Chicago publisher William D. Boyce founded the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. During this same time however San Francisco publisher William Randolph Hearst also founded a competing organization called the American Boy Scouts in June of the same year. The American Boy Scouts was a military organization that performed with rifles and sold war bonds whereas the Boy Scouts of America was a non-military organization as envisioned by Baden-Powell. Although the American Boy Scout program would last but a few years, it provided the first means for Bay Area Scouts to join the Scouting movement.
SCOUTING BEGINS IN OAKLAND
In September of 1910 both the Oakland and San Francisco Scouts became associated with the American Boy Scouts. Scouting in Oakland officially began on September 16, 1910 when the first “Scout” troop in Oakland was formed by A. Patterson Jr of Telegraph ave. In an article from the Oakland Tribune, “The boys will have regular Scout uniforms and if possible guns”. It is not known how many boys actually signed up with the first American Scout troop in Oakland however the following month the First Presbyterian church at 26th and Broadway formed the first Scout patrol in Oakland consisting of five boys; Chris Milsich, Alfred Wollitz, Arthur Cross, Max Nye and G. Boyes with LN Brasfield as its first scoutmaster.
In November of that same year, the Scouting movement was formerly launched in Oakland under the American Boy Scout movement. Colonel George Dickie, superintendent of playgrounds for the Oakland Public schools was the President of the committee. Plans were also made for a permanent headquarters in Oakland.
Only a couple months later in January of 1911, the Oakland and San Francisco Boy Scouts disassociated themselves from the American Boy Scouts due to its funding practices and military associations and became associated with the California Boy Scouts which were also formed in San Francisco. For some unknown reason this too was short lived as George Dickie led a committee for establishing an Oakland contingent of Boy Scouts of America shortly thereafter.
On March 11, 1911 the Boy Scouts of Oakland held a meeting to consider the future plans of the organization. The members agreed to withdraw from the California Boy Scouts and to apply for a charter from the Boy Scouts of America, of which Ernest Thompson Seton was one of the foremost men. As new members of the Boy Scouts of America, both the Oakland Scouts and the San Francisco celebrated by holding a combined camp-out near the end of March. This relatively small group of Oakland and San Francisco Scouts camped as a group on the grounds of the Francis M. Smith reserve in the Oakland hills for the first time. Each scout, was outfitted with a "billy," consisting of a tin bucket with a lid, in which was carried a knife, cup, spoon and provisions for two days and a blanket. Lieutenant Edward Kendrick of the Oakland Scouts was in command and instructed the new recruits in the ways of camp life and how to light fires and cook their foods. Each Scout would have to cook his own meals for those two days.
Eight years later, the Oakland-Piedmont Council would purchase twenty-eight acres of the reserve that would become Camp Dimond, one of the premier Scout camps on the West coast.
THE COUNCIL IS OFFICIALLY ORGANIZED
Five years later on Friday June 2, 1916 a meeting was held at the Hotel Oakland where the Boy Scouts of the Oakland and Piedmont areas were formerly organized as the Oakland-Piedmont Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Supervising the meeting was Harry Cross, National Field Scout Commissioner of the Pacific Coast District. The Oakland Council was the third “First Class” council in California to be formed after the Los Angeles Council and the Berkeley Council were created. To lead the Oakland Scout Council was Volkert (VO) Lawrence, the President of the Oakland Rotary club, who would serve as its first President and H. Richard Wilson who would serve as the first Scout Executive. Wilson formerly was a Physical Education teacher at UC Berkeley before becoming the first Scout Exec of the Berkeley Council in January of the same year. It is interesting to note that San Francisco’s Troop 3, which was formed in 1914 was associated with the Oakland Council for about six months until the San Francisco Scouts formed their own Council in January of 1917.
1917 first summer training camp is held at Camp Taylor in marin County
In 1919 the council purchased 28 acres of land in the Oakland hills near Montclair to establish their first permanent summer and week-end scout camp to be known as Camp Dimond.
PIEDMONT SEVERS THEIR CONNECTION WITH THE OAKLAND COUNCIL
Directors Wallace Alexander, WE Creed, and Walter Moore
September 1920, At the request of Wallace Alexander, Homer Bemiss discussed the relationship between first and second class councils and the benefits that Piedmont derives from its association with the Oakland council.
1920 first Eagle Scout of Oakland Area Council
October 1920, Discussion that the Piedmont people that their financial arrangements was not an equitable one and to operate either as an independent Council directly with national or operate as a district of the Oakland council.
March 1921, the Piedmont committee notified the board of their severance with the Oakland council and their resignation from the board. The president of the Oakland-Piedmont Council was authorized to take the necessary steps to change the name of the organization from the Oakland-Piedmont Council to the Oakland Area council.
In 1925 the council purchased the buildings and equipment from the Peach Tree Growers Association and leased land from the US Forest service for their permanent mountain camp to be known as Dimond-O.
In 1931 the Oakland Area Council ranked fifth in thre number of Scout enrollments in all of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.
On February 10, 1964 the Oakland Area Council would officially merge with the San Francisco Council to form the San Francisco Bay Area Council and usher in a new era of Scouting in the San Francisco Bay Area.