One of the most significant challenges facing Arrowmen across the Order of the Arrow is found within: their own mental health. In the words of 2021-2022 Section G1 Chief Jordan Diliberto:
“Mental health and overall mental well-being are the keys to the success of all Arrowmen. So many people of all ages struggle with mental health, even if it is not outwardly obvious that they are being challenged.”
But, these challenges aren’t insurmountable, at least that was the mentality underlying the work of 2021-2022 Section G1 Section Service Coordinator Ruthie H. With the support of her section, Ruthie brought a focus on mental health awareness to the 2022 Section G1 Conclave.
By partnering with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and Foster the Love Louisiana (LA), Ruthie created an opportunity for Arrowmen around her section to give service to their community while also finding a greater connection with their own mental health. Together, the Arrowmen of Section G1 created one hundred bookmarks and fifty sentiment cards, which were distributed to kids throughout the community who would be in need of encouragement with whatever struggles they were facing.
“This created a sense of acceptance and unity throughout our section, as [many] realized that their own struggles with mental health is not a burden that they have to carry alone,” Ruthie said.
The exposure to this topic at the Section G1 conclave has already had a profound effect on the lodges that participated. Atchafalaya Lodge of Lafayette, LA, has now made their own connection with NAMI. They now work to bring OA promotions and mental health awareness to Cub Scout packs throughout their council.
In addition to bringing a focus on mental health awareness, Ruthie also worked to coordinate the 2022 Section G1 Service Day, in which Arrowmen from across the section gathered at Lost Bayou Scout Camp before conclave to help prepare for the event. These Arrowmen performed extensive service on repairing the camp’s Eco-Con Shelter, saving this decommissioned building from being condemned.
By coordinating the efforts of Section G1 to give back to their community and to their host camp, Ruthie was able to bolster the commitment of service held by Arrowmen around the section and has laid the foundation for even larger projects in the future!
“All it takes is an individual to create a team and a vision. It only takes a single voice to begin unifying a community. At the section conclave, five lodges came together to seek a common goal. Together, we helped to make our community a better place for all.”