As 2021 approaches we move closer to a yearlong celebration of 100 years of Scouting in Bay-Lakes Council. The Museum Committee seeks to preserve the history of Bay-Lakes Council, as well as the history of former councils who have merged to form our current Bay-Lakes Council. One of these former councils is the Badger Council and a brief look at their history follows.
Scouting, in what was the Badger Council area, was started in individual institutions chartered directly by the National Council. As early as 1914, Scouting came to the southern counties of our council. The first troop of record was sponsored by St. Paul’s Cathedral in Fond du Lac.
In 1919, the permanent organization of a first-class council was completed with F. A. Johnson as president; Frank D. Candlish, secretary; W. I. Cole, treasurer; and Franki Yordy, as Scout Executive. This council included Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties. In 1927, Washington County was added to the Badger Council.
At the annual meeting in February of 1928, Dr. S. E. Gavin accepted the presidency of the council. Following him in these early years were George F. Hutter and Louis P. Peeke. During this period, Cubbing and Sea Scouting entered the council program. Many Scouting groups from the area from 1920 on used Camp Shaginappi, near Pipe Wisconsin on Lake Winnebago. The decade of the 30’s saw great growth in activities, boy membership and volunteer leadership. The first Silver Beaver medals were awarded in 1933. In 1937, Badger Council sent 39 boys and 3 leaders to the first Jamboree. The second National Jamboree was held at Valley Forge in 1950 and opened a new decade of progress for Badger Council.
As late as 1910, there were no buildings on the present site of Camp Shaginappi, which is now a county park, available to Scouting units. In the early part of the century, a carriage path along the lake from County Truck HH to the “Point” was a popular Sunday drive for the people of the area. Calumet Harbor had already been long in use as a boat harbor, though until the Menasha dam was built in 1870 low water sometimes made it difficult.
Leaders of the budding Scout movement in Fond du Lac recognized the beauty of the historic peninsula. The Fond du Lac Rotary Club organized Rotary Campsite on behalf of the Scout council. The camp was then 13 acres. The name was changed to Camp Shaginappi much later (Shaginappi is an Algonquin word meaning buckskin thong). A gift from the Giddings and Lewis Foundation in 1954, increased the area to 100-odd acres along Pipe Creek. The camp probably takes in all of the old Indian village of Calumet, except possibly for the lake frontage occupied by cottages north of what was the camp.
In 1961, the Sadoff Foundation provided a new Scout Service Center for the council in memory of Howard Sadoff. This building was at 625 Fond du Lac Avenue and helped Scouting in Fond du Lac, Dodge, and Washington Counties to grow to even greater heights. Then in 1964, Badger Council boys and leaders trooped off for the sixth Jamboree on the very ground in which Washington and his troops spent a bitter winter. This period of council history saw changes in Cubbing, Scouting and Explorer programs and uniforms.
Then came a time under the presidencies of Dr. Howard Bayley, Allan Kieckhafer, James Peterson, and Dr. W. E. Myers that the council experienced a new and dynamic growth. During those years, Camp Wilderness was acquired, because Lake Winnebago was too polluted to go swimming. Major projects were “Scouting Rounds a Guy Out,” “Boypower ’76,” a renewed sustaining membership project, a long-range plan for the council, a stressing of the trust fund program and finally – a year’s study of the consolidation and merger proposal councils to the east and north.
As of June 31, 1973, Badger Council closed its proud history and joined forces with Oshkosh, Menasha, Green Bay, Manitowoc and Sheboygan and their council regions to form the new Bay-Lakes Council. After the merger, the Bay-Lakes Council decided to return Camp Shaginappi to the Fond du Lac Rotary for a variety of reasons.
The Museum Committee will be meeting, via Zoom, on November 17, from 6:30–8:00 PM CST. Please contact Dale Opgenorth at email@example.com for more details.
Consider joining the Museum Association, details for joining us can be found here.