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Planning and Orchestrating the New England Fellowship

Rudy Lautner     August 29, 2019     Section Sentinel

As sections across the nation work through the conclave planning process, vast amounts of time, energy, and resources are utilized in pulling it off effectively. While leadership is taken on by the section officers - the chief, vice-chief, and secretary - Arrowmen from the various member lodges typically play vital roles in planning and executing the yearly conclave. This can be seen in a variety of ways with Arrowmen serving in positions of responsibility, typically overseeing one aspect of the process. Section NE-1, with ten lodges spanning from Rhode Island to Maine, has taken this concept and developed it into a detailed mechanism that distributes responsibility in planning for the conclave each year.

Planning for the Section NE-1 Conclave, called the New England Fellowship,  commences just as most sections do - promptly after the section officers are elected. It begins with selecting coordinators for the year. Similar to conclave vice-chiefs the coordinators each have a specific responsibility for the New England Fellowship. Additionally, each coordinator has a knowledgeable and reliable adviser who oversees and assists their work during the year. For this selection, the section utilizes Scouters specializing in a field that relates to program aspect they supervise. For example, a shows adviser may work in the entertainment industry, while one working in sales may be selected for the trading post adviser role. 

Each coordinator is also responsible for a committee of Arrowmen that support and assist them in their designated area. A key component in how this is organized is through the selection and development of the Arrowmen in these positions. Interest forms and applications are sent out to the lodges during the year, looking for Arrowmen interested in becoming a part of the conclave planning process. Typically, the section seeks Arrowmen who have experience in positions of responsibility within their lodge to ensure confident and competent Arrowmen filling these positions. Selection of the coordinators each year falls to members of the committees or the section’s council of chiefs. By doing so, it allows for Arrowmen who have demonstrated responsibility in their lodges to take their talent into the section level, usually starting off as a committee member before taking on the role of a Coordinator later on. Again, this gives Arrowmen a gradual involvement into the section level, encouraging successful Coordinators and section officers down the line, if they choose to follow that route. 

To divide the responsibility, there are a variety of committees formed to plan the New England Fellowship. This includes program, trainings, shows, communication, American Indian Activities, and more. Each committee is comprised of four to five Arrowmen to help execute the responsibilities. While separate and distinct, the areas of emphasis to overlap in some cases. For example, while one component of the communications committee is promotions and marketing the event, communications trainings are also held in the morning during the training sessions, indicating a degree of interaction. On the contrary, while many aspects like shows and training would fall in line with the program, those roles are divided to allow greater detail in carrying them out. This is supported schedule-wise as well, with training held on Saturday morning and additional program elements - ranging from program activities offered at the host camp to inter-lodge competitions - taking place primarily in the afternoon. Along the lines of program, it is typically a member of the host lodge who serves as the program coordinator. This is because an Arrowman from the host lodge would have a greater knowledge of the camp where the event is held, thus proving useful in developing a program most suitable for the location. The host lodge also handles much of the logistics for the location, facilities, and all else associated, while the section oversees the overall program development. The section officers specifically manage the various coordinators, with the vice-chief and secretary responsible for about half each. 

It is evident that the manner in which Section NE-1 develops, plans, and executes its New England Fellowship has grown overtime, with each new year bringing new improvements to how it operates. Appointments of various positions is done so in a fashion that not only encourages Arrowmen from the lodges to participate in the planning, but also enables a standard of excellence from those involved, with Arrowmen advancing through positions of responsibility that promotes both their own growth as well as that of the section.