By Owen Clapp
Shaping the ground with sweat and muscle breaks open opportunities to explore what it means to provide cheerful service. Such an experience comes with the Order of the Arrow High Adventure (OAHA) programs such as the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew. Even so, where does this all come from? It comes in part through the hard work of Marty Tschetter who helped lay down the trails which formed the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew.
Before Tschetter pioneered OAHA, he was inducted into Croatan Lodge in 1984 and received the Vigil Honor in 1988, the same time of his lodge’s 50th anniversary. Serving as chairman for that event, he cheerfully took on the challenge of being able to engage lodge brothers of the past in celebration of many years of cheerful service. He served as lodge vice chief of camping promotions as well as vice chief of inductions. With his great service to his lodge, Tschetter received the Founder’s Award. As an adult, he served as the associate lodge adviser for the camping promotions vice chief.
Marty was also active in other portions of the Scouting program as a youth. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout from his troop in Greenville, NC. He had the privilege of getting to go to the National Jamboree in 1985, experiencing Scouting beyond what he had previously been accustomed to. Hard work and elbow grease from his paper route one year later paid off, allowing him to go to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM. After participating in the programs at Philmont, he wanted to cheerfully serve and give back to the experience he had received previously. He worked for nine summers at Philmont, first as dining hall staff, then with logistics, and finally as a ranger for many years; this experience played a very influential role in his achievement of helping create the OA Trail Crew.
The program was formed through many proposals to Jack Butler and Ed Pease, members of the national committee at the time. According to Tschetter, Butler and Pease were the ones who believed in them no matter what idea was thrown their way. Constantly making sure the program was one of the most positive experiences of a participant’s Scouting career, the plan was set into action. He served as the OA Trail Crew Director in 1995 and 1996. Michael Edwards served as assistant director for his first term, and Seth Brown as the youth chairman and foreman for both terms.
Tschetter’s work led to the implementation of Arrowcorps in 2008, SummitCorps in 2011, and many other lodge and section level programs. To him, all of those programs have been part of an incredible and lasting legacy that he helped to create. Many people have risen before the eyes of Tschetter to important roles within their lodges and councils. Matt Dukeman, the current OA Director, even participated in the program in 1995. The program continues to serve as a consistent testimony to the fact that through service comes leadership.
Even with many expansions, Tschetter has seen little change in the core values of the OA Trail Crew. The continuity of program is similar to his unwavering commitment to the ideals of the Order of the Arrow. His work with the OA has continued as he currently serves as a chapter adviser with his lodge. While trying to get people excited about being active within the OA, he created The Silver Arrowhead, a newsletter highlighting the works and history of brothers who had received the Distinguished Service Award. He continues to support the OAHA programs, with the motto that “we will make it happen” for those who wish to experience places such as Philmont, Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier and the Summit Bechtel Reserve. With the core group of kids that he works with as an adviser, he is ready to take hold of this next century of service.
To those who wish to pursue any passion or to make a mark in the next century of the OA, Tschetter encourages Arrowmen to not rest their laurels, never halting the values held from the Obligation. The next century holds a lot of great things, and the motto of “think higher, be different” has held through for Tschetter and can be a part of anyone if they dare to get out and experience Scouting.