History of the Order of the Arrow
In 1915, E. Urner Goodman, was a newly hired field executive for the Philadelphia Council, and was assigned to serve as director of the council's summer camp at Treasure Island Scout Reservation on the Delaware River. He believed that the summer camp experience should do more than just teach proficiency in Scoutcraft skills; rather, the principles embodied in the Scout Oath and Scout Law should become realities in the lives of Scouts. Along with his assistant camp director, Carroll A. Edson, he started an experimental program, Wimachtendienk ("Brotherhood" in the Lenape language), to recognize those Scouts best exemplifying those traits as an example to their peers.
They ultimately devised a program where troops chose, at the summer camp's conclusion, those boys from among their number who best exemplified the ideals of Scouting. Those elected were acknowledged as having displayed, in the eyes of their fellow Scouts, a spirit of unselfish service and brotherhood. Edson helped Goodman research the traditions and language of the Lenni Lenape—also known as the Delaware—who had once inhabited Treasure Island. The brotherhood of Scout honor campers with its American Indian overtones was a total success.
By 1921, Goodman had spoken to Scout leaders in surrounding states about the honor society resulting in a number of lodges being established by Scout councils in the northeastern United States. The name of the society was changed to Order of the Arrow, and in October 1921, Goodman convened the first national meeting of what was then called the "National Lodge of the Order of the Arrow" in Philadelphia—where Goodman was elected as Grand Chieftain. Committees were organized to formulate a constitution, refine ceremonial rituals, devise insignia, and plan future development.
History of Wihinipa Hinsa #113
Our Lodge was founded in 1938 and is affiliated with Bay Area Council #574. The English translation of Wihinipa Hinsa is a phrase derived from the language of the Dakota Nation. It means "Bay Sunrise" which appropriately symbolizes the dawning of a new day, brighter opportunities, a higher vision, and the cheerful spirit forever burning in the hearts and wills of true arrowman.
Our Lodge totem is the Sun Rising from the purifying water of the bay.
In 1955, Camp Karankawa was opened, offering a well-located camp consisting of 450 acres of heavily forested land, ideally suited to the needs of Scouting.
The next few years saw the physical development of the camp's facilities. In 1955, it was decided to build an Ordeal Ring to meet the requirements of the Order's ceremonies. A site was selected on the banks of the San Bernard River. It was reached by following a trail from the chapel area, winding along the banks of the San Bernard, crossing a temporary bridge and finally climbing a hill to enter the ceremonial area.
The altar was constructed of stones and a plaque was laid. This ceremonial area served the Lodge for the next 40 years. The temporary bridge ultimately required relocation. Over the years the Brazos River underwent several floods. Each flood required extensive work in removing sand and debris from the Ordeal Ring. The site was lost completely for about a three year period in the mid 1980's, after a very severe flood of the San Bernard River. In the late 1980's it was decided that something needed to be done about the temporary bridge. Each flood had continued to erode the banks to a point of becoming hazardous.
A plan was put forth by the Lodge to construct a new suspension bridge. Different ideas were discussed in raising the necessary capital to complete the project. One of which was to sell each of the planks on the bridge and have the names of the donor inscribed on them. Finally the Council Executive Board was approached and money was set aside for its construction. Work began on the new bridge, but a problem immediately arose, it was impossible to get the needed heavy equipment to the site to complete the project.
These efforts were finally abandoned. It became increasingly necessary to make a decision on the future of the ring. In late 1994, a site was chosen for construction of a new Ceremonial Ring. Ideas were discussed and a decision was made to move forward with its construction. Through the efforts of several people, and donations of materials, the need for raising capital became unnecessary. During the summer of 1995 several work days were held, and the new ring was constructed. It was made of cement planks that had been donated to the Lodge. These planks were then covered with native stone. Finally the plaque from the old altar was moved to the new site and installed. During the construction phase of the new altar, the permanent smug pots, which had been installed years ago at the old altar were moved and relocated.
During the Fall Fellowship in September of 1995, dedication ceremonies were held at the new Ordeal Ceremonial Ring. All ex-Lodge Chiefs and Advisors were invited to attend.