Year after year, up-and-coming Arrowmen from around our nation have been gathering to continue to grow as leaders. In just a single weekend, their entire perspective on leadership evolves and they return home with the willingness, character, spirit, and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation. This major growth in their leadership talents, of course, comes with their participation at the National Leadership Seminar (NLS).
Across the entire Order of the Arrow, strong leaders have grown their skills while attending NLS. From lodge chiefs, to section chiefs, to national chiefs, a long history of leadership has come from the lessons taught during a single weekend. Each of these leaders brought their experiences home with them and used them to change their lodge for the better.
Take, for instance, the experience of Wag-O-Shag Lodge of the Potawatomi Area Council. In 2019, Wag-O-Shag Lodge’s delegation to NLS included three key individuals, each of whom took the mantle of lodge chief, in no small part due to the tools they were provided at NLS and the desire to continue to improve their lodge.
NLS impacted my own lodge, Wag-O-Shag, by giving the leaders in our lodge new tools. These tools were very helpful during a time when our lodge was falling behind. Utilizing them, we brought back our lodge through strong leadership and it is now one of the best our section has seen. (Zach L., Wag-O-Shag, 2021)
Three members of my lodge had the opportunity to attend NLS and, besides gaining a new and diverse leadership toolkit, we left inspired to make a difference in improving ourselves and our lodge. I came back to our LEC with a plan to draw new Arrowmen onto lodge committees. (Peter S., Wag-O-Shag, 2021)
Throughout NLS, my eyes were opened to the issues affecting the Order of the Arrow, yet the most beneficial portion of NLS was not even from the world-class training sessions given by the amazing NLS Staff about these issues, but it was from the discussions with other lodge leaders from around the Central Region that gave me the ability to truly think deeply about these issues. By working with this diverse group of Arrowmen from across the Central Region at NLS, I was able to bounce ideas, develop possible solutions, and help solve problems for my own lodge and others at the same time. After we returned from NLS, we were determined to continue to change our lodge for the better with the ideas we had each developed within our respective small groups. We were inspired by NLS to not only desire a better future for our lodge but to also have the drive to ensure that positive change was implemented. NLS gave us the tools to set up our successors for a continued Upward trend within our lodge. (Collin W., Wag-O-Shag, 2021)
These three Arrowmen went to NLS and brought back the tools that they needed to succeed. The lessons that they learned during their session helped them build a stronger future for Wag-O-Shag Lodge and for the generations of Arrowmen and leaders that will continue to shape the future of their lodge and of the Order of the Arrow.
NLS does not just prepare an Arrowman to take the role of lodge chief. Rather, it prepares an Arrowman to make a positive impact on their lodge, inspiring these Arrowmen to take some of the most innovative ideas and implement them in their lodge. This was certainly the experience of Miami Lodge of the Miami Valley Council, where:
The NLS program has greatly benefited Miami Lodge. These Arrowmen not only come back as better trained leaders, but through the NLS program, they already have experienced using what they have learned. Using the information learned at NLS, a youth Arrowmen was able to begin a monumental program essential to Miami Lodges' current success. As a lodge chief, I would personally say that the difference in Arrowmen before and after going to NLS is apparent. Not only do they get these amazing leadership skills, but they also get to meet the Arrowmen that lead our region, giving them personal contacts with key leaders at the region level. (James N., Miami Lodge, 2021)
Whether an Arrowman comes back from NLS with their sights set on taking on the role of lodge chief or simply creating a program for their lodge, they certainly make their lodge and the Order of the Arrow better.
The only way for the Order of the Arrow and every lodge to overcome the challenges of the future is to have strong leadership to steer our course correctly. By sending Arrowmen to NLS, you have ensured not only a stronger lodge today, but have built a brighter future for your lodge and all the Arrowmen who will benefit from your program of tomorrow.
It is not too late to register members of your lodge to attend NLS. For more information about your region’s NLS program, please visit one of the following links.