Mission: We Build Leaders

Vision: "The Boys' & Girls' Brigade will be recognized as the center of excellence for youth character and leadership development."


The Brigade has 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.

Onaway Island was discovered in 1908 and purchased by Mr. S.F. Shattuck in 1910. Over the years the program at Onaway has changed and evolved with the needs of our youth in the community. When Brigade first used Onaway, the camping experience was almost entirely devoted to “roughing it." Getting to the island, pitching tents, providing drinking water, firewood, cooking food, etc. consumed much of the camper’s time. Over the years, Onaway has changed as structures were built and much of the top of the island was cleared. With these improvements, the time demand for survival activities dropped, and with more open land topside new activities could be added. A rich heritage in many forms of competition, music, and team building developed along with exciting features like a challenging high and low ropes course, waterfront activities and more.

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. Our programs today include: the Building Leaders program, Camp Onaway and Christmas Giving.