Over 100 years of preparing young people to be leaders
In February of 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was founded in Washington, D.C. Only a few months later, two separate groups met to establish Boy Scout councils in Minnesota: one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul.
After an experimental Scout Camp organized by the St. Paul YMCA during the summer of 1910, the Y's camping director held a planning meeting in September (delayed until the State Fair was concluded) and the St. Paul Council was formally organized on October 1, 1910. The luncheon meeting was keynoted by British businessman C. F. Proctor, who happened to be a friend of our first St. Paul council president, Jesse Gregg. Proctor was actively engaged with Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement in England.
That evening, Proctor spoke to Minneapolis businessmen who agreed to meet and organize the Hennepin Council on October 15, 1910. St. Paul served as the headquarters of the Northwest Organizer of the BSA for several months in 1911.
Former President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid supporter of the Scouting movement and Honorary President of the National Council, spoke at the council's first general meeting in 1911. Sir Robert Baden-Powell presented a lecture to the Twin Cities Scouting community at the Minneapolis Auditorium in early 1912. Other early visiting dignitaries included Ernest Thompson Seton, James E. West, Admiral Byrd, and President Taft.
Over the next ninety years, both councils expanded in territory and membership, including merging with two smaller councils. By 1960, the St. Paul Council had increased in size nine times, acquiring counties east of St. Paul into western Wisconsin. In 1954, the council chose a new name to better reflect all of its membership: the Indianhead Council. During the same period, the Hennepin Council expanded westward to the South Dakota border and changed its name to the Viking Council.
The Birth of Northern Star Council
On July 1, 2005, the Viking and Indianhead Councils merged to form today's Northern Star Council, one of the largest in the country. The council includes communities reaching from the North Dakota border on the west to the communities of Ellsworth and Roberts, Wisconsin, on the east. The council's headquarters is at their Base Camp facility in Fort Snelling, MN with additional Scout Shops in the northern and western suburbs.
In 2010, the council began its year-long Centennial celebration which included special events (Adventure Base 100 and StarCamp), placement of six McKenzie Boy Scout bronze statues in council communities, publication of a centennial history book, and participation in the BSA's Centennial Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia. The centennial year culminated with the 100th Annual Meeting/Anniversary and Grand Opening/Dedication of Base Camp on October 1-2.
Centennial History Book
“Honor Bright: A Century of Scouting in Northern Star Council” chronicles the council's first century and features full-color pages filled with remarkable local Scouting photos, stories, and images. It received three awards and has been a popular gift for Eagle Scout Courts of Honor and volunteer leader recognitions. Copies are available at both Scout Service Centers, online, and at various retail locations including Barnes and Noble, Red Balloon Bookshop, The North Star Scouting Museum and the Minnesota History Museum Gift Shop.