History of Buckskin Lodge

By Zach Sager & James Farrell

Buckskin Lodge, of Theodore Roosevelt Council #386 headquartered in Massapequa, NY, is a lodge steeped in history and tradition, dating back over ninety years. In 1923, an organization, dedicated to sincere interest in Indian lore, was founded in Camp Wauwepex of Nassau County Council. The founders, ‘Chief’ Howard F. Covey and Irving ‘Southy’ Southworth, created the Buckskins of Wauwepex, named after Dan Beard’s Buckskin Men. They focused on promoting advancement and learning for members, who had to be at least three-year campers who had also attained the rank of First Class.

The Buckskins of Wauwepex underwent a change in mission during the late 1920s and became a service-geared organization with a foundation in American Indian culture and ceremony. With this, the Buckskins of Wauwepex became known as the Buckskin Sons of Wauwepex (or Buckskin Sons). As with many other councils and organizations that were beginning to appear during this time, the Buckskin Sons served an integral role within the Nassau County Council serving Camp Wauwepex and its Scouts. During the 1930s, Covey and Southworth were inducted into the Order of the Arrow at one of the national meetings. However, it would be almost twenty years before the Buckskin Sons would join the Order of the Arrow. Discussions began in 1948 and culminated in an induction of twenty-four Buckskin Sons into the Order on September 3, 1949 during the Area 2-A Conclave held at Ten Mile River Scout Camp. Each of the lodges within New York City was responsible for some component of the induction – call-out, by Ranachqua Lodge of the Bronx, Pre-Ordeal by Shu-Shu-Gah Lodge of Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Man-A-Hattan Lodge performed the Ordeal Ceremony.

Buckskin’s traditions from its early days include the recognition of members with the tab. A tear-drop shaped piece of leather is colored with India ink to bear a pine tree with the silhouette of a wolf’s head. The pine tree’s points represent trustworthiness, service and self-reliance. The wolf’s head also represents self-reliance. The tab is only given to those inducted into the lodge, and only one is given per member. The tab was the main form of recognition until 1960 when a lodge flap was issued, bearing twenty-four Ws to denote the first members of Buckskin Lodge. The lodge flaps issued since 1960, with few exceptions of special issues, bear the representation of the first members of the lodge. The Buckskin sons also had a neckerchief of royal blue with a vertical stripe bisecting the triangle, denoting humble service. The red arrow was superimposed across the bisecting line to become the official neckerchief for the lodge.

Buckskin also boasts a rich history of service within its section, with Joe Scalise being appointed section adviser during the 1980s. He received the Distinguished Service Award at the 1988 National Order of the Arrow Conference. Currently, the Section NE-2B leadership includes three Buckskin Lodge members: section chief, Kevin Shea; section adviser, Glenn Greubel; and section staff adviser, Matt Conlon. Additionally, Buckskin Lodge is home to the 2016 Northeast Region chief, Chris Boyle.

Buckskin Lodge is proud to have a rich history of service to the Nassau County and Theodore Roosevelt Councils during the last ninety-one years. The lodge’s service to Camp Wauwepex, now called John M. Schiff Scout Reservation, and Onteora Scout Reservation is a representation of the dedication to cheerful service on which the Order of the Arrow was founded. Members of the lodge serve as staff members at both camps and provide countless hours of service to the camps for the betterment of the youth program within Nassau County, New York.

Buckskin Lodge members have great pride in their lodge, and for good reason. Just as they make a point to carry on these traditions, they also set aside time to celebrate them. Arrowmen meet annually at their lodge banquet to celebrate in style. All attendees, both youth and adult, wear formal business attire as is the tradition of the lodge. Thus, they continue to cheerfully honor the Buckskin traditions of trustworthiness, service and self-reliance that their brotherhood has held dear for over 90 years.

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