Tsisqan 75th Recap

On the weekend of  March 22-24, 2019, Arrowmen from around the section and country gathered in the Eugene area to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Tsisqan Lodge.

The celebration kicked off on Friday at the Lane Events Center Auditorium with a variety of fellowship activities and events. The Trade-O-Ree stayed busy with Scouts and Scouters trading patches and other Scouting memorabilia. The Tsisqan Museum had several “relics” of lodge history including patches, photos, documents, and the original lodge charter. Arrowmen that weren’t trading patches stayed busy at the Tsisqan Casino where they could win free prizes. The evening wrapped up with a cracker barrel and everyone heading home to their hotels to rest up for a big day on Saturday.

Saturday was open to the public with activities for all ages. Outside, guests could participate in field games like cornhole, ladder ball, and rain gutter regatta or throw a tomahawk or knife in the range. A small Indian Village was set up with a tipi and a Native American drumming group. Over by the parking lot, a Dutch oven cooking area was set up where volunteers were demonstrating Dutch oven cooking methods and serving up samples of delicious meals.

Inside, guests could visit the Trade-O-Ree, check out the Tsisqan Museum, bid on items in the silent or oral auction, learn about OA High Adventure, or play games like Tsisqan Jeopardy.

On Saturday night, Tsisqan Lodge opened the doors to the Wheeler Pavilion and invited a crowd of over 200 to join them for a banquet 75 years in the making. The banquet kicked off with a fellowship hour for guests to find their seats and catch up with their brothers. After a brief welcome and joining Lodge Chief Aidan Jewett in the OA Grace, guests enjoyed a wonderful buffet-style dinner.

After a great meal, Aidan introduced the special guests in attendance, including current and former section and national officers, lodge chiefs and advisers from neighboring lodges, and National Order of the Arrow Chairman Mike Hoffman. Also among the guests was charter members Donovan Kimball and Jim Vitus, who received a standing ovation.

Guests then heard a video message from Tsisqan’s first lodge chief, Jim Vitus. Paul Kelly presented a special proclamation of “Tsisqan Lodge Day” issued by the City of Eugene mayor.

Aidan introduced the first speaker of the night, Oregon Trail Council Scout Executive, and Supreme Chief of the Fire, Scott Impecoven. Scott talked about Tsisqan’s dedication to the council camps and the countless amount of service the lodge provides to the council. After a few words, Scott introduced the keynote speaker for the evening.

Mike Hoffman, National OA Chairman, flew out from Arizona to take part in the Tsisqan 75th Anniversary Celebration. His keynote speech included the topics of change, our Order’s future and the role that Tsisqan Lodge plays in it.

After a powerful keynote, the room got quiet at the sound of flutes playing and the start of the theme show. The 8-minute video show touched on the important role Tsisqan Lodge has played in the history of Scouting in the northwest, dedication to service, and challenged Arrowmen to take the reigns. The entire evening touching on the theme of the entire celebration, “Many Fires, One Light.”

Tsisqan Lodge Adviser Chris Graves addressed the now inspired audience with his thoughts on the celebration weekend, the future of the lodge, and the Tsisqan Lodge Legacy Project.

The evening closed with a rededication ceremony to remind Arrowmen of their role in the Order.

On Sunday, Vigil Honor members gathered at the Holiday Inn in Springfield for brunch and a special Vigil Gathering event. All participants received a special Vigil medallion. The keynote speaker was National OA Historian Bill Topkis who shared a great presentation on the history of the Order and the Vigil Honor.

The celebration weekend finally came to a close. 75 years of history and over three years of planning came together for the biggest event in Tsisqan’s history.

Founded in 1944, Tsisqan became known as the “Grandfather Lodge of the Pacific Northwest,” for being the oldest remaining lodge in the area and for their role in helping form and establish new lodes in the region.