By Ben Pycraft
There is a new lodge serving the Northeastern Ohio Scouting movement. Erielhonan (pronounced Erie-le-non) Lodge is the nation’s newest lodge as of the conclusion of the Section C-4A Conclave on May 21, 2017. Coming together from Cuyahoga Lodge, the northern districts of Wapashuwi Lodge, and the northern districts of Portage Lodge, the process of transitioning took months of hard work from a committee of 21 youth Arrowmen.
The name Erielhonan derives from the geographical area of the new council, which is located along the south shore of Lake Erie, almost exactly the same boundaries as the Erie American Indian tribe. ‘Erielhonan’ was the name of the Erie people, which translates to “long tail.” The totem of the lodge is a panther, based off the sacred Underwater Panther, or Mishipeshu, who was believed to have lived in the Great Lakes according to legend of indigenous people of the Northeast Woodlands region.
The Erielhonan transition team met several times between February and May, which led to many great takeaways from the conversations. The seven youth representatives from each lodge were joined by dedicated lodge advisers who were available for advice and guidance, but the adults did not play any active role in the decision-making processes or governance of the meetings. The lodge was planned and important lodge business was voted on, including the first series of patches from the lodge. All Erielhonan charter members will receive a charter member patch set consisting of a flap and a chevron that both contain a red mylar border, and feature the new lodge totem on the flap and the legacy lodges on the chevron. They will also receive a standard red bordered lodge flap, and additional patches may be purchased.
Each youth involved in the creation process has taken skills from this extremely rare opportunity. Cuyahoga Lodge Chief Quentin K. reflected, “It’s not every day you get to create a new lodge. I’m really excited for the future and know great things are ahead.” With so many different people from different backgrounds including their input regarding the merger between the lodges, communication became essential. The acting lodge chief of Wapashuwi Lodge, Corey S., stated that it was important that all ideas discussed were met with open minds and that previous lodge divisions be forgotten in order to move forward as a new chapter of the history book. This merging process established bridges of communication and newly-forged friendships within the new lodge. Ben P., the Portage Lodge chief, recounted that, “the neatest experience for me was seeing how close our lodges became even before Erielhonan began.” They didn’t know what it would be like to come together with other leadership teams but for months during the transition, many members attended other lodge events and shared experiences with each other. “We found out there was a lot to learn, but we weren’t all that different. That brotherhood was the most rewarding experience to see,” Ben summed up. The lodge held their first event as Erielhonan, which was a summer fellowship called Panther-Ree, on June 2-4, 2017.
(Source – oa-bsa.org)