I cannot write much about the Order of the Arrow, because I am a member, and sworn to secrecy as all are. Think of it as a national brotherhood of honored campers. We are dedicated to making the outdoors a better place and to promote the ideals of Scouting, Brotherhood, and Service.

A few things that I can tell you are that we are designated in uniform by varying sashes of white with a Red Arrow. Adults and Youth are both admitted to the order. Female adults may be admitted as well (there is no preference, I know many personally).

There is a rich history to the Order. I personally belong to the oldest lodge in New England, and we have at least one person who was there for the founding if the lodge. It is an interesting organization filled with mystery, ceremony, and service. Of course you have to go through the Ordeal to get in, but any camper worth his salt can make it through that, I'd hope. It's not easy though. If you ever get a chance, go for it; it's an experience you'll never forget.

The Order of the Arrow (OA) is Boy Scouting's National Honor Society (it used to be the Brotherhood of Honor Campers, but that changed). The program is totally youth-run.

The OA was founded in 1915 by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Caroll A. Edson at Treasure Island Scout Camp, in the Delaware River. 1922, it became an official national experimental program and was approved in 1934.

The purpose of the OA consists of four parts:
- 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

The OA is organized by lodges (each lodge operates alongside a Council), which are administered by an Executive Committee. At the top of the Executive Committee is the Lodge Chief. Some larger lodges are divided into chapters. The chief of each lodge reports to the Section, which usually consists of up to ten lodge as well as some section-specific committees. Section Chiefs report to the Region, Region Chiefs report to National.
A pretty cool organization. The secret rituals and the mass initiation in cover of darkness make it seem connected in some way to the Illuminati. Hmmm...

From the National Brotherhood of Honor Campers and boyscouts.com:

The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold:

1. To recognize those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives.

2. To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit.

3. To promote Scout camping.

4.To crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

History

The Order of the Arrow (OA) 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 OA has more than 176,000 members located in lodges affiliated with approximately 327 BSA local councils.

Eligibility

To become a member, a Scout must be a registered and hold the First Class rank. The Scout 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 long-term 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.

Ordeal (Induction)

The induction ceremony, called the Ordeal, is conducted at Scout camp and is the first step toward full membership. During the experience, candidates maintain complete silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp improvement projects, and are required to sleep alone, apart from other campers, which teaches significant values.

Brotherhood Membership

After 10 months of service and fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies full membership in the OA.

Vigil Honor

After two years of service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the National Order of the Arrow Committee, a Scout may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for outstanding service to Scouting, his lodge, and the community. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.

Chapters

Each Order of the Arrow chapter is is a sub-unit of a lodge, serving a specific geographic portion of the area served by the lodge. The OA chapter helps the local district provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of Scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure, as anextension of the lodge.

Lodges

Each Order of the Arrow lodge is granted a charter from the National Council, BSA, upon annual application by the local council. The OA lodge helps the local council provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of Scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure.

Sections

An Order of the Arrow section consists of lodges within a geographic area of the region. Once every year, representatives of lodges in the section come together for a conclave to share in fellowship, skills, and training. All of the elected section chiefs form the conference committee for a national Order of the Arrow event, which is held under the guidance of the national Order of the Arrow Committee.

The region chief is the youth leader of the region elected by the section chiefs for a term of office specified by the national Order of the Arrow Committee, which coincides with the term of national chief and vice-chief. This election is held in conjunction with called meetings of the section chiefs to elect the national chief and vice-chief, as well as to plan a national Order of the Arrow event.

The region Order of the Arrow chairman is an adult appointed by the region director. The professional adviser for the region is a staff member assigned to the position bythe region director.

The official BSA site is at: bsa.scouting.org

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