Achewon Nimat was formed in the early 1960’s by the merger of Machek N’Gult Lodge 375 and Royaneh Lodge 282. The first meeting & gathering of Achewon Nimat was held on Sunday afternoon, December 13, 1964 at Goodman’s Restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square and was attended by over 300 members (199 from Machek N’Gult lodge and 105 from Royaneh lodge). The banquet and lodge elections marked the official start of the new “as yet to be named lodge” of the San Francisco Bay Area Council.
Almost 11 months earlier in February of 1964 in a ceremony held atop Yerba Buena Island in the middle of San Francisco bay, the Oakland Area Council and the San Francisco Council would merge forming the San Francisco Bay Area Council thereby uniting 30,000 Scouts from both sides of the bay. With the merging of the two councils, so too would the Order of the Arrow Lodges associated with the former councils, Machek N’Gult Lodge of the Oakland Area Council and Royaneh Lodge of the San Francisco Council.
Although the two lodges technically merged at the banquet, January 1, 1965 is the official date of the merger and the establishment of Achewon Nimat. Larry Teshara (former National Deputy Chief) from Royaneh Lodge acted as the master of ceremonies during the luncheon and was assisted by the past lodge chiefs for Machek N’Gult (Dennis Haw) and Royaneh (Jeff Baechler). The number for the new lodge would be 282 as it was common practice for merged lodges to take the lower of the two lodge numbers. At this same banquet the lodge number 375 for Machek N’Gult was retired and removed from the National Charter of Order of the Arrow Lodges. After the luncheon was over, a special meeting was held to elect Lodge officers for the new lodge. Bill Garvine from Machek N’Gult Lodge was elected as the first chief of the new combined lodge. It had also been decided prior to the banquet to split the Lodge into two chapters, Royaneh Chapter for the West Bay (San Francisco region) and Machek N’Gult Chapter for the East Bay (Oakland region). The name, totems, patch design and bylaws for the new lodge however would not be selected and adopted until the first business meeting could be held for the new lodge a couple months later on February 28, 1965.
Although the beginning of Achewon Nimat lodge started on that afternoon of Sunday, December 13, 1964, our history in the Order of the Arrow actually began some twenty years earlier in 1944 when Royaneh Lodge was officially formed in the San Francisco Council and then three years later when Machek N’Gult Lodge was formed in the Oakland Council. So to talk about the history of Achewon Nimat we can’t forget about the hundreds of arrowmen and thousands of scouts that actually started the journey almost 75 years ago in the lodges of Machek N’Gult and Royaneh and the councils of Oakland and San Francisco. Although our lodge is now called Achewon Nimat (meaning Brothers Together), our real beginnings in the Order of the Arrow started at a camp in the hills of Oakland called “Dimond” and at a camp near Cazadero called “CC Moore”.
With the merging of the Oakland and San Francisco councils now complete, the merging of the two Order of the Arrow Lodges of the former councils was set in motion. During the course of the year, discussions were held at the executive level of the lodges to talk about the process of combining the two lodges. One of the early decisions agreed upon was to break the new lodge into two chapters, the East Bay chapter (Machek N’Gult) and the West Bay chapter (Royaneh).
As was indicated earlier, the first meeting & banquet of Achewon Nimat lodge was held on Sunday afternoon, December 13, 1964 at Goodman’s Restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square. The cost of the event was $3.75 and even included your dues for 1965. The luncheon of Chicken, potatoes, rolls, salad and dessert marked the official start of the new “as yet to be named” lodge of the San Francisco Bay Area Council. The banquet dinner was served at 2:00 pm but prior to that both Machek N’Gult and Royaneh held their own final business meetings at 1:00 pm. Following the dinner, a special lodge meeting was held to vote for the new combined lodge chief and his officers. Before the elections it had been previously decided that the first lodge officers for chief and treasurer would come from the Machek N’Gult chapter and the officers for vice-chief and secretary would come from Royaneh chapter. The following year in 1966 the order would be reversed where Royaneh chapter would nominate the lodge chief and treasurer and Machek N’Gult would nominate the vice-chief and secretary. It wouldn’t be until the lodge election of 1967 that the positions for the lodge were fully open regardless of their previous lodge affiliation.
With the merging of the two lodges, plans were made for the first Lodge business meeting to vote on many items. On Sunday, February 28, 1965 Lodge Chief Bill Garvine called to order the first official business meeting of the new lodge. The meeting was held on “neutral” territory at the Naval Base Theater on Treasure Island (Bldg 401-9th street/Ave I) where the lodge rules were discussed and adopted. The meeting was called to order at 3:15 PM and the bylaws of Machek N’Gult were modified to reflect the new lodge and these bylaws were used as the basis for Achewon Nimat Lodge. The signatures of the following Arrowmen are included on the original copy of the approved Lodge Rules: Jeff Baechler (Royaneh Lodge Chief – 1964), John Nichols (Royaneh Lodge Chief – 1963), Dennis Haw (Machek N’Gult Lodge Chief – 1964), Don Wilkinson (Machek N’Gult Membership), Paul Meier Sr. (Machek N’Gult Lodge Chief – 1947), Ralph W. Benson (Staff Adviser – 1965), Rear Admiral Don Mckay (Lodge Adviser – 1965).
More importantly the name and totems for the new lodge was also selected and agreed upon. The name chosen was “Achewon Nimat” which stands for “Brothers Together”. A design for the pocket patch was also selected at this meeting. That first patch issued by the Lodge in May 1965 contained a dark blue sky as a nod to Machek N’Gult, a snow capped mountain representing Camp Dimond-O, tall Redwood trees from Camp Royaneh and water signifying the Pacific Ocean. Paul Meier Jr. (whose father Paul Sr. was the first lodge chief of Machek N’Gult in 1947) came up with the lodge name as well as the pocket patch design. Achewon Nimat would also use the totems from each of the two earlier lodges (the Bear from Machek N’Gult and the Indian head from Royaneh) to symbolize the joining of the two lodges together. Achewon Nimat is one of the few lodges in the Country that uses two totems. With the joining of the two lodges it was difficult at first to get agreements as to anything because members from both lodges, still upset over the merger, didn’t want to speak to one another. In fact for the first year both lodges operated as separate lodges so compromises had to be made.
The first pocket patch issued by Achewon Nimat included a navy blue sky in honor of the Machek N’Gult Lodge colors and the second patch (issued in October 1965) included a light blue sky in honor of the Royaneh Lodge colors. The name of the newsletter would continue to be called The Arrow Point which Machek N’Gult founded back in 1949. At the end of the first full year as a combined lodge, Achewon Nimat carried out seven ordeals with the induction of 400 new members and sent 35 members to the National Order of the Arrow conference in Bloomington, Indiana. Ordeals or service projects where held at each of the six council camps (Dimond-O, Willits, Los Mochos, Loomer, Lilienthal and Royaneh) using ceremony sites that had been previously used by the former Lodges. The ceremony site at Los Mochos (known as Cardiac Hill) which had been created by Machek N’Gult Lodge in the early 1950’s and was one of the most spectacular ceremony sites of all the camps. The site was located across from the entrance gate at Los Mochos on a hillside overlooking the canyon. As a Brotherhood candidate in the late 1970’s I still vividly remember the hike down the main camp road at Los Mochos and looking across the canyon to the hillside trail illuminated by the small smudge pots and the roaring fire atop the rock outcropping. As we made our way up the trail, the giant rock was illuminated by the fire. Mark Rickey, in the role of Meteu, was standing in front of the Brotherhood candidates with his large shiny buck knife drawn and pointing to the sky waiting to draw blood from the next candidate. As I looked around, each of the candidates had a look of horror in their faces as Mark would draw that cold steel knife across our hands to signify the bond of brotherhood.
In 1966 with Kirby Childres as Lodge Chief held six ordeals where 316 new members were inducted into the lodge. During this same year, many of the districts merged in 1966 following the merger of councils two years earlier. Live Oak village was formed by the merger of Central & Castle districts; Golden Acorn village was formed the merger of Lake and Sunset districts, Charrowood village was formed by the merger of Chabot, Arroyo and Redwood districts, Golden Gate was formed by the merger of Embarcadero, Mission Trails and McLaren Park districts, Serra was formed by the merger of Sunset west and Lake Merced districts, El Camino was formed by the merger of Twin Peaks and District 10 and Balboa was formed by the merger of Buena Vista and Richmond Districts.
The annual Mikemosin (lodge business meeting) was held at the Snow building in Oakland’s Knowland Park where Grant Young from Live Oak was chosen to be the Lodge Chief for 1967. During the meeting the lodge chose to purchase four teepees and that the use of the word “Chapter” should be changed to “Village” as village sounded more Indian-like. In February of 1967, a group of 40 arrowmen from Live Oak Village planted over 500 Ponderosa Pines at Willits Scout Reservation as a service project. Many of those trees are still thriving today and providing shade for both the scouts and the local animal population. During April the dance team performed at the new Oakland Coliseum complex for the Scout-O-Rama in front of 23,000 attendees. In 1968 during Wayne Butler’s administration, the lodge began to grow internally. The Lodge rules and Lodge directory were established and finally the whole idea of disunity within the lodge due to the merger three years prior seemed to have disappeared. The lodge held its annual banquet at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland and the lodge ended the year with 1500 members. Lodge Chief Steve Wilhite started the year off strong as many of the previous committee chairmen continued in their positions producing experienced and qualified leaders. Procedures were setup for Brotherhood and Vigil ceremonies and the finishing touches were added to the lodge rules.
An accident at Camp Royaneh during one of the ordeals sent Steve to the hospital and forced Vice-chief Mark McMullin to take on the reigns of the lodge for a period of time. The year 1969 ended with an inspiring moment at the Lodge Banquet where outgoing chief Steve Wilhite was given a standing ovation. A number of major changes took place in the lodge during 1970. The wampum bead system was developed to show the history of an arrowman’s activity in the lodge. Each of the colored beads stood for a type of activity. Large Red beads were for each honor, small red beads were for each ordeal you attended, white beads for each village meeting, black beads for each LECM and so forth. A listing of the beads and their colors is located in the appendix section of this document.
In October of 1970 the “one per life” restricted Brotherhood Lodge Flap was released. The flap was made available to all Brotherhood and Vigil members of the lodge and each patch was numbered and signed for. A total of 604 Brotherhood patches were handed out between 1970 and 1979 when all restricted patches were discontinued by the OA. Brotherhood patches #1, #282 and #375 were never released due to their number significance and are still maintained in the Lodge archives. The other major change to the lodge was that the lodge year was changed from January/January to September/September to follow the typical school year. 1970 also marked the year in which the most arrowman were ever a part of Achewon Nimat when the year ended with 1535 registered members. The following year Don Wilkinson became the first person from Achewon Nimat lodge to receive the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor that the National Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members. The DSA honor was presented to Don at the 1971 NOAC at the University of Illinois.
As 1972 came to a close, “Area 12-B” which our lodge and former lodges had been associated with since 1947 was reconfigured into Section W3A. In 1973 the lodge adopted a new Chapter system where the lodge was divided into three sections. The East bay (Live Oak, Golden Acorn, Charrowood), the West bay (SF area) and the South Bay (Hayward, Fremont, Twin Valley). Ultimately the East Bay would take the name Machek N’Gult Chapter, the South bay took the name Ohlone Chapter and the West bay took the name Royaneh Chapter. The first annual Winter Camp Awareness indoor seminar was held in January 1974 on Treasure Island in one of the old historic aircraft hangers. The first WCA was attended by over 500 scouts from all over the Council where they were taught the fundamentals of Winter Camping. At the 49ers and Falcons football game on November 24th during the half time show, the Lodge Dance Team performed before a crowd of 46,000 fans (the 49ers won 27-0). In 1975, Achewon Nimat was host to the W3A Section Conclave at Fort Cronkhite in Marin County. The theme of the conclave was “Held Tightly Every Link” and as a special bonus, Dr. E Urner Goodman, founder of the Order of the Arrow, attended the Conclave. At the conclave, Achewon Nimat took home our first ever award for the Most Indian Lodge. It was during this same awards ceremony that Dr. Goodman presented Section W3A with the first ever National Standard Section Award. Many of the arrowmen in attendance had the honor of getting their sashes signed and pictures taken with Dr. Goodman including Machek N’Gult Chapter chief Jerry Sakamoto. Unfortunately Jerry’s mom washed his sash and along with it Dr. Goodman’s signature. In September of 1975, the name of Machek N’Gult chapter which had been around since the merging of the two lodges was renamed to Wekemnayon chapter. Rumors swirled about why the name had to be changed but this would be the last time that the name Machek N’Gult was officially used by Achewon Nimat.
In 1979 the first Winter Camp Awareness outdoor session was held near Lake Tahoe and this year also marked the beginning of the end for the old lodge paper records. Starting in 1979 with the aid of a Radio Shack TRS-80 “supercomputer”, Don Wilkinson and the Lodge began the daunting task of converting all of the old Machek N’Gult, Royaneh and Achewon Nimat membership records over into an electronic database. Achewon Nimat was one of the first Lodges in the Country to convert our membership and financial records into an electronic database format. Previously all membership records were contained on a 3 x 8 visual record cards At the 1980 lodge banquet held at the Presidio Officers club in San Francisco, Lodge members feasted on such delicacies as Veal Cordon Bleu and BBQ ground round steak. During the dinner events like blowing up balloons without the use of your hands and keeping a balloon aloft the longest provided fun and amusement for the on-lookers. Winners of these events won a free trip to the 1980 Section Conclave at Camp Parks. Near the end of the year, the Order of the Arrow was saddened by the death of Dr. E Urner Goodman, founder of our Order.
Live Oak village hosted a snow trip in Bear Valley at the start of 1981 that was attended by both village and lodge members. The lodge stayed at a three story cabin that could only be reached by hiking up a snow covered road for a mile. Toboggans, inter-tubes and skiing at nearby Mt Reba was the activities for the weekend. A great spaghetti dinner with all the fixins was prepared by village adviser Adrian Stith. In June 1981 the lodge adopted a new yellow bordered flap for service where an arrowman could purchase one flap per ordeal or Mikemosin. NOAC in 1981 was held in Austin, Texas at the University of Austin. Our Lodge had a contingent of about 14 people and we traveled to NOAC in two vans (Bill Parker’s Orange Pumpkin and another van). For whatever reason, the Pumpkin didn’t have any air conditioning and our trip during the summer took us through Barstow, California (one of the hottest places on Earth). As luck would have it, in addition to no air conditioning the drive train on the Pumpkin broke while we were in Barstow. So the contingent had to wait as Bill looked for a place to get the Pumpkin fixed. Nothing like breaking down in Barstow during August. We made it to Austin on time where we stayed in the 10 story dormitory building at UOA (also not air conditioned).
In 1982 with the chapter system failing it was decided to discontinue it altogether in lieu of the village system. Ten years after hosting our first conclave at Fort Cronkite, Achewon Nimat would host its second conclave in 1985 at the San Francisco Presidio with the theme of “Service, Tradition & Honor”. Over 125 members attended to help the lodge in its duties and Shepherd Hendrix from Live Oak Village served as the Conclave Chairmen. In September a new unrestricted brotherhood patch was released. The patch used the new updated lodge patch design but would have a red border. In 1986, to help the OA program in Oakland and San Francisco, and to comply with National policy, the lodge re-instituted the chapter system. Live Oak and Golden Acorn Villages merged to form the Oakland Chapter, who called themselves Achewon Tulpe (Strong Turtle). Golden Gate, Mission Trails, and Sierra Villages merged to form the San Francisco Chapter, to be called Royaneh. The three other villages remained the same and were allowed to continue using their Indian names (Tres Ranchos was Amangi Nechochwen, Twin Valley was Seunen Paschengink and Mission Peak remained as Ohlone). The lodge also attained the highest score among all the 69 Western Region Lodges in the Lodge Achievement Program during 1986.
In 1990, the lodge celebrated its 25th anniversary and also issued a replica of our original lodge flap with “25” added to it. Requirements were put on the flap, much like the National OA’s 75th Anniversary Award. 1990 Also marked the first time in 25 years that the lodge was unable to achieve the National Honor Lodge Award. This began a time of rebuilding for the lodge. The annual lodge fellowship weekend known as the Mikemosin, was renamed to Achiefest in 1992. That same year the lodge also sent a larger contingent to the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) which was held in Knoxville, Tennessee and issued the first NOAC specific lodge flap. In 1993 the lodge continued to grow and prepare for the Conclave and NOAC. 1994 was a banner year for us as we won our first ever Conclave Award at the Alameda Naval Air Station. The lodge had its first Section Officer in 15 years when Jeremy Davis was elected to the section. We also sent the largest contingent in the section to NOAC. Like good fermented grape juice, 1995 was an even better year. The lodge hosted the W3A Conclave at Camp Parks and won our second consecutive Conclave Award. The attendance was great throughout the year, and continued our streak of National Honor Lodge recognition. As this was our 30th anniversary year, the Lodge issued replicas of the Machek N’Gult and Royaneh flaps to members who met a participation requirement.
1996 was the year in which we ended a 20-year Most Indian Lodge Award drought. To top off yet another great conclave, we again won the Conclave Award, making it three years straight, we had another member become a section officer, Ken Morton, and we sent another large contingent to NOAC at Indiana University. In 1997 Jeremy Davis became Section W3A chief. Achewon Nimat won its fourth Conclave Award in a row and our second consecutive Most Indian Lodge Award, but lost our Indian Handball championship. During this year, 2 more members of our lodge became section officers, Rocky Fernandez and Ed Smith. In the duration of 1998 through 2000 we continued with our streak of winning Conclave and Most Indian Lodge Awards. In 2000, the lodge dance team achieved its long term goal of winning the Indian Dance competition and taking home the coveted (and enormous) Dance Trophy. 2002 proved to be an outstanding year for the lodge. We brought our streak of winning the Conclave Award to nine straight years, when we hosted the W3A Conclave at Camp Royaneh. This same year Dominic Pascucci was elected Western Region Chief, the second national officer in the history of our Lodge (Larry Teshara was National vice chief in 1961 from Royaneh Lodge).
In 2003, our streak of winning the Conclave Award was brought to an end when the Lodge placed third at the Conclave at Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, CA. Matt Griffis who was Lodge Chief in 2001 & 2002 was elected Western Region Chief, marking the first time ever that any lodge in the country has had back-to-back national officers. The lodge commemorated this event by issuing a special lodge flap. In 2004 the lodge took second place at the Conclave, which was held at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. In the summer of 2004 the lodge sent a contingent of 10 members to NOAC, which was held at the Iowa State University. At the conference, the standing Western Region Chief resigned from his position due to personal reasons and the National Chief appointed Matt Griffis to finish the term. For their service to the Order of the Arrow, Dominic Pascucci and Matt Griffis both received the Distinguished Service Award. In 2006 Achewon Nimat Lodge joined the online world when our Web site “AchewonNimat.org” was created and launched by Lodge Adviser Charles Hoffman. 2006 also saw us winning our tenth conclave award when the conclave was located at Cutter Scout Reservation. In 2008 eleven arrowmen from Achie participated in the ArrowCorps 5 project in the Shasta-Trinity Mountains. The arrowmen spent a week working on the Pacific Crest trail and assisting the National Forest service. The following year when Achewon Nimat hosted the 2009 Conclave at Camp Royaneh we took home the coveted Conclave award for an astonishing 11th time.
In 2010 during the centennial celebration of the Boy Scouts of America, Achewon Nimat celebrated 45 years as a combined lodge and 66 years since our founding lodges were formed. One of the big events of the year that the lodge was involved with was the Northern California Jamboree that was held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Over 20,000 Scouts, Leaders and the public participated in this three day event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Scouting. At the Section Conclave held at the Presidio of Monterey, Achewon Nimat Lodge Chief Indy Nelson was voted as the new Section Chief of the W3S section for the 2011-2012 scouting year. Indy would become the 9th member of our lodge to lead the section since its founding in 1965. 2011 was a sad year for our Lodge as we lost two dedicated and longtime great members, Bill Parker and Jim Smith. In honor of their dedication and commitment to the ideals of scouting and the Order of the Arrow, a NOAC Conferenceship Fund was setup in Bill Parkers name. This endowment fund is setup in perpetuity to recognize Bill’s passion for NOAC and his years of service to Scouting and the Order of the Arrow. The purpose of the endowment fund is to provide monies toward a youth’s participation in the National Order of the Arrow Conference.
In October of 2011 after months of discussions, the SFBAC and the Mt. Diablo/Silverado Councils announced that our two great councils would be merging sometime in 2012 pending the outcome of the stakeholders meeting on August 29th, 2012. Along with the merging of the Council so too would Achewon Nimat Lodge and Ut-in Selica Lodge combine their membership into one strong Lodge. Although almost two years of discussion and planning went into the anticipated merger, on August 29th, 91% of the SFBAC voted in favor of the merge while 60% of the voting members of the Mt Diablo Silverado Council voted not to unite. Misleading information distributed by some of the MSDC members upset at the possible merger officially ended the creation of the Golden Gate Area Council. Achewon Nimat would continue to serve as the Order of the Arrow Lodge for the San Francisco Bay Area Council. Also in 2011 the San Francisco Bay Area Council Campership Fund was started with a “seed” gift from Achewon Nimat Lodge.
In 2013 at the new Summit Bechtel Jamboree site in West Virginia, a building was dedicated to the Order of the Arrow which contains a giant fireplace that hark’s back to the late 1940’s when E. Urner Goodman built a stone fireplace at his residence in Bondville, Vermont. What’s special about the fireplace is that it contains rocks provided by the different Lodges from across the Country. The rock from our council is inscribed with “Achewon Nimat, San Leandro” and came from an outcropping of rocks located at Wente Scout Reservation near the dam. The fireplace at E. Urner Goodman’s Brotherhood Barn next to his home residence in Vermont also contains a special rock from the Oakland Area Council inscribed with the symbol of Camp Dimond-O which closed in 1978. In October of 2013 with the number of active arrowmen in the Lodge decreasing, a number of changes were instituted that affected the entire Lodge. The villages of Amangi Nechochwen and Achewon Tulpe merged to form the Wekemnayon village (meaning New Brotherhood). Wekemnayon was one of the chapters in our lodge in the mid 1970’s that encompassed the villages of Live Oak, Golden Acorn, and Charrowood. So it was a good fit to once again use the Wekemnayon name. The other major change was that the number of ordeals was reduced from three ordeals per year to two ordeals per year and the Klondike Derby snow camping adventure was canceled until more arrowmen become active.
At the 48th annual banquet, Lodge Chief Hans Mortimer resigned due to school commitments at UC Berkeley. Vice-chief Ryan Shepodd stepped up and was sworn in as the new lodge chief to complete the 2013-2014 lodge year. Early in 2014, the NOAC centennial project for the 100th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow was begun which included creating a booklet to document the history of our lodge. The second portion of the project was the centennial crate to hold wood from our council camps to be burned at NOAC. The ashes would be comingled with the ashes from other lodges and given to attendees at NOAC as a memento. The NOAC centennial crate from Achewon Nimat contained a sampling of wood from each of the council camps where our lodge has held ceremonies since 1944. Redwood to symbolize the majestic tall trees from Camp Royaneh in Sonoma County and Camp Lilienthal in Marin County where Royaneh Lodge was founded. Cedar to symbolize the trees from the hills of Camp Dimond-O near Yosemite and pine to symbolize the local trees from Wente Scout Reservation in Willits, Rancho Los Mochos in the Livermore hills and Camp Dimond in Oakland where Machek N’Gult was founded. 2014 also marked the first time since the early 1990’s that unit elections and tap outs would be held at summer camp. The Scout Exec agreed to a plan that would designate one camp staff member as the Order of the Arrow camp representative who would have the responsibility to promote the OA and run elections during summer camp. As 2014 is closed out, a special 50th anniversary banquet honoring the merging of Machek N’Gult Lodge 375 and Royaneh Lodge 282 was planned for the end of the year.
On December 13, 2014 exactly 50 years to the day that our two former lodges merged at Goodman’s restaurant in Oakland, a similar celebration was held once again but this time at the Council Office with over 100 Arrowmen in attendance. A special issue lodge flap available only at the dinner to commemorate the event was made available to those in attendance. Former lodge advisers, chiefs and arrowmen from both Machek N’Gult and Royaneh were in attendance and the theme of the night was “A Blast to our Past” with memorabilia displays featuring both former lodges. The year 2015 began with the Winter Camp Awareness training session held aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. Over 260 Scouts and 40 arrowmen from the SFBAC and other councils attended the day-long event. In preparation for the NOAC 2015 event, the Order of the Arrow requested that all former or discontinued lodges provide a rock for the temporary centennial fireplace to be built at NOAC. The rocks would then be transported to the Summit Bechtel Reserve to be incorporated in a permanent fireplace honoring all lodges of the Order of the Arrow. Two rocks were obtained for Machek N’Gult and Royaneh Lodges. The rock for Machek N’Gult was located on the former grounds of Camp Dimond in Oakland near the site of the amphitheater where Machek N’Gult was founded. The rock for Royaneh was located at Camp Royaneh down in the river bed of East Austin Creek where ceremonies were held at the camp. The former lodge names were then inscribed in the two rocks by the Bras & Mattos Monument Company of Hayward. In May the lodge youth leaders attended a weekend retreat at the Youth Retreat Center operated by the Diocese of Oakland in Pleasant Hill. The two day event was used to discuss the operations of the lodge and planning the events of the next year. The site offered a great location to hold the leadership training.
On July 6 the National ArrowTour contingent arrived at Wente Scout Reservation to recognize the rich 100 year history of the order. A number of large tents were erected on the peninsula by both the ArrowTour crew and Achewon Nimat members to showcase the history of the Order. The various tents included a trading post, a NOAC museum, a branding station, an information booth and an Achewon Nimat history booth. As a gift from the ArrowTour committee for hosting the event, the lodge was given a large black cylinder to use as a time-capsule to be buried and then unearthed in 50 years (2065). At the end of July a contingent of 16 arrowmen began their 3000 mile journey across the Country via Amtrak to NOAC at Michigan State University to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow. On the second day of our cross-country trip, along the rails near Harve, MT, Jeffrey Kline, Angelo Huerta and Elijah Watkins sealed their membership in the Order of the Arrow and were presented their brotherhood sashes. This was the first time in our lodge history that arrowmen from Achewon Nimat have been presented their Brotherhood honor on a train. Prior to NOAC, the Contingent spent three days in Chicago touring a number of museums before continuing the train trip over to NOAC. In total the contingent spent 15 days and traveled 6000 miles through 17 states. One of the highlights of the trip was watching 15,000 arrowmen signing the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen at the NOAC opening show. The September 2015 ordeal held at Camp Royaneh was the first combined ordeal between Orca lodge 194 of the Redwood Empire Council and Achewon Nimat lodge. Over 75 members and candidates helped to take down tents and prepare Camp Royaneh for the coming winter months. Orca conducted the pre-ordeal and ordeal ceremony while Achewon Nimat conducted the Brotherhood ceremony. At the 50th anniversary of the first Lodge Banquet on December 12th, longtime adviser Harry Clyde stepped down as Lodge Adviser of Achewon Nimat. Harry had been the Lodge Adviser for 5 years starting in 2010. During his tenure, the lodge got back to its roots of being a boy run organization. At the banquet, Brother Eric Parnell, former Lodge Chief Rob Wong and Website Adviser Steve Kline accepted the role of sharing the duties of the Lodge Adviser. During the evening festivities, eight members of the lodge received the Order of the Arrow Century Award, a special one-time award honoring lodge members both past and present that have made a significant impact to the Order of the Arrow. A special round patch resembling the first Lodge flap was issued at the dinner to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Lodge Banquet. The contents of the ArrowTour time-capsule was also displayed for the attendees. The capsule is to be buried at Camp Royaneh at some point and dug up in the year 2065. The Golden anniversary of Achewon Nimat and the Centennial anniversary of the Order of the Arrow ended with a bang as the members of Achewon Nimat along with their guests circled the banquet tables, crossed arms and sang the song of the Order.
As 2016 begins, so too does the next 50 years of Achewon Nimat Lodge. The Klondike Derby Outdoor Snow Camping trip was held at Camp Hi- Sierra near Pinecrest with an attendance of over 300 scouts. The 2016 Klondike also marked the first time the Lodge had the ability to cook for the campers as we took advantage of the facilities at Hi-Sierra. The weekend was mild but cold. The age of video across the Internet also was used for the first time during the Lodge elections held at Camp Royaneh. FaceTime was used by Mark Stephenson to run for the office of Vice Chief of service as he was unable to attend the elections in person. Mark was elected to the position by the way and Kyle Berg was voted into the office of Lodge Chief for the second year in a row. The 2016 W3S Conclave was held at Camp Royaneh and hosted by our lodge. Over 400 arrowmen from the section attended the three day event. Members of Achie took home the Grizzly Award which is the top award at the Conclave. The Lodge also took first place in the Indian Hand ball competition which was a very spirited event due to over the top emotions on the part of some of the players. At the Ordeal in June, the San Francisco Bay Area Council celebrated its 100th anniversary. 100 years ago on June 4, 1916, the Oakland Area Council (#21) of the Boy Scouts of America was formed. Five months later in November 1916 the San Francisco Council (#51) was formed. Along with the celebration of the 100th anniversary, the SFBAC also released a set of six new Council Shoulder Patches and an Order of the Arrow Lodge Flap. The Lodge flap was made available on June 4, 2016 at the Royaneh ordeal exactly 100 years to the day after our original councils were founded. At the lodge banquet in December, the dinner was catered by a Mexican restaurant that served fresh burritos from a grill that was setup in the Council Office office.
The 2017 Winter Camp awareness was attended by over 350 Scouts and Scouters aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. The Klondike derby in February was scheduled to be held at Camp Hi-Sierra near Pinecrest but due to the abnormally heavy snowfall, camp road conditions and the condition of the camping areas, the Klondike was canceled due to safety concerns. At the Achiefest in April during the vigil call out ceremony, it was decided that Achewon Nimat needed a permanent pendant to honor the Vigils when the individual was called out. Achewon Nimat contracted with a local Scout Craftsman (Steve xxxx) to create a pewter pendant with ribbon that could be worn around the neck. Eighty pendants were created with forty designated for all future vigil members and the other forty for existing vigil members as a fund-raiser. Only one pendant per current dues paying vigil member and the member must have received vigil in either Achie, Royaneh or Machek N’Gult. The first ordeal during the new school year was held at Los Mochos in October where we had 34 candidates go through their ordeal along with three new brotherhood members. The candidate service project involved rehabilitating the camp water supply by replacing the old spring boxes with new boxes and pipe. Sweetwater Springs, located along the hillside toward the Manzanita Flats campsite, is a natural spring that has provided mineral enriched water to Rancho Los Mochos since 1947.
At the end of 2017 it was announced that due to financial challenges with the SFBAC that the Order of the Arrow would no longer have a Staff Adviser provided by the council to handle lodge logistics. In addition, the LEC meetings would need to be moved from our normal 1st Wednesday night of the month to either a new location or a different night. The 2018 Winter Camp Awareness aboard the USS Hornet was attended by 300 scouts and leaders and the 2018 Klondike held over the Presidents holiday weekend in February was located at the Cisco Grove RV campground at an elevation of 5600 feet. Although the snow was sparse on Saturday, a storm came through on Sunday that dumped 3 inches of fresh powder. Just perfect for the various Klondike events.
At the council dinner on February 3, former lodge officer and Founders award recipient Ben Sebastian was presented with the National BSA Honor Medal for life saving. In June of 2017 Ben witnessed a car crash into San Leandro Bay and without hesitation jumped into the Bay fully clothed to rescue the individual that was trapped in the car. As the door was locked due to the water pressure, Ben found a rock and broke a window to get the individual out of the submerged car. In the process Ben cut his hand that ultimately required a number of stitches. Ben pulled the man out through the back window and got him safely to shore. Once the individual got on dry land and caught his breath, he ran away to a waiting car. As it turns out, the car was stolen and Ben saved the thief from drowning.
Due to the financial challenges faced by the council it was decided at the March 2018 LEC meeting to move all future LEC Meetings to the 1st Monday of the month. The Achiefest which was normally held at Camp Royaneh in March was instead held at Boomers in Livermore as a one-day event. As Murphy’s Law would have it, it rained the entire day preventing the arrowman from using the outdoor activities at Boomers. However they were able to have fun with some of the indoor activities. Lodge Elections later that day and a fantastic dinner was provided by the Shepodd’s at their residence in Livermore where Chris Santos was nominated as the 2018-2019 Lodge Chief. A special Vigil ceremony was held at Los Mochos on April 14 for Mark Stephenson. Normally the ceremony would be held at Achiefest but the one day event at Boomers required the Lodge to hold the ceremony at a different place and time. On May 24th it was announced by the National Order of the Arrow Committee that Rob Wong (Lodge Co-Adviser) was one of the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award (DSA). The DSA is the highest honor that the National Order of the Arrow can bestow upon it members. Rob has served on National staffs and events, regional staffs, section staffs and has been a coordinator of the Vigil Classic golf tournament for many years. In addition, Rob also volunteers his time for the Susan G. Kolmen Breast Cancer awareness organization. Nine members of the Lodge attended the 2018 National Order of the Arrow conference in Bloomington, Indiana. The contingent traveled via Amtrak from Jack London Square to Chicago via the Northern route where they toured various museums and embarked on a river cruise before heading to Bloomington. Along the way, track work in Oregon required us to transfer to a bus, Amtrak ran out of food, we were delayed due to multiple freight trains and missed a train connection where we were forced to sleep overnight in a train station. At NOAC, Rob Wong was presented with the DSA; the youth traded many patches; we were rained on multiple times; and had a blast the entire time. One of the highlights of the week was having a contingent pizza party hosted by Rob Wong at the location where he was staffing. This NOAC had the most mobile technology of any NOAC to date. An online App provided all the individual scheduling and data capturing information. At the Lodge Elections in May, an almost full contingent of officers was elected to run the Lodge for the 2019-2020 year.
In June of 2019, the first three youth female members in Achewon Nimat history completed their ordeal at Camp Royaneh over the weekend of June 2. Melody Fewx, Felicia Lim and Sofia Petrova from Ohlone Village became members of Achewon Nimat. As a new arrowman, Melody took on the role of Vice Chief of Service. The 2020 WCA was one of our largest ever with over 450 scouts, adults and staff attending the training seminar. The follow up outdoor session Klondike derby was held at the Tahoe Area Campground in South lake Tahoe. Over 200 persons attended the winter camping event. However Mother Nature was not playing fair as the amount of snow on the ground was minimal. Still everyone had fun in the cold and we were able to still complete the Snow Sled race to everyone’s approval. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Achiefest and the Ordeals in June and October were canceled as was summer camp. LEC and village meetings were held virtually via Zoom and the Conclave was carried out virtually using the social media site “Discord”. Fires in August came really close to Rancho Los Mochos and Camp Royaneh and then a fire in September near Willits also caused some concerns. Unfortunately for Cutter Scout Reservation and Camp Oljato, the fires destroyed those camps. Ironically, our lodge had just camped at Cutter in April 2019 for the W3S conclave.
Fifty-five years after it was formed in 1965, the last official business of Achewon Nimat Lodge took place on December 14th, 2020 at the lodge merger task force meeting. At the dinner, a special 55th Anniversary Lodge Flap was released to commererate the Last Gathering. Achewon Nimat would merge with Kaweah Lodge 379 and Ut-in Selica Lodge 58 to form the Yerba Buena Lodge of the Golden Gate Area Council.
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