General Information about the Order of the Arrow
National Capital Area Council’s Lodge is the Amangamek-Wipit Lodge.
As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:
- Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
- Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
- Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
- Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.
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 Boy Scouts of America. In 1998, the Order of the Arrow became recognized as Scouting’s National Honor Society when it expanded its reach beyond camping to include broader service to Scouting and the community.
The OA has more than 170,000 active members located in lodges affiliated with over 295 BSA local councils
The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:
- Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
- After registration with a troop or team, have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and 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.
- Youth must be under the age of 21, hold the BSA First Class rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, be elected by the youth members of their troop.
- Adults (age 21 or older) who are registered in the BSA and meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee. Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition of service, including current or prior positions. Selected adults must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.
The Ordeal induction ceremony is often 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 camper, 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 or Scouter 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.
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.
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. In addition, the section creates a monitoring/mentoring relationship with its lodges, provides leadership development opportunities, fosters understanding and adherence to national OA policies and procedures, and coordinates OA administrative and program functions. A section is lead by three elected youth officers, the section chief, section vice chief, and section secretary, who are advised by an adult section adviser and professional section staff adviser.
Each year the approximately fifty elected section chiefs are invited to a national planning meeting in Dallas, TX. The section chiefs form the conference committee for a national Order of the Arrow event, such as the national Order of the Arrow conference, which is held under the guidance of the national Order of the Arrow committee.
The region chief is the youth leader of the region and elected by the section chiefs in his region for a term of office specified by the national Order of the Arrow Committee, which coincides with the terms of the national chief and vice chief. This election is held in conjunction with the national OA planning meeting where the annual OA program of emphasis is planned. The region chiefs serve as voting members of the national Order of the Arrow Committee, representing youth on national OA policy and programs. The Order of the Arrow region chairman is an adult appointed by the regional director. The professional adviser for the region is a staff member assigned to the position by the region director.
National Chief and Vice Chief
The national chief and vice chief are Arrowmen selected by the section chiefs at the national OA planning meeting each December. They serve as voting members of the national Order of the Arrow Committee, representing the youth on national OA policy and program. They also serve as the presiding officers for the annual OA program of emphasis. The national committee specifies their term of office. The national committee chairman and director of the Order of the Arrow advise them of their responsibilities.
National OA Committee Chairman
The national OA committee chairman is appointed by the chairman of the national Boy Scout Committee. The professional adviser is the director of the Order of the Arrow, a member of the national Boy Scout Division staff.
More information may be found on the Order of the Arrow Web site, www.oa-bsa.org, or in the Order of the Arrow Guide for Officers and Advisers, No. 24-413, Revised 2012.
Last updated 1/1/2016