In case you haven’t heard, this is the last year that Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge 119 and Pilthlako Lodge 229 will operate as Lodges within the Order of the Arrow.
On February 3rd, 2014 the final Partnership Proposal was presented by the Merger Committees of Coastal Empire Council (99) and Okefenokee Area Council (758) to the boards of both councils with the voting to take place then and the new council being formed on March 1st, 2014.
Some of the main areas that affect us as Boy Scout and Order of the Arrow memorabilia collectors are outlined below:
F. Council Camps
We fully recognize that both boards have substantial feelings and desires for their respective council camps as they now exist. Black Creek Scout Reservation and Camp Tolochee both have histories and passionate supporters. Everyone believes that the resource of having multiple camp properties can greatly improve opportunities for short term camping, adult leader training, and effective activities. Black Creek Scout Reservation has also been strategically developed as a working tree farm, which provides additional income to operations. Boy Scout Summer Camp operations will have to be ceased at Camp Tolochee after the 2014 season for the 60th anniversary of the camp. Camp Tolochee will be developed as a high adventure base for sea kayaking, sailing, SCUBA, and other weekend programs, primarily targeted for Cub Scout programs. There does not exist at this time, an opportunity to duplicate program offerings at both camps, other than Cub Scouting programs.
The boards of the existing councils, the two “co-operating” boards of the consolidated councils, the new board for 2015 and future boards should recognize the value of properly managed and strategic resources of Scout camps. The newly elected Board for 2015 would be asked to pass a resolution that, for any council properties being considered for sale, the Executive Board must obtain a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board for any sale to occur.
G. Other items
We wish for the volunteers of both existing Councils to understand that this is a partnership, with the goal of reaching more youth to expose to the Scouting program.
1. We recommend that a new Council name of: Coastal Georgia Council be chosen.
2. Order of the Arrow Lodge – Both current OA Lodges, while small, are effective in delivering their mission. It is the Coastal Empire Council’s thought to not consolidate the Lodges immediately and allow their membership to determine the best structure of their future, whether it be through implementing a stronger chapter system, merging quick or slow, etc. It is the National Order of the Arrow policy that each Council will have one lodge. At the end of 2014, upon recharter of the lodge, the lodge membership will determine the future of the Order of the Arrow in the council.
Coastal Georgia Council was chosen as the new Council name with BSA National, I assume, issuing the number 99 as the new councils number.
A letter dated April 15th, 2014 was sent out to Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge members:
Dear Lodge Members,
As you know by now, our Coastal Empire Council has partnered with our neighboring Council out of Waycross, to form the new Coastal Georgia Council. There will be many changes coming our way as we bring two scouting families together. Both councils have an OA lodge that carries their own history and pride. As the Supreme Chief of the Fire, I contacted the National office and they informed me that there can only be one Lodge. As a result of this merger the National OA leadership has decided to place the new lodge in area 9 (SR 9). All of this will happen by the end of 2014.
I have talked to the Board and asked their advice; they were excited about forming a new Lodge. We have asked for two adults and two youth members from each council to decide the direction of the new CGC OA Lodge. We have also asked Father Jason Adams, membership Vice President, to be the mediator of the joint committee to take the recommendations and bring them back to the Council for approval.
If you have any suggestion, please reach out to your OA leadership and let them know. We look forward to having a bigger and stronger OA Lodge that will serve Camp and give cheerful service to all.
Yours in Scouting
Scout Executive CEO
Included with this letter, were letters from the Lodge Advisor, Freddie Tuten and the Lodge Chief, Danny Missroon asking for suggestions from current lodge members for a new lodge name and new lodge totem.
During discussions about the merger, assurances were given that the new council would fall under Area 5 (SR-5). Those assurances were used to encourage many members of Coastal Empire Council and Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge to support the merger. Yet, as soon as the ink dried on the paper, it was announced that the new council would fall under Area 9 (SR-9). I am told (source withheld) that this was the sole decision of Ponce Duran, The Southern Region Director.
On May 10th, 2014, and email was sent out to members of Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge.
Today two youths from our lodge and two youths from Pilthlako Lodge 229 gathered to decide the name of our new Lodge. We came to a conclusion that our new Lodge name will be I-Tsu-La Lodge #99. The new lodge name is pronounced “it-chula” and it means "togetherness". The new totem for our lodge is a Loggerhead Turtle.
Yours in brotherhood,
Tomo Chi-Chi Lodge 119
I think the Loggerhead Turtle, an endangered species, was a very wise decision.
According to Order of the Arrow Operations Update 04-9:
“In December 2003 the national Order of the Arrow committee, unanimously decided to discontinue using lodge numbers for national reporting and registration purposes. Instead lodges will be identified by lodge name, and council number.”
So the new Lodge will be identified as follows:
I-Tsu-La Lodge, Coastal Georgia Council #99, BSA
Until the end of this calendar year both lodges will continue to operate as separate entities on paper. However, after the summer of 2014, there will start to be one lodge for all events. I am still not sure if Mike Murrin has been informed or not.
Submitted by Lodge Editor Alan McDonald
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