LIKE A FIREBIRD, RISING FROM THE FIRE OF CHEERFULNESS…
Lo La’Qam Geela Lodge #491 was born in the fall of 1993, after the merger of Crater Lake Council and Modoc Council, and their respective Order of the Arrow Lodges: Mazama Lodge #421 and Makualla Lodge #437. Temporarily operating under the Mazama name, the new lodge received their first charter in the December of 1995. The name “Lo La’Qam Geela” was chosen from the local Klamath Indian Language and translates to “Land of Fire”, referencing the important connection to the volcanic landscape. The Firebird was fittingly chosen as the Lodge totem, referencing to a Klamath Tribe myth of a giant bird that lived in the caldera known as Crater Lake. Passed down through hundreds of generations of oral history, this tale originated from indians who witnessed the last eruption of Mt Mazama 7,700 years ago. Stretching nearly 300 miles North to South, Lo La’Qam Geela was originally split into five chapters: Klamath, Big Pines, Roaring Rogue, Warmsprings, and Siskiyou.
In 2012, Lo La’Qam Geela grew with the addition of Mow-A-Toc chapter from Orca Lodge #194 in Northern California. This made the Lodge stretch over 400 miles from Warm Springs and Bend in Central Oregon, through Klamath and Medford in Southern Oregon, to Shasta and Eureka in Northern California. Lo La’Qam Geela now has four chapters: Hyas Lamonte (High Mountain), Klamath (name of local Klamath Indians), and Mow-A-Toc (name of Mow-A-Toc Lodge), Pi-Ahi Ola Pits-Ki Chuck (Fire Rivers).
MOW-A-TOC LODGE 262
Mow-A-Toc Lodge #262, chartered May 27, 1944, served Humboldt and Del Norte counties in Northern California for 50 years. The lodge supported and maintained the Elk River Scout Camp since 1952 (now called Camp Riggs Johnston), Camp Grant Myers, Camp Tish Tang, Camp I-Yee-Que, and Camp Hetten Cove. In 1992 the Redwood Area Council and the Sonoma-Mendocino Area Council merged to form Redwood Empire Council, resulting in Mow-A-Toc Lodge #262 and Cabrosha Lodge #537 merging to form Orca Lodge #194 on January 6th, 1994; the two former Lodges becoming Orca’s two Chapters. In 2012, the Councils were realigned, and Mow-A-Toc Chapter joined Lo La’ Qam Geela #491.
MAZAMA LODGE 421
Mazama Lodge #421 came to Crater Lake Area Council in 1947, likely introduced by the new council executive Cliff Hanson. In the summer of 1948, Tsisqan Lodge carried out the first Ordeal at Camp McLoughlin where they inducted new members and the camp staff organization of the McLoughlin Rangers. On August 1st, 1949 Mazama Lodge obtained its official charter from the National Order of the Arrow Organization. The lodge name “Mazama” came from the name of the mountain that erupted to form Crater Lake and the Thunderbird was fittingly chosen as the totem.
MAKUALLA LODGE 437
Makualla Lodge #437 was formed in the Modoc Area Council and had their first Ordeal in the late summer of 1948. Likely performed at Camp Makualla, Tsisqan Lodge also performed the first Ordeal for Makualla Lodge. In 1950, Makualla Lodge received its National Order of the Arrow Charter. The lodge was named after Camp Makualla, which is the indian term for “The Test” or “The Time and Place of Testing”. However, some historians question if Makualla is actually the mispronunciation of the Chinook Jargon word “Melakwa” which means mosquito; a reference to the camp’s notorious insect. The lodge totem chosen was the Thunderbird, referencing to the indian lore of mythical firebirds living in the mountains. Makualla Lodge spread from Tule Lake in Northern California to the Warm Springs Reservation in Central Oregon.
Past Lodge Chiefs
|2021||Thackery Moreland||Seth Roy|
|2020||Daniel Stockton||Dr. James Verheyden|
|2019||Dirk Smelser*||Mark Smith|
|2018||James Verheyden||Mark Smith|
|2017||Conley Thom||Mark Smith|
|2016||Conley Thom||Mark Smith|
|2015||Ethan Smith||Mark Smith|
|2014||Kyle Williams||Mark Smith|
|2013||Joe Collins||Tom Brownell|
|2012||Mike Goswick / Adam Taylor||Tom Brownell|
|2011||Joe Collins||Tom Brownell|
|2010||Jacob Mastel||Lynda Churchill|
|2009||Joshua Kupelian||Lynda Churchill|
|2008||Chris Cooley||Mark Lillich|
|2007||Sean Dow||Mark Lillich|
Otis Blankenship, III
|2002||Dane T. Adams||Shane Doran|
Alan J. Burgess/Shane Doran
|2000||Andrew Hyde||Alan J. Burgess|
|1999||Bo Lillich||Mark Lillich|
|1998||Ross O’Connell||Mark Lillich|
|1997||Matt Browning||Mike Bliss|
|1996||Kenny Johnson||Mike Bliss|
|1995||Chad Olney||Mike Bliss|
|1994||Geoff Judd||Mike Bliss|
Lo La’Qam Geela Section Chiefs
2021 & 2022 – Dirk Smelser
2020 – James Verheyden
2014 – Mike Goswick
2007 – Mike Rosenberg
2005 – Evan Gross
Lo La’Qam Geela produced its first National Officer at the end of 2021. At the December National Planning Meeting, the current G16 section chief Dirk Smelser was elected as the inaugural Gateway Region Chief. Throughout his term, he’ll travel across the new region, representing the OA and the Boy Scouts of America. The gateway region spans from Alaska & Hawaii, across the western united states to the Mississippi river. Dirk is the first National Officer from Lo La’Qam Geela and Crater Lake Council. The lodge honored Dirk’s commitment & legacy with two National Officer flaps, pictured below.