Opening Show Review
It was the Opening Show of the 2004 National Order of the Arrow Conference. Dimly lit and filled with a light mist of fog, the Hilton Coliseum came to life as the music began playing, and rays of light shot through the arena from every open door. Within minutes, thousands of excited Arrowmen filled the auditorium. Some were wearing santa hats, others were holding blinking arrows, and still others spelling their lodge name by holding up signs constructed with tubes of some sort.
Soon everyone had found their seats. From out of the gloom a voice boomed, "there will be no need to do laundry here at NOAC because we are giving out shirts during the opening show." Members of the show staff then charged the crowd armed with air cannons that launched t-shirts. Arrowmen went after the t-shirts like fans going after a foul ball at a baseball game. Shortly after that,
The spotlights and cameras swept the arena in search for four lucky Arrowmen to sit in the famed sky box.The sky box is an area where a select number of Arrowmen are treated like royalty. Stocked with recliner chairs, candy, refreshments and their very own hostess, the sky box is a utopia for the selected Arrowmen.
During the pre-show excitement, many Arrowmen attempted, and eventually succeeded, in creating "the wave". One lodge was also selected for special seating for the show. The lucky lodge, Ktemaque Lodge - Westchester-Putnam Council #388, came down and took their seats center stage. A movie from Hunnikick Lodge - Burlington County Council #690 was selected for viewing during the preshow. Then the lights fully dimmed and the show got underway.
Brad Haddock , National Chairman of the Order of the Arrow, took the stage to introduce Tom Latham, Congressman for Iowa's 4th Congressional District. After some remarks from Congressman Latham, a preview to the much anticipated theme show was played. Once the video preview completed, it was onto the show!
A green glow hovered over the crowd, as they were challenged wit the question of "Why are we here?" The question was soon answered as two scouts painted the theme for the conference, challenging each participant to make the theme "Chosen to Serve - Inspired to Lead" their own. The principle that one can influence many was illustrated by the two Scouts holding a triangular mirror, reflecting beams of light into the crowd. Soon after, the arena erupted with light, explosions, and hundreds of Scouts carrying signs of their lodge flap into the arena.
The parade of lodge flaps, followed by the national anthem as fireworks went off and patriotic were shown on the screen. It was a very emotional time indeed. The Region Chiefs, National Vice Chief, and National Chief were then introduced to the conference. After the traditional bonnets of office were presented to the National Chief and Vice Chief, they each took the podium to address the conference as a whole for the first time.
David Dowty, National Vice Chief, remained on the stage as he shared with the conference an experience from Philmont where he was "Chosen to serve - Inspired to Lead." David spoke about his experience as a member of a Philmont OA Trail Crew, a true mountaintop experience. He reminded us of the bond of brotherhood, his crew created as they hiked through Philmont. Even though they had only recently met as strangers, by the end of the trip, they were a team ... brothers, and acted as if they had known each other all their lives. The experience left him to ponder how to create "a true brotherhood", internal and external to the Order. He charged us to expand the Order and its principles beyond the organization and provide "true brotherhood" in all aspects of your life. This was followed by a brief presentation on the National Endowment Fund. A new and improved Lodge Leadership Development Program, or LLD, was announced as well.
The show closed with an explosive display of fireworks, and a review of the day's events, which included TOAP, the Redneck Games, and registration. The Region Chiefs also re-emphasized the theme of the conference - "Chosen to Serve - Inspired to Lead", discussed its meaning, and encouraged us to open new doors of opportunity and experience during, and after, this conference. You never know what lies beyond a closed door. Brothers, we are ready to start this conference!