Skip to main content

Ask the Chairman - Vigil Honor Selection

October 29, 2016     Ask the Chairman

Q. Ray,

I am in a council that has a local Order of the Arrow lodge of over 4,600 members. Upon reading the Vigil nomination information, it has been determined that the lodge can submit 92 Vigil Honor candidates to the national office. However, for the past several years we have been submitting less than half the number that they allow and often as low as one-third. This seems like a disservice to the boys and adults who not only meet the requirements, but also often have continued to do so for years without this recognition.

It is obvious that not all of the candidates that meet the requirements can become Vigil Honor members as this is a very high honor, but isn't it just as obvious that if 96 candidate slots are open and there are several hundred recommendations, that the maximum number nomination be made for the sake of the Order and the Scouts? This is personal to me, as I have nominated at least three Scouts over the past few years who have exceeded the requirements and still continue to do so by supporting the troop, camping, Cub Scouts and other volunteer organizations in the area. Yet, they have not been selected.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


A. Jake,

As you know, page 31 of the Guide to Officers and Advisers states, "The lodge chief appoints a Vigil Honor nominating committee chairman and committee members composed of youths who have been approved by the lodge adviser and Scout Executive. The lodge adviser appoints one adult adviser in consultation with the lodge chief and staff adviser. The chairman and committee members are usually Vigil Honor members; however, any youth member of the lodge may serve on the committee, provided that he is not eligible to receive the Vigil Honor. In selecting Vigil Honor candidates, the lodge nominating committee may reach agreement through consensus, without a formal vote. However, if a vote is taken in order to select Vigil Honor candidates, only those members younger than 21 may vote, as in all OA matters."

Clearly, Vigil Honor selections are a youth decision, but as adults we have a part in the selection process by nominating deserving candidates. The youth do not always concur with our recommendations, but the composition of the Vigil Honor selection committee changes on a routine basis. Hence, I would continue to recommend annually those persons you believe are worthy Vigil Honor nominees.

Rarely does a lodge fill its Vigil Honor quota every year, similar to many units not electing their maximum number of Ordeal candidates on an annual basis. In fact, several lodges routinely do not select the maximum number of Vigil Honor candidates permitted. Why? Because the youth in their opinion have determined that fewer Vigil Honor nominees are truly worthy of selection in a given year(s). We as adults may not concur with their decision, but we respect the fact that it is a youth decision. Not surprisingly, the Vigil Honor carries important significant for many recipients because of this youth-only selection process.

Thanks so much for writing, and please continue your admirable efforts to recognize deserving Scouts and Scouters.