Achewon Nimat Lodge 282

Order of the Arrow

San Francisco Bay Area Council #28

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Royaneh Lodge - History (Part 1)

San Francisco Council (Founded November 1916):

Scout troops in San Francisco began forming in September of 1910 only a mere seven months after William D. Boyce formed the Boy Scouts of America. In fact the oldest active troop in San Francisco is Troop 3 that was formed in May 1914 and still continues to be active almost 100 years later. However it wasn’t until November of 1916 that the San Francisco Council was officially organized into a first class council by a group of prominent San Francisco businessmen and leaders. Until the San Francisco Council was organized, San Francisco troops were chartered through the Los Angeles council (which until 1925 was known as the Centinela Council).

During its first 20 years from 1917 until 1937, Scout Executive Raymond O Hanson (affectionately known as “The Chief”) was a visionary in youth programs who led the San Francisco organization. In fact in April of 1925 Hanson invited a group of Eagle Scouts to his office to discuss the idea of creating a youth organization which would hold the interest of scouts that attained the rank of Eagle. The Eagle Scout association they created that night was known as the Knights of Dunamis and spread like lightning across the Country as other Councils got involved.

The idea to create an Eagle Scout association in San Francisco came from Scout Exec Homer Bemiss across the bay in the Oakland Area Council. The Oakland Council had already created its own Eagle Scout association at Camp Dimond in 1922 that was called the Tribe of the O-hit-e-kah which lasted until 1935. As Bemiss and Hanson were good friends (Bemiss was the Assistant Scout Exec for Hanson from 1917 until 1919) they shared many ideas of Scouting through the years. Hanson took the Oakland Eagle association idea, expanded it and created the Knights of Dunamis for the San Francisco Council in 1925. By 1935, only ten years after that first meeting, the Knights of Dunamis was officially designated as part of the scouting program. The Eagle association in Oakland was disbanded and became one of the Chapters of the Knights of Dunamis. During that same year, a ceremony was held in San Francisco and attended by Robert Baden-Powell (Chief Scout of the World) where an honorary life membership in the Knights of Dunamis was conferred upon him. In 1971, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America formerly accepted administration of the Knights of Dunamis which then became the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA).

In 1925, Hanson was also instrumental in acquiring land in the hills near Cazadero, California that would become Camp Royaneh and land near Fairfax, California that would become Camp Lilienthal. Camp Royaneh (renamed Camp CC Moore between 1938 and 1950) is still considered one of the oldest operating Scout Camps West of the Mississippi.

Camp Royaneh was the main summer camp for the San Francisco Council while Camp Lilienthal was known as the all-weather camp of the council. During the winter and spring months from 1925 until 1950 Camp Royaneh could not be used as the road into camp crossed East Austin creek which during the winter turned into a raging river and was inaccessible. Camp Lilienthal on the other hand was an all year camp that was close to San Francisco that the council could use at any time. It is this reason that the Order of the Arrow in the San Francisco Council had its beginnings at Camp Lilienthal.

(Part 2 - click here)