History of the Council
The Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America is part of a worldwide Scouting movement with over 15 million members in one hundred countries. Boy Scouting began in England in 1907 when the British military hero, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, organized the first Boy Scout camp. In 1908, he published Scouting for Boys and formed what would become the British Boy Scout Association.
As a result of a “good turn” performed by an English Scout in London for Chicago publisher William D. Boyce, Scouting came to America. The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in 1910 and chartered by Congress on June 15, 1916.
Scouting in Rhode Island began as the Rhode Island Boy Scouts which was first organized as a voluntary association on September 6th, 1910. On April 13th, 1911, it was chartered under state laws for the purpose of giving boys of Rhode Island an organization in which they could be formed into groups that mirrored the newly formed national Boy Scout Program. From 1910 to 1917, Rhode Island Boy Scouts established groups (troops) throughout Rhode Island, except in Newport, Blackstone Valley and Woonsocket. In these locations, troops were organized and affiliated with the National Council Boy Scouts of America.
In 1917, Rhode Island Boy Scouts ‘merged’ with the National movement. Under the terms of the agreement, the Greater Providence Council Boy Scouts of America was formed to take over the operation of the Scouting Program and supervision of troops. The National Council Boy Scouts of America recognized the date of the Council’s organization as September 6th, 1910, and granted all members back service to that date. The National Council Boy Scouts of America also agreed that the Rhode Island Boy Scouts could maintain its corporate identity so that it could continue to receive bequests, hold funds and properties and acquire other funds and properties in the future; thus, the formation of Rhode Island Boy Scouts as a Trustee organization.
In 1929 and 1930, the Greater Providence Council Boy Scouts of America merged with the Newport County Council, the Pawtucket-Central Falls Council and the Woonsocket Council to form the Narragansett Council.
In 1916 the first Scouting charters in Massachusetts were granted to the Fall River and Fairhaven-New Bedford Councils. These charters would provide area youth in 17 communities throughout Newport, Bristol and Plymouth counties. By 1935, well underway to development, Massachusetts laws required both councils to recharter under the articles of incorporation. In doing so, the Fairhaven-New Bedford Council rechartered as the Cachalot Council supporting the towns of Wareham, Marion, Freetown, Rochester, Mattapoisett, Dartmouth and Acushnet.
For 29 years, the Cachalot Council utilized the local Fairhaven-New Bedford Boys’ Club facilities of Camp Maxim. In 1945, the Cachalot Executive Board conducted a fund- raiser to purchase and construct Camp Cachalot, meaning “white whale” in Carver, Massachusetts.
The Fall River Council also rechartered as the Massasoit Council providing Scouting leadership to Somerset, Swansea, Westport, Tiverton and Little Compton. Camping for the Fall River Council began in 1917 at Camp Stanford in Fall River and provided an outlet for boys for four years. It was decided in 1921 at a Fall River Council Executive Board meeting that the purchase of a 100 acre wooded area would take place, naming it Camp Noquochoke. Additional acreage was purchased in Camp Noquochoke’s later years covering over 110 acres on the eastern shore of the Westport River in Westport, MA. Camp Noquochoke continued to serve area youth until 1980.
Both the Cachalot Council and the Massasoit Council continued to grow until 1972 when they once again united to form a greater development known as the Moby Dick Council.
On July 1, 2001, the Moby Dick Council headquartered in New Bedford, Massachusetts, merged with the Narragansett Council in Providence, Rhode Island, adding 17 more cities and towns in Massachusetts to the 6 cities and towns the Narragansett Council was already serving. The Council serves almost 26,000 registered youth members and Learning for Life participants and supports in excess of 5,000 registered adult volunteers. The Narragansett Council operates two Scout Shops/Service Centers (one in the Summit Square Plaza on Route 2 in Warwick, RI and one in the Swansea Mall in Swansea, MA) and owns and operates eight great camps: Camp Aquapaug, Buck Hill Scout Reservation, Camp Buxton, Cub World at Buck Hill, Cachalot Scout Reservation, Champlin Scout Reservation, Sandsland, and Camp Yawgoog. Administrative functions are housed at 10 Risho Avenue in East Providence, RI.