Next to a National Order of the Arrow Conference or National Scout Jamboree, a section conclave is one of the most significant inter-lodge events that an Arrowman can attend within the Order of the Arrow. Each section does its conclave in a unique way, yet all have similar opportunities to connect people from other lodges and backgrounds. Overall, it is an excellent experience for Arrowmen to engage with one another for a weekend filled with excitement and opportunity.
Regardless of how long you’ve been a member of the OA, there are several different ways that you can get involved with your section conclave. If you’re an Arrowman that’s maybe been to one or two conclaves previously, you could be on conclave staff as a conclave vice chief (CVC) or team member. Perhaps you’re an Arrowman that's either new to the OA or to section events, or one that just enjoys the participant experience. In that case, you can get involved in various activities and competitions that are offered, such as patch trading, training, or activities and recreation (ARC).
Every conclave is filled with opportunities for fun. Whether it's at shows, during games or activities, or even while you’re meeting new people, there's excitement to be explored around every corner. As a participant, be sure to involve yourself in as many activities as you possibly can, but also take some time to meet new people and really experience conclave to its fullest potential. Braiden Eccleston, the 2022-2023 Section G3 chief, spoke to us about his conclave, which was held in April of this year at Camp Perkins in Wichita Falls, Texas, and had a “carnival” theme . As this was his last year to participate in conclave as a youth, he found the best way to involve himself was by competing with his lodge during ARC competitions.
Braiden said that this was “a good opportunity for bonding” and “a fantastic time to get involved.”
Whether you are competing with the members of your lodge, sharing your ideas during a training, or showing off your skills during activities, keeping yourself involved with the program around you is one of the best ways to seek new experiences and connections at your local conclave. Just remember to have fun!
Building connections with other members of your section is one of the best ways to take new ideas and skills back to your home lodge. Whenever you can, try to reach out and talk to the people around you, even if it's just for a few minutes. Maybe trade a few patches, or talk about some different methods your lodge uses when planning events. Whatever you do, always attempt to reach out and share your ideas with others at your local conclave!
Of course, no conclave could happen without a talented staff to plan and run the various aspects of the event. Joining conclave staff is another great way to get involved, and it also allows you to showcase and develop your talents at a higher level. Serving as a CVC or team member allows you to experience conclave in a new, behind-the-scenes perspective, while also helping to create an entertaining environment for other participants. John Hutchinson served as the very first section chief of Section E2, who hosted an 80’s themed conclave in April of this year at Camp Lakota in Defiance, Ohio. He spoke to us about being a CVC, and how valuable it is to the development of future leaders.
“There are quite a few Arrowmen on these committees who are really finding their feet for the first time in leadership in this organization. By engaging them with a specific part that they can be super excited about, you let them build the skills they will take with them back to their lodge as they begin their foray into deeper leadership, but also through life,” said John Hutchinson.
If you would like to be on conclave staff but don’t know where to sign up, reach out to your section officers directly.
Be sure to follow your section’s social media pages to stay updated on upcoming events and news. Always remember to Seek New Experiences and Connections at Conclave whenever possible!