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First Ceremony

There is no written copy of the ritual used for induction of members into the Order throughout the 1915 Treasure Island camping season.

In 1965 the Unami Lodge released a copy of a ceremony purported to be the first ceremony. However, after discussions with Arrowmen active in the Lodge in 1965 and with the 1975 Lodge Chief, Phil Hittner, it is clear that the “first ceremony” released was a composite of later ceremonies and editorial license was taken based on what was believed to have happened. Factually the following is known:

First Vigil

The founders had intended that the first Vigil Honor should be for a youth who achieved an outstanding accomplishment or performed a heroic deed. At the close of 1915 Treasure Island summer camp season a small group including Carroll Edson, Harry Yoder and non-member Horace Kern decided that Goodman should be selected for what in 1916 would be called the Second Degree and today is recognized as the first Vigil Honor.

Harry Yoder

In the early part of July 1915, Mr. E. Urner Goodman, enlisted my aid in clearing what is today the ceremonial grounds of the Unami Lodge, on Treasure Island. Armed with an axe and a rake we prospected through the dense brush which covered the lower half of the Island, for a likely location and finally selected the present site.

Treasure Island Ceremonial Grounds

George Chapman shared in his writings the following:

“Shortly after camp opened, Urner Goodman had explored Treasure Island in order to select the most appropriate place for the location of the Council Fire. He selected a site in the south woods of the island, far removed from the ordinary activities of the camp, and Edson agreed with him that it would be an ideal spot.

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.

W. D. Boyce

William D. Boyce was an American businessman and millionaire who owned numerous newspapers in the United States and Canada as well as a publishing company. In the early 1900s, he started to focus more on philanthropic projects than on business matters. It was during this time, as he was traveling around the world, that legend has it he was shown his way in London by an unknown Scout. The story goes on that the Scout refused gratuity, merely doing his duty as a Scout. The Scout is said to have then directed Boyce to the Scout headquarters.

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.

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.

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.

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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