Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - September 2017

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

The Hills of Osceola

In 1987, Bob Canfield, Council Camping Chairman, and Ray Dawson, Director of Camping, issued the Scoutmaster’s Guide to Camping. They reminded Scoutmasters that since the earliest days at Camp Osceola, campers have sung the old favorite camp song Tell Me Why to express their appreciation for their camp as well as a song that 1939 Camp Staff member Edmund Wilkes Jr. wrote called The Hills of Osceola. The two songs are generally sung together to conclude a campfire or ceremony:

The Hills of Osceola
Written in 1939 by Edmund Wilkes Jr.

The hills of Osceola are calling me today,
Come back along the Scouting Trail,
their voices seem to say.

I dream of woodland valleys, and pathways that I know,
And answer, O-sce-o-la dear, I'm coming back to you.
The hills of Osceola lift up their branches high,
The leafy curtain that they spread is green against the sky.
And when the shades of evening have chased away the light,
The stars above come shining through,
God's watchman of the night.

The friends of Osceola have walked the trails with me,
And 'round the campfire we have met in joyous company.
O' friends of rain and sunshine, so loyal and so true.
Thank God for hills and trees and stars -- for Country,
Home and You!

Tell Me Why

Tell me why the starlit sky,
Tell me why the oak trees high,
Tell me why the sunset hue,
Tell me, Osceola why we all love you.
Because God made the starlit sky,
Because God made the oak trees high,
Because God made the sunset hue,
That's why, Osceola, why we all love you.

If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns email Andy Dubill at