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Lodge History


While the El-Ku-Ta Lodge was founded in 1956, proceedings to found it had been underway for some time regarding the establishment of the Order of the Arrow in the Great Salt Lake Council.

From the records it appears that C.E. Hammond, the Scout Executive had written to the national office in the early 1950's about setting up a lodge in Salt Lake.

Because of some concerns of various scouting partners, it took several years to answer all of the questions about the OA to the satisfaction of the council. However by 1955 it was apparent that a lodge would be established and in 1956 it was decided to make the establishment of the lodge a part of the summer camp program at Steiner.

The camp director at the time was Valois Zarr, a teacher at East High, and an ardent Scouter who became active in the initial establishment of the lodge and whose son Tom became an early lodge chief. It is nor clear who the first lodge Adviser was, however it may have been Mr. Zarr or the Scout Executive.

Some believe that it was a ceremony team from Ogden that inducted the first ordeal lad, others that it was a ceremony team from the Tannu lodge in Reno, Nevada that actually conducted the induction.  However it appears from the records that the camp staff themselves conducted the ceremony even though they were not as yet members until the conclusion of that ceremony.  The source for this is Jerry Odekirk a member of the staff and part of the original Ordeal class. In June of 1956 the first ordeal class was inducted and the El-Ku-Ta Lodge #520 was launched.

First Ordeal Class

For the first several years, it was mostly at Steiner that inductions were held with a fall ordeal to catch those who could not attend at camp. Lodge officers were also elected at this fall ordeal to serve during the calendar year to begin in January.

Steiner had used its own honor ceremony society, the Order of the Uinta Moon,  prior to the establishment of the OA lodge. This was discontinued with the establishment of the OA lodge.

The first set of lodge officers set out by-laws (now called lodge rules) that among other things set forth the design of the lodge flap. The Elk was chosen as the totem and the name derived from elk and Utah. The flap was to have an Indian on each side of the flap looking at each other in a sign of brotherhood. It also depicted the mountains around Steiner with sun rays coming up behind the mountains signifying the dawn of a new day in Scouting.

From that beginning over 30,000 young men and adults have joined the Order in the Great Salt Lake Council through the end of this year (2010), truly the dawning of a new day in Scouting.

We are interested in the history of the lodge during the first 5-10 years. If you know any of that history , please let one of the lodge officers know or send the information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

It has long be involved in leadership development providing leadership to Scout Camps, National Service Corps at Jamborees, National OA Events, units. and national leadership positions.

We have provided numerous Section Chiefs and section officers from among our members, in 1990 and 1998 the Western Region Chiefs were selected from this lodge Ryan Mecham and Brandon Fessler respectively, and in 1996 the National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, Ryan Pitts was a member of the lodge.

In 1986 the Lodge developed its own Leadership Course, Takachsin, and has run it since that time to provide quality leadership training for members of the Lodge.

General Information about the Lodge:

Section:  We are currently members of Section W2S of the Western Region.  It contains the Lodge in the Utah National Parks Council as well at the Trapper Trails Council

Patch:  Our By-Laws provide for a patch showing the sun rising over the Uinta Mountains flanked by 2 Native Americas facing each other.  It indicates a new day in Scouting and the Facing Native Americans are an indication of Brotherhood.  The Uintas represent the place where we were founded.

Newsletter:  The lodge publication is the Legend and comes out about 4-6 times a year.  It is delivered electronically to most of the lodge.

Officers:  The lodge is presided over by a Lodge Chief, one or more Lodge Vice Chiefs, and a Lodge Secretary.  Other officers are added from time to time.  All of the officers must be under the age of 21 for their terms of office.

Last Updated (Monday, 04 April 2011 20:06)