National policy requires that there be only one chartered lodge per council. As councils merge to form new councils, their lodges must merge as well. Though this may seem like a daunting task, it has been done many times before. The national organization has created a guidebook, in the shape of a step-by-step guide to help make the merger process smoother, overcoming the common obstacles in lodge mergers.
The Lodge Merger Guide for Councils has a total of 12 chapters fitted into 42 pages. Each chapter covers a different topic and emphasizes its importance in merging and creating a new lodge. For example, in chapter 1, the guide offers a timeline to follow and chapter 2 covers the roles of both youth leads and adult advisers of the legacy lodges in merging their lodges together. A few tips include building your brand, working with the council webmaster to develop a new website. Another tip is electing chapter chiefs from each chapter to serve on the lodge’s LEC even before chapters have fully worked out how they will operate.
We do not know when exactly lodges are going to merge, as during these changing times some councils are merging while others are remaining the same. You may be a lodge chief or adviser who just attended a council executive board meeting and learned that the council is merging, and it may seem scary. The national leadership created this resource to help lodges prepare for and respond to change.
No one should have to tackle a lodge merger on their own; it is a team effort. As the Order of the Arrow, and the Boy Scouts of America as a whole focus on being youth-led, chapters 2 and 11 state there should be 3-5 youth from each legacy lodge involved in the merger process, as well as a third-party youth to act as a facilitator. Keep in mind that while advisers can provide guidance and counsel, decisions should be made by the youth committee.
You may have some questions that you want to ask but are not sure if they have been answered. At the end of the guidebook there is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that holds many of the questions asked and answers to each of them. If you still have questions that aren’t answered in the guidebook, contact your section or region leadership for more information.
Questions regarding the lodge merger process can be directed to @email.