Order of the Arrow
By: Scott Robertson
Posted On: 2009-10-24
It has come to my attention that in many areas its that time of the year... time for OA elections so I thought I would take a few moments to explain what the OA is all about and how Scouts should choose who they elect into the brotherhood. In case you are wondering I am a OA member having earned my ordeal level as a Scout and then many years later Brotherhood while on Summer Camp Staff.
The Order of the Arrow (OA) as the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). It uses American Indian-styled traditions and ceremonies to bestow recognition on scouts selected by their peers as best exemplifying the ideals of Scouting. The society was created by E. Urner Goodman, with the assistance of Carroll A. Edson, in 1915 as a means of reinforcing the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. The goal was to establish these as lifelong guidelines, and to encourage continued participation in Scouting and camping. Influenced in part by camp traditions, college fraternities, and Indian folklore, the OA uses "safeguarded" symbols, handshakes, and ceremonies to impart a sense of community.
Inducted members, known as Arrowmen or Brothers, number more than 180,000 youth and adults. They are organized into local youth-led lodges that harbor fellowship, promote camping, and render service to Boy Scout councils and their communities. Members wear identifying insignia on their uniforms, most notably the OA sash, and are eligible for special OA awards. The OA program sponsors several events, awards, and training functions.
(above is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Arrow)
When you hold your Troop elections for the OA make sure that you pre-arrange with your OA Lodge adviser well in advance so they can make arrangements to have a election team at your meeting. Ensure that the Scouts understand that OA is not a popularity contest but rather a honor camping society based on indian lore. Who ever they elect will be representing them and their Troop in the OA. That the OA has special functions and teams they may participate away from Troop programs, and must be ready to put in the extra time.
It should also be noted that adults who are not OA members can be elected in by the Troop Committee.
To be elected Scouts need to be First Class, have meet certain camping requirements, be approved by their Scoutmaster and be elected by the youth members of there Troop. Adults must meet the same criteria as youth except the rank requirement.
If a Scout or Adult is elected they well be called out normally at a camp-o-ree or jamboree. Then they will need to go through there lodges next Ordeal. Until they complete the ordeal, thay are only nominated candidates. The ordeal itself what put individuals through a series of challenges and self-sacrifice. It is very important that any medical problems and special dietary needs are told to the ordeal team do to the nature of these challenges.
I look forward to your thoughts and comments.. post them below...