In an effort to be inclusive to all Arrowmen, the Order of the Arrow is offering the opportunity for name changes on Vigil and Founder’s award certificates. Arrowmen may need to change their names for many different reasons including marriage, divorce or a change in gender identity. Transgender Arrowmen and those who do not associate with a gender face challenges in everyday life and this is one way that the Order of the Arrow can express its acceptance and support of these individuals.
Erin Russ, an OA member who is affected by this change, expressed why it was important to her that the name on her Vigil Certificate match her chosen name.
“For almost 30 years I was excluded from Scouting because of who I am. Five years ago I found out that I could return to an organization that I love and to which I attribute as the source of the majority of the leadership and technical skills that are a large part of my personal and professional success in life.
My return to the fold was not complete because all of my previous records were under the name that was not me. With this change I now can say I feel seen, understood, and accepted. Now I will be able to have records where my chosen name and my Vigil name can appear side-by-side and truly describe who I am.” - Erin Russ, Lodge Adviser of Papago Lodge 494
As Erin expresses, this is an important step in the OA’s goal to ensure transgender Arrowmen and those who do not associate with a gender feel welcome, understood and accepted. Beyond that, the name change form will also benefit Arrowmen whose name changes for other reasons, such as marriage or divorce. Overall, the opportunity to allow Arrowmen to change their name on their Vigil and Founder’s Award certificates will ensure that all recipients of these awards have their correct name and true identity represented on the certificates of the awards that they have received in recognition of their contributions to Scouting.
The name change forms can be accessed on the National Order of the Arrow trading post website at https://tradingpost.oa-bsa.org/other/awards-certificates/.