Tomo Chi-Chi 119 Merger: New Math (119 + 229 = 99)

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

Tom Cardiff

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.

Dear Brothers,

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,

Austin Dowd

2014 Treasurer

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
Please Leave Comments Below!

Your lodge merger committee want wish to consult Tonkawa Lodge #99, Capitol Area Council, Austin, Texas, before proceeding. Just saying it might be the courteous thing to do. They will consider in the same vein as Unami would any lodge attempting to claim Lodge #1.

Tracy Mesler - June 13, 2014

How can you use #99? Tonkawa has been and is still using #99.

Trey Walls
Tonkawa 99
Lodge Executive Committee

Trey Walls - June 13, 2014

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.”

Alan McDonald - June 13, 2014

To knowingly use an OA lodge number actively in use by an OA lodge for over 75 years is very unscout like. I do not care what the National OA Committee says.

Robert Frizzell - June 13, 2014

Since lodge numbers are no longer officially assigned, any lodge could use any number they wanted. It *is* their council number and as was pointed out the new style sheet for referring to OA lodges is:

So, Tonkawa would be Tonkawa Lodge, Capitol Area Council #564, Austin, TX.

If everyone wanted to show pride in their home lodge, in theory, they could all be “Number One!”, as silly as that sounds!

John Pannell - June 13, 2014

Oops… I used angled brackets so part of my message was deleted…

(Lodge Name), (Council Name) (Council Number), (Council HQ City and State)

John Pannell - June 13, 2014

Trey, you’re absolutely right Brother. Someone has put a *urd in the punch bowl. What a crock! Can “national” not leave anything sacred alone? First the ’72 program changes…everything for the urbanites. Then the uniforms were boogered up. Then all the mergers, change all the flaps to fdl’s, no more restrictions, no more mystery, full disclosure for anyone. Then all the recent changes with more to come I’m sure. I was/am a member of 87,134,221,101 & 60 from 1965 to the present so I have a right to gripe. I have been in the BSA program since 1962 so I have a right to gripe about what they’ve done to the program(s). They are wrong to strip Tonkawa of their “99”. Yeah…I live in the past and I’m damn proud of it. I don’t like where all of this is headed.
Reed Newman
Boerne, Texas

Reed Newman - June 16, 2014

There is some thruth in the statement “all things change” or “change is good”. In somethings perhaps, the average man shrugs his shoulders and moves on, the wise man knows that to change for the “sake of changing”, to change to accomodate “record keeping efficiency”, to change because a group of people in 1 city think that this is a “good idea”, does harm to a great program, a program whose purpose is to recognize our country’s native american history and take noble principles from their history and make young men better. As an Eagle scout, Brotherhood OA member, member of Lodges 87, 221, 60, I say shame on National for pushing this and trying to whitewash it into “this is a good thing”, a wise scoutmaster once said, Never put lipstick on a Pig…it looks terrible and it irriatates the pig. A sad day for OA

Kent D. Newman - June 16, 2014

It seems to me that they should clarify that they are using their council’s number, instead of trying to adopt another lodge’s number.

Just because National says you can’t put them on charters, lodge numbers were NOT taken away. 99 is Tonkawa’s number:

Rob Higgins - June 20, 2014

Since these two councils merged together to create a new council why wasn’t there a new council number/OA lodge number formed?

Robert Frizzell - June 21, 2014