History of the Golden Gate Area Council


Legacy Councils of the Golden Gate Area Council

The program of the Boy Scouts of America is administered through local councils, with each council covering a geographic area that may vary from a small city (like Piedmont Council) to an entire state (like Daniel Webster Council, which covers the entire state of New Hampshire). Golden Gate Area Council covers six counties in California (Alameda, San Francisco, Lake, Napa, Solano and Contra Costa).


The council level organization is similar to that of the National Council. Councils are headed by a collective of three people known as the ‘Key 3’. The Key 3 consists of the Scout Executive (a paid employee who administers a staff of professional Scouters), the Council President (a volunteer who serves as the chairman of a volunteer board of directors), and a Council Commissioner (a volunteer who coordinates the efforts of trained volunteers who provide direct service to the units (Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, etc.).


The council executive board is headed by the Council President and is made up of annually elected local community members. The Council Board establishes the council program and carries out the resolutions, policies, and activities of the council. Board members serve without pay and some are volunteer Scouters working at the unit level. Youth members may be selected to the council executive board according to the council by-laws.


The Scout executive manages council operations—including finance, property management, advancement and awards, registrations, and Scout Shop sales—with a staff of other professionals and para-professionals. Volunteer commissioners lead the unit service functions of the council, help maintain the standards of the BSA, and assures a healthy unit program.


In 1913, the first local council charters were issued to first-class and second-class councils.  A first class council (like Oakland Area Council) had a full-time Scout Executive and had to serve a population of about 25,000 and raise $5,000 to cover its first year of operation. A second class council (like Alameda Council), utilized volunteers or part-timers.

Councils are divided into districts with leadership provided by the district executive, district chairman, and the district commissioner. Districts are directly responsible for the operation of Scouting units and, except for the district executive, are mostly staffed with volunteers. Golden Gate Area Council at the time of merger in 2020 supported 14 districts (Alameda, Briones, Chief Solano, Diablo Sunrise, Golden Gate, Herms, Lake, Meridian, Mission Peak, Muir, Peralta, Silverado, Tres Ranchos and Twin Valley). 


Councils previously fell into one of four regions: Western, Central, Southern, and Northeast and each region was then subdivided into areas. All Councils are issued council numbers as their numeric ID for the BSA for data reporting.  The original eight scout councils of the Golden Gate Area were the following: Berkeley Council #23 (formed 1916), Oakland Area Council #21 (formed 1916), San Francisco Council #51 (formed 1917), Alameda Council #22 (formed 1917), Napa Council #38 (formed 1917), Crockett Council #24 (formed 1917), Solano Council #54 (formed 1922) and the Luther Burbank Council #34 (formed 1923).


The council numbers were issued all at once in the 1920’s, and were sequential by city and state.  So the BSA councils in Alabama, Arkansas, and Arizona have the lowest numbers. 


Oakland Council was 21, Alameda Council was 22, Berkeley Council was 23, Contra Costa Council was 24, Luther Burbank Council was 34, Napa Council was 38, San Francisco Council was 51 and Solano Council was 54, etc. 


Casper, Wyoming is at the end of the list of councils in the 50 states, and then the various overseas BSA councils all were in the “800 Series”.


Sea Scouts




Shooting Sport


Scouting for Food

Order of the Arrow

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