Order of the Arrow: once a Scout always a Scout
One of my earliest personal achievements was to be elected into the Order of the Arrow,. At the time it was stated to be the only order in the United States (at least) where non members elected new members. It was a real honour to be elected by my peers.
The night is one I will never forget. We were lined up along a lake lit up by torches. Our shoulders touching, our hearts pumping. Members of the Order dressed in American Indian wear ran up and down the lines; when they found one of the newly elected members they would suddenly stopping and hit you in the chest knocking you out of line and into the arms of a waiting leader.
As new members we had to take on a great deal of responsibility to reach out and help other Scouts. Through a few training weekends we were trained how to be leaders the others would reach out to, how to lead by example, how to identify young men that needed an extra hand.
As I look back on it this was the first time I can say I started to understand leadership in my own actions. Understanding that I was elected by non members placed a huge responsibility for me to wear the sash with pride and continue to show I deserved the honour.
From there we were escorted off to sleep in the woods for the night. I had my brother and a couple other friends elected with me that night. It was the first time I slept in the wodds under the stars. I don’t remember having any trouble sleeping as the whole experience was pretty amazing and exhausting.
For over 100 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth.
The Mission and Purpose of the Order of the Arrow
The Order of the Arrow was founded in 1915 to serve a useful purpose: to cause the Scout Oath and Law to spring into action in all parts of the nation. To this day, the Order is dedicated to this high purpose.