Often referred to as the OA, the Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society. It is a brotherhood of honored Scouts and Scouters who promote Scout camping and perform service to others. The Order is for those Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily life.
Who runs the Lodge & Chapters?
The Lodge is run by an Executive Committee, at the head of which sits the Lodge Chief and his officers. The Lodge also has established Committees headed by Committee Chairmen. Similarly, each Chapter has a Chapter Chief. The Chapter Chiefs, Lodge Officers and Committee Chairmen comprise the voting members of the Lodge Executive Committee. All voting members, that is, all the Lodge Officers, Chairmen and Chapter Chiefs, are youth members, under the age of 21. No OA member over the age of 21 may serve as an officer, chairman or chief. The Council appoints a Lodge Adviser to guide the executive committee and help facilitate their goals and objectives and each District Committee appoints a Chapter Adviser. The Lodge Adviser appoints a Committee Adviser for each Chairman and any other Advisers as may be necessary. The Council also assigns a Staff Adviser to the Lodge. Although members of the Executive Committee, the Advisers are not voting members.
Congratulations on your son’s membership in the Order of the Arrow, or “OA,” the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America. The Order’s first purpose is to recognize those, like your son, who are chosen by his peers as one who exemplifies the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life. Through that recognition, the Order causes others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition. The OA has enjoyed a long history of service. Founded in 1915 by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson, the OA emphasizes servant leadership in troops, at the council or lodge level, and nationally. Exciting opportunities for service and leadership await your son in whatever manner he chooses to involve himself. Your son now has the opportunity to take part in all Order of the Arrow activities, Order of the Arrow High Adventure, local leadership roles, and opportunities for community service.
Where and when can I pick up my child from a Lodge Fellowship?
At the end of each Fellowship, the best location to pick up your child is at the Camp parking lot. Many scouts carpool with their troops or other members in their Chapters. Typically Fellowships will end at 10 AM on Sunday.
For Ordeal Candidates
Once elected, am I member?
No. All those who are elected must first successfully participate in the Ordeal experience.
Do adult nominees have to take the Ordeal also?
Yes. Adults have to participate in the same Ordeal as the youth in order to become members.
What should I expect?
The Ordeal is a crucial part of the induction process. The Ordeal provides a time for a Scout to reflect upon his experiences within Scouting and hopefully broaden them. There are thousands of OA members throughout the nation who have participated in an Ordeal. The Ordeal is an experience that no Scout will ever forget because of the honor that has been given to them by being inducted into the Order.
The Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s national honor society. Its membership fulfills the Order’s purpose of recognizing those who exemplify Scouting’s values, promoting responsible outdoor adventure, developing young leaders, and crystallizing the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others. Established in 1915, the OA emphasizes service to the unit. In this way, Arrowmen give back to their troops with the leadership skills and values of service learned through the Order. The Order’s program complements the troop’s, providing valuable leadership training programs, world-class high adventure opportunities, and exciting national conferences. Members of the Order of the Arrow are chosen through an election process at a troop meeting. To get your unit introduced to the Order of the Arrow, contact your local Chapter.
How often can I hold an OA election for my Troop?
Each troop holds one OA election each year. Please contact your local Chapter to schedule and conduct your OA election.
What can I do to make sure the Arrowmen in my troop stay involved on the Troop level?
A key element of the Order is service back to the Troop. Please talk with your Scouts to balance their schedules with both the Lodge and the Troop.
What are the requirements for an adult to become a member of the OA?
In general, the adult qualifications are different from the youth requirements. Adult selection is based upon their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition as an honor. Selected adult Scouters must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive role model for the youth members of the Lodge. A full list of Adult requirements can be found in the unit election form.
Can a Venture Crew hold an election?
Venture crews are not permitted to have elections according to the guidelines set by the National OA Committee.
Can the position of OA Troop/Team Representative be used for BSA rank advancement?
Scouts may use the Order of the Arrow Troop/Team Representative position to meet the leadership position requirements for the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks. As BSA publications are revised and updated, they will include this new position. If your local council Staff Adviser or Scout Executive has any questions on this position, he or she may contact the Order of the Arrow Director at the BSA national office. The director will confirm that the position can be used for rank advancement as noted.
Why did the Order of the Arrow change its logo and get rid of the Chief symbol?
The change in the logo was done by the national Order of the Arrow committee as part of their adoption of the 1998 Strategic Plan for our Order (you can read the entire plan on the Official National OA Web Site). In discussing actions taken to achieve the vision spelled out in the plan, it says:
“We will adopt a new logo; one focused on the Arrow rather than the Indian. The Arrow is easily the most recognizable symbol that has its origin in our first ceremony. By taking the Arrowhead from the Arrow on the sash as our logo, we unify our image and strengthen the identity embodied in our name, the Order of the Arrow ”
The Stylized Indian head logo (sometimes called the “MGM Indian head”) is a strong logo. It is one that many people have strong feelings for. It may have been there when you first ever saw OA members, or when you were first involved in the OA. But it is important to realize that the Stylized Indian head logo is only a symbol. The truly important aspects of our Order are, in the words of our founder, “The things of the Spirit”. The brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service we try to always live up to are what really matters.