Anyone who has spent a weekend camping knows all too well that foul weather can ruin even the most well-planned event. Sometimes these events can be postponed or cancelled, but many times the situation calls for renewed vigor and perseverance. Such a situation occurred at Lowwapaneu Lodge’s Fall Ordeal, which was plagued with an intense downpour that would have rendered any normal outdoor endeavor pointless. The Arrowmen of Lowwapaneu did not quit; rather, they joined together in brotherhood and pushed forward with the Ordeal, keeping intact a tradition far older than themselves.
It all started on the first night; a light mist greeted the new Ordeal candidates and returning lodge members, but the lodge executive committee determined that the weekend should proceed according to plan. At approximately 5am the next morning, the skies opened and made a day that was designed to be filled with arduous labor even more intense. The intended project, breaking down camp sites, was scrapped. Instead, candidates focused on clearing the camp’s roads and improving the campfire circle, both of which were made all the more difficult with the additional challenges brought on by the day’s stormy weather.
Despite the bleakness brought on by the weather, a shining example of what it means to be an Arrowman was found that weekend. The clans did not falter or become sluggish, instead they pushed through, fulfilling their pledges of cheerful service. At the head of this intense resolve and commitment to the meaning of the Ordeal were the lodge’s elangomat corps.
Volunteering to experience the Ordeal again, this time at the head of a clan of candidates, each elangomat had already revealed that the true nature of the Order of the Arrow was inside them. This was amplified during the storm, when instead of hunkering down and taking the weather, the elangomats led their clans as normal. Lowwapaneu Lodge Elangomat Chairman Robert Hricko claimed that even though “Everyone was wet, and it was miserable… we didn’t quit because of the weather.”
In an event where comfort is by no means expected, the fact that the additional, constant hardships brought on by severe weather could not stop an almost century’s worth of tradition is remarkable. The members of Lowwapaneu Lodge should be proud of their Ordeal, for what they did not only benefitted the camp and the lodge, but it also showed that the resolve of the Arrowman is stronger than the harshness of nature.