The Pine Burr Area Council
The Pine Burr Area Council, Boy Scouts of America was organized in 1927. The council was incorporated to serve the 17 counties of south Mississippi. Troop 2 in Picayune, Mississippi was the first unit organized with eight boys. Shortly after units were organized in Hattiesburg, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula, Mississippi. Over the 12-year period from 1927 to 1939 membership grew from 8 to over 400. The need for a permanent camping facility was apparent.
In 1942 a group of 6 men purchased 40 acres in Stone County and opened Camp Towanda. Scouting grew from477 youth in 1942 to over 1,000 in 1950. Camp Towanda was not large enough to handle the load and the adjacent property was not available. The Pine Burr Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Executive Board voted to look for adequate land to build a camp. Mr. L. O. Crosby, Jr. of Picayune and Mrs. Bill Blain, Sr. of Mt. Olive chaired the committee. These two men spent three years swapping land and purchasing plots until they had assembled 1200 acres north of Wiggins, Mississippi to be used for the official Boy Scout Camp for youth from south Mississippi.
The camp name of Camp Tiak was chosen. The name is Choctaw and means Tall Pines. It was chosen because the 1200 acres had a great stand of pine trees. In 1955 Camp Tiak opened. From 1955 until 1972 the camp continued to be developed and culminated with 12 campsites, a 300 person dining hall, a health lodge, a shooting sports area, and an aquatics area.
The Pine Burr Area Council, BSA has made a major commitment since 1998 to reach youth from all neighborhoods of our territory. We officially launched our ScoutReach Initiative in 1998 which targeted areas with high minority youth. This met with great success and
grew from 47 youth in 1998 to over 800 youth in 10 years. In 2010 we launched a Hispanic Emphasis to Latino People (HELP) and in 2011 our Asian Impact Mission (AIM). The Asian program sent a group of two adults and eight youth to the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in West Virginia in 2013. This was the first time in the history of Mississippi that a group of Asian youth had attended a National Boy Scout event.
The Pine Burr Area Council continues to expand its programs to youth. In 2016 we were selected as one of twenty councils across the United States to participate in STEM Scouts Pilot Program with the National Office, BSA. STEM Scouts is a co-ed program for youth starting in the 3rd through 12th grades where the activities a focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).