Special thanks to Steve Rhodes for providing much of the information used for this article.
W.D. Boyce Council, headquartered in Peoria, IL, was created in April 1973 from the merger of Corn Belt Council, Starved Rock Area Council, and Creve Coeur Council. At that time, National BSA did not allow more than one OA lodge per council. Potawatomie Lodge #63 (Corn Belt Council), Nee-Schoock Lodge #143 (Starved Rock Area Council), and Kashapiwigamak Lodge #191 (Creve Coeur Council) merged to form Wenasa Quenhotan Lodge #23 after NOAC 1973. Wenasa Quenhotan became a member lodge of Section EC-3B in the East Central region.
The merger of the three lodges was accomplished in a series of 5 official meetings involving the youth members. At the first meeting were Jack Scott (W.D. Boyce Program Director who was appointed to be the first Staff Adviser of the new lodge), Steve Rhodes (last Lodge Chief of 191), and, briefly, James McKean (who had been chosen to be the first Lodge Advisor of the new lodge). The second was between Steve Rhodes, Joe Harrison (last chief of 63), and John Hoenes (last vice chief of 143, sitting in for Rich Hafley, last chief of 143). Both meetings were held at the council office.
The next two meetings included members from each lodge chosen by their chiefs to be on the merger committees. One meeting was held at Camp Ki-Shau-Wau. One meeting was held in Bloomington, though not at Camp Heffernan. At these meetings, proposals were made for the lodge name, totem, flap design, chapter names, call out ceremony, LEC structure, chapter structure, lodge Bylaws, and a slate of officers. The entire membership of the three lodges was invited to the meeting held November 11, 1973, at Bradley University to create the new lodge. Steve Rhodes was in charge of the event and served as moderator. Al Roberts as Council Executive and Supreme Chief of the Fire presided over the business portion of the meeting until the new chief was elected. Then Joe Harrison took over the meeting, at which time the youth members voted on the proposals submitted by the merger committees. Fortunately the whole process went very smoothly, getting Wenasa Quenhotan off to a good start.
No lodge number was picked but upon submitting a charter request, but the lowest number available was requested. Wenasa Quenhotan means “Home of the Founder”. Our lodge totem, an ear of maize, was chosen because of the significance that the corn plays in the economy and livelihood of the area.
The newly formed Wenasa Quenhotan Lodge was originally divided into three chapters: Wundchenneu (old Creve Coeur Council), Mackinaw (old Corn Belt Council), and Lowaneu (old Starved Rock Area Council). These chapters were originally thought to be a good way to split the lodge into smaller units using natural boundaries. Lodge leadership later decided that the 3 chapters were too large to manage. Wenasa Quenhotan was re-divided into 10 chapters around 1980, coinciding with the ten districts at which the council was comprised. Since then, we have chosen to re-divide the lodge into 8 chapters (1983), and 4 chapters (1993). Today, Wenasa Quenhotan still consists of four chapters: Lowaneu (Lowaneu District – Bureau, Putnam, and LaSalle counties), Lawasgoteu (Heartland District – Fulton, Marshall, and Peoria counties), Mattameechen (Crossroads District – DeWitt, Livingston, Logan, McLean, and part of Ford Counties), Wotamalo (Wotamalo District – Serving Mason, Tazewell, Woodford and part of Logan counties).
In 1974, the first year of the newly formed council and lodge, summer camp was held at Camp Ki-Shau-Wau, Camp Heffernan, Ingersoll Scout Reservation, and Camp Wokanda, all at the same time. The following summer of 1975 was similar, except, only two staffs were hired: one for Wokanda and Ki-Shau-Wau and one for Heffernan and Ingersoll. During this year, summer camp was held for three weeks at Heffernan and Wokanda, and then the staffs moved to the Ki-Shau-Wau and Ingersoll for another three weeks of camp.
Starting in 1976, long term Boy Scout summer camp was only held at Ingersoll. The other three camps would be used Cub Camp, Webelos Camp, and Boy Scout short term camping. All starting in 1976, all Call-outs occurred at Ingersoll.
Many changes have taken place in our ceremonies since the founding of our lodge. The tap-out ceremony originally took place in the naturally ‘bowl-shaped’ field just west of what is now Winnebago campsite (at Ingersoll). The first call out ceremony was done at the dam at Lake Roberts (at Ingersoll). The next site was in the field behind what is now the climbing tower (at Ingersoll). In1985, the field north of BMX track (behind climbing tower) chosen for ceremony (at Ingersoll). In the same year, the ceremony changed to the same one used by the old Kashapiwigamak lodge. The ceremony has only seen minor changes since then.
In 2008, the call-out ceremony moved to bottom of the dining hall hill, near the Trailblazer/Scoutcraft pavilion. The ceremony is still performed there during each week of summer camp.
Wenasa Quenhotan Lodge’s biggest contribution to ISR was made in 1993 with the donation of the Nature Building (Eco-Con) at ISR. Financial contributions were later made to build a shelter at the Diamond Hitch campsite, and a National Service Grant was secured to help build the Mountain Bike Building.
In July 2019, Gabrielle S. became the first youth female member to complete her Ordeal in Wenasa Quenhotan. Celeste S. became the first female Chapter Chief in February 2021.
Last updated on 2/28/21.