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From Raccoons to Cardinals: Nawakwa Lodge prepares to celebrate 100 years

  Ben Pycraft       May 10, 2017       OA Today

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Nawakwa Lodge has a special birthday coming up and the lodge is already getting a head start on the preparations! In 2019, this lodge, which serves the Heart of Virginia Council located in Richmond, Virginia, will be turning 100 years old! The lodge has a longstanding history and the celebration effort is being led by the current lodge chief, Trey L.

The lodge began as Pamunkey Lodge in November of 1919. “It's the second oldest continuous lodge in the Order of the Arrow, and the third lodge ever formed.” explained Trey. In June of 1919, the Scout Executive at the time, Charles Weaver, took a trip to Treasure Island, the camp where the Order of the Arrow was created only four years earlier. He was accompanied by other members of the council and everyone was excited for the adventure because of the stories they had heard about the organization founded by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson. A few months later, the lodge was chartered and Pamunkey Lodge was born.

During the years of 1930 and 1944, the lodge took a 14 year break. During this period, colloquially referred to as “the underground years,” the lodge remained closed yet continued to hold events. Ending this period in 1944, the lodge officially rechartered as Nawakwa Lodge. Trey also reflects that the lodge has had many totems and unique lodge flaps through the years, ranging from a three legged-raccoon in 1952 all the way to the cardinal which is the current totem of the lodge.

As expected with a lodge almost a century old, many noteworthy Arrowmen have been produced. The lodge has had seven section chiefs as well as a national vice chief in 2010. Trey has some great expectations for the centennial year. The lodge is currently developing plans for a new Order of the Arrow shelter that is expected to be complete and ready to open by 2019. Other preparations for the anniversary include building a centennial totem pole this upcoming year.