The National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) is the one of the most exciting events in the Order of the Arrow. However, when thousands of Arrowmen converge onto a college campus, it takes a lot of planning and logistics. For this very reason, each lodge picks a youth and adult contingent leader to help organize their contingent members. The national OA communications team interviewed two youth and three adult contingent leaders who attended NOAC 2015 and asked them how they took on this role. Read ahead on what they did and what they wish they would have knowing who’s who:
- Joe Abel: Kishatek Lodge, Southern Shores Field Service Council, Carlton, MI
- Jackie Dannemiller: Wauna La-Mon'tay Lodge, Cascade Pacific Council, Portland, OR
- Mark Danhauer: Nguttitehen Lodge, Lincoln Heritage Council, Morganfield, KY
- Elliott Patton: Kishatek Lodge, Southern Shores Field Service Council, Ferndale, MI
- Brian Morrow: Nguttitehen Lodge, Lincoln Heritage Council, Louisville, KY
Q: What was the most challenging part of organizing your contingent?
A: Jackie -
“Selecting who can attend since we are the 8th largest lodge, and were only given a limited number of spots, we had to decide on who was able to attend. We used a ratio of one adult to four youth in order for more youth to be a part of the event. We also chose active adults who would continue to serve the youth (and the lodge), and not those who are no longer active or considering this to be their last hoorah before retiring from the Order of the Arrow.”
A: Joe -
“We had multiple Arrowmen without cell phones who were unable to receive our text message updates during NOAC. However, this was accomplished with assigning Arrowmen without cell phone access to a buddy with a cell phone to keep them up to date on contingent information.”
A: Brian -
“What I wish I would have known were my exact responsibilities as the youth chair both at NOAC and in the planning phases. To me that was very unclear and I wish I would have had more time to prepare with my adviser.”
Q: What was your promotions strategy for NOAC within your lodge?
A: Mark -
“The lodge’s strategy was to start early and promote often. We promoted NOAC to the
youth over a year and a half before the NOAC began. NOAC promotion was a major topic at each lodge executive committee meeting. NOAC promotions occurred at every lodge event/meeting as well as at each chapter gathering.”
Q: What was the most successful part of the contingent?
A: Elliott -
“While we were waiting for the bus to show up at our pickup point, we had a quick BBQ lunch and everyone started to come together and take it all in. We were a newly formed lodge so this was our first big adventure as a group and it helped the lodge come together as a whole. Everyone was excited to get to campus and start the fun.”
A: Jackie -
“I sent out emails with important information as needed. I met with our group leaders twice to make sure they were in the loop for everything, including travel plans, hotel assignments, etc. I held a parent and youth all member contingent meeting after the ArrowTour event which was held at one of our local day camps in Portland.”
Q: How did you organize contingent meetings?
A: Brian -
“Due to the large size of our lodge, in terms of geography covered, we split our contingent meetings into two groups thus covering the two different states that make up the council. The two meetings were connected via Skype to ensure the same information was covered. At our final meeting, a few weeks prior to departure, we had everyone meet at a single location in the central region of the state. The meetings were led by the NOAC adviser and myself, as well as the lodge adviser.”
A: Jackie -
“We were able to organize our contingent into groups with group leaders and had at least two adults assigned to each clan composed of youth. They were beneficial in overseeing travel plans and any unique needs of the participants. The airlines went as far as allowing us to fill the back of two planes and were very accommodating before and during our flights to and from the event . Everyone had a great time and any issues that came up were dealt with swiftly. If we didn't know an answer, we knew who to check with at NOAC.”
Q: Once you got on site, what was your biggest challenge?
A: Joe -
“Organizing the group for mobilization to events, last minute meetings, etc. was my biggest challenge. We accomplished this by creating a Remind101 account for the event. This proved very useful to distribute last minute information to our contingent spread across campus.”