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Lodge Ledger: Nawakwa and Portage Lodge Receive National Recognitions

Justin Schimmel     June 20, 2013     Lodge Ledger

Nawakwa Lodge and Portage Lodge were each recognized with the National Service Award and E. Urner Goodman Camping Award. To receive just one of these awards is a great honor, but for a lodge to receive both recognitions in the same year is almost unheard of.

The national Order of the Arrow website describes the National Service Award as a recognition that "was established in 1999 to recognize lodges in each region that have performed outstanding service, both in a qualitative and a quantitative sense, to their council." The E. Urner Goodman Award is described as a recognition that "was established in 1969 as a tribute and testimonial to the Order's founder, E. Urner Goodman. Its purpose is to encourage and challenge Order of the Arrow members and lodges to increase their effectiveness in promoting and increasing Scout camping in each council."

During the summer camp season of 2012 at Firelands Scout Reservation, the Portage Lodge Chief, Matt Bernotas, and his staff adviser were walking around camp when they both noticed a great deal of erosion around a large drainage pipe beneath a land bridge. They set out to fix the problem for the camp. Over the course of the next two ordeals, the lodge worked with the ranger to construct a retaining wall on both sides of the pipe. Sections of telephone pole were driven into the soft lake bed to support the backfill of stone and dirt. Clans of 10 people provided over 100 man hours to finish the project over two ordeal weekends. The wall has stopped the erosion around the pipe. Now, Scouts can walk onto the flat top of the two retaining walls rather than a slippery metal pipe to fish. This project, along with a number of other smaller projects, earned Portage Lodge the National Service Award.

At the beginning of 2012, the Camp Promotions videos for Firelands Scout Reservation were outdated, so Portage Lodge's camp promotions committee set a goal to make new videos for camp. Their adviser works with a local news station and was able to get professional equipment to use for the videos. The adviser and two youth committee members made new videos for both the Cub Scout side and Boy Scout side of camp over the course of 55 man hours. They then organized a series of unit visitations to present the videos. Their efforts in the area of camping promotions earned Portage Lodge the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award.

The fourth year of the Nawakwa Trail Crew kicked off over the April 5-7 2013 weekend and brought the Lodge's service home to the Heart of Virginia Council at their own Albright Scout Reservation. The goal at the reservation was to create a five mile loop hiking trail with a handicap accessible Adirondack shelter. The Trail crew was able to get a great start on the loop trail and the foundation for the shelter has been set. More work on the shelter is scheduled to get it completed this year. Nawakwa was received the National Service Award for this project and was awarded the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award for their efforts in promoting camp. Michael Lynch, Nawakwa Lodge Trail Crew Adviser, said "we expect to have one fantastic area where Scouts, Cub Scouts, Ventures and our local community can experience an AT style trail experience right in their backyard."