Pipestone Camp Honor Program

The Pipestone Camp Honor Program began in Camp Tuscazoar, Zoarville, Ohio in the summer of 1926. The founders of the Ceremony and related camp advancement program which, by tradition, has become the heart of the Summer Camp Program of the council, were George M. Deaver, Scout Executive of the Council; C. L. Riley, a teacher at Canton McKinley High School, who was serving as Camp Director at the time; I. W. Delp, Principal of Lehman High School in Canton; and Charles E. Mills, a Scouter who was skilled in theatrical production.   

The program's intent was the rewarding of Scout campers who excelled in advancement and Scouting spirit during their week in camp with an experience, and a token of that experience which would capture their imaginations. An Indian ceremony was a natural choice of a vehicle to convey this message and token. The valley of the Tuscarawas was a prime area of Indian activity as attested by the history of the area.

The spontaneous enthusiasm for the program led its founders to set it as a five year series, this being the maximum number of years attendance in Summer Camp which could be expected of a Scout in the late 1920's.

The reader is reminded that the Pipestone Ceremony itself is not intended to be, or conducted as an initiation or a hazing, and it is not to be represented to scouts as such!

The basic theme of the five years' ceremonials have withstood the test of the years, being as viable now as they were in 1926 when the program was conceived.

A significant effect of the Pipestone Program is the encouragement of the return of Scout campers to Summer Camp for three, four, five years and beyond, in percentages which lead the country. Pipestone, however, does not deal in percentages ... its concern is boys!

Traditionally, no Scout Leader has pointedly been required to commit his unit to participation in the Camp Honor Program.

Since its founding, the worth of the Program as an incentive to scouts has been universally apparent to unit and council leadership, eliciting almost unanimous voluntary participation in the program. Likewise, Scouters, responsible for the Pipestone Camp Honor Program share the conviction that Scouting can be eminently successful in exerting a positive influence on young men's lives if they can be kept within the sphere of influence of Scouting between the ages of 14 to 17 years.

The worth of the Program is verified by the fact that, at the time of this writing, 14% of all campers using the Council Summer Camp have attended for 5 or more years.

The Pipestone Camp Honor Program is a five year one of progressively more advanced work in Summer Camp in those areas of Scouting advancement which deal with the safety of a Scout, his ability to deal with emergencies ... emphasizing skills which develop an awareness of nature, and the ability of the Scout to live out-of-doors and be self-sufficient at it. The progression of the requirements is closely related to an acceptable rate of advancement through Scouting ranks with emphasis on development of proficiency in Swimming and Nature, and leadership, which will enable the older Scout to assist his younger brother Scouts.

The Camp Good Turn requirements are intended to foster in each Scout and Leader a sense of sharing in the ownership and care for our Camp through the investment of a responsible share of his time during the week in camp on a group, or individual improvement project on the grounds and facilities of our camp.

The swimming requirements have as their purpose, the same objective which governs Scout Swim Requirements ... the safety of the Scout in the water, by developing in each Scout a confidence and true sense of his own ability. Thus, the rule toward Pipestone Swimming Requirements has been an ever-constant, rigid adherence to the letter of the requirement. To give a boy the "benefit of the doubt" and grant approval of his inadequate performance of a swimming requirement might be the most fateful decision a leader in camp will ever make.

All Pipestone requirements are kept relevant to National Standards in Skill and Merit Badge requirements.

Finally ... the Camp Spirit Requirement in each of the five years challenges each Scout to live with his brother Scouts in camp in a spirit of good fellowship, and good sportsmanship. It requires each Pipestone candidate to exemplify the very qualities which he pledges to uphold in the Oath and Law, and it requires his leader to evaluate his fulfillment of this requirement with equal importance to the Skills, Swim, and other requirements.

Fullfillment of Pipestone Requirements

Every Pipestone Requirement is well defined, as are the options, procedures, and time limits for completion. As an adult leader, you share in the responsibility to insure that the value of the Pipestone Camp Honor Award is upheld, so that future Scouts will find the same motivation, the same rewarding thrill and excitement which comes to those who now journey to The Council Fire of The Braves.

No honor is respected by its recipient or his peers if that honor is gained through deceit or unfair practices. Striving towards the annual Camp Honor Award encourages the Scout to advance both in Camp and in his Unit. It is a valuable learning experience, and it emphasizes character development and builds self-confidence as well.

Remember, the Pipestone cannot be awarded on the basis of effort alone!

The candidate must have fulfilled the established requirements as written. To reward a Scout when he is less than deserving, for emotional or other reasons, may do him a greater disservice than to encourage him to try again. Scouting's role is to prepare a boy to face life. Your own experience tells you that the most meaningful values are not always the easiest to attain!

Registered Scouters who qualify by reason of service to Scouts as leaders in the Summer Camp are encouraged to participate fully in the Pipestone program with their Scouts, that they may better understand the purpose, and effect of the program on the Scouts whom we are all seeking to serve.

The Pipestone Camp Honor is awarded only to Scouts and Scouters who attend and participate in the program of the Buckeye Council Summer Camp.

Things You Should Know and Understand to Assist the Pipestone Program
As a unit leader, it is important for you to understand that the Pipestone Camp Honor program can only work with your help and understanding. The Camp Staff supervises the day-to-day operation of the program, but you, the unit leader, must keep accurate records on your boys. The Camp Staff can help you with some record-keeping forms.

Pipestone Wood

Between 200 and 250 Scouts and Scouters will go through the Pipestone Ceremony each week of the summer. To be most effective, the Ceremony circles need the kind of firelight that comes only from the clean, smokeless burning of dry, naturally barkless wood. Each Scout must consider it part of his requirements to gather one cubic foot of Pipestone wood for use in the Ceremonies (many years ago it was the duty of the Fifth Year Candidates to gather the wood on Friday afternoon). Wood should be straight, about 12" to 16" long, no thinner than your little finger and no thicker than your thumb. Please read your Leader's Guide for More information.

Sunday Night Campfire

The Sunday Night Campfire is a spirited way to start the week. After the songs and skits, the campfire will end with a serious talk about the history and meaning of the Pipestone Camp Honor Program. After these reflective moments, everyone will be instructed to leave the campfire without talking, and without lights.

This simple act will help Pipestone candidates when they return from the Friday Night Ceremonies. You can help by directing that only your adult leaders should take flashlights to the Sunday campfire. Scouts will also be directed to go directly to bed without talking, unless you want to have a meeting with them. This can help set the tone of self-discipline for the week. It can also help you to have a quiet first night in camp after a long check-in day.


This is not an old-fashioned idea at Seven Ranges Reservation. The self-discipline that is demanded during the week will make the Friday night Pipestone experience much more enjoyable for the boys. During the week, the staff will ask that everyone enter and leave the dining hall quietly, with arms folded. Being on time for appointments and merit badges is also a growing experience. The morning clean-up and inspection should be "by the boys, and for the boys". You are encouraged to participate in the spirit of the program. Be a part of the contests, songs, patrol and troop activities, and fellowship with other units.
This is an integral part of the "Scout Spirit" Requirements.

Friday Activities

As a Unit Leader, please take care in following the instructions and filling out the Pipestone Qualification forms. The Camp Staff will give you instructions at the Leaders' meeting. Your care and concern will insure an equitable and safe experience for everyone. After dinner on Friday all campers will be instructed to return to their campsites until it is time for the Pipestone Ceremonies to begin. The Pipestone flag will be flown after retreat, as a solemn reminder of the evening's activities. Please take this time for quiet activities, and preparation for the evening! The boys must realize that they are about to be honored in a very serious and rewarding Ceremony!

The Camp Staff will give you complete information on times, places, and proper attire. Please check your Scouts thoroughly before they leave your campsite to make sure that they have on the proper clothing, and have their Pipestone, if they are Second Year or higher Candidates!

Wearing of, and Care of the Pipestone Camp Honor Token

The Pipestone is to be worn buttoned under the right shirt pocket flap of the Scout Uniform. Only one Pipestone can be earned each year, and it must be taken to the next year's Ceremony to be exchanged for a higher award if the wearer has qualified for it.

Caution your Scouts not to wear the Pipestone in rough games or outdoor activities where it may be lost.

The Indian polished Pipestone with the natural oil from the side of the nose.