Brief History

The Boys’ & Girls’ Brigade had its roots in Glasgow, Scotland, where in 1883, the first Brigade company was organized. On January 22, 1900, the Boys’ Brigade was formed at a Neenah Presbyterian church as 30 young men enrolled themselves in the new society. In 1901, Mr. S.F. Shattuck took over the Brigade leadership for a “brief period” which stretched into a life association. The life association doesn’t begin to credit the true value of S.F. Shattuck to the Brigade. For more than 75 years, this quiet, gentle man was the spiritual, physical and financial lifeblood of the organization. It would be impossible to summarize all he has done, for without Mr. Shattuck there would be no Brigade today.

Building character and instilling youth with wholesome values was the goal of the first leaders in 1900 and remains unchanged today as developing the positive potential of youth is still the foundation and primary purpose of the Brigade.

Today, the Boys’ & Girls’ Brigade has a membership of more than 700 youth, a significant growth from its modest beginnings over a century ago. In fact, more than 8,000 adults today are Brigade alumni. We invite you to learn more about Brigade’s organization and its rich history.

Important Dates

1883 – First Brigade Company organized in Glasgow, Scotland
1900 – Boys’ Brigade organized in Fox Valley, WI area
1901 – Industrialist S.F. Shattuck takes over the Brigade leadership
1908 – First camp is formed on “Juniper” Island in Waupaca
1914 – Onaway Island is named
1938 – Chore staff is formed at Camp Onaway
1951 – First staff member, Jack Casper, is hired
1956 – Brigade building opens
1959 – Tents become cabins at Onaway
1964 – S.F. Shattuck award is created
1970 – Brigade expands with 32,000 square foot addition
1973 – Brigade operates its first girls’ camp
1979 – The Girls’ Brigade is formed
1993 – The Boys’ & Girls’ Brigade unites
2000 – 100 year Centennial Anniversary
2003 – $2.5 million building project completed at Camp Onaway
2016 – Brigade expands winter program to 5th graders