Order of the Arrow
The Order of the Arrow is the service branch of the Boy Scouts. It is a great honor to be elected to membership in the OA. Elections for OA membership are held annually within each troop. Nominees are elected by their peers through a secret ballot.
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
Complete information can be found on the National Order of the Arrow Web Site.
Scouts are elected to the Order by their fellow unit members, following approval by the Scoutmaster. To become a member, a boy must be a registered member of a Boy Scout troop and hold First Class rank. The scout must have experienced fifteen days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The fifteen 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.
Scouters (adults) may be selected for membership based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition. Selected adult Scouters must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and provide a positive role model for the youth members of the lodge.
The induction ceremony, called the Ordeal, is the first step toward full membership. During the experience, candidates maintain silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp improvement projects, and are required to sleep alone, apart from other campers. The entire experience is designed to teach significant values.
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.