| The Eastern Arkansas
Council (EAC) was initially formed in fourteen counties of Northeastern
Arkansas in September 1935, and later expanded to seventeen before finally
settling to sixteen for most of our history. Prior to that time, at least five
councils served portions of this area at one time or another. The earliest of
these was the briefly chartered "Blytheville Council" that served some area
surrounding Blytheville, Arkansas, from 1916 to 1917. At nearly the same time,
"Jonesboro Council" served the area of Jonesboro, Arkansas, from 1917 to 1923.
Records do not indicate what came of Blytheville Council, but the Jonesboro
Council merged into the new Saint Francis Council in 1923. St. Francis Council
was headquartered in Jonesboro from when it was formed in 1923 until it
disbanded in 1930.
At what would become the Southern end of EAC, Crowley Ridge Council was formed with headquarters in Helena, Arkansas, and operated from 1924 through 1926 when it merged into a new council named Mohawk Council, still headquartered in Helena. Like St. Francis Council, the Mohawk Council was disbanded in 1930. Both failed mainly due to the Great Depression era. Records are incomplete, but it appears that at least one of these councils (Probably the Jonesboro Council) were served by one or more professional full time employees. Even in these early years the lack of a formal council did not prevent the growth of an interest in scouting in our area. Many young men pursued their interest as Lone Scouts, or through a few independently organized troops that functioned in the area.
| Many men of
vision, among them Gen. E.C. Robertson, Rev. Roy Davis, Col. Neil Snyder, D.B.
Aycock, Rue Abramson, Floyd White, Sam Sharpe, Dewey Moore, W.D. Keesham,
William Green, H.K. Barwick, Eddie Robinson, Donald Murray, D.B. Eames, and
Judge C.D. Frierson, were able to come together in the fall of 1935 to realize
their dream of the formalization of the Scouting program through the present
council. Even then the idea of a summer camp was central to their vision.
During this period we operated at least three temporary camps, among them Camp
Crowley, Camp Frierson and Camp Robertson. Each existing only for the summer at
a local state park or other suitable private property. Serious consideration
was given to making Frierson the official camp. A dining hall, pond and other
basic facilities were even constructed.
EAAC was never a 'wealthy' council financially. Even so, the spirit of Scouting continued to grow. During the difficult World War II years, troops were formed and camping expanded. Located within our council was the camp of Memphis, Tennessee, named Kia Kima. The links between the two councils was long and friendly, with many activities occurring between the two councils. In 1941 our council even leased Kia Kima and operated it as our own camp for the summer. Discussion occurred between the two councils for EAAC to buy Kia Kima in 1941 but these discussions did not progress and we quickly identified another private camp operating in the same area that would serve our growing needs.
In the summer of 1942, we opened our first council owned camp near Hardy, named Camp Cedar Valley, on 255 acres of rolling Ozark foothills. It was about this time that we changed our name to Eastern Arkansas AREA Council, though the name wasn't officially reflected on many documents and insignia until sometime in the late sixties or early seventies. This camp served our council well for many years and is fondly remembered by many people.
By the early 1960's, growth of the Cherokee Village Corporation was beginning to show that Old Cedar Valley (as well as Old Kia Kima) were rapidly being surrounded by a growing community. Like the early 1940's, the 1960's were a difficult period in many ways. Despite this, those interested in the growth of Scouting and the development of young men came forward to develop plans for a new camp. In 1966, EAAC said goodbye to the last Scout campers at Old Cedar Valley, sold it's property to the Cherokee Village Corporation and purchased 1260 acres south of Viola. For the summer of 1967, our Scouts jointly attended camp with our friends from Memphis, at the new Kia Kima.
Then in 1968, the first of three planned camps at our new site opened to campers. Named Pine Trail Reservation, the first camp took it's name of Camp Cedar Valley in honor of the memory of our first council owned camp. At various times we have operated a number of outpost camps and high adventure camps from the Reservation. Development of the planned "Camp B" and "Camp C" however never occurred. In the late 1970's as an outgrowth of a Woodbadge Ticket by Jon "Bar" Barbarotto, we began a long running successful Winter Camp based at PTR. These winter camps came to be sponsored by our Order of the Arrow lodge and were offered continuously from 1976 to 2000.
In 1978 slightly more than 400 acres of land known as the "back forty" were sold to pay mounting council operating debts. This area was predominately the land that would have served "Camp C" or the third planned camp on PTR. For a time in the mid-1980s we appeared to finally be on firm financial footing. Our camp debt was paid off by a group of sixty-three donors and plans for our first owned council service center were begun. Land was acquired near the Jonesboro airport and donations to begin the project were received. However, we again began to slip into debt to meet daily operating expenses. As debt mounted new debts against the camp property were made.
In May 2001, after years of struggling, it was decided that our council had reached the point where the only remaining viable way to offer a quality Scouting program was to pursue a merger with another council. Through the summer months, assets were disposed of to settle remaining debts. On August 15, 2001, Pine Trail Reservation was sold entirely to Mr. Allen Bush. Plans are to continue to offer the property for Scouting and other groups to use, but as an official council summer camp, it has ceased. (For information on utilizing the camp, contact the camp managers at 870-458-2603.) On October 8, 2001, the board of Quapaw Area Council, Little Rock, Arkansas, voted to accept the merger proposal of the former EAAC. With this action, EAAC ceased to function, effective January 10, 2002. The traditions of Scouting so strongly felt within EAAC have also always existed in Quapaw Area Council. It is our strongest hopes for a successful Scouting program in our former council area and that we will have a strong foundation for growth, together in our new council. To that end, we hope that this website will serve as both a point of historical reference and to provide a compliment to the official Quapaw Area Council website, to promote and expand the Scouting program in Arkansas.
Scouting is more than patches and pieces of ground. It is a thing inside a young person that calls them to strive to 'do the right thing' or to 'help others'. All the while, having loads of fun and making life-long friendships. Each young person who has experienced Scouting through EAAC has benefited in different ways. While we were never 'rich' financially, we have always been 'rich' in men and women of vision and youth seeking both the fun and experience of the Scouting program. The following sections represent many insignia used during our council history. Pieces of cloth in themselves; they serve as reminders of the efforts and yes, hopes, of those who came before us. Reminders in a way of the oath 'Do a Good Turn Daily', and it's place in the daily lives of many young people.
Scouting has been an important element of life for many of us. These web pages bring back fond memories and naturally include significant elements of patch memoriabilia. However, Scouting is more than patches. A vibrant successful program for young people requires both personal and financial support. As Scouters interested in this programs future, we would strongly encourage you to lend your support to your local council and in the case of those within the service area of the former EAAC, to our new council - Quapaw Area Council. In addition, you can support the Scouting program, by your financial support of our council. Membership fees and support from partner agencies such as the United Way can only provide a portion of the financial needs of the Scouting program. If you are interested in financially supporting our council, please contact the Quapaw Scout Shop at 501-664-4780 or see the official council website at Quapaw Area Council. Without us all, Scouting will not thrive, depriving many young people of today of the strong memories that we all share from our Scouting experiences.
As to the history of EAAC, if you believe that you are aware of any issue or information which we have not identified, please let us know. We welcome your comments and questions. These may be directed to Stephen White.
Copyright © 2000-2010
EAAC Historical Preservation Society
Rev 1 Jan 2010 sw