The Opening Show of NOAC 1998
The atmosphere in the Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University was charged with excitement as music played and over 7,000 Arrowmen poured in to see the opening show of the 1998 NOAC. With the title of "Memories," the show focused on remembering past experiences, following dreams, and achieving goals. Before the show there was cartoon entertainment and a "LottOA" gameshow, a mock lottery won by Lodge 480, for V.I.P floor seats in the first rows.
The show began just after 8pm with famous inspirational quotations from historical American figures such as John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, and Ronald Reagan, among others. As these phrases echoed through the silence, changing images of the authors faces were flashed on large display screens. This was followed by a video summary of the Order of the Arrows many areas of service in 1997, specifically the OA Trail Crew at Philmont and The Outdoor Adventure Place (TOAP), Service Corps, Indian Village, and Odyssey of the Law at the National Jamboree.
As the video faded, fog and smoke filled the stage and a thundering voice announced: "Brothers, we are ready!" Three explosions went off around the stage and two men in Native American outfits took the stage to welcome everyone to the show and the Conference. They introduced Western Region Chief Brandon Fessler, Northeastern Region Chief Jason Kuder, Southern Region Chief Mark Angeli, and Central Region Chief Ryan King. Two more outfitted men joined the others on stage as National Chief Mathew Milleson and National Vice Chief David Petrush were introduced and had the ceremonial headdresses placed on them. The Vice Chiefs headdress featured a yellow ribbon memorializing 1997 National Vice Chief Josh Sain, who was tragically killed in an auto accident last year. The show was dedicated to his memory.
The traditional entrance of the Lodges was next. Each lodge was instructed to make a large wooden replica of their pocket flap to be displayed in this parade through the Hilton Coliseum. Benjamin, an Arrowman from Kansa Lodge #198, said that "[i]t was a unique experience to carry my Lodge's flap in the opening parade. I enjoyed it- it was fun being down front." After the entrance the audience was led in the Obligation of the Order and the singing of the National Anthem by the National Chief and Vice Chief. Martin Jischke, the President of Iowa State University, welcomed everyone to the campus and encouraged us to "treat it like a summer camp" by enjoying it and leaving it as clean as we would a campsite. The National Chief and Vice Chief also welcomed everyone to the Conference before leaving at the sound of a train whistle. The whistle was part of the show for the NOAC Training Committee about improving your foundation with training and education to get places.
National Vice Chief David Petrush returned to the stage along with Nate, a 14 year old Ordeal member, who was chosen from the audience to speak as a representative of the next generation of leaders later in the show. Petrush did a humorous bit with his twin brother Dan where he dispelled rumors about the OA, such as the rumor that Poppin Fresh, the Pilsbury Doughboy, would become the new logo for the Order. The National Vice Chief then continued his speech with comments on our organizations humble beginnings in 1915 and its national prominence today as the new honor society for the Boy Scouts of America.
National Chief Mathew Milleson spoke about the adoption of the Order of the Arrow as an integrated program of the BSA in 1948 and National Vice Chief David Petrush addressed the current efforts to prepare for "a second century of service to Scouting." Congressman Edward Pease, National Chairman of the Order, was introduced to discuss long range strategic planning. A major aspect of the new Order of the Arrow Strategic Plan is to officially become "Scoutings National Honor Society." A new logo will also be adopted, using the red arrowhead from the sash, to replace the current Indian head logo. The Region Chiefs then discussed some other goals of the Strategic Plan such as increased communication, more service to the local Council and community, more leadership training, and improved membership growth.
It was announced that every Lodge Chief attending the National Council of Chiefs meeting on Monday would receive copies of the Strategic Plan. In addition, to assist Lodges in adopting the new programs and implementing the Strategic Plan, a National Key Three Summit was announced. This event will be held on July 31-August 3, 1999, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Each Lodge Chief, Lodge Adviser, and Lodge Staff Adviser will be invited to this Summit and should plan to attend for valuable ideas and training.
The final portion of the opening show was about "organizing thoughts" to find one persons meaning of the NOAC experience. Boxes representing the thoughts were stacked and then turned to reveal a large 1998 NOAC logo created on the back of the boxes as small explosions went off on both sides of the stage. The lights came back up and the crowd slowly dispersed from the Hilton Coliseum buzzing about the "neat explosions" and "inspiring speeches" that they had witnessed.
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