Yawgoog Scout Reservation - History


In 1916 Scout Executive Donald North, after inspecting some twenty ponds in Rhode Island, recommended the deserted Joseph Palmer farm property on Yawgoog Pond as a permanent reservation for Scouting. The 150-acre (0.6 km2) piece was leased to Rhode Island Boy Scouts (RIBS) in 1916 and purchased in 1917. Yawgoog and Wincheck, according to local tradition, were the names of two Narragansett Native American Chiefs. The water rights to the pond, all of their equipment, fourteen mill houses, a store, and approximately 200-acre (1 km2) of unimproved land were obtained in 1953 when the Rhode Island Boy Scouts purchased a controlling interest in the Yawgo Line and Twine Company. The reservation continues to be separately owned by RIBS though the camp is run by the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1917 the RIBS, and BSA merged to form the Greater Providence Council, making the RIBS a trustee organization just 5 years after its conception. Chief Yawgoog serves as the mascot for the camp. He is usually portrayed in a cartoon, shirtless, wearing leather Native American trousers and moccasins, smoking a calumet, holding a canoe over himself and appears as if he is about to set off canoeing.

Yawgoog is also responsible for creating the first Totin' Chip program. John Page, nicknamed "Johnny Appleseed," created the program in 1950. Six years later, in 1956, the Apprentice in Training (AIT) program was started in an effort to better train incoming staffmen. The AIT corps, the first of its kind, was later renamed the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) corps and set the standard for subsequent programs across the country.

The reservation is divided into three distinct camps. Each camp operates independently and has a dining hall, waterfront, and trading post. Originally, however, Yawgoog campers set up tents as part of one centralized camp on what is now Tim O'Neil Field, which is located in Camp Three Point. In 1924, Yawgoog was divided between Upper Camp and Lower Camp, and three camps eventually emerged. Yawgoog is normally active during the summer for eight weeks of operation. During the off season tent camping is allowed at various campgrounds and cabin camping is allowed in any of the four cabins available. These spaces are available for troops who wish perform outdoor events when summer camp is not in session.

In 1965, the architect responsible for the building work was D. Thomas Russillo.

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