   s symbol with a raccoon, the lodge totem, on the top.   Other totem poles were erected throughout camp, each a result of an OA Conclave hosted there.   Tapawingo Lodge hosted the 7 other lodges in the section on a rotating basis the first weekend in May for the annual conclave in 1964, 1977, and 1985.   It was at the 1985 conclave that the new OA Building     Espan Lodge     was dedicated in memory of William E. Brown.   Mr. Brown had donated a significant portion of the funds to build the new lodge.   Previously the OA had used Lincoln Lodge to store equipment and prepare for ceremonies before it had to be torn down.

The OA served as a bridge for Scouts to have a greater opportunity for leadership outside of their own troop and thus provided a good source for camp staff as well.   A year or so after the Scout Councils were merged, Tapawingo Lodge was also merged with Stigwandish Lodge to the north and Neatoka Lodge to the South to form Wapashui Lodge.   The individual lodges remain Chapters within the larger lodge.   But without a summer camp and then without a camp at all, the Chapter does not have a central focus and thus has declined significantly from its days as a National Honor Lodge.   Yet even today in Chickagami Park, the OA Lodge is one of the few remaining buildings as is the chapel, which was also built by the men and boys in this brotherhood of cheerful service.

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