A History of Wahissa Lodge
By Ken Badgett, Raven Knob Boy Scout Museum and Bradley Taylor, 2010 Wahissa Lodge Chief
Since its creation in the summer of 1938, Wahissa Lodge has had a continuous existence in the Old Hickory Council in northwestern North Carolina. The founders of our lodge were Mr. G. Kellock Hale, Jr., (known as Kel) and Mr. William Edward Vaughan-Lloyd, Sr. (known as Ned or Skipper). In 1938, Mr. Hale was a scoutmaster in Mount Airy, North Carolina, and Mr. Vaughan-Lloyd was the professional council executive of the Winston-Salem Council (Old Hickory Council). Both men were heavily involved in the operation of Boy Scout Camp Lasater near Winston-Salem.
Mr. Hale was a member of Unami Lodge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a boy; and he served with Urner Goodman on the staff of its Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp in 1919. Mr. Hale consulted Goodman after Mr. Vaughan-Lloyd asked Mr. Hale to explore the establishment of an Order of the Arrow lodge in the council.
Mr. Hale was an active member of the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow beginning just before his brief term as National Chairman in 1948 and ending with his death in 1973.
Mr. Vaughan-Lloyd, while council executive in Winston-Salem, did considerable organizational work for the Order of the Arrow in North Carolina and the South during the 1940s. Both men received the Order of the Arrow’s Distinguished Service Award in 1946. Mr. Vaughn-Lloyd imagined the program working in Winston-Salem for the betterment of its youth. Mr. Hale’s experiences at Treasure Island Scout Camp influenced his motivation to share those experiences with scouts in the Winston-Salem Council. Both Vaughn-Lloyd and Hale believed that they had the power to create change and through their leadership, volunteerism, and professional careers. Wahissa Lodge #118 was founded in this spirit.
The pattern of ceremony and service that was established by Mr. Hale and Mr. Vaughan-Lloyd at Camp Lasater in 1938 represents Wahissa Lodge’s activities and fellowship for almost seventy-five years. The founding story, as written by charter lodge member Harold Hinshaw, follows this brief introduction.
Harold Hinshaw’s story about the founding of Wahissa Lodge marks the beginning of hundreds of other stories about the Order of the Arrow’s service and work at Camp Lasater and at Camp Raven Knob. Wahissa’s founders, Kel Hale and Skipper Vaughan-Lloyd, began with about forty charter members. Today, the Lodge has approximately 875 active status members.
The cheerful service that Hale and Vaughan-Lloyd saw in the creation of Wahissa Lodge for these members has enhanced Scouting’s core principles of service and duty to God, country, and fellow men in the Old Hickory Council. As a memorial to Kel Hale, Wahissa Lodge constructed a lodge building at Camp Raven Knob in 1974. This building continues to sit on a high point in the center of camp amidst tall oaks and pines in symbolic representation of Scouting’s and the Order’s high principles and spiritual value.
Please note that Camp Lasater served the Old Hickory Council from 1923 until 1953. Camp Raven Knob has served the council since 1954. Many artifacts and stories from Scouting’s history in North Carolina can be found in the camp’s Raven Knob Boy Scout Museum, which opened in 1998. Contact the museum through its website at www.boyscoutmuseum.us.
Wahissa Lodge Ceremonial Team, c.1945