The ceremonial grounds at both camps have not always been located where they are today. The first ceremonial site at Camp Hinds was on the hill just south of the present Cadigan Lodge.  Clyde Nason, Jr. was among the last group of candidates to be inducted at that site, probably in 1947, and he recalls that the raised fireplace then in use burned itself out that summer.  The original ceremonial altar was made by Frank Bailey as a part of his ordeal in 1944. It was made of three peeled poles, shaped in the form of a triangle and mounted on two upright poles. The candles were set on two boards decorated with a shape like the Scout badge, with three candles across the top and twelve across the bottom. When he made this altar, Uncle Frank was not aware of the particular significance of the triangle in the OA. This altar was moved to the new site in 1948, and remained in use until it became too rotted to be serviceable.


Mel Williams and Frank Bailey were at Wilderness one day and noticed a tall tree on a nearby hilltop.  They went exploring, and came across the site we now use, with its impressive cliff overhanging.  Clyde was a part of the group which accompanied Frank Bailey on a search for a better site. When the impressive site, still used today was discovered, the ceremonies were moved there. The practice was only then begun of having a trained ceremonial team whose members had memorized their parts.

The presence of three maple trees growing in a clump against the cliff seemed to lend special significance to this new site, and for many years candles were hung on those trees as part of the site decoration.  The original entrance to this new site was up a very steep path which entered the circle at the right of the cliff. 

The Hinds circle was expanded to its present size in the early 1960s, when ordeals commonly were held with more than one hundred candidates, due to a temporary relaxation of the rules for election.  Clyde Nason, Jr., who had been Lodge Chief in the early 1950s,  was asked to help in enlarging the circle. He selected the new trail and we closed off the old, steep approach to it. The trail, still in use today, was dedicated in 1999 to Bruce Nunan, a brother from York Chapter who truly represented the spirit of an Arrowman. Even with physical hardships, each ordeal he attended, he made the strenuous climb to the ceremony site. A trail marker at the entrance to the ceremonial grounds marks the dedication.

The cliff at Hinds was first decorated in 1952 by Bob Weatherbee, a staff member and art student, with the help of other staff members.  The design included a snake, whose body followed the horizontal cleft in the rock, a thunderbird, a sunburst, and eventually three picture symbols representing our first three Vigil Honor members.

For more information on the Camp Hinds Ceremonial Site click "Members Information."

Sites for the pre-ordeal at Camp Hinds have been relocated many times as the campsites have been expanded.  Early pre-ordeal ceremonies were conducted at two sites on “Honeymoon Point,” the peninsula on the Tenny River reached by passing through Wilderness Campsite. Two cement slabs can still be seen in the area that were use for fire spots.  When Wilderness became a permanent campsite in 1964, the pre-ordeal was moved to the trail connecting Bates Cabin with the former parking lot across from Cadigan Lodge. Later it was moved to the red trail, in a clearing by the water’s edge. In recent years the pre-ordeal ceremony has been held at Tenny Point.


Camp Bomazeen’s public and private ceremonial sites have also been relocated several times to provide a more secluded spot.  Preordeal ceremonies have been held at Bomazeen in the sports field on the water’s edge, as well as the Pine Point campsite in recent years. 

The Bomazeen ceremony site used today was built during the work weekends and the summer of 1968.  However the first work on the ring was done by five members of the Bomazeen Chapter.  They included Paul Belanger, Steve Cross, John Cyr, John Kimball, and John O'Connor.  During the spring work weekend about 70 men and boys spent the weekend working on the ring.  The alter was built of stone, and the area around it was cleared.  A large ledge behind the alter serves as a beautiful background for Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies.  One of the original paintings on the rock at the ceremony site, was a turtle with an arrow.  Moss has covered portions and time has worn away the paint.  It replaced a ceremony site that had been discovered by nonmembers!

In 2014, Bill Ross discovered the original ceremonial site and has started restoration.  Part of the 2014 Vigil ceremony was held at that site.  Photos on the legt.

Page design and layout by:
Dean B. Zaharis
Created: August 17, 2014
Last Update: August 18, 2014
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