Tidewater Council traces its origin to 1911, two years after the establishment of the Scouting movement in America by William Boyce of Chicago and only three years after the founding of the movement itself by Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England. However, it was several years later, on January 29, 1914, that the local council was issued a second-class charter without a professional scout executive.
On September 21, 1911, 28 of Norfolk’s most prominent businessmen met to form the Norfolk Council, BSA. The first council president was Richard L. Dobie. Other officers elected included Harvey M. Dickerson, vice president; J.G. Holladay, secretary; and W.W. Marr, treasurer. Thomas Sparrow became the Norfolk Council’s first scout executive on October 1, 1919.
In 1934, the Cub Scout program was formally adopted by the Norfolk Council. The challenge of the day was “new ambition for greater service to more boys throughout America.”
In January 1935, the council was given its present name, The Tidewater Council, Inc., BSA. The North Carolina counties of Currituck, Camden, Gates, Perquimans, Pasquotank and Chowan were accepted as part of the council. Dare County, NC, was added in January 1942.
The council has been realigned many times to reach its current strength of four districts serving seven counties in northeastern North Carolina and the Virginia cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.
From those first days with only a handful of boys, the values of Scouting have directly influenced hundreds of thousands of lives here in the Tidewater Council. Many of them have gone on to distinguish themselves as leaders. Today the council serves more than 9,000 boys and girls through 365 crews, packs, posts, ships, teams, and troops through a force of adult volunteer Scouters numbering 4,100. Please note our membership levels shift up and down throughout the year; the figures given here are a good faith estimate.