Lodge History

The Legend of Na Tsi Hi

Matthew Kaufman, Lodge Historian

With thanks to the many Brothers whose contributions have enriched this project, especially Dave Wolverton, past Lodge Adviser and Lodge Historian;  the staff of the Voice of the Pines and our first Lodge Historian, Sandy Tallman.

Although Na Tsi Hi lodge 71 was first chartered in 1951, to properly understand our lodge’s history it is only right to start this story almost twenty years earlier, with the first lodge 71…

The original lodge 71 was chartered to Monmouth Council on October 5, 1933 with the name Ohowa. The lodge totem was an owl. The council’s Camp Burton was the hub for Ohowa lodge activities. Camp Burton-at-Allaire was in the “Deserted Village of Allaire” at what is now Allaire State Park.

At that time, the Monmouth Council served the boys of both Monmouth and Ocean counties. Therefore, Ohowa lodge 71 was not only the predecessor of Na Tsi Hi lodge in Monmouth county, but also of Schiwa’pew Names and Japeechen lodges in Ocean county.

Ohowa lodge sent a contingent to the 1936 National Meeting at Treasure Island Scout Camp on the Delaware River, where five members sealed their bonds in Brotherhood. The lodge received a trophy for its participation in the 50th Anniversary parade in Manasquan. Lodge members also participated in ceremonial duties at council functions and served on the Patrol Leader Training course. There were no patches or memorabilia issued by Ohowa lodge 71. The lodge became inactive by about 1940, around the same time summer camp at Camp Burton-at-Allaire was discontinued.

In 1937 the council was renamed Monmouth-Ocean Council in recognition of the growth of the Scouting program in Ocean county. In 1940, Monmouth-Ocean Council split into two councils: Monmouth Council and Ocean County Council. At that time, the new Ocean County Council scout executive requested that lodge number 71 be assigned to Ocean County Council. However, there is no record of any Order of the Arrow activity in either council at that time. Following World War II, the lodge number was again available, and the Monmouth Council scout executive received approval to reactivate lodge 71. But again it appears that there was not enough interest at the grassroots to revive the old lodge.

In the late 1940s, Monmouth Council troops attended other council’s summer camps where they saw Order of the Arrow lodges in operation, and a spark of interest was rekindled. A small group of youth and adults gathered in December 1950 in the Pine Hollow cabin at Camp Housman on the old Allaire property just one mile from where the original Ohowa lodge 71 had been founded. The Scouts had already been inducted into the Order at other council’s camps. They formed a new lodge called Na-Tasi-Hi, which meant “in the pines”—a reference to Camp Housman’s location on the northern fringe of the Pine Barrens. The lodge’s totem would be “three pine trees” to represent the three parts of the Scout Oath and the three principles of the Order. Robert Schwab was chosen as the first Chief of Na-Tasi-Hi. Among the adults present at that first meeting was J. Townley Carr, who was Scoutmaster of Long Branch Troop 39 and who served as the first lodge adviser. The new lodge was approved by the council’s executive board and received its national charter (re-using the old number 71) in early 1951.

Since many Monmouth Council troops used Raritan Council’s Camp Cowaw as their summer camp, the ceremonial team from Cowaw lodge 9 was called upon to help perform the first Ordeal ceremony. The induction was held at Camp Housman in the spring of 1951.

Twenty-five more Ordeal members were inducted into Na-Tasi-Hi in the autumn of 1951. This small lodge made their own costumes and thereafter held their own ceremonies, inducting more Arrowmen into the lodge each year. The young lodge had many growing pains, but the members learned quickly. General membership meetings were held monthly, except during the summer. The first Father and Son Dinner was held in 1951 at the Camp Housman cabin.

During 1951, the spelling of the lodge’s name was corrected by changing Tasi to Tsi, which is the proper spelling of that syllable in the Cherokee language, resulting in the name Na Tsi Hi. (The use of hyphens in the name was inconsistent through the following 40 years. The non-hyphenated version is the present form.) The lodge sent a contingent to the first Area 2C Conference, at Pine Hill Scout Reservation in 1951. The lodge continued to grow.

In 1952, Na Tsi Hi bestowed its first Vigil Honor, inducted 22 additional Ordeal members, and six members became Brotherhood. By the mid-1950s the membership exceeded the 100 mark and was growing rapidly. A bimonthly newsletter, Drumbeat, was published and member enthusiasm ran high. In 1957, Dance Team chairman Don Cusson and District Executive Vince Maslyn were the first two members to receive the Vigil Honor in ceremonies conducted by our own lodge. The same year, beloved and reliable Forestburg icon, Wes Olsen sealed his membership in the Brotherhood Honor.  Wes had the singular distinction of having camped at Forestburg every summer since it first opened in 1956. After 50 years, only the great creator could break his bond with Forestburg. The Brotherhood Log was created by Tom Morley and presented to the chief at a picnic at the home of Vigil Honor member F. Lee Haussman in 1957. Mr. Haussman was a teacher and Scout official at the State Home for Boys in Jamesburg, NJ.

With the acquisition of Forestburg Scout Reservation in 1956 the lodge became very active and in 1958, they hosted the Area 2C Conference. A special Brotherhood neckerchief became available in 1958 that was limited to one per person.

Over 200 members were registered in 1960 and an ambitious Dance Team won the competition at that year’s area conference. The lodge published and distributed to each Scoutmaster in Monmouth Council its first Where to Go (Camping) Guide book in 1962. Lodge arrowmen raised funds in 1964-65 and built the South Look-out Lean-to at Forestburg Scout Reservation. The Area 2C Conference was held at Forestburg in 1965. During this time, OA elections and Ordeals were only held at Forestburg during summer camp, so only Forestburg campers became Arrowmen.

Enthusiasm dropped off in the late 1960s as the arrowmen were resting on the laurels of previous successful years. In 1967 the lodge constitution was changed and the brotherhood of cheerful service began to grow again. Dr. Carl Marchetti was appointed Lodge Adviser. A new ceremony for the annual installation of the new Chief was written by brother Robert Mayberry. Called the Gam’wing, after a comparable Lenape ceremony, it was first performed at Quail Hill Scout Reservation in 1968.

The name of the newsletter was changed to Voice of the Pines in 1970, because the new name was unique to the lodge whereas the older name was in common use. In 1971 hundreds of Green Stamp books were collected by the members for “Operation Jolly Green Giant” which provided Forestburg Scout Reservation with a new one ton truck.

Area 2C became Section NE-4B when the BSA restructured the 12 regions, moving the New Jersey councils from Region 2 to Northeast Region. The first Section NE-4B Conclave was held at Forestburg, in 1973.

The lodge celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the 1975 Spring Pow-Wow. The highlight was cutting the anniversary cake by the first and twenty-fifth Chiefs of Na Tsi Hi. The anniversary pocket flap featured a green background and yellow trees like the original 1950 patch.

As the nation prepared for the Bicentennial, councils were encouraged to develop historic trails so that Scouts would learn American history while developing their Scouting skills. The arrowmen of Na Tsi Hi created the Battle of Monmouth Historic Trail, formally dedicated on April 12, 1975. The Trail begins at Quail Hill Scout Reservation in Manalapan, travels through the historic countryside and the Monmouth Battlefield State Park, and ends at the battle monument in colonial Freehold.

In August 1977 at the National OA Conference, the Voice of the Pines was judged as one of the six best newsletters in the nation and as the best in the Northeast Region. Arrowmen refurbished the Devlin Lodge program center at Quail Hill, which was dedicated on April 8, 1978 in memory of brother Thomas Devlin. The proceeds of the 1979 annual garage sale were used to build an additional program shelter at Quail Hill, adjacent to Scout Lodge. The section conclave was held at Forestburg in 1981.

The 1980s were a time of “firsts.” In 1982 the lodge inaugurated the council’s first Webelos Woods campout. Past Lodge Adviser Dr. Carl Marchetti was named Chairman of the National OA Committee on September 1, 1984. The lodge provided a service staff for the council’s Scout Show in 1986 on the grounds of Brookdale Community College at which “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt was the guest of honor. In 1987 the lodge administered its Ordeal induction under the Elangomat system for the first time. January 1989 marked the first of eight Trade-o-rees hosted by the lodge.

The Order of the Arrow was 75 years old in 1990. That year Na Tsi Hi sent a contingent of 12 brothers to the National OA Conference, where a lodge hat was placed into the time capsule which will not be opened until the 100th anniversary in 2015. Another successful fundraising event occurred in August 1991 when the famous Koshare Indian Dancers performed at Brookdale Community College. The lodge purchased an almost-new pickup truck for Quail Hill in 1992. The lodge hosted the Section conclave in 1992 at Forestburg. In 1994, the lodge ceremonial and dance teams marked 30 years of helping the city of Asbury Park celebrate the arrival of Columbus in the New World.

At the January 1995 meeting of the Executive Board, Chief Will Vaughan announced that, for the first time in several years, Na Tsi Hi lodge was chartered as a National Honor Lodge (equivalent to Quality Lodge today). Again at the March 1999 meeting of the Executive Board, Chief James Phillips announced that Na Tsi Hi lodge re-chartered as a Quality Lodge.

The lodge has consistently supported the council’s camping program with both thousands of man-hours of service and thousands of dollars of donations. In 1997 the lodge provided wood for the C.O.P.E. course at Quail Hill and the Camp Promotions committee commissioned new professionally-made camp promotion videos for both Forestburg and Quail Hill. In 1998, a commercial grade lawn mower was purchased for Quail Hill, and the following year $1,500 in tools were donated to Forestburg. Based on this exemplary record of camp service, the lodge received the prestigious E. Urner Goodman Camping Award at the 2000 National OA Conference, one of only two awarded in each Region. The lodge provided a $10,000 facilities upgrade at the council headquarters in Oakhurst in 1999.

The lodge’s 50th anniversary was marked with a special set of patches. Na Tsi Hi was also the service lodge for the NE-2A Section Conclave at Forestburg in 2000. Continuing its support of the camping programs of the council, the lodge committed to a 5-year plan to raise the money to build a new year-round restroom facility at Quail Hill with an estimated cost of $65,000.

In 2003 the Where to go Camping directory was updated and issued to council Scouters on CD-ROM at the University of Scouting. The 225th anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth was marked by an anniversary patch available only for that year. A new climbing tower erected at Dan Beard camp at Forestburg was dedicated to the memory of Vigil Honor member Jerry Ceres III.

In 2004 the lodge received a National Service Grant of $2,250 from the National OA Committee to help pay for three new Adirondack-style lean-to shelters for a campsite in the Billett camp at Forestburg. Lodge membership swelled to over 700 paid members, and a new winter fellowship weekend at Forestburg termed the Frozen Fellowship was instituted. The lodge was recognized for its outstanding council service with the National Service Award. At the 2004 NOAC, Carl Marchetti was presented with the Legacy of Servant Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Marchetti was the second Arrowman to be recognized with this national award. The lodge web site was recognized as an Honor web site.

Na Tsi Hi had the privilege of hosting the 2005 NE-2A conclave at Forestburg Scout Reservation.  The theme for conclave was The Arrow Reloaded.  The event was a great success and had more than 300 arrowmen in attendance and saw the election of two of Na Tsi Hi’s members to section offices.  Annual lodge dues increased from $5 to $10.  The lodge also introduced a new membership card for the first time in over 30 years.  During the summer, 18 of our brothers joined fellow Arrowmen from over 20 states, including the national and regional chiefs to attend the OA 90th Anniversary Celebration at Treasure Island Scout Reservation.

2006 started off with the 3rd annual Frozen Fellowship Weekend. This event has now become a staple of lodge fellowship events.  The lodge’s newest committee, Scoutreach Mentor, was very fortunate to have dedicated arrowmen. John Edward Lelesi and Mr. Joseph Lelesi, were the first in the nation to receive the highest ScoutReach Mentor award for their leadership in the Soccer and Scouting Program.  During 2006 Forestburg Scout Reservation celebrated its 50th year of operation. Na Tsi Hi issued acommemorative patch set to mark the occasion and created the Forestburg Heritage Trail. The trail is now a popular summer and winter camp activity that helps Scouts discover the rich history of Forestburg Scout Reservation. The lodge contributed funds of $4,500 to allow the council to purchase a new snow plow for use at Quail Hill and the council service center.

There were many new initiatives started in 2007. The lodge formed the Forestburg Trail Crew: an ongoing project to repair, maintain and expand the network of trails at Forestburg.  They held their first work weekend in May and continue to hold spring and fall trail-building weekends. 2007 was also marked by a great loss.  Lodge adviser and brother to all, David Alan Wolverton passed away on June 1st.  He passed the torch to his long time scouting friend Wayne Mason, who became lodge adviser at the Spring Pow-Wow. Na Tsi Hi completed the three-year Leadership in Service program with a beach cleanup and erosion prevention project at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch. The lodge now holds an annual community service project each October.

The 2008 Winter Banquet was marked by the attendance of Robert Schwab, first lodge chief, who was awarded life membership and was named a James E. West Fellow.  Membership in the lodge had swelled to almost 800 members and we introduced our newest member – the lodge mascot, Sappy the pine tree. The pinnacle of 2008 was the Section NE-2A Conclave held in Puerto Rico at Camp Guajataka.  Yokahu lodge had petitioned the section several years earlier for the opportunity to host a conclave and promised to show the rest of the section a Caribbean good time.  (Note: When the National BSA office was located in New Brunswick, NJ, the Puerto Rico and Virgin Island lodges were placed in the Northeast Region for administrative reasons.  Although the national office moved to Texas in 1979, the Caribbean councils have remained with the Northeast Region).  Na Tsi Hi formed the largest conclave delegation with an astounding 85 Arrowmen. The lodge made the journey to Puerto Rico and participated in many exciting experiences from touring Old San Juan, to hiking in the El Yunque rainforest and visiting the Arecibo Observatory and native Taino ceremonial grounds.  The lodge attracted 48 scouts to the 2008 community service project. Arrowmen and other Scouts spent the day working at Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel.  The close of the year also saw the Forestburg Trail Crew complete its 5th weekend with over 60 Arrowmen clearing and improving several trails in camp.

In 2009 the lodge continued its long standing service to the council by giving funds of $5,000 for the Forestburg waterfront project and $3,000 for a new tractor.  Our section was reorganized as Section NE5A, but our group of lodges remained the same. A contingent of Na Tsi Hi Arrowmen attended the 2009 conclave hosted by Japeechen lodge at Citta Scout Reservation and continued the tradition of strong performance in the inter-lodge activities.  Spearheaded by Mr. Herb Kaasmann, a group of cheerfully serving Arrowmen constructed a new Brotherhood ring at Quail Hill providing a dramatic setting for our ceremonies.  This year marked the second time Na Tsi Hi earned the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award, one of only eight presented by the National OA Committee for 2009.  This award highlights lodges that expend exceptional effort in promoting Scout camping.

Webelos Woods, introduced by the Na Tsi Hi in 1982 and now a council event, once again draws significant support from the lodge, strengthening the lodge’s commitment to camp promotion and the Webelos to Scout transition program.  In 2010 the Forestburg Trail Crew wielded shovel and rake to repair the trail to the Bodman Memorial Chapel and re-marked the Red Jacket and Skyline Trails.  The 2010 conclave was hosted by Te’kening lodge at Pine Hill for the first time in many years. The conclave was highlighted by Na Tsi Hi Arrowmen being elected section chief and section secretary.  Na Tsi Hi held a Cheerful Service Day to kick-off preparations to host the 2011 conclave at Quail Hill.  A group of dedicated Arrowmen, with the help of funds allocated by the lodge, carried out operation “Leave No Trees” – a project to clear an area that would more than double the size of the Lass Lodge parking lot located in the center of camp.  Na Tsi Hi celebrated its 60th year of service and performed a council-wide callout ceremony during the Boy Scout Centennial Celebration held at the county fairgrounds. Stronger than ever, Na Tsi Hi inched towards 900 in membership and continues to be a nationally recognized Quality Lodge.

The highlight of 2011 was undoubtedly being the service lodge for the section conclave. The theme, continuing on Na Tsi Hi’s trend of movie titles, was “The Order Strikes Back.” This conclave was notable for a few reasons. First, it was the last conclave for the classic NE-5A with Ajapeu, Te’kenning, and Arawak. Following this year the Virgin Islands council was absorbed by Del-Mar-Va council. Second, the Indian Village area was revived with demonstrations, training cells, and activities in Native American culture. Third, corporate sponsors of the event included Grey Owl, a Native American regalia supplier, and Eastern Mountain sports; both donated prizes for the Inter-lodge competition, in which members could earn points for their lodge by competing in various activities throughout the day. Na Tsi Hi came in first place, earning a brand new headdress for the Ceremonies Team. Finally, the event was held at Quail Hill Scout Reservation. The site was chosen not only because it was by far more convenient for the other lodges of the section than Forestburg, but also because it gave the lodge a chance to showcase the beauty of this often forgotten-about camp. Frozen Fellowship was discontinued due to poor turnout and competition from district Winterburg events. The Lodge sent one of the biggest contingents in the country to Summitcorps, a weeklong cheerful service event at New River Gorge in West Virginia building trails for the National Park Service through the OA. The Lodge Advisor baton was passed once again to Jerry Ceres.

Hurricane Sandy gave the lodge a prime opportunity for cheerful service in 2012. The two camps were severely damaged by the storm; Quail Hill lost well over 1,000 trees, many of which were in high traffic areas. Fundraiser patches, a lodge flap for members and a temporary patch for non-members, were sold to raise money for the cause. Numerous work days brought lodge members out to Quail Hill to make the camp safe and debris-free again. Also in 2012, membership dues for 2013 on increased from $10 to $15. New graphic design talent refreshed
the Voice of the Pines, both in visuals and content, and enhanced the visual appeal of patches both within the lodge and at ensuing conclaves. Membership declined slightly to around 850 due to Hurricane Sandy’s disrupting the lives of the members of the lodge and the closing of Fort Monmouth, meaning that the lodge could not meet the mandatory membership growth requirement for Journey to Excellence, the replacement for Quality Lodge. NE-5A changed, and our section became Na Tsi Hi, Japeechen, Yokahu, Lenapehoking IX, Woapalanne, and Sakuwit.
There were victories, however, including earning a $2582 grant for building a permanent
building for the Econ area at Forestburg, which was completed in 2013.

New for 2013 was the introduction of the Pine Pass, which allows members to pre-register and pre-pay for the entire year’s events at the beginning of the year, as well as grants holders an opportunity to get food before other members at events. The Spring Fellowship revolved around a Hodag in the evening, with an inflatable, pig roast, and the beginning of the tradition of “Pie the Chief in the face” for charity. Membership again declined to around 820 members. A patch set commemorating camps notable to the lodge was launched, starting with Camp Burton.

In 2014 Central New Jersey Council folded and membership went to surrounding councils. Na Tsi Hi cheerfully accepted a number of members of Sakuwit into the lodge. Their experiences have enriched all the members of our widened circle. A third induction weekend in May was started in an effort to increase the percentage of elected Scouts becoming candidates. This became known as Spring Pow-Wow and the formerly “Spring” Pow-Wow became Summer Pow-Wow. Membership rose again, and the lodge earned a Gold level in Journey to Excellence, making it a member of an elite 10% of lodges in the country.

The Arrowmen of Na Tsi Hi will continue to rise to the greater challenge and carry on the tradition of Brotherhood and Cheerful Service.


We are continuing to research and document the history of Na Tsi Hi lodge 71. Current and past members who would like to participate in this project are invited to contact the Lodge Historian.