Order of the Arrow, BSA @tumblr

#FuelScoutingsAdventure at #Jambo2017 on Operation Arrow staff. We’re just one year away! http://thndr.me/pX3esT

Photo Credit: Boy Scouts of America Flickr

Since our founding at Treasure Island Scout Reservation, the Order of the Arrow has been a part of the summer camp experience for Scouts across the nation. However, the plethora of camps integrate the OA into their program in in many different ways.

At Camp T. Brady Saunders of the Heart of Virginia Scout Reservation, the Order of the Arrow maintains a strong presence. After all, it is home to the second-oldest lodge in the nation, Nawakwa Lodge, which has been in existence for 96 years. Inside the dining hall, large wooden sculptures of feathers hang along the walls, with one from each lodge in the section having been carved at the last conclave it hosted. There are also numerous buildings built by the lodge, leaving widespread reminders of the cheerful service that Arrowmen have given to the camp. The Order continues to serve the camp every summer, using Arrowmen on staff to give troops the opportunity to conduct an election. Elections are available all week for troops, but each week the lodge’s program peaks on Wednesday with the Brotherhood Ceremony and an ice cream social.

Similarly, Camp Ottari - home to Tutelo Lodge - also has an OA day on Wednesdays. In addition to the activities that Camp Brady Saunders hosts, Tutelo Lodge also does a service project during their free time on Wednesdays. It has great participation so far, with their largest call out ever this past summer. Camp Chief and Section SR-7A Secretary Carter Elliott IV loves the role of OA in camp. “Having the OA incorporated into camp means that we can educate younger Scouts about what the OA does for every reservation. It gives them a glimpse into the work that we do. This also serves as an advertisement to get people interested in the OA,” said Carter.

Unlike Camps Brady Saunders and Ottari with their unique “OA Day”, the Order’s program at Camp Shenandoah, hosted by the lodge of the same name, is referred to as “OA Everyday.” Monday, they have their ice cream social and a game known as the “Medicine Bowl.” Tuesday and Wednesday are when the Brotherhood challenges and Brotherhood Ceremonies are conducted, and then to live out cheerful service, the camp hosts a service project on Thursdays. Similarly to Camp T. Brady Saunders and Camp Ottari, the call-out is conducted on Friday night.

Throughout the state of Virginia, lodges make the Order of the Arrow a part of camp program with ceremonies and service projects, just like the honor campers at Treasure Island did in the first days of the Order. Now, 100 years later, the OA continues to develop Scouts into the leaders of tomorrow by showing them the adventure and the journey that is the Order of the Arrow.

- National Communications Team Member Kyle Hoffmann

Each summer, the Order of the Arrow hosts its very own high adventure programs at Philmont Scout Ranch, Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier and the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Each program offers unique service opportunities, along with exciting and challenging outdoor experiences. These programs go above and beyond the normal offerings at the high adventure bases, being longer in duration and coming at a substantially lower cost. However, with the current requirement to be at least 14 or 16 years old, depending on the program, and the physical demands of the programs, this opportunity is not available to many of our members.

The opportunity for high adventure and service still exists outside of the Order of the Arrow High Adventure (OAHA) program. Many lodges and sections across the country organize their own high adventure and service programs that extend the experience to those who are unable to attend OAHA. These programs offer the chance to conduct service in participants’ local area, and often include high adventure activities at their local camp. Many of these programs incorporate elements of the OAHA program, while increasing accessibility to high adventure opportunities at the local level.

There are dozens of examples of these programs across the country, one of those being the Goshen Order of the Arrow Trail Crew (GOAT) led by Amangamek-Wipit Lodge, based in Washington D.C. This two-week program offers the opportunity to learn many valuable outdoor skills such as Leave No Trace ethics, search and rescue (SAR) and backcountry risk management. Additionally, Arrowmen get the opportunity to use their new skills backpacking on the Lenhok’sin Trail at Goshen Scout Reservation.

Much like GOAT’s inspiration, the Philmont OA Trail Crew, the program is not just about work. During the first week, the Arrowmen get to experience Goshen Scout Reservation’s Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (COPE) course, and they also have the opportunity to create their own unique high adventure experience in and around the reservation.

Since this program first started in 2002, it has provided outstanding experiences for members of the National Capital Area Council, and has served as a perfect example of what Order of the Arrow High Adventure is about. Ask your lodge officers if your council has its own high adventure trek or other such programs. To learn more about OAHA, make sure to visit http://adventure.oa-bsa.org/.

- National Communications Team Member Brendan Switts

In order to ensure growth and advancement, lodges must be able to produce leaders with a firm grasp of leadership techniques as well as a desire to enhance participation in high-profile events. Doing this requires money, as cash is needed to fund trips to leadership training events as well as to major events such as NOAC. Sasquesahanough Lodge addressed this issue by tying in proceeds from patch sales to its scholarship fund, thereby alleviating the costs associated with leadership events and NOAC through awarded scholarships.

The idea started with the resurrection of an old capital campaign patch that was previously used to raise money. The majority of the patch has remained the same, but the center of the patch now shows both of the council’s main camps, a move designed to not only change up the patch, but to show council unity in light of a merger that is still fresh in the minds of some of the lodge’s members.

Some of the old patches still exist, but according to Lodge Chief Justin Schneider, “We are selling it as a new patch, and the proceeds will go to the scholarship fund.” Schneider went on to say that the lodge is going to award two $350 scholarships for high adventure trips, $500 for adult training in Philmont, and $600 in funds for National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) attendees, all provided that the troops of the applicants have earned the OA Unit of Excellence Award. To top it off, the lodge awarded twelve $100 scholarships to youth members attending NOAC this past summer.

This program is designed to provide assistance for Scouts looking to get the most out of Scouting. The lessons learned at NOAC and through training programs are lessons that prepare them for the future. Properly trained and motivated Scouts are what gives a lodge its drive, and it is necessary for a lodge to continue to have trained, motivated Scouts at the helm; otherwise, it cannot continue to grow. Sasquesahanough Lodge’s program ties in money accrued from patch sales, a highly lucrative venture in Scouting, to its scholarship fund in hopes that its membership will take advantage of what Scouting has to offer.

- National Communications Team Member Andrew Lindhome 

Between ArrowTour, #DareToDo, the National Order of the Arrow Conference and more, there are numerous national programs and initiatives aimed at celebrating our Order’s 100th anniversary. However, many sections across the country are taking it upon themselves to craft an amazing centennial experience. A few sections have come up with a centennial award of their own. While they can’t be worn on the sash like the Arrowman Service Award, they can be worn with pride and recognition—both Section NE-3A and NE-2B have provided us with shining examples of section level 100th anniversary awards. Each award has different requirements, as each has a slightly different focus; however, they both share the same purpose of recognizing exemplary Arrowmen during the Order of the Arrow’s centennial.

In Section NE-3A, the Section Centennial Award is comprised of different segments for personal growth and lodge service. Examples of requirements from the personal growth segment include applying for the section’s OA High Adventure scholarship, entering a section patch design contest and even earning the Arrowman Service Award. Under the lodge service segment, Arrowmen are required to do things such as contributing to a lodge or chapter committee, serving as an elangomat, and participating in 20 hours of BSA organized service. The Section Centennial Award is designed to “encourage Arrowmen to get more involved at the lodge and section level during the 100th anniversary” says Forrest Gertin, chief of Section NE-3A.  Award recipients were recognized at the section training event in November, and got a special prize for their achievement.

Similarly, Section NE-2B designed its award—named the Centennial Involvement Award, or CIA for short—to better help lodges and Arrowmen at the chapter level. NE-2B Section Chief Chris Boyle reminds us, “chapters are the beating hearts of this organization.” Based on this belief, Chris and his fellow section officers took it upon themselves to design a 100th anniversary program that helped chapters. As a result, members of Section NE-2B have an award intended to be simple to earn, yet has a large emphasis on participating in our Order’s centennial. Arrowmen had until this fall to complete bronze, silver, and gold level requirements to earn the total of 100 points required to complete the award. Each Arrowman who earned the award got a commemorative patch. Chris estimates that over 300 members of Section NE-2B have already earned the award!

- National Communications Team Member Michael Kipp

Photo credit: Dan Mitchell

In the 100 days since the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference, you have embraced my #DareToDo in some absolutely incredible ways. Your posts have encouraged me. Your service has inspired me. And I’m not the only one.

In fact, over the last three months, people ­– from every corner of the globe – accepted the dare. And millions more witnessed the goodwill that your service created. The impact you helped make cannot be understated:

  • 48,710 people participated in the dare through Facebook.
  • 1,343,577 people saw posts created by #DareToDo. This says nothing of the millions more who saw the posts made by each of you.
  • 25,551 dares were completed via Twitter, which were seen by 12,664,098 people.

Together, we’ve started a movement to make service a daily habit, and in doing so, have made the world a better place. Continue to look for posts tagged with #DareToDo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to be inspired toward service.

Although 100 days have come and gone, our work does not end here. We must continue to share willingly, to serve readily, and to lead humbly if we are to fulfill our admonition.

I know the virtues behind the dare will guide my actions for many days to come. I sincerely hope they will guide yours, too.

- 2015 National Chief Alex Call

Photo Credit: Boy Scouts of America Flickr

The Order of the Arrow and its members have a strong commitment to conservation. This year, there is hardly a better way to live up to that commitment than participating in National Public Lands Day (NPLD). As the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the country, NPLD is a program that every Arrowman should become involved with. On September 26th, grab some friends and head to a NPLD site near you!

NPLD began in 1994 with just three work sites and 700 volunteers. Since then, the effort has ballooned to a total of approximately 175,000 volunteers working at 2,132 sites! Last year, projects took place in all fifty states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Projects are organized by volunteers and organizations who work with the land management to develop service projects. You can find projects taking place near you online.

Participating in National Public Lands Day is a great way to give back to the many different parks and forests that Boy Scouts across the nation visit throughout the year. By volunteering with a project, Arrowmen will meet other like-minded Scouts and volunteers and working together to complete a variety of projects. From removing invasive plants, to planting trees, to building trails, Arrowmen have many opportunities to get involved. In the future, chapters, lodges and sections can even host their own NPLD event and coordinate their own project!

- National Communications Team Member Michael Kipp 

Excitement for Order of the Arrow High Adventure (OAHA) programs is at an all time high due to the new OA Summit Experience Program which commenced last summer. Through the addition of this fifth OAHA program, Arrowen may be wondering how the OAHA Triple Crown Award can be earned in the future.

The OAHA Triple Crown has always recognized outstanding outdoorsmen who take the initiative to attend not one, but three high adventure bases through the Order of the Arrow’s programs. After attending an OA trek at Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier and the Florida Sea Base, these Arrowmen typically received a patch displaying a ship, a Indian in a canoe and Philmont’s Tooth of Time embossed over a red arrow. When the idea of a Triple Crown Award was conceived, plans for an additional program at the Summit Bechtel Reserve were not yet in the works. Therefore, the Order of the Arrow has worked to revamp the Triple Crown Award and its patch design!

Members seeking to achieve the new OAHA Triple Crown Award can complete any three of the five OAHA programs as long as they do so at three separate bases. These Arrowmen are also expected to give a presentation about their experiences at a lodge or section event encouraging others to participate. Afterwards, they should submit an OAHA Triple Crown application per the instructions on the form. After verifying attendance, the Arrowmen will receive a patch set and a certificate signed by the national officers recognizing this accomplishment. The patch set will consist of a universal center patch surrounded by three “rockers” to signify the three programs completed.

Many Arrowmen are excited for this new program, including 2014 National Chief Nick Dannemiller. When asked what he thought on the new requirements Nick said, “The revitalization of the Triple Crown Award will not only help us kick off our newest OA High Adventure program, but also seek to better recognize Arrowmen who have enjoyed unforgettable experiences and given outstanding service to our national high adventure bases.”  

The purpose of these programs is more than merely receiving another patch; these programs give Arrowmen the adventure of a lifetime and further instill the Order’s founding principles of brotherhood, cheerfulness and service into their daily lives. The new updated patch and certificate is available as of January 1st, 2015. For more information on eligibility for the new Triple Crown Award, please visit http://www.oa-bsa.org/uploads/resources/forms/oaha_triplecrownform-2015.pdf

- 2015 Central Region Chief Joey Dierdorf 

Not everyone gets excited when they hear the word training, but for 10 other Arrowmen and myself, we were ecstatic to hear that word this summer. Why were we so happy? Well, we had the incredible opportunity to spend a week learning at the Philmont Training Center—the national volunteer training center of the Boy Scouts of America. We would be traveling there from all across the country to learn about and improve upon the skills we use to create content for the Order’s national publications. More specifically, this training—the Visual Storytelling Workshop—was all about using photography and videography to capture the best of Scouting and share it with the world.

Our week at Philmont was a perfect combination of classroom learning, hands-on practice, fun and adventure. By the time we all arrived home, we each had a deeper knowledge of how to tell stories through photos and videos. It helped that we had the best instructors in the business! Among our trainers were the top photographers in the BSA as well as Scouters who work with Canon. Our workshop even had a partnership with Canon that allowed us to use professional camera equipment to learn and practice with! When you mix those elements in with the fact that our conference was supported by the top of the line Training Center staff, we were in for an amazing week.

A typical day for us involved waking up late, grabbing a quick breakfast and heading over to our classroom to start learning. Most mornings, we would spend inside learning about anything from composing, editing pictures or interviewing people. Often times, we would put these skills to the test in the afternoon by exploring the training center and base camp for stories to tell! At base camp, new hikers were arriving every day, so there were always new stories to capture. However, some of our best pictures and videos came from our time in the back country. We were able to grab our cameras and head to different back country camps such as Rayado, Ponil, and Metcalf to capture everything happening there. By the time we returned to the center to edit our work, we had pictures and videos telling the stories of the different Scouts hiking through these camps, the staff living there, and the memories being made.

Regardless of whether we were in the classroom, in base camp, or on top of the Tooth of Time, the eleven of us had an amazing time and learned a lot through the Visual Storytelling Workshop!

For more information on the accomplishments from the 2015 program, as well as updates for next year’s workshops, please visit https://www.facebook.com/bsavisualstorytelling

- OA Communications Team Member & C-6A Section Vice Chief Michael Kipp

Have you ever thanked a flight attendant? And I mean really thanked them—with a nice gesture, a warm smile or even some sort of gift?

On one of the many flights I’ve taken this year during my Scouting travels, I decided to use my time in the air to craft a number of post-NOAC thank you messages to express my appreciation to a number of people who made the conference happen. I even used this as my #DareToDo that day, hoping that my small act would bring a little bit of positivity to my recipients’ day.

As we landed, I suddenly realized that I was missing an opportunity to really express my appreciation to someone most deserving. The flight attendants that day had been incredible, giving service with a smile wherever they could. So, as we landed, I quickly scribbled one more note—probably the most important of the day. I handed it to one of the attendants as I deplaned. The smile I received from her was the best part of my flight.

Unveiled at the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference by a great friend and our national chief, Alex Call, the #DareToDo campaign is all about making others matter, as I attempted to do through these notes. The premise of the campaign is simple; the goal, profound. Seek out one small act of service to do for someone each day for the one hundred days following the conference, then post about it on your social media accounts using the hashtag #DareToDo. In doing so, we can flood the world with our message of positivity, selflessness and service to others.

In a world where negativity rules the headlines and self-interest dictates peoples’ motivation, a commitment to cheerful service is so important. Together, each of us possess the power to change the world for the better, and it doesn’t even take a huge, earth-shattering event! Your act of kindness to another, together with that of thousands of brothers across the country and millions of others across the world, can improve the way we live and treat others.

This is no easy task. It takes the time, dedication and commitment of Arrowmen and non-Arrowmen alike. Now, I ask for your help. Like Alex and his @OANationalChief Twitter, I’m going to continue posting my daily #DareToDo from my @OANationalVC account, and I need you—I dare you—to join me. Seek out one small act of service that you can do for someone each day, post about it and join this worldwide movement of love for one another.

Are you with me?

I look forward to seeing how you will #DareToDo. Holding the door for a friend, helping your mom with the chores, even thanking your flight attendant, can count. In fact, I will look to favorite and retweet the many dares that you will do in the remainder of the campaign!

Until then, I remain yours in service.

- 2015 National Vice Chief Donnie Stephens

Shown above: Scouts from Pine Tree Council play gaga ball at the Camp William Hinds ArrowTour stop. Photo credit: Mitchell Heisler

They always say there’s no place quite like home. 

My summer travels have taken me to some pretty wild places this year. I vacationed in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I experienced a rewarding OA Wilderness Voyage Trek through Ontario. I was even able to join the Central Region’s ArrowTour Road Crew, where, under the leadership of crew chief Ricky Angeletti, I helped to bring our national centennial experience to Arrowmen from Canton and Cleveland in Ohio, Wheeling, West Virginia, and even at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. But after that, I found myself flying back into the Northeast Region—the place I call home—to join them for a week’s worth of their travels. 

It was great to be able to catch up, hang out, and run a great ArrowTour program with five of my closest friends and brothers from my home region in the Order of the Arrow. I joined the NER ArrowTour Road Crew in Binghamton, New York just before their stop at Onteora Scout Reservation. Called the “land in the sky,” Onteora provided a beautiful home for my first stop with this road crew. The stop also did not come without its difficulties: I grappled with learning the ropes (literally) as I aided in tethering our banner to the box truck and securing the vinyl panels to the tents. After leaving the brothers of Buckskin lodge in New York, our trip turned northward. We visited Chippanyonk Lodge at Camp Resolute in Massachusetts , celebrated with Grand Manandock Lodge at Camp Wanocksett in New Hampshire, bonded with Ajapeu Lodge at Mount Norris in Vermont, and rounded the trip off with Madockawanda Lodge at Camp William Hinds in Maine. 

While I enjoyed every minute, ArrowTour was no vacation. Setting up each day on both the Central and Northeast Road Crews required hard work. Waking up early to shovel tents, equipment and (of course) patches out of the box truck each day took strength and commitment. The words “cheerful service” resonate with me when I consider how each road crew and host lodge member alike came together to work hard, set up the exhibit, and enjoy the tour together. The Scouts and Arrowmen I met on my journey—young and old alike—really made this experience special. These men and women make me proud to call the Order of the Arrow my home. I can’t wait to continue my interactions with some great Arrowmen later this year. But for now, I look forward to traveling back to my actual home near Scranton, PA, for some rest and relaxation before the largest event the Order has ever seen: the 2015 NOAC.

- 2015 National Vice Chief Donnie Stephens

Shown above: Silk screened T-shirts on display at a Northeast Region ArrowTour stop. Photo credit: Bob Black 

One of the big pillars of ArrowTour is to connect with the opportunity the Order of the Arrow and Scouting have to offer. Of course, as brothers in the OA we’ve all connected with members of our lodges through some incredible fellowship. However, opportunities to connect with brothers outside our lodges can be rarer. I got to experience one such connection while I was staffing the silk screening tent at Owenco Lodge’s ArrowTour stop at Camp Sequassen. As I silk screened a shirt for nice couple, they inquired where I was from. When I mentioned I’m from West Chester, PA, they immediately recited the name of the street I live on. As it turned out, they were related to my old senior patrol leader Greg, who lived right down the road from me. In that moment, I had the opportunity to reflect on many great summer camp experiences with Greg that I had in Troop 65 of Exton, PA. Meeting someone who knew Greg so far from home, and who had the interest in me to strike up a conversation made my experience at ArrowTour just that much more incredible. Even better, they too shared my passion for Scouting and the Order of the Arrow. I never know who I have the opportunity to connect with on ArrowTour, but everyday I meet knew Arrowmen, see old friends and connect with Scouting in new and amazing ways!

- Northeast Region Road Crew Member Alex Hughes

Shown above: An up-close shot of the ArrowTour brands at a Central Region stop. Photo Credit: Matthew Koch

10 stops down, and the Central Region ArrowTour Crew has already had a summer we will never forget! From Nebraska to Ohio, we’ve explored the very heartland of America. While the sight of the Gateway Arch, the vast Great Plains and the rolling Appalachians have been thrilling, our experiences with local Arrowmen and volunteers have been even more inspiring. Rolling into our first stop at Camp Cornhusker, we were welcomed warmly at the camp, and given a camp tour and good food. Friendships were kindled, stories shared, and after years of planning, it was amazing to see our national centennial experience take shape.

Nearly three weeks have passed now, and the adventure continues. Every lodge we come to, we see new faces, learn more about its specialties and traditions, and see cheerful service at its finest. This program is completely dependent on the service and support of our host lodges, and seeing them jump at the opportunity to help has rekindled our appreciation for our brotherhood.

Some highlights stand out among our travels: our first stop suffered a major thunderstorm which tested us thoroughly. We ended up wet, but spirits were high, a testament to the cheerfulness of our Order. In Bloomington, Indiana we visited Indiana University, the host of numerous past NOAC’s. As we retraced our history, we heard stories from the past from those who were there, only increasing our excitement for our conference in just over a month!

As we get ready for the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s ArrowTour stop and evening fireworks display, our thoughts go to all the friends we’ve made so far, many who are probably doing much the same. ArrowTour is special not just for the history and program it brings, but the broad and nationwide brotherhood it represents. I already know that when I look back on this summer someday, I will think most fondly on the inspiring lodge chiefs, officers, advisers and servant leaders I’ve met, and will continue to befriend. Our Order is a brotherhood above all else, and ArrowTour is proving that point to its core.

- Central Region Crew Chief Ricky Angeletti 

A Day in the Life: A Typical Thursday

8:00 AM: Rise and Shine

I wake up to the wonders of Spotify, take a shower, get dressed, and eat a bagel. Also, vitamins are a must.

9:10 AM-10:30 AM: Specialized Writing

I was very fortunate to be able to fit my classes between Monday at three and Thursday at 4:30. This allowed me to miss minimal classes and travel on Fridays. My first class was the easiest and one of the most beneficial. It focused on how you should and should not, communicate in a business environment.

10:30 AM-3:00 PM: Office Hours

I work at the University of Akron Office of the Controller. Basically, I work with accountants to help manage the finances of the school. The work I do on a daily basis is dependent on the time of the month and departmental needs. I do things like payroll adjustments, voucher corrections, journals, and running reports. I also do administrative tasks like filing, scanning, and being a department mail around campus.

3:15 PM-4:30 PM: Supply Chain

This class is a core requirement for the school of business. Think of the Sequence of Events session from the National Leadership Seminar (NLS). That’s basically what it is.

4:30 PM-6:00 PM: OA “Office Hours”

After class, I usually catch up on emails, texts and messages in the concourse of the business school for an hour. I also check into my flight for the next day and hatch out any outstanding action items I needed to get done before the end of the week. Then I’ll meet up with a friend or two around 5:30 PM to grab food.

6:00 PM-8:00 PM: Phi Delta Theta Study Hours

Every member of Phi Delta Theta has required academic study hours in the library. During this time I turn my phone off and focus on my classwork and studying. This gives me the opportunity to finish all of my schoolwork so I can focus on Scouting for the weekend.

8:00 PM-9:00 PM: Swim Club Practice

I am a member of the Akron Swim Club that trains every night of the week. This is my one outlet for exercise and gives me a time to reflect on what happened over the day.

9:30 PM-10:30 PM: Central Region Conference Call

Every Thursday there is a conference call in the Central Region. It rotates between ArrowTour, NLS, communications and section chiefs. The goal is to keep everything on track and make deadlines for all projects in the region.

10:30 PM: Bedtime

2014 Central Region Chief Ricky Angeletti

C-1A’s Section Conclave is one that I will remember for a long time. The location of the event at The Ripley Minnesota National Guard Base brought unique programs that are not normally offered at typical Scout events. For example, I slept in a barrack and explored the base’s live fire training center. Interestingly, the military base had every type of building you would see in a small town ranging from a church to a gas station.

My favorite event at C1-A’s Conclave was the powwow, as it was fascinating to see everyone enter the circle and participate in the inter-tribal dances. It was led by Wally, a Native American, and newly inducted Ordeal member. Wally is a pillar of the Section C-1A community. He has dedicated his time towards teaching Native American culture for years. He had such a kind and generous heart. I enjoyed listening to his description of Native American culture and his explanation of the powwow.

Through casual conversation during the powwow someone asked me if I owned any regalia. I told them that I didn’t, but I had no problem dancing in my field uniform since I had done so at previous powwows. Later that evening I was graciously given my own set of full grass dancer regalia. To say I was speechless would be an understatement. The kindness of the members of Section C-1A is incredible. After spending only a weekend with them, I feel part of their family. I had a blast and I know that everyone else that attended the conclave did as well!

- 2014 Central Region Chief Ricky Angeletti

I had the pleasure of joining 2014 National Chief Nick Dannemiller and 2014 Southern Region Chief Wesley Seaman for an outstanding time at the SR2-3S Lone Star Fellowship last month. The weekend’s theme was “Arrowman State of Mind,” and we gathered at Texas State University to reflect on what it means to be an Arrowman in Scouting and non-Scouting life.

Due to our early arrival in Texas, we had the chance to experience some of the local favorites. We saw the capital, tasted local BBQ and played a short game of mini golf before arriving at the university. We then went to the opening show, where we became oriented with what to expect during the weekend.

We hit the ground running early Saturday, and I had the chance to deliver a keynote address at the Vigil Breakfast. There, I shared that even we, members of the Vigil Honor, must look to the 100th anniversary as an opportunity to strengthen our Arrowman State of Mind through committing to redouble our service and inspiring others to do the same. Following breakfast, we broke up and delivered different training cells, including a Chapter Leadership Summit, and spent time at the EPICenter. During my time as section vice chief of SR-7A, I developed a syllabus for the Chapter Leadership Summit; it was very refreshing to see this tool utilized beyond my personal use. The EPICenter was made up of an assortment of booths ranging from a fire truck, to a police tactical vehicle, and even a NOAC promotions area. Before we jumped in to the afternoon activities, we attended the VIA luncheon for conclave and lodge leadership, along with each lodge’s youngest Arrowman. Wes delivered remarks on his Arrowman State of Mind during the meal.

The afternoon was spent partaking in many awesome activities. Several hundred participants and guests tubed down the San Marcos River that runs through campus. This was both a great time to relax and a cultural experience, as tubing around campus is common practice for locals. We then went on to check out the paint wars where Arrowmen took their silk screened shirts from that morning and flung paint at one another. Talk about a crazy mess!

That evening, we all participated in a gathering where we had the opportunity to watch a section election and a theme show. Congratulations to the 2014-2015 officers (Alex Call, section chief; Rod Reyna, section vice chief; Lane Randall, section secretary) who were elected that night. The evening concluded with the Arrowman Bash where lodges served fried oreos, sausages, root beer and more. They also held activities like music/lasers and a game of ga-ga ball.

The weekend was filled with ingenuity, inspiration and fun as we worked together to find our Arrowman State of Mind. Best of luck to the newly elected officers as they plan their centennial conclave!

- 2014 National Vice Chief Taylor Bobrow

Attendees and guests from SR2-3S’s Section Conclave, the Lone Star Fellowship, during the weekend of July 16-18th are very excited for the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference!

Where will you be on August 3rd, 2015? Share with us your centennial plans!

I had an incredible time participating in the OA Ocean Adventure program at the Florida Sea Base! Before arriving at base camp, I had no idea what to expect from this program. I was pleasantly surprised with an outstanding program during which I was challenged from beginning to end.

Our week of service consisted of giving service to Munson Island by creating an erosion barrier. The crew gathered rocks near the shoreline to build the barrier on the upslope of a trail. Lunch in the shade was welcomed after working for most of the morning. One of our days of service was spent hunting for lionfish, an invasive species of fish found to be disrupting the ecosystem of the Florida Keys. It was great to get out in the water and dive into some reefs while still having the opportunity to serve! We found another opportunity to give service at Camp Sawyer, a nearby camp operated by the local council. The crew helped out by clearing lumber out of a garage, working on a turnpike heading toward the dock and sledging concrete out of tires which had been placed on the beach. During the afternoon, our crew enjoyed a few coconuts we had gathered from a tree within the camp.

When our workweek concluded, we prepared for our time aboard, “The Green Olive.” The time at sea flew by as the hours were spent snorkeling, fishing and sailing. Our crew dived at Alligator Reef and the wreck of the San Pedro, to name a few. One of the best parts of our trek was a stop at Indian Key, an island rich with history dating back hundreds of years. During our time on the ship, I learned a very important lesson about sunscreen: it works best when applied before going out into the sun. Although my back burned redder than my swim trunks, I still had an awesome time getting out into the water every day to dive in world-class reefs!

It was a privilege to be a member of crew 714. The memories, friendships, and experience I had will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thanks again to the OAOA staff for providing the program and allowing the program to provide! Now that I’ve finished my OAHA trips for the summer, it’s back to planning for ArrowTour and the Gathering of Leaders!

- 2014 Northeast Region Chief Kyle Piper

“We arrived as strangers, we worked together as friends, and we left, as brothers.”  – OA Trail Crew 622 | 2014

There are few things in this life that cause us to step back and reflect on where we are and who we are. I had no idea when I sat down in a small van at the Denver airport that I was about to embark on such an experience. I remember watching the sun disappear behind the tall, majestic peaks of the Rockies as I struggled to keep my eyes open, tired from a long day of travel. What would happen over the next two weeks would redefine my thoughts about where I am right now, what my priorities are and where I need to go as a person.

We Arrived as Strangers

Sunrise is one of the most beautiful times at Philmont Scout Ranch. The entire sky shines as the massive rock faces of the mountains light up brilliantly in the sun’s golden light. Scouts from all across the country can be seen starting to move, emerging from their tents, getting ready to hit the trails or heading home from their unique adventure. A small group of us, mostly complete strangers to one another, gathered in a circle beside our tents. There was some talk, a few shy introductions and plenty of curiosity about what the coming program would entail. We had no idea, but we were now together for an experience that would challenge us in ways we never anticipated.

Soon base camp becomes a bustling city. Crews of Scouts move this way and that, checking out gear, gathering supplies, returning used items from their treks, making last-minute runs to the trading post, all the while preparing to depart one way or another. As we made our way through all of this ordered chaos, our crew didn’t seem much different than the others. True, we came together from many places across the country, but as individuals we were still just Scouts. We wore the same uniforms, went through the same program, and arrived at Philmont with the same purpose. In that way we were connected to everyone else there.

We Worked Together as Friends

Order of the Arrow Trail Crew (OATC) begins with a week of building trail. I had built trail before as a part of Summit Corps in 2011, so I had some idea of what to expect. What I did not expect, however, was the amazing beauty of the location. We made our way from base camp to 10,500 feet above sea-level where the high-pine forest almost completely replaces the swaying aspens. Our work site was located on the back of Mt. Phillips, where the Order has set out to build a new trail from Clear Creek Camp up to the summit of the mountain. Once it is completed, this trail will be about four miles long and rise about 1,500 feet in elevation through untouched wilderness.

“Worked” may not be quite the right word. Building a trail is a lot of hard physical work, but our crew was having such a great time - it really didn’t seem like work at all! There is something satisfying about looking back, seeing a smooth hiking trail and realizing that there used to be nothing there but rough forest terrain. The process of making that happen is so much fun! I remember coming across a boulder almost bigger than me, and then figuring out how to move it with some of my fellow crew members. Three hours, a broken sledge hammer and two rock bars later, we managed to remove the rock from the trail. Through experiences like that, I came to know my fellow crew members. I learned that many of them, like I, had interests in engineering and science. I also learned that some of them have the same hobbies as I do, such as writing and video gaming. The experiences we shared brought us closer together. We were not a bunch of individuals going out to the work site every day to do our own part and return when time was up; we were a group of friends pioneering a pathway through the woods, exploring together, helping each other and returning when our job was done.

We Left as Brothers

To attempt to describe what happened on our trek seems almost hopeless. The sheer power of what we did, what we experienced and what we accomplished is difficult to describe in words alone. All of it now floats through my head like a string of stills or short moments captured in time during the experience. I remember singing and clapping and laughing with my crew members as back-country camp staff performed “Wagon Wheel” for us at the Cyphers Mine Stomp. I remember laying on a rocky cliff as massive bursts of thunder above my head shook the ground around me, and echoed through the canyons and valleys below me. I remember the sun’s first light touching the tip of the Tooth of Time as our crew cheered for having made it all the way up with full packs on. I remember our voices joining together in the Philmont hymn, as we travelled into our final sunset together.

Many things happened on the trail. We built it. We traveled along it. We grew with it. For a small crew of young Arrowmen gathered from the furthest corners of our country, we lived by it. Together, we depended on each other to make it through our adventures. Two weeks spent together in the wild backcountry of Scouting paradise would come to help define who we are. While circumstance brought us together, our time spent together and the experiences we shared would bind us as brothers.

My time on OA Trail Crew stuck with me. OA Trail Crew was one of the most challenging experiences of my life - both physically and mentally. It was that challenge, however, that made the experience all the more powerful. Each amazing person I met and each personal story they told moved me to rediscover something in myself. Detaching myself completely from the outside world, spending time with such inspirational people and getting to know them reminded me of a promise I made to myself before heading into that election room those many months ago: “Never forget who you are”. While the responsibilities of the world, and the power of our positions seeks so heavily to distract us, we must always remember that we are people inside too. Don’t forget to pay attention to that little person inside of you. It is important to take the time to just be you, and always be true to who you are. Because of my OA Trail Crew experience, I now know that being true to oneself is something I will never forget.

- 2014 Western Region Chief Michael Kintscher