OA

Birthplace of WWW Opens

The island on which Treasure Island Reservation is located has been the topic of several historical investigations to confirm the ownership and the state to which the island belongs.

In 1783, commissioners appointed by the legislatures of Pennsylvania and New Jersey entered into a treaty, one of the purposes of which was to allocate to each State the islands lying in the Delaware River north of the falls of Trenton. The treaty was ratified by both legislatures in 1783. The part of the treaty that speaks to the island known as Treasure Island was that each island was annexed to the State to which it was physically closest.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island Scout Camp (also known as Treasure Island Scout Reservation) opened as a Philadelphia Council summer camp in 1913. The name Treasure Island had come from the popular Robert Louis Stevenson pirate novel of the same name published in 1883. Philadelphia used the pirate motif on some of their early promotional material. Treasure Island would become the longest continuously run Scout camp in the BSA and most notably, the birthplace of the Order of the Arrow.

"Service" Influences Formation

From 1914 – 1916 the Philadelphia Council led by Scout Executive Walter S. Cowing used “Service” as its watchword. In 1914 the council recognized deserving individuals with a special “Badge of Service” pin.

Goodman Influenced - Story of Billy Clark

When the Treasure Island staff planned the first induction, Urner Goodman had one Scout in mind as the model of cheerful service he wanted for its members - Billy Clark.  Billy was a member of Philadelphia's Troop 1, led by Scoutmaster Goodman and is listed in their records as an “Assistant Scribe.” Years later Goodman described a troop campout at Treasure Island.

One time during our stay there, one of our charges came with a minor sickness. There was no medicine, no hospital on the island at all. So he had to stay in his tent and he had to be taken care of. Billy volunteered to be our live-in nurse for the two or three days he had to be there. And he did a good job of it.

Edson Influenced

In 1915 I joined the staff of the Philadelphia Council, the head of the Field Department being E. Urner Goodman, afterwards Scout Executive of Philadelphia, and then of Chicago, and now a department head at the National Office.

Urner was designated as Director, and I as Co-Director of Treasure Island, the Philadelphia Camp. I found they had an award called “Treasure Island Scout”, for which an emblem TIS, was presented. The award was based on a point system, similar to a troop contest, so many points for passing tests, identifying nature objects, etc., etc. It seemed to me there should be some recognition of the spirit of Scouting, as the TIS was of the mechanics.

Woodcraft Indians

It would help bring together young people from various so-called stations, break down the barriers that society has foolishly placed upon them, and establish in their minds when they are young a finer kind of humanity, a real understanding that the important thing is the association of a human spirit.

--- from Ernest Thompson Seton about his development of the League of Woodcraft Indians

Goodman & Edson Camp Directors

In April of 1915, E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson both were hired by Philadelphia Council and entered Professional Scouting at the age of 23. Philadelphia Scout Executive Walter S. Cowing appointed them both as  Field Commissioners (now called Field Executives). The following month the Philadelphia Council Camp Committee appointed Goodman as Camp Director at Treasure Island Scout Reservation and Edson as his Assistant Camp Director in charge of commissary.

WWW Founded

Goodman and Edson had explained their plans for the establishment of a camp honor society to camp leaders at Treasure Island.

The date of the first induction had been set, July 16, 1915. Two of the Troops on the island had held an election of members.  George Chapman described the event in The Arrow and the Vigil as follows:

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