The following contains
highlights of Scouting history in our council area, summarized decade by decade,
and representing the first 90 years of the Boy Scouts of America:
BEGINNING: The 1910's
The genesis of Scouting
in the United States began with the publication of Lord Baden-Powell's manual,
"Scouting for Boys," in March of 1908. The manual quickly made the transatlantic
crossing, and by late spring Scouting units began popping up. While no exact
records were kept in the early days, Troops were organized in Ft. Leavenworth,
Salina, and Pawhuska, Oklahoma before William D. Boyce filed incorporation
papers on February 8, 1910. Early promoters of the Scouting program were the
leaders of the YMCA and some Episcopal priests.
The first unit in Wichita
was organized in 1912 by the YMCA with W. K. Leask, the Executive Director, as
Scoutmaster. Troop 3 was organized at St. Paul's Methodist church in 13th and N.
Lawrence Road (Broadway). Other early sponsors included College Hill Methodist
Church, Plymouth Congregational, Central Christian Church, Riverside Group of
Citizens, Grace Presbyterian Church, and First Methodist Church.
In the spring of 1917,
Fred Williams was made chairman of the committee to contact the national
organization to determine the procedure for organizing a council. In early 1918
the Wichita Rotary Club started to work on a three-year fund drive to raise
$12,000 to organize a council. They raised $15,000 in one day. The organization
meeting was held at the Wichita Club on March 11, with Marcellus M. Murdock,
publisher of the Eagle, presiding. Edgar S. Ridgeway was elected the first
president of the council. The first office was in the city building. B. B.
Dawson was selected as the first Scout Executive. Final negotiations for the
council charter were completed in June.
The first organized
council camp was called Camp Murdock, and held at the Hurst farm, near Murdock,
Kansas with 65 Scouts and 12 leaders.
The first Scout
exhibition was held in 1919, at the Forum, in downtown Wichita, in celebration
of the council's first anniversary. The council also approved a motion to
organize a Scout Band, and E. O. Cavanaugh was employed as
Much of the activities of
the twenties dealt with how to support a growing organization. Scouting was
established in Wichita, but nearby communities began to call asking assistance
with Scouting. Many local council were chartered, but continued to rely upon the
Wichita Council for support. Wichita efforts centered on basics: camps, offices,
staff and structure. Incorporation as a nonprofit organization was completed in
Camping began, and Camp
A. R. Bradstead, near Silverdale, was used in 1921, with no camp in 1922. Camp
Lorentz Schmidt, near Oxford, followed in 1923.
John L. Tilden became the
Scout Executive in 1923, and brought with him a camp theme called the Old
Warrior program. - As a part of Indian Day activities the story of Hiawatha was
told. The program continues today. -In 1924, Camp Tawansentha was opened; in
1927 Camp Talahi was secured, and first utilized in 1928.
An Afro-American troop
was chartered by St. Augustine Episcopal Church, in May of 1924, and was
assigned the designation of Troop 75.
Two other properties were
used by the council: The first was Scout Island, located in the Arkansas River
west of Sims Park. It was used extensively until it was flooded out and the
island disappeared. The other was a Scout Cabin in Riverside Park. It was
originally owned by Troop 1, and was transferred to the council in 1926. In 1928
the council territory was enlarged to include nine counties, McPherson, Marion,
Chase, Harvey, Butler, Greenwood, Sumner, Cowley, and Harvey. And the name was
changed to the Wichita Area Council.
The Council joined the
community chest in 1923 and continues community relationships, today, with local
The Council moved to the
Kaufman Building, on 212 S. Market, in 1928.
The thirties were a time
of developing the structure to support local units. Area councils were developed
to keep Scouting services close to local communities, while providing central
administration. Finances are difficult, with each local community struggling to
raise its fair share of support. The generosity of Frank Phillips, in providing
funds to hire field staff, was a critical plus in maintaining Scouting units.
The council was organized in divisions, which supported different programs.
These areas included Lone Scouts, Cub Scouts, Air Scouting, Sea Scouts, and a
Cub Scouting was
developed by the Boy Scouts in 1930, and packs were organized at 1st
Presbyterian, College Hill Methodist, 1st United Brethren, and Faith Baptist
Churches. Frank T. Priest was selected president of the Cub Scout
Scouting continued to
evolve in this decade in organization, program, and financing. Because of the
depression, cash was in short supply. But Scouting developed into sturdy stock.
In 1937, the Elk and Chautauqua Counties were ceded to the Independence Council,
and in 1938 Kingman County joined the Quivira Council, from the Southwest Kansas
Council. Frank Phillips, of Phillips Oil, gave the Council $50,000 in 1938 to
enlarge the field staff. Phillips gifts to Quivira and other councils provided
critical funding to continue and expand local units. And the council learned the
value of thrift, as treasurers such as C. j. Chandler, from the 1st National
Bank, carefully reviewed each expenditure.
Camping facilities began
to change, as the use of Camp Talahi ended in 1935 after water problems
developed. In 1936, the council rented property on the Santa Fe Lake, and then
in 1937, the first camp was held on the land now known as Camp TaWaKoNi. Camp
leadership that summer included A. Max Hatfield, as director, and Arden Bradshaw
as assistant Waterfront Director. Max would later become Scout Executive and
Arden would become an active Scouter in the Mt. Hope area. - A bequest from
Ardens's estate, 60 years later, would fund an addition to the Hilton building
The reputation for strong
a Scout program has its roots in this decade. The Council would send 81 Scouts
and leaders to the 1937 National jamboree in Washington D.C.; and while the
number of Eagles in the Wichita area is on the rise, so is Scouting throughout
the state. In fact in response to an article about families with two Eagle sons,
Lewis Oswald, Scoutmaster of Troop 1 in Hutchinson, wrote that their troop had
10 families with two Eagles, and the Troop had a total of more than
With the addition of new
counties, the Executive Board began to solicit new names for the council. Dr.
William Jardine, President of Wichita State University, suggested the name
"Quivira," and in 1939 the name was adopted.
Scouting in this decade
can be divided into two distinct parts. The first half was in support of the war
effort. Scouts were called upon to sell war bonds, collect paper, metal and all
other materials, and provide messenger and other services. With so many adult
men involved in the military, leadership was in short supply. But throughout the
effort there was a great sense of mission and teamwork. After the war men and
women returned to civilian efforts, including Scouting. Much of the council's
effort revolved around determining the direction of camping.
The council began a
special relationship with Philmont in 1940, when 93 Scouts and leaders made the
first council trek to the new national Scout Ranch. This is believed to be the
largest contingent from anyone council, at Philmont, at one time.
The success of any
activity is dependent upon leadership. And the future of the council,
particularly its camps, was greatly ensured when Murray Gill, President of
Kansas Gas and Electric, joined the Executive Board in 1942. Over the next
twenty years, Murray spearheaded efforts to develop both Camp TaWaKoNi and
As the War effort ended,
the Council began the effort to develop its camps. Even though TaWaKoNi had been
used since 1937, it was viewed as a short-term camp and training facility. A
plan was developed to upgrade Tahali, at a cost of $100,000. Initial commitments
are received from KG&E for $5,000, and Gas Service Company, for $2500. A
formal campaign was placed on hold, but quiet solicitation continued.
In 1947, three buildings
from Herrington Air Force Base were made available to the council, and through
the efforts of Martin Eby, these buildings are moved to TaWaKoNi. The Coleman
Company also gives $5,000 to the council for Camp Development efforts.
After four years of
study, a decision is made on camp use. In 1949, Ken Stowell recommends to the
Board that TaWaKoNi be developed as the council's long-term camp. He sites the
access to resources and the proposed lowering of the age for Boy Scouts as
reasons for his recommendation. The proposal is accepted.
In 1949 Jack Spines Jr.,
a thirty-one year old Wichita business man, was selected as president of the
Council. He and the other community leaders to follow begin the process of
building the next generation of Scouting.
The broad appeal of
Scouting begins this decade, as parents returning from the war effort see
Scouting as a program their sons should participate in.
The Boy Scouts of America
had as its theme "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty." Jack Whitacker, a Regional
volunteer from Kansas City, challenged Scouts in midwestern states to raise
money to place a miniature Statue of Liberty in every county seat. Many Scouts
and leaders responded to this challenge and fifty years later these statues can
be seen on courthouse lawns and in front of other public buildings.
The Order of the Arrow
was organized in 1951, as Charter #458 was issued to the name of Hi-Cha-Ko-Lo
Lodge. Among its charter members were Ken Fortney Jr., of Wichita, and Bob
Johnston, of Wellington. In 1956, the Lodge started the tradition of holding its
Vigils over the thanksgiving weekend to accommodate college students. This
tradition led to many fond memories of cold vigils, and continued until the
90's. The lodge began to play an important role in camp promotion, and in 1956
produced its first "Where to go camping" booklet.
The first major
fund-raising effort for TaWaKoNi was announced in 1952. The projects included a
swimming pool, dining hall, chapel, cabins, and the acquisition of 60 more
acres. Leadership for the effort included Murray Gill, Paul Foley, Ken Stowell,
Jack Spines, Sheldon Coleman, Martin Eby, Walt Keeler, Marvin Donlinger, Owen
McEwen, and Eugene Coombs. The effort raised $182,000 and provided the
facilities to spur tremendous growth in camping.
In 1958, the Council
leadership determined that TaWaKoNi could no longer meet the needs of a growing
Council and Ken Stowell and Murray Gill were appointed Camp Development
Chairman. This process, to look for a new camp of at least 2000 acres, would
take two years. As an interim step the Scout Executive made a request to the
council in Fort Smith Arkansas to use their Camp Orr, and in 1959 several
Quivira Troops went to Orr.
The 40th anniversary of
the Council was in 1958, and the 40th annual circus was held at the Wichita
Field House. A special feature was the dancing of Post 502, the MiKaNaMids. This
Post, chartered to College Hill Methodist Church and led for many years by Ward
Vickery, was an extremely popular group and for several years was closely
associated with the pageantry of the camp Old Warriors program.
The decade closed with
the first opportunity for local councils to operate a Wood Badge Course. Under
the Leadership of a Scoutmaster supplied by the National Office, our first local
course was offered at the camp at Fall River.
Scouting boomed in the
sixties, as the post-war youth population peaked. Camp, advancement, and
programming all achieved new records.
To meet interest in
camping, the camp development committee took aerial flights over Kansas,
Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri looking for a suitable new camp site. A
potential site was identified in southeast Kansas and on February 20th, 700
Scouters from across the council boarded 20 charter buses to visit the site in
Chautauqua County. Although the weather was cold and drizzly, the leaders were
excited by the prospects and a plan was developed to start raising $10 per
member, for "warranty deeds," to purchase the land. Options were then taken for
2960 acres and the Quivira Scout Ranch was born.
While this $10 per member
effort started the process and created a unique ownership that many leaders
still feel toward QSR, the bulk of the funds raised came from a public
solicitation chaired by Del Roskam. Del was aided by many civic leaders
including Fred Murfin, Paul Foley and Lawrence Wells.
A look at the records
also indicates that many behind the scenes efforts were needed to fully develop
the camp: Issues relating to the relocation of bridges and roads required the
negotiating skills of our Council leadership. Perhaps the most profound action
was the persuasion of the Soil Conservation Service to build one large flood
retention reservoir instead of several small structures along the Caney River.
This decision led to our magnificent 473 acre lake.
The first organized Troop
camping at QSR was in 1961. By 1966 a total of 2,757 Scouts were camping at
either TaWaKoNi or QSR. The number increased to 3,111 the next year, and growth
continued throughout the rest of the decade, as scores of Scouts and leaders
helped clear the river I bottoms for the lake project.
Wood Badge training, for
Boy Scout leaders, had firmly taken hold in the sixties. After national
personnel were used for top positions in the initial courses, local leadership
was sufficiently developed to continue the course. One staff member from the
1967 course, Al Goering of Neodesha, continues to be active in the
An expanding program also
meant more staff room was needed, and in 1967 the Council Office was moved to
the 400 Rule Building.
The fiftieth anniversary
of the Council, in 1968, was marked in grand style. QSR was formally dedicated
on June 29, with Chief Scout Executive Alden Barber in attendance. A patch with
eleven segments was offered for participation in Scouting events. And in an
effort never repeated, over 600 Quivira Scouts and leaders hiked the trails of
Philmont at the same time. This program, termed Philtrek 600, was the
culmination of planning and promotion of many Scouters, including Jim Copeland,
Paul Jacobs, and Don Crandall.
Also, in April of that
year, Scouting magazine featured Bill Coulsen, who had served for 38 years as
Scoutmaster of Troop 410, chartered to Fairview Christian Church. His
conservation effort of planting trees at TaWaKoNi is marked by a row of trees
now known as Coulsen's Grove.
The decade ended with the
start of a new program at QSR dedicated to acquainting Scouts and leaders with
the use of the Scout camp. The program, Black Jack Trail, started in the fall of
1969 and was designed for a Scoutmaster and his SPL to hike the camp. After the
initial treks, a group of "perpetuators," headed by Paul Wittsell, was organized
to maintain the BJT program.
Much of the dramatic
growth and enthusiasm of the 60's carried forward into the 70's. Quivira began
to have an impact beyond our Council borders and into national
As a part of a national
effort to develop the most effective way of delivering the Scouting program,
Councils were urged to consider mergers. In response to this effort the Sekan
and Quivira Councils merged in 1972. Cub Scouting began to take a higher profile
in 1970, as Akelas' Council was started to train male Cub Scout leaders in
outdoor skills. In 1972 a new support organization called Liv-A-He-Liv (live and
help live) was formed. Early leaders included Court and Laura Stalnaker, John
and Alta Montoyne, and Jim and Mary Colbert. Kind Eyes, an outdoor education
program for female Cub Scout leaders, was introduced in 1973 to compliment the
earlier developed Akelas' Council. Cub Scout Day Camp started in 1974, at
Boy Scout Camping at Camp
Kanza and QSR hit their high marks in the seventies, while Scout Camping at
TaWaKoNi begins to decline and concludes in 1974. Order of the Arrow also
reaches several pinnacles, as one of its local programs, "Spring Into Scouting,"
is adopted for national use. In 1974, Brad Haddock is elected the National Chief
of the Order of the Arrow, and four years later our local Advisor, Ed Reeves, is
selected as the Section Advisor. Brad is also selected for one of the National
Young American awards. At the presentation dinner, in Washington D.C., he meets
his future wife, Terri.
The Exploring program is
also extremely active. Al Herrington is selected to serve on the Regional
Exploring Committee and Larry Jones, then President of the Coleman Company, is
selected to serve as the national chairman for the Exploring Adventure Program.
In 1977, Explorer Todd Duke won the Reader's Digest National Speech Contest.
Another young Scout who distinguished himself was Ken Van Haverbeke, who was
selected in 1978 as the outstanding Catholic Scout in the state. He now serves
as Pastor of the Church of the Magdalen, in Wichita.
The Council continues to
rent office space, moving to the Century Plaza in 1972 and, then, to the Rule
building in 1978. The year 1978 also marked the start of a new winter camping
adventure called Trappers' Rendezvous. This event, held at Harvey County Park
West, has grown into a regional attraction.
The 80's was a decade of
repositioning to meet a new "marketplace." Major changes were made in the
facilities, structure and programs to remain relevant to the needs of
The Order of the Arrow
expands its cheerful service to include service to youth with handicapping
conditions, with the new program Sunshine Kids' Fishing Derby, in 1981. Also, in
December 1981, after 60 years of office rental, the council purchases its own
building and moves to 1555 E. 2nd St., in Wichita. Changes in camping interest
led to two capital campaigns to improve Scout camp at QSR. Under the leadership
of Jim Grier and Grant Stannard, a major effort was launched to develop
campsites, aquatics and related support facilities, and Camp Pioneer becomes the
A second campaign was
initiated, four years later, through a challenge grant from the William Graham
Foundation to provide for the construction of the QSR Troop Service Building and
a major renovation of the Camp TaWaKoNi dining hall and pool. Again, Jim Grier
and Grant Stannard provide leadership to raise the matching funds. Koch
Industries then provided funds for the C.O.P.E. course, and by the end of the
decade, camp use is up.
In 1985 the council
celebrated BSA's 75 years with a council-wide camporee, at Sim Park, in Wichita.
The national program, "Scouting for Food," is also adopted. Annually, the
council collects more than 100,000 cans of food!
Scouting in the nineties
was marked by improved facilities and programs and major changes in the delivery
of Scouting programs.
The development of new
programs at QSR continued, such as hot heater-stack meals, in 1990. Then, a
dining hall tent was added in 1994. Other major improvements at QSR include: the
addition of the water skiing program; the Wolff Nature Center in 1997; the
Bradshaw addition to the Hilton; and the Clyde Stange Building, in 1999. The
Camping committee reaffirmed the value of the Tribe of Quivira, by establishing
the Tribal Council, for coordination, in 1992. The council added new ranks and
ceremonies. And the Tribe took on the project of expansion of the Lee Phillips
Renovation of the
facilities at TaWaKoNi continued also, with the dining hall, pool, and shower
building projects. The Office and Scout Shop were updated through a gift from
anniversary of the council was celebrated, in 1993, with an encampment at
Sedgwick County Park. More than 5,000 Scouts and leaders gathered for a weekend
of Scouting fellowship.
The program of financing
the Council was expanded with the addition of the Popcorn Sale and the
initiation of the Distinguished Citizen Award program, in the 90's,
In 1995, the National
Council began a strategic planning process designed to position the BSA to meet
the challenges of a new century. One of these benchmarks related to the minimum
size of a local council. Based on this benchmark, the Quivira and Kanza Councils
began merger discussion. On July 1, 1997 the two Councils merged. The expanded
council now serves youth in thirty south central and southeastern Kansas
counties. - The first council-wide activity was an encampment held in the spring
of 1998 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, in Hutchinson.