Not so long ago, each one of us walked into a camp full of Scouts from across our state (or maybe even multiple states), and we likely sat down at a Friday evening show or campfire to hear “welcome to conclave!” It was shouted with enthusiasm, reverberating throughout the camp. Whether that conclave was our first or fifteenth, it welcomed us to the brotherhood that extends beyond our own chapter and lodge. With spring, conclave season is upon us and it is our turn to welcome Arrowmen to that greater brotherhood.
Conclave is more than just a weekend event. It is a moment to change a young Arrowman’s perspective on the Order, Scouting, and even life. When thinking back to conclaves we have attended, our thoughts immediately go to first impressions. When arriving at a conclave there is an excitement and wow factor, and no matter how many conclaves one has been to, they are having a “first” and are enthusiastic just being there. It may be their first time attending a section event, first time staffing, or even just the first time visiting a new site, but as a leader, it is up to you to make that first impression stick with guests, so they continue to return to learn, serve, and have fun with Arrowmen from their section.
A conclave is designed to extend and improve the local programs that are the bedrock of the OA. Lodges can share best practices on how to increase brotherhood conversion or even on how to make an amazing cobbler. The ability to meet someone that is not only outside of a Scout's home council, but home state, is incredible. Sometime a conclave weekend is the only time a youth may be able to meet a section or national officer, and when we do meet these youth, it is our duty to make sure they feel that they are the most important person there. At conclaves, we have the opportunity to change lives and make lasting memories.
Conclave is also the place to encourage Arrowmen to participate in national events. This spring, we encourage you to use your own experiences to promote OA High Adventure. You can also share the opportunity to #FuelScoutingsAdventure at the 2017 National Jamboree. Operation Arrow ambassadors should be engaged as part of the conclave program. Try setting up a registration station where Arrowmen can sign up to be OA Trek Guides, and make sure lodge leaders without summer plans get to be part of the OA’s largest ever jamboree service effort.
If your conclave has an AIA program, engage with those Arrowmen too! Encourage them to come join the OA during the week of June 6th-10th, 2017 at the Wachipi American Indian Seminar hosted at the beautiful Philmont Scout Ranch. The Wachipi American Indian Seminar will be a unique event. Arrowmen from around the country will gather to celebrate, honor, and learn about the OA’s rich history and tradition of the American Indian.
In conclusion, we’d like to say welcome to spring, to conclave season, and to what will be a summer full of opportunity. We’d love it if you extended that welcome to the Arrowmen you meet, especially at your conclave.
Yours in Service,
Forrest & Talon
2017 National Chief & National Vice Chief