Order of the Arrow
What is the Order of the Arrow and what does it mean to be elected to it?
The order of the arrow is a NOT FOR GLORY honor society. It is NOT a “secret society” in the Boy Scouts….It is a “quiet society” in the Boy Scouts.
Being a member of this honor society does not mean you wave it in others faces sowing them how good you are. It is rather just the opposite.
How was it founded?
BSA was founded February 8th 1910 and in 1912 two men we assigned to an island in the Delaware River to turn it into a Scout Camp for the Philadelphia council. These two men were E. Urner Goodman & Carroll A. Edson.
After working for three years to create the camp that was TREASURE ISLAND, the two men wanted to create a way to thank the boys that selflessly and cheerfully worked their tails off to build the camp.
In 1915, they held the first induction into the ORDER OF THE ARROW.
The legends and ceremonies associated with the induction are based on Indian Lore. The words used are from the Lenni Lenape indians who were indigenous to the Delaware area of the scout camp.
Three words have come to be especially symbolic to the order of the arrow and those are the W.W.W. you see on the pocket flaps and the logo.
Those thee indian words mean:
This is the basis of the order…..A brotherhood of boys (and adults) working cheerfully to serve other scouts for the sole good of scouting. The goal is to help in any way possible to further the outdoor camping life of the scouts.
Qualifications for election:
Based on the meaning of the order, to qualify for election, a scout must be:
- 1st Class or above (knows all his skills)
- Have camped in a tent he erected (or helped erect) or “under the stars” for at least 15 days and nights in the 2 years prior to seeking election. These 15 days MUST include 6 consecutive days of summer camp (long term camping) and only 6 long term camping days can be used toward the 15 days. The remaining 9 days must be weekend style camping and ALL days must be completed in a scouting forum (camping with friends of family outside of scouting does not count). Camping in cabins or lean-tos also doesn’t count but the camp erected tents do.
- You must then be elected by a simple majority of your troop.
Criteria for election:
Boys should elect qualifying scouts based on if they feel the scout lives by the scout oath and law and is a good camper. This should NOT be a popularity contest but rather “Is this a scout I could trust going into the woods with a tenderfoot “alone” to camp day and night.”
What happens after a scout is elected?
Election does not mean you are “in”. It just means you have been granted the opportunity to “earn” induction into the order. To actually join the order, you must complete a weekend of cheerful service and participate in the ceremony to receive an ORDEAL sash.
Once an ORDEAL member, you must remain that for at least 10 months before you can “convert” to BROTHERHOOD.
Brotherhood is earned by learning the meanings and details of the ceremonies as well as the history of the order of the arrow.
These are NOT “ranks” but rather “honors”.
The highest “honor” that an arrowman can receive can not be earned but is only available via nomination. If your heart is in what you are doing in the order, other members of the order will notice this. Years of cheerful service “may” be honored with nomination for VIGIL.
This is by far the lease common honor of the three you will find within the order.
The Lodge that we join is SHINNECOCK LODGE 360 and was founder in 1947 at Baiting Hollow.
The Shinnecock Lodge can be found on Facebook HERE.
If you check out the lodge history, you will notice a name that might sound familiar to you. That name is JEFF HERRMANN as being elected NATIONAL CHIEF. That Mr. Herrmann was the third Eagle Scout ever from Troop 301 and the brother of the fifth Eagle Scout ever from Troop 301. You all likely know the younger Mr. Herrmann as our 13th and current Scoutmaster. He has the honor of being a VIGIL as does Mr. Spear from the church (among others).
To learn more about the order, visit the official site (listed above) or even Wikipedia HERE.
Like everything in BOY SCOUTS, you get out of it what you put in.