Parents, congratulations on your son's election to be a candidate for membership in the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's National Honor Society. We appreciate your support. While many organizations have specific commitments for every member, the Order of the Arrow is unique because it offers each Scout a multitude of opportunities to serve, and your son can tailor his involvement accordingly. An active member is a registered member that is committed to serving his home unit.
Due to its “secretive” nature, the Order of the Arrow runs into many questions by members and non-members alike. Below are some common questions asked by both members and non-members. But first, to alleviate any concerns you might have regarding the ceremonial aspects of the Order of the Arrow, the BSA has officially stated:
"The induction [Ordeal] is not a hazing or an initiation ceremony. The Order is not a secret Scout organization, and its ceremonies are open to any parent, Scout leader, or religious leader. There is an element of mystery in the ceremonies for the sake of its effect on the candidates. For this reason, ceremonies are not put on in public. The ceremonies ... are not objectionable to any religious group."
Purpose: The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold: To recognize those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives; To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit; To promote Scout camping; To crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.
History: The Order of the Arrow was founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948 the OA, recognized as the BSA's national brotherhood of honor campers, became an official part of the national camping program of the Boy Scouts of America.
Membership: The Order of the Arrow has more than 176,000 members located in lodges affiliated with approximately 320 BSA local councils.
Youth Eligibility: Youth must be a registered member of a Boy Scout troop or Varsity Scout team and hold First Class rank. The youth must have experienced 15 days and nights of camping during the two years before his election. The 15 days and nights must include six consecutive days (including five nights) of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps. Scouts are elected to the Order by their fellow unit members, following approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity team Coach. This is one aspect that makes the OA unique, the Scout is elected by his Troop or Varsity Team, not the membership of the Lodge.
Adult Eligibility: Adults must also have current registration with a Troop, Varsity Team or at the District or Council level. They must also meet the camping requirement. If they serve at the unit level, they are nominated by their unit committee and require approval of the Council Scout Executive. When considering an adult for nomination, bear in mind that the nomination for induction into the OA should not be used just as a recognition for the adult's service but can he or she help the Lodge meet the purpose and goals of the Order.
Induction: The induction ceremony, called the Ordeal, is conducted at a Scout camp and is the first step toward full membership. During the experience, candidates will reflect upon their role in scouting and contemplate on Scouting's values.
First of all, as stated previously, the Order of the Arrow is not a secret organization. Rather, we recognize that an aura of mystery not only stimulates interest in the Lodge, but also helps new members feel proud of an accomplishment that is not achieved by every Scout.
Most candidates receive less benefits from the induction if they know about the induction in advance. Knowledge lowers expectancy, dulls the edge of experience. In other words, you hurt candidates by telling them about the "Ordeal." Parents should feel free to discuss the experiences their children had at the Ordeal, after it's completion.
The Order of the Arrow is happy to share any pertinent information about our activities with legitimately interested individuals. Please contact the Lodge Adviser with your questions or concerns.
Our lodge offers three Ordeal opportunities a year. These Ordeals are typically held in May, August, and October. Check our calendar page for exact dates and locations of our Ordeals. He has one year from the date of his election to complete his Ordeal before his nomination expires. If it has been more than one year, he will need to be re-elected by the Scouts in his troop.
Miami Lodge has published a list of items to bring and items not to bring to an Ordeal weekend. This list can be found on our Ordeals page. On the list of items not to bring is food. If your son has any food allergies or any special needs (such as requiring a meal for medications), please make sure the Inductions team is aware of his needs before the weekend.
The weekend officially ends after the Lodge Meeting, Sunday morning. We ask that all Scouts stay until everything has been completed on Sunday morning. Scouts are not permitted to leave at any other time during the Ordeal weekend.
Getting involved is easy. There are many positions or committees in which he can serve, events which he can attend, and ways to have fun. Take a look at our LEC Members page to see which positions are currently vacant, or the LEC Positions page to read a description of each job's responsibilities. He should contact the Lodge Chief to find out about available positions, and check the calendar page for the dates of our upcoming events.
With a little time for verification of your past membership, you can become an active member. The easiest way to start this process is to contact our Membership team and provide them with any information you remember about your past involvement, such as the dates of your Ordeal (and Brotherhood and Vigil dates, if applicable).