Section History

This history was originally titled “The Continuing Evolution of SR-6 (A Brief History of the BSA/OA Organizational Structure)” and was written by Timothy C. Brown (2012) & James A. Flatt (1985). Slight edits were made in 2022 to bring the history up to date with recent events.

Eastern Region Section 3 (E3) is currently comprised of two lodges from Kentucky (Nguttitehen Lodge #205 and Kawida Lodge #480); six lodges from Tennessee (Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge #111, Sequoyah Lodge #184, Pellissippi Lodge #230, Ittawamba Lodge #235, Talidandaganu’ Lodge #293, and Ahoalan-Nachpikin Lodge #558); and one lodge from Mississippi (Ofi’ Tohbi Lodge #748). With a few yearly exceptions, most of the Kentucky and Tennessee lodges (or their predecessors), have been meeting together at the annual area/ section conclave since 1981. Ofi’ Tohbi Lodge #748 of Northern Mississippi joined the section in 2002 and Talidandaganu’ Lodge #293 of Southeastern Tennessee returned to the section in 2008. Thus, these nine lodges have been meeting as a section since 2009. The following is a summary of the development of this section as we know it today…

Having been founded in the summer of 1915 by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson, the Order of the Arrow (known then as Wimachtendienk, W.W.), grew slowly in its early years. It wasn’t until 1922 that the W.W.W. was deemed an ‘official experiment’ of the BSA at the Biennial National Meeting of Scout Executives. The ‘official experiment’ designation would last for ten years when in 1932 the OA became an ‘official experimental program’ of the BSA. Over the next two years, a methodical analysis by the BSA National Council concluded that the OA’s program could indeed enhance the Scouting program. With that conclusion, Chief Scout Executive James E. West announced on July 15, 1934, that the Order of the Arrow would be an ‘official BSA program’. The official program designation would become effective January 1, 1935. Thirteen years later, it was announced at the 1948 NOAC that the Order of the Arrow would be fully incorporated into the Boy Scouts of America under its Camping Program.

Although it happened incrementally over a thirty-three-year period of time, the OA had finally realized its most ambitious and desired goal…to become a permanent national organization within the BSA. Although the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was founded in 1910, it was not until 1913 that the original geographic division of the country was done by the BSA National Council. There were originally eight regions (although they were referred to as ‘Sections’), and each of the eight was named rather than numbered. The state of Kentucky was assigned to the “Middle West Section”, and the states of Tennessee and Mississippi were assigned to the “Southeastern States Section”. The BSA’s national system of sections lasted from 1913-1920. However, due to the continued growth of the Scouting movement, the BSA National Council restructured its eight-section system into a twelve-region system in 1921. For ease of identification, the newly formed regions were numbered rather than named. The BSA’s new organizational system would exist in this manner for over fifty years from 1921-1972, and come to be known as the “original” twelve regions.

Beginning in 1938 the Order of the Arrow was experiencing growth and expansion at an unprecedented rate. In order to better serve the local lodges and to promote the OA’s program, it was announced that the lodges across the nation would be divided into fifteen ‘Areas’ numbered 1-15. The OA’s numerical area system was loosely based on the BSA’s twelve regions organizational structure and would be used for the next two years. However, beginning in 1940 the OA changed the area designations from use of the numbers 1-15 to the letters AO. Although many changes to this alpha designation system would occur over the next several years, it would remain in use until the eve of 1948. By the arrival of 1948, the OA was active in every region, and a new system for dividing areas for both informational and fellowship purposes was needed. Now that the OA was a full national BSA program, they were going to take full advantage of the BSA’s twelve region system. Thus, in September of 1948, the OA’s new region/area system was announced, with lodges being sub-grouped into lettered areas designated by the twelve regions. This new designation format continued unchanged for the next twenty-five years.

The historical development of the organizational structure of both the BSA and OA has been occurring almost since their inception as organizations. The basis for the many structural changes has always been centered on the need to provide better program implementation to the individual Scouting unit and to the local OA lodge. Specifically, regarding the Order of the Arrow, today’s existing Regions, Areas, and Sections are the direct culmination of these many changes, including the specific development of SR-6. To further define the historical development of the structure of SR-6, we need to trace the organizational history of the lodges of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Northern Mississippi.

Kentucky lodges originally belonged to Region 4, which covered the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Region 4 was further subdivided into Areas A, B, C, D, and E. Until 1954, a few of the lodges in nearby states met with the lodges of Kentucky on an informal basis for a fun, fellowship, and to exchange ideas. The ‘OKI’ and ‘IKI’ Conclaves were the precursors of the soon-to-be area conclaves. ‘OKI’ stands for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The only ‘OKI’ Conclave was held in 1951 at Covered Bridge Reservation near Prospect, Kentucky, and attended by members of existing Kentucky lodges (primarily Zit-Kala-Sha Lodge #123), as well as by members of Shawnee Lodge #109 from Portsmouth, Ohio, and Kiondaga Lodge #422 from Evansville, Indiana. ‘IKI’ stands for Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. The first of six ‘IKI’ Conclaves were also held in 1951 at Covered Bridge Reservation, and once again attended by members of existing Kentucky lodges as well as by members of Mannaseh Lodge #81 from East St. Louis, Illinois, and Kiondaga Lodge #422 from Evansville, Indiana. Subsequent ‘IKI’ Conclaves were held in 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, and 1960 with all of these being held at Camp Pahoka in Indiana. Camp Pahoka was the preferred meeting place for these subsequent conclaves due to its more geographically central location amongst the three states.

It was during this time that the idea of an annual ‘area conference’ or ‘conclave’ was developed. In 1954, all but one of the Kentucky lodges began meeting together as Region 4, Area B, or simply known as Area 4-B. The 4-B lodges included Zit-Kala-Sha Lodge #123, Michikinaqua Lodge #155, Wapiti Lodge #367, Mischa Mokwa Lodge #435, Kawida Lodge #480, and White Feather Lodge #499. The first Area 4-B Conclave was held on November 6-7, 1954 at Greenville High School in Greenville, Kentucky. The inaugural event was hosted by Wapiti Lodge from Owensboro. Only Tomahawk Lodge #241 from Pikeville was not in attendance. Chartered in 1943, Tomahawk Lodge had become inactive by the early 1950s but was revived in 1955. At that time they were assigned to Area 4-E. This area included lodges from southeastern Ohio and southern West Virginia. Area 4-E held its first area conference in 1959. In addition to the Tomahawk Lodge, the lodges in attendance at the first area conference included Adjudimo Lodge #210, Hytone Lodge #416, Thal-Coo-Zyo Lodge #457, Wachu Menetopolis Lodge #475, and Buckongehannon Lodge #527.

Area 4-B met annually through 1957, however, no area conclaves were held from 1958-1960 due to the national build-up of activities prior to the 50th Anniversary of the BSA in 1960. To re-establish the tradition, two conclaves were held in 1961…the first in April, and the second in October. Both conclaves were held at McKee Scout Reservation near Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and hosted by Kawida Lodge #480 from Lexington. Since then, an area/section conclave has been held each year without interruption. In 1962, the Tomahawk Lodge changed its name to the Tomahaken Lodge when it joined Area 4-B, thus bringing Kentucky together as one area for the first time. Area 4-B would last just one more year when in 1964 it would be renamed Area 4-G. Still covering all of Kentucky, Area 4-G remained unchanged until 1972 when Shawnee Lodge #109 of Portsmouth, Ohio was assigned to the area. Shawnee Lodge hosted what would be their first and last Area 4-G Conclave in 1972 at their council’s Camp Oyo. It was the first time the area conclave had been held outside the state of Kentucky. Shawnee Lodge’s membership in Area 4-G would last for only a single year due to the pending changes in the BSA’s region system that would occur in 1973.

The Tennessee and Mississippi lodges originally belonged to Region V (5), which covered the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Like Region 4, Region V was also subdivided into Areas A, B, C, D, and E. The first OA conferences in Region V were held in 1949 and occurred on an East-West basis. The eastern half of Region V (which included the Tennessee lodges), met at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1950, Region V again held two conferences (one East and one West), and the eastern half of the region came to Camp Pellissippi near Knoxville, Tennessee. Area V-B first began meeting formally in 1951. At that time, Area V-B consisted of Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge #111, Sequoyah Lodge #184, and Pellissippi Lodge #230 from Tennessee; and Kaskanampo Lodge #310 from Alabama. Kaskanampo Lodge continued to meet with the Tennessee Lodges until 1973. Of note: Talidandaganu’ Lodge #293 of Chattanooga, Tennessee was rechartered and joined Area V-B in 1957. Talidandaganu’ Lodge was formerly chartered in 1945 as Chickamauga Lodge, which had basically become inactive and was disbanded in 1947.

Area V-C first began meeting formally in 1955. At that time, Area V-C consisted of Ittawamba Lodge #235 and Chickasah Lodge #406 from Tennessee; Chicksa Lodge #202 and White Panther Lodge #345 from Mississippi; and Hi’lo Ha Chy’a-la Lodge #413 from Arkansas. The lodges of Area V-C continued to meet at the annual conclave through 1964.

In 1965, Region V was restructured. Ittawamba Lodge of former Area V-C joined the other lodges of the former Area V-B to form the new Area V-D. Area V-D now consisted of lodges #111, #184, #230, #235, and #293 from Tennessee; and Lodge #310 from Alabama. The only other Tennessee lodge not assigned to the new area was Chickasah Lodge #406 (also formerly of Area V-C). Chickasah Lodge was assigned to the new Area V-A along with lodges #160, #366, and #413 from Arkansas. The six Mississippi lodges would also be assigned to a new area, and this area would be known as Area V-C. However, it was suggested later that same year that the designation V-C be changed to V-III. The reason for this unusual numbering of an area without the use of a letter is an interesting story. V-C was very similar to ‘VC’, which in 1965 was highly associated in the public media with the ‘Viet Cong’, whom the United States was fighting against in the Vietnam War. The use of ‘III’ was readily accepted to replace ‘C’ as the third letter of the alphabet. The 1965 restructuring of Region V would last until the changes in the BSA’s region system occurring in 1973.

On January 1, 1973, the BSA announced that the current region system would be consolidated from twelve numbered regions to six named regions. The newly named regions were the East Central, Northeast, North Central, Southeast, South Central, and Western Regions. In turn, the OA changed its area system to conform to the new format. It was also at this time that the OA first decided to further subdivide areas into sections. Kentucky became a member of the new Southeast (SE) Region and was assigned to Section B of Area 2 (II) or simply known as Section 2-B. Section 2-B included the Kentucky lodges #123, #241, #367, #480, and #499. Likewise, Tennessee also became a member of the Southeast Region and was assigned to Section A of Area 2 (II), or simply known as Section 2-A. Section 2-A included the Tennessee lodges #111, #184, #230, #235, #297, and for the first time Chickasah Lodge #406, thus bringing all of the Tennessee lodges together for the first time in the same area. The formation of the new Section 2-A caused the loss of Kaskanampo Lodge #310, which had been meeting annually with the lodges of middle and eastern Tennessee since 1951. Kaskanampo Lodge was assigned to Section SE 4-A of the Southeast Region along with the other Alabama lodges. Also during this time, lodges #169, #193, #202, #260, #345, and #404 from Mississippi (formerly assigned to Region V-III), would be assigned to Section SE 4-B of the Southeast Region.

Collectively, Kentucky and Tennessee were known as Area 2 (II). The lodges of Kentucky and Tennessee met separately until 1977 when the area leadership proposed a joint meeting between the two sections. The first meeting between Kentucky and Tennessee lodges occurred in 1977 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in what became known as the Area II Conclave. The joint meeting between the lodges of Kentucky and Tennessee was a huge success and would set the stage for a future merging of these sections. After the 1977 event, the two sections continued to meet separately until 1981, when it was decided to merge the two sections together. The 1981 conclave was known as the Section 2-A / 2-B Conclave. However, after less than ten years, Area II was renamed SE VI in 1982. At that time, Ittawamba Lodge #235 and Chickasa Lodge #406 were reassigned to the newly formed SE II along with lodges #169, #193, #202, #260, #345, and #404 from Mississippi. The OA’s new designation format would remain in place another ten years through December of 1992 when the BSA’s six regions were consolidated into four regions.

Beginning January 1, 1993, the Boy Scouts of America was organized into four geographical regions. The four regions were designated as the Central (C), Northeastern (NE), Southern (SR), and Western (W) Regions, and all four regions were serviced out of the National BSA Office in Irving, Texas. To better facilitate the delivery of the program, the practice of subdividing each of the regions into ‘areas’ composed of a number of BSA councils was continued. The number of areas varied according to the needs of the region. The region director decides on the area boundaries and appoints an area director to provide leadership to the programs within the geographical boundaries of the area. In addition, the further subdividing of areas into sections was also continued with such designations as Sections A, B, N, S, etc. Current examples of region, area, and section designations are C-3A, NE-1B, SR-6N, and W-4S.

The 1993 region restructuring saw all of the former SE-VI and parts of the former SE-II become the new Southern Region, Area 6 or simply SR-6. The 1993 SR-6 Conclave was hosted by Talidandaganu’ Lodge #293 at Skymont Scout Reservation near Altamont, Tennessee. This became known as the ‘Super Conclave’ as thirteen different lodges attended the event. Those lodges in attendance were the usual: #111, #184, #230, #235, and #293 from Tennessee; and #123, #367, #480, and #499 from Kentucky; plus for the first time Tutelo Lodge #161, Shenandoah Lodge #258, and Shenshawpotoo Lodge #276 from Virginia; and Waguli Lodge #318 from Georgia. Of note: The lone Tennessee lodge, Chickasah #406 was assigned to SR-9 along with the six lodges from Mississippi. This SR-6 ‘Super Conclave’ was to last only for a single year and in 1994 SR-6 was subdivided into Sections SR-6A and SR-6B.

Section SR-6A consisted of lodges #111, #235, and #293 from Tennessee; lodges #123, #367, and #499 from Kentucky; and lodge #318 from Georgia. The mid-1990s was a time for lodge mergers in Kentucky, as Zit-Kala-Sha Lodge #123 merged with Tseyedin Lodge #65 from Clarksville, Indiana to form Talligewi Lodge #62. Likewise, Wapiti Lodge #367 merged with White Feather Lodge #499 to form White Horse Lodge #201. Section SR-6B consisted of lodges #184 and #230 from Tennessee; lodges #161, #258, and #276 from Virginia; and lodge #480 from Kentucky. Sections 6A and 6B would each last just four years before another restructuring occurred in May 1997. Of note: Also during this time Chickasah Lodge #406 from Tennessee merged with Koi Hatachie Lodge #345 from Mississippi to form Ahoalan-Nachpikin Lodge #558. The new lodge remained assigned to SR-9 from January 1995 to May 1997.

In May of 1997, Sections 6A and 6B became Sections 6N (North) and 6S (South). During this restructuring period, lodges #161, #258, and #276 returned to Virginia. Section SR-6N consisted of lodges #62, #201, and #480 from Kentucky; and lodges #111, #184, #230, #235, and Ahoalan-Nachpikin Lodge #558 from Tennessee. Chicksa Lodge #202 of Northern Mississippi joined SR-6N in 2002. Talidandaganu’ Lodge #293 and Waguli Lodge #318 joined other Georgia and Alabama Lodges in the new SR-6S.

This organizational structure lasted a little more than ten years when, in March of 2008, SR-6N and SR-6S were combined. As it had been called in 1993, the new section once again became known simply as SR-6. The restructuring allowed Talidandaganu’ Lodge #293 to return to the section, bringing all of the Tennessee lodges together again for the first time since 1982. Waguli Lodge #318 was assigned to SR-9 with eight other lodges from Georgia and three lodges from Alabama. Thus, SR-6 consisted of the six Tennessee lodges, the three Kentucky lodges, and one lodge from Mississippi. In 2013, Talligewi Lodge #62 and White Horse Lodge #201 merged to form Nguttitehen Lodge #205. In 2023, Chicksa Lodge #202 and Watonala Lodge #169 merged to form Ofi’ Tohbi Lodge #748.

In 2021, in response to the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to merge BSA regions and areas into a single territory structure, the Order of the Arrow’s Project Magellan initiative realigned the OA’s structure into two regions (Eastern and Gateway).The change in regions necessitated the renumbering of sections, and thus Southern Region Section SR-6 became Eastern Region Section 3. This renumbering did not change the composition of lodges in the section.

In conclusion, it is known that the organizational structure of the Order of the Arrow is constantly changing to meet the needs of its members. Likewise, so too is the organizational structure of any OA region, area, or section, and Section E3 is no exception. The evolution of E3 has been a rich and honored history spanning many years, and regardless of its organizational structure, the mission of E3 has always been one of educating its members on the virtues of brotherhood and cheerful service to others. Remember…“For he who serves his fellows is of all his fellows greatest.3

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