Wahunsenakah Lodge 333 based in Newport News, Virginia recently had a unique opportunity to extend their service to the community by helping a nearby Iroquoian tribe improve their lands. The tribal powwow scheduled for May 5, 2013 was quickly approaching and many tasks still had not been finished. In light of the great need, more than 75 Arrowmen showed up to serve; lodge members traveled on average of about an hour to get to the village. Arrowmen contributed more 375 hours of service to the tribe.
The Cheroenhaka tribe recently repurchased their lands in Portland, Virginia, and the project involved doing various tasks to improve their living space, almost like setting up camp. "They already had the list of projects. We were just there to get it done," said Wahunsenakah Lodge Chief Aaron Stewart, who headed the planning of the project.
During the weekend of April 12-14, 2013, the Wahunsenakah Lodge helped with building several things, including the skeletal frames of the longhouses, some fencing, and a canoe rack. They also helped to clear out the stream next to the village and plant the three sisters: corn, beans and squash for the tribe. Since the project was done over a weekend, the lodge slept on the Native American grounds as well. "It was really incredible. Not every Scout or Scouter has an opportunity to sleep on those grounds."
One of the vice chiefs of the tribe contacted Stewart late last year, but they really started planning the specifics of the project in February as other lodge projects came to a close. Stuart, the lodge chief, described the joint project with the local tribe as a success and hopes there will be other chances to partner in the future. "We were really fortunate to have the opportunity given to us," he said. "The moral of the story is to take the opportunities that are given to us."
This project was open to the units as well. "First off, we wanted to get the proper number of people out there. We exceeded that. We also wanted to strengthen the relationship with the unit."