Main Entrance to Tunnel Mill Scout Reservation
BSA Councils serving Indiana.

Scouting in Indiana has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Early history (1910-1950)

Indianapolis is home to Troop 9, founded by "Chief" Francis Oliver Belzer in 1910, one of the first Scout troops in America.

Belzer founded Firecrafter at Camp Chank-Tun-Un-Gi (now called Camp Belzer) in the summer of 1920. Belzer also served as the first Scout Executive for the Indianapolis Council, later known as the Central Indiana Council.

The first National Order of the Arrow Conference was held at Indiana University in 1948.

Recent history (1950-2010)

In 1950, 1956, 1961, 1965, 1969, 1990, 2002, 2009 and 2018, the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) was held at Indiana University in Bloomington, the most frequent venue for the event. In 1994, NOAC was held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Boy Scouts of America in Indiana today

There are nine Boy Scouts of America (BSA) local councils in Indiana. All of Indiana lies within Central Region, except for Clark, Scott, Floyd, Harrison, Crawford, and Washington counties, as part of Southern Region.

Anthony Wayne Area Council

Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana and covering 11 counties in Northeast Indiana — Adams, Wells, Jay, Huntington, Allen, DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Whitley, Kosciusko.Anthony Wayne Area Council

Features Anthony Wayne Scout Reservation with Camp Chief Little Turtle

Anthony Wayne Scout Reservation

The Anthony Wayne Scout Reservation is a Boy Scout camp located near Ashley, Indiana, United States.

The reservation has three key areas: Camp Chief Little Turtle (CCLT), Camp Foellinger, and Camp Wilderness.

Buffalo Trace Council

The Buffalo Trace Council is a Boy Scout council based in Evansville, Indiana that serves southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. Its affiliated Order of the Arrow lodge is Kiondaga Lodge.Buffalo Trace Council


The Buffalo Trace Council has operated four camps throughout its existence, three of which are still in existence. Camp Arthur, located near Vincennes, opened in 1945 and was removed from the list of BSA-approved camping facilities for a time in the mid-1990s. Camp Carnes, located between Jasper and Dubois, has since changed ownership to the City of Jasper and is run as a park. Old Ben Scout Reservation (OBSR), located in Pike County, Indiana opened in 1985 on the site of an abandoned strip mine operated by the Old Ben Coal Company and was the council's current primary summer camp location, until a lack of funding forced the council to cease having summer camps there. Camp Pohoka was the previous summer camp location, but was shut down when OBSR was opened.


Algonkian (formerly Three Rivers)
Lincoln Heritage
Native Trails

Calumet Council

Calumet Council is headquartered in Munster, Indiana and serves Scouts in Indiana and Illinois.

Serving the youth of the 54 communities comprising the south suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana since 1917, the Calumet Council is the local entity of the Boy Scouts of America and Learning for Life Programs.

Calumet Council was formed in 1966, and was the result of a merger of the Pokagon Trails Council in Hammond, Indiana and the Sauk Trails Council in Gary, Indiana. In 1971 the Twin City Council in East Chicago, Indiana joined to make up the current structure. Camp Frank S. Betz, located in Berrien Springs, MI (USA) is operated by the Calumet Council. 'Betz' has served Scouts in the South Suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana since 1922.

In 2008, over 13,000 young men and women were active members of the Scouting program in the Calumet Council. Over 4,100 adult volunteers, supported by a small staff, provide a top quality "values based" program, with an emphasis on outdoor programs and life skills.

Due to the unique demographics of the Calumet Council, a special program designed to serve the hardest to reach "at risk" youth, called Scoutreach, is used in lower income communities. In 2008, sixty six Scoutreach Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venture Crews were active in nine different communities with over 1,400 members.

The Eagle Scout Award, the highest award a boy can earn in Scouting, was presented to 74 young men in 2006. These newest Eagles totaled over 3,200 combined service hours in the 74 different community service projects which they carried out as part of the Eagle Scout requirement.

The Council operates four districts: Crossroads, Nishnabec, Prairie Dunes, and Thunderbird. These service areas were formed in 2005 as a result of a restructuring to utilize volunteer resources better.

The Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society. The council's chapter is Michigamea Order of the Arrow Lodge number 110. It is youth-run and advised by adult volunteers. Michigamea lodge has over 600 active members. In 2008, the Lodge received The National Service Award for their work on the new Frank S. Betz firebowl. This annual award is only presented to eight lodges nationally.

The Council Executive board is made up of 44 local business and community leaders who guide to the year-round operation of the Council. The Council Key III is made up of President T. Edward Page, Council Commissioner Todd Dykton and Acting Scout Executive Matthew Thornton.

This council was merged into the Pathway to Adventure council.

Crossroads of America Council

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Crossroads of America Council (BSA Council #160) serves Scouts and Scouters in Central Indiana. It was initially formed when Central Indiana Council, Delaware County Council, Kikthawenund Council, and Whitewater Valley Council merged in 1972. Recently, in the past decade, Wabash Valley and Crossroads of America were merged to form the new Crossroads of America Council, serving 25 counties in Indiana, extending from the Illinois state line to the Ohio state line. As of the end of 2012, the council served more than 36,000 youth thanks to more than 9,000 volunteer leaders.Crossroads of America Council

The Crossroads of America Council is served by Jaccos Towne Lodge #21, Order of the Arrow. It is also home to Firecrafter, a local Scouting service fraternity. Central Indiana Council was not home to a lodge of the Order of the Arrow until the merger of the councils in 1972. Joe Wiltrout is the current Scout Executive. The council maintains Scout offices in Indianapolis, Muncie, and Terre Haute.

The Crossroads of America Council has also served as home of the Crossroads of America Scout Band. Founded in 1917 by "Chief" F.O. Belzer as a camp band, this band has grown into a concert band that has traveled throughout the United States, Canada and England representing the Boy Scouts of America and the Crossroads of America Council for 93 years. The Bands annual summer tour takes it to as many scout camps as it can for the enjoyment of those scouts at camp. [1]



The Crossroads of America Council currently operates seven camps:

Hoosier Trails Council

Hoosier Trails Council



Hoosier Trails has two camps. Resident summer camp is hosted deep within the Hoosier National Forest at Maumee Scout Reservation in Norman. Primitive camping is available at Camp Louis Ernst in Dupont.

Nischa Chuppecat (#212) is Hoosier Trails' Order of the Arrow Lodge. It was founded in 1973 as the merger of Wazi Yata (#290) and So Aka Gha Gwa(#212) lodges. Nischa Chuppecat and So Aka Gha Gwa has hosted the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) at Indiana University ten times as of the summer of 2009, the most of any lodge in the nation.

La Salle Council

La Salle Council serves Scouts in Indiana and Michigan.

Website: La Salle Council



Lincoln Heritage Council

Main article: Lincoln Heritage Council

The George Rogers Clark Council was formed by Scouts of Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Crawford, Scott, and Washington counties in 1927, and merged with Old Kentucky Home Council in 1993 to form the Lincoln Heritage Council, which serves Scouts in Kentucky and Indiana. The Council absorbed the Shawnee Trails Council of western Kentucky (and part of southern Illinois and northwestern Tennessee) in April 2012 to serve scouts in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee.[1]

John Work House and Mill Site|Tunnel Mill Scout Reservation

Main articles: John Work House and Mill Site and Tunnel Mill Scout Reservation

Tunnel Mill Scout Reservation is a Boy Scout camp just outside Charlestown, Indiana, owned by the Lincoln Heritage Council. In 1917 local Troop 3 decided to use the property as a summer camp, as it would for three summers. The George Rogers Clark Council shortly after 1927 bought Tunnel Mill from the Murphy family, who had bought the property the previous year but lost interest after a mill fire. In 1933 the three-sided wooden Pioneer Village cabins were built. In 1942 the Scoutmaster's Cabin and Evergreen cabins were completed. In 1950 the McDonald Bridge was completed across Fourteen Mile Creek. The camp saw its greatest use in the 1950s and 1960s, with 564 Scouts, the highest attendance ever, in 1960. In 1969 the swimming pool was built, to replace the creek, now-unsafe for swimming. By the 1980s the lessening attendance made the future of the camp uncertain. When the George Rogers Clark Council, which owned the property, merged with Old Kentucky Home Council, one of the conditions was that Tunnel Mill would not be closed. Since 1993 the camp has been used primarily by Cub Scouts and for winter camping.[2] The property includes a cabin village, a swimming pool, and a dining hall built in 2000. The new dining hall replaced the one from the 1980s that once served as a steakhouse in Jeffersonville.

On November 6, 1996, Andy Campbell, a ranger serving as Tunnel Mill's caretaker, was shot to death by Roger Caldwell, "a diagnosed, paranoid schizophrenic" who trespassed onto the property while drunk.[3] This was the first such incident in the history of Scouting.[4] Campbell was able to drag himself 50 feet (15 m) to call 911. After police arrived on the scene to get information about the drunk from Campbell, they found Caldwell wandering on Indiana Highway 62. Caldwell was sentenced to 70 years in prison, with parole possible after 31 years.

Prairielands Council

Main article: Scouting in Illinois

Prairielands Council, previously the short-lived Illiana Council, has its headquarters in Champaign, Illinois, and also serves Scouts in Indiana.

Sagamore Council

The Sagamore Council was founded in 1973 by a merger of the Three Rivers Council (Headquarters in Logansport, IN), Mesingomesia Council (Headquarters in Marion, IN) and the Harrison Trails Council (Headquarters in Lafayette, IN). The council offices were eventually consolidated to a single office in Kokomo, Indiana. The council maintains two camps: Camp Cary, (near Lafayette, IN) used as a Cub Scout day camp and Camp Buffalo, (near Buffalo, IN - north and east of Indiana Beach) used as the Boy Scout summer camp. The camp properties of Green Hills and Crossland were sold. Camp Green Hills was south and west of Lafayette, IN. Mesingomesia Council's Crossland Scout Reservation near Columbia City, Indiana was sold to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in 1992 and is now called the Deniston Resource Area (named after a fallen DNR Conservation Officer). The camp was located on Robinson Lake, one of the last natural lakes in Indiana with almost no development. This was due in large part to the camp which encompassed almost three-fourths of the shoreline.[5]

A few things make Sagamore Council unique:

1. Purdue University, in West Lafaytte, IN, hosted the 1994 National Order of the Arrow Conference.

2. Weaver Popcorn (which markets Trail's End Popcorn) is produced in Van Buren, Indiana.

3. Ramsey Popcorn (which markets Campmasters Popcorn) is produced in Ramsey, Indiana.

5. George O. Crossland was a Scout Executive who served the prior Mesingomesia Council. He was known for more notable Scouting functions including creating an honorary that rivaled the Order of the Arrow -- TI-PI-SA, the Order of the Red Lodge. Crossland Scout Reservation was named after him.



The Sagamore Council currently operates two camps:

Girl Scouting in Indiana

There are 5 Girl Scout councils that serve Indiana.

On Aug. 26, 2006, Girl Scouts of the USA’s (GSUSA) national board of directors voted to endorse a plan to realign 312 councils into 109 high-capacity, community-based councils. The new structure will make the most effective use of resources to better serve the local community and create more opportunities in Girl Scouting for even more girls. Girl Scouts of Central Indiana was the first Girl Scout council in the nation to complete the merger process.

Girl Scouts of Central Indiana

Formed by the merger of Girl Scouts of Hoosier Capital Council, Covered Bridge Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts of Treaty Line Council, Girl Scouts of Sycamore Council, and Girl Scouts of Wapephani Council, and the addition of Howard and Carroll Counties from Girl Scouts of Tribal Trails Council.

Girl Scouts of Central Indiana serves over 36,000 girls in 45 counties in Central Indiana. Council headquarters is Indianapolis, Indiana but service centers remain in cities that were the headquarters of former councils

Web Site:

Camps and cabins

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

See Scouting in Illinois for more information. The former Scouts of The Calumet Council and Drifting Dunes Girl Scout Council became part of this council.

Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

See Scouting in Kentucky for more information. Serves many counties in southern Indiana

Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana

This is a new council includes more than 18,240 Girl Scouts in northern Indiana (Adams, Allen, Cass, DeKalb, Elkhart, Fulton, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, Miami, Noble, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley) and two counties, Berien and Cass, in southwest Michigan.

Formed by the merger of Indiana Lakeland Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council, Girl Scouts of Singing Sands Council (except for a part that joined Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan), and Girl Scouts of Tribal Trails Council (except for a part that joined Girl Scouts of Central Indiana).



Girl Scouts of River Bluffs Council

Headquarters is Glen Carbon, Illinois


Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

Headquarters is Cincinnati, Ohio


See Scouting in Ohio for more information

Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana

Headquarters is Evansville, Indiana. It serves Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer, Perry, Posey, Gibson, Martin, Pike, Daviess, and Dubois Counties in Indiana and White County in Illinois.

website is

Located in south-west Indiana and also a small part of Illinois. It was formed after a previous realignment in September 1957.


Camp Koch has a sycamore that is a "moon tree"; as a seed it was on the Apollo 14 mission to the moon.[2][3]

See also


  1. ^ Lincoln Heritage Council website Archived 2013-04-15 at
  2. ^ Tunnel Mill: the story of an historical grist mill and an historic Boy Scout camp by Gary D. Purlee (2005)
  3. ^ Reynolds, Janna. "Caldwell receives 70 years for shooting of Tunnel Mill Ranger". reen Banner Publications. Archived from the original on 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2006-09-03. ((cite web)): Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  4. ^ Purlee 2005
  5. ^