Brotherhood and Fellowship
by Don Cunningham, 2001 National OA Chief
When Dr. Goodman founded our great and honored Order, he glimpsed a vision.
This vision was his dream of unity and a common bond that drew human beings
together under the same purpose. The product of this dream is the reality
of the Order of the Arrow today. It is an opportunity to aim for something
higher. It gives Scouts and Scouters alike the chance to go beyond the routines
of their units to gain special leadership experience and give back to those
who elected them. The Order is an endless cycle and its possibilities are
infinite. The root of it all lies with the brotherhood and fellowship that
bring members together.
My fondest memories are not those marked with spectacular
facilities or dynamic programs, but rather firelight conversations with
fellow brothers, long thoughtful walks to a bluff or creek-side with a group
of Arrowmen, and laughing about the challenges of boyhood with younger Scouts.
It only takes the outdoors and a group of guys to make an event truly brilliant!
It is soon evident that the Arrowmen (not the place) are what make an event
memorable. Dr. Goodman knew this and it is for this reason that we began
as the National Society of Honor Campers. We were born in the outdoors and
will continue to bring our spirit to life there. It is no coincidence that
brotherhood is the first of our three principles. Moreover, you will notice
that symbolism in our ceremonies makes the most reference to the "bonds
of brotherhood" and the fellowship that comes from it.
When I began as a thirteen year old Ordeal member, I was frightened to meet
new people, initially had trouble discovering where it was that I fit in,
and was intimidated by the gathering of so many Scouts from so many different
units and walks of life. I always contemplated how and why they came together
so many times during the year. Little did I know that each one of them,
though very different, shared in the same dream, the same vision as Dr.
Goodman had caught so many years ago. It was another six months until I
finally found my place and realized that my ticket to grasping this vision
was becoming involved. I did just that, and I do not regret a single second
of the time I have spent in spirit of brotherhood.
Before his untimely death, our founder said in so many
words: Hope for the best! Those who knew him recognized a special twinkle
in his eyes. His vision of brotherhood, fellowship, and unity among all
people was as ablaze in his heart as the fire in the circle. Our work is
his legacy. All that we do and say is a reflection of the foundation he
built to lead us and lead others.
Those of you who have glimpsed that flash of light (Dr.
Goodman's vision) have an obligation to share it with your brethren. Those
of you who have not yet seen it, do not worry. I thought I would never find
it, until one day (out of nowhere) it was right in front of me all that
time; I just never realized it. It is like many other things in the Order,
always present (from the very Ordeal induction), but without the right ability
to view it. Strive to view it, my brothers, and make it your dream too.
It is a part of all of us, and I assure you, that when you discover it,
you will never let it perish, but will hold it forever dear to your heart.