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Ask the Chairman - OA Merchandise Rules

January 24, 2018     Ask the Chairman

Q: Mike,

Our lodge is wondering if there are any rules regarding OA merchandise being sold to non-members. Are we allowed to sell OA merchandise (hats, shirts, etc.) to non-members including lodge flaps and patches? Or are they all restricted to members of the OA only? Can we sell OA items even to people who were never inducted into the OA? Thanks.   




A: Elliot,

Thanks for your question. The National OA Committee addressed your question in the 2015 edition of the Order of the Arrow Handbook on page 65 under “OA Pocket Flap.” It says: “The National Order of the Arrow Committee recommends that no restrictions be placed on the purchase of lodge flap patches.” Over time we have extrapolated this to mean no restrictions on property sales generally. Not all lodges follow this, and in fact some write into their lodge rules that sales are restricted to dues-paying members. The National OA Committee has been supportive of lodges that address the issue through their lodge rules. Most importantly, the text I referred you to the in the Handbook goes on to say: “Members may only wear the lodge pocket flap of the lodge where their dues are paid.”

As an example – if the lodge sells sets of lodge flaps and non-Arrowmen purchase them for their collection, that is probably safe. If a new scout buys your lodge flap to put on his uniform before completing the Ordeal, that is not good. If non-Arrowmen want to buy sashes, probably also not good. If you sell lodge t-shirts, for sale to all as a fundraiser, that is probably ok.  

I would make sure that your OA trading post operation has sounds rules and policies in place on what can and cannot be sold to both Arrowmen and non-Arrowmen. Work with your entire LEC to establish guidelines that make the most sense for your local lodge.  

I hope this helps! Thanks for doing what you do!