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Introducing the OA’s New Team Focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Mental Health

  Austin Clark      

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“Let us try to find the arrow,” are the words we all heard during our Ordeal. That journey to catch a higher vision of a life of cheerful service is one that is ever-changing and does not have a direct path.

To ensure that every OA member can catch that higher vision, the OA must ensure the social and emotional development of our membership is supported in OA spaces. Having this premise in mind, the Admonition Team was formed earlier this year to focus on improving the experience of Order of the Arrow members by caring for the wellbeing of our young people and building a loving community where everyone belongs and thrives.

The Admonition Team’s work over the last six months includes the release of content focused on raising awareness about suicide prevention and where Scouts can turn for support if they or someone they know are struggling. We have also leveraged social media to promote the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion by commemorating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month and Juneteenth

The Admonition Team was able to showcase its work during the National Council of Chiefs (NCOC) at Philmont this past summer, hosting two training sessions and three affinity spaces for lodge and section leaders from across the nation. The training sessions, which focused on mental health first aid and best practices for inclusive event planning, were highly rated by many NCOC delegates, and Admonition Team members were individually flooded with positive responses by youth and adults alike throughout the week. The affinity spaces were small pop-ups focusing on Scouts of color, women, and LGBTQ+ and allied Scouts. Attendees were greeted with snacks and music, stickers and lots of affirming fellowship.

Our team has quickly expanded to meet the needs of this important work. With teams focusing on mental health, external communications, and learning/training, the Admonition Team is able to meet the needs of Arrowmen from across the country. 

The effects of this first of a kind work are already being felt throughout our organization. The more that our work is broadcast, the more our team hears the need for more support, resources, and visibility to ensure a safe and inclusive Scouting experience for everyone. 

This is just the beginning of our work as we create content and catalogue best practices so that our local leaders understand the techniques to create a welcoming environment for every Scout and every level of our organization. 

To learn more about the Admonition Team and/or to offer support contact us at @email.