Every Arrowman has taken part in at least one unit election, including the one at which they were elected. Many lodge officers have probably attended more camp promotions and unit elections than they can count. Yet, there are always ways for lodges around the country to grow and improve their camp promotion and unit election program. Unit visitations are a vital part of our membership growth on both a local and national level. The Order of the Arrow has provided several resources to help lodges break barriers and build better connections with their local units.
First and most in-depth is the Guide to Unit Elections. This 44-page PDF can be found on oa-bsa.org under the Inductions Portal section titled “Unit Elections.” This document offers guidance through every step of visiting a unit, from training election teams to effectively communicating with units and candidates regarding their elections and inductions. It also includes tips and tricks, such as determining what unit members are eligible ahead of time and counting the ballots twice to ensure accuracy.
The Guide to Unit Elections contains many ready-to-use resources that can assist lodges in areas of improvement for unit elections, like a stock announcement letter for elections. For lodges looking to build on the pre-established methods, there are plenty of ideas and concepts to reference in taking successful visitation programs to the next level.
Another resource for lodges to consider are Lodge Leadership Development (LLD) training sessions, which can be found on the OA website. These sessions can help teach Arrowmen ways to develop unit connections. While the Guide to Unit Elections assists chapters and lodges on how to run a unit election, it is impossible to hold either a camp promotion or unit election unless a unit leader invites the lodge to attend a unit meeting. Hence the LLD training sessions titled “Unit Relations” and “Building and Maintaining Relationships,” have great insight into best practices and discuss how to make a good first impression with units and help establish communication with your lodge’s election teams: “In a first impression your responsibility will commonly be learning about the other person and opening yourself up to them and creating a connection. Simply be friendly.” The more relationships our lodges build with their units, the more Arrowmen we can induct; thus, the more opportunities for cheerful service and leadership development we can provide.
In addition to the Guide to Unit Elections and these training resources, lodges may turn to OA LodgeMaster (OALM). In addition to many vital Performance Measurement Program statistics, OALM has tools to assist with unit visitations. Chapter chiefs, induction teams, and lodge officers can view all the units in their council through OALM and schedule visits with them. Users can also use OALM to manage adult nomination forms after the elections, organize and communicate with individual induction teams, and keep in contact with units throughout the year.
The Order of the Arrow has various resources to support you and your lodge in their efforts to hold elections in every unit and reach new Arrowmen. These resources will help begin the process of bettering your unit election efforts and reach 100% unit visitations in a lodge’s performance metrics this year.