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Lodge Leaders Challenged to Prioritize Membership Growth

  National Vice Chief Steven Buer       December 07, 2022       Officer Outlook

Lodge leaders challenged to prioritize membership growth

At NOAC this summer, the National Council of Chiefs (NCOC) convened for a banquet where National Chief Tim Reiss issued a challenge to all lodge key 3 members:

“It is my challenge to you that for everything your lodge does, do it with a membership growth mindset. Make membership growth your number one priority.”

We always strive to see membership growth in our organization, which is especially important considering recent trends. Since 2016, the Order has lost more than a quarter of our adult members and over a third of our youth, with the recent pandemic accelerating our losses. What can you do to help stop this decline and build a brighter future for the Order? That question was the subject of the youth session of NCOC held on Thursday morning at NOAC. 

With over 325 youth leaders attending, participants explored the components necessary for membership growth, considered possible barriers to entry, and reviewed several proposals to achieve growth. Consistent communication, a quality experience, creative programming, and overall great fellowship are how we grow the Order. Adding more members allows us to expand our program possibilities, build more lifelong friendships, and accomplish the most amazing goals. Over 90% of the youth leaders said their NCOC experience provided them with the tools they need to grow their lodge membership. Now is the time to put that experience into action and help our Order grow. 

One of the objectives of the OA 2022-2023 National Business Plan is to stabilize youth membership by increasing the percentage of Scouts who are OA members. While the National OA Committee is committed to ensuring that all lodges receive the resources necessary to grow, membership growth is the one component of the business plan that lodges alone directly impact. Growth happens on the lodge level, and growth happens with you.

There is no doubt that reversing years of membership losses will be a tall task, but it is one that we can accomplish. You (yes, you, the person reading this), as a leader in the Order of the Arrow, have the power to make a significant impact. You understand the positive aspects and personal enrichment that come with OA membership, and you have the power and responsibility to perpetuate that experience for the next generation. After all, we can only call ourselves Arrowmen because someone before us took the time to visit our unit, tell us about the OA, and then guide us through the process of becoming members. Let’s pay that forward, and we’ll grow our organization as a result.