Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, although not a new concept, has helped Arrowmen across the nation feel more comfortable and included in the Order of the Arrow. Like many other young women in this organization, I have found myself growing as not only an Arrowman, but as a person as a result of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and their work. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team has given me the confidence to continue their work not only in my own lodge, but on the national level as well, changing lives of young women who attend the National Leadership Seminar. As a result of this confidence, I have grown from "Paige Morgan: lodge committee chair", to "Paige Morgan: role model." There is an Islamic proverb that says, “A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.” The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and their work over the years and at the 2022 National Order of the Arrow Conference prove that the Order of the Arrow is just that.
The Admonition Team debuted at the 2022 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC), which was held on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Thousands of Arrowmen joined the 2022 National Officers in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the ArrowPride community space, and over the course of the conference, Arrowmen from all walks of life were able to see themselves represented in these community spaces.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion was created to meet the needs of Arrowmen from all around the country, who all come from different backgrounds. “The way Diversity, Equity & Inclusion made sure young people had a meaningful experience was by specifically creating programs to meet the needs of Scouts of color, women, Scouts with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ and allied Scouts,” explained Diversity, Equity & Inclusion adviser Sam Aronson.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is made up of Scouts and Scouters from across the country, from all walks of life. Women, Scouts of color, Scouts with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ Scouts and allies of all ages came together to form a team to inspire and support these Scouts. With these individual teams, Scouts were able to see themselves in these leaders, and were inspired to go above and beyond in their service to the organization.
“Having someone there to advise them and inspire them can really help the future of our organization,” commented Jeremiah Croskey, one of the youth-adult leaders for the Scouts of Color community space. “It inspires them to go out and do more in their lodges and in their sections and overall communities.”
Many Arrowmen have found themselves in a place where they may feel that they have a lack of representation in their lodges and chapters. The goal of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is to make these Arrowmen feel comfortable, and to make sure that they matter. Emma W., one of the youth leaders for the Women in Scouting space, expanded upon this, explaining that they wanted to make their community space “a comfortable and inviting environment.”
Alexandria Braun, from Unami Lodge, One, felt truly represented when she first found the Admonition Team and their community spaces. “It was really cool to enter a room with some of my women advisers, being greeted by a room full of women, and seeing a wall with pictures of women in Scouting attire,” she reflected. “Women have always had a place in Scouting, but now this time as the Scouts. It feels really good to see that represented at such a large scale event.”
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion continues to expand, now with a new goal: localization. “The main initiative right now is localizing the work, making sure we’re meeting the needs of the members of the Order of the Arrow where they are,” Sam Aronson explained. By giving lodges the tools they need, they can easily support these scouts, and this has been seen in Section E10 at their 2023 section conclave.
Austin Piper, of Nentico Lodge 12, always knew he wanted to create a better environment for himself and for his fellow LGBTQ+ Arrowmen, but he never knew where to start. After being introduced to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the ArrowPride program at NOAC 2022, he knew he had to find a way to make it happen. At Section E10’s LEAD Conference, Austin pitched the idea of having an ArrowPride event at their section conclave, and the idea was approved. From there, he was able to sit down with Sam Aronson to make sure he could put on the best event he possibly could. “Because of the Admonition Team, I was enabled to pitch the idea of an ArrowPride event at the Section E10 conclave, and we successfully made that happen,” Austin explained.
The work that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has done is not something new to the organization, but it is something that has required a lot of support to produce. Arrowmen can check out the Women in Scouting, Scouts of Color, and LGBTQ+ and Allied Scouts teams at the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion tent at the 2023 National Jamboree, hosted at the Summit Bechtel Reserve this July.