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Conducting an Effective Induction

  Frank Schaefer             Officer Outlook

National Induction Resources

Every year, lodges across the Order of the Arrow hold inductions to help grow their chapters, lodges, and sections. The Induction allows candidates to understand our values and purpose through a unique adventure. To help lodges effectively plan each stage of the induction, the OA has set national quality standards and created resources to help leaders across the country achieve these standards. 


The Induction adventure begins with the unit election and ends when members seal their membership at the Brotherhood Ceremony. Fully understanding and leading this adventure can be complex, but fortunately, the Order of the Arrow provides resources for every stage of the Induction process. These resources help Arrowmen and lodges to fully understand, plan, and execute inductions. 


The largest collection of national resources can be found on the OA’s Inductions Portal. This portal provides many different tools that can help a lodge plan a successful induction. 


The portal includes access to the Unit Elections Handbook (formerly called the Guide to Unit Elections), the Inductions Handbook (formerly called the Guide to Inductions), and Polestar: Inductions Leadership Training. The portal also includes articles with the newest updates to national standards, resources for conducting ceremonies, and ceremonial evaluation guidance.


The Induction experience begins with the unit election. The Unit Elections Handbook has all the resources necessary to conduct quality unit elections. It provides all policies, sample paperwork, copies of necessary forms, and a FAQ. It also takes an in-depth look into the features of an excellent unit election. The Unit Elections Handbook also links to a nationally produced video to standardize the OA's message and make it easier to facilitate virtual elections. Within this portion of the Inductions Portal, an election form packet can be printed and used to report election results. For more information on the Unit Elections Handbook, please click here.


The Inductions Handbook provides national policy for each stage of the Induction, planning resources, guidance on how to train ceremonialists and elangomats, and an outline to lead candidates through the Induction. It is also a vehicle to highlight why the Induction is designed how it is currently administered and the reasons behind every detail. The National Coordinator for Inductions and Ceremonial Events (ICE), Emily Brothman, gave insight into how to best use the Inductions Handbook:


“The best advice I would give anybody on making the Induction process work is following the policy and best practices that have been published. There's a reason to have a policy, and there are reasons behind why the Order of the Arrow has made the changes that have been made. I feel it's very important that lodges across the country offer the same program, no matter what lodge you are a part of.”


For more information on the Inductions Handbook, click here.


The Ceremony Resources section of the Inductions Portal is broken down into each ceremony that the OA facilitates. The Ordeal and Pre-Ordeal Ceremony, Brotherhood Ceremony, and Vigil Honor Ceremony resource tabs include informational videos, sample ceremonial demonstrations, and documents that explain the specific ceremonies in greater detail. These can be used to better understand the ceremonies within the Order of the Arrow and help ceremonialists learn what a well-rehearsed, high-quality ceremony could look like, and what candidates deserve. 


Also contained within the Inductions Portal are guidelines for coaching and evaluating ceremonies teams. The guidelines for ceremonial evaluations provide the appropriate criteria and standards for Arrowmen to prepare and deliver high-quality ceremonies. For more information on the Inductions Handbook, contact @email.


The final resource of the Inductions Portal is Polestar. One of the creators of this training and the current national Polestar adviser, Ryan Showman, explains Polestar as “an extremely detailed account and training in the ‘why’ of the Induction adventure, the backbone of the Order of the Arrow.” 


The core of the training program is a ten-chapter video. Accompanying the video is a workbook that explains the purpose of the Induction. Polestar is designed to be given in a group setting and has built-in opportunities for discussion and collaboration of Arrowmen. The first six chapters reference the journey through the unit elections to the Ordeal Ceremony, chapters seven and eight deal with Brotherhood, and the final two chapters deal with the practical implementation of the national Standard Ordeal (also found in the Inductions Handbook) and a charge to all Arrowmen to focus on the experience of the candidates. This training is open to all Arrowmen, with chapter and lodge leaders as the primary audience. Polestar: Induction Leadership Training is best offered at an in-person lodge or section event, led by trained Polestar facilitators. For more information on training, please click here or contact @email.


The Order of the Arrow’s national induction resources help lodges understand, execute, and enhance the induction adventure. Successful inductions are vital to lodges’ growth and membership retention, factors that improve the OA altogether. Thus, utilizing these different resources helps lodge leaders deliver quality induction experiences to every candidate.