15,000 Arrowmen attended the National Order of the Arrow Conference last summer. Over 85 percent of them took in all the sights and sounds, enjoyed the program and had the experience of a lifetime. Almost 2,000 of those Arrowmen at the conference, however, were the ones who brought the sights and sounds to life, who conducted the program and who created the experience. They were the NOAC staff.
Serving on staff for a national event is one of the most rewarding things one can do in Scouting. Many Arrowmen who have served on the staff of a national event find it to be a life-changing experience. Anthony Decatur, who served on the host lodge service corps, said that he desired to serve on staff at NOAC because he “wanted to see how things worked behind the scenes and make it a better experience for everyone there.” Not only did he get to see what happens behind the scenes at NOAC, but he learned what it takes to be a staff member. Decatur noted that staff members have to be cheerful in their service, quick to act, and of course, always prepared. From his experience, Anthony said that he “learned a lot of leadership skills” and “learned to work under pressure.”
After staffing a national event, Arrowmen don’t just leave having learned lifelong skills, but also having met new friends from near and far. Grant Krull, an Arrowman from Shawnee Lodge in St. Louis, MO, volunteered for Adventure Central at NOAC with a few Arrowmen from Kansas City. What astounded Grant was both how similar and different he was from his fellow staffers. He noted, “We have the Missouri roots, but just a trip across Missouri and you get different backgrounds.” However, Grant didn’t notice this trend in only his area. With every other staffer he met, he noticed that “People come from all over, and they are all individuals, but we are all still a part of the same organization.” This commonality led to him and many other staffers making very strong friendships with one another. Mitchell Pierpont, who served on the museum staff at both the 2012 and 2015 conferences, said, “You can see some of these friends years down the road and it will be like no time has passed.” Pierpont also reflected, “These events are really like a giant family reunion.” When you arrive, and have to serve diligently with Arrowmen from around the country, you leave having bonded over a job well done.
While these three Arrowmen told us about their time at NOAC, these very same experiences - and more - can be had by serving on staff at any national event. In fact, Arrowmen from all corners of the country will be gathering later this year to support NEXT: A New Century! Prospective staffers can navigate to registration.oa-bsa.org and sign themselves up. However, if you’re looking for a more adventurous staffing experience, be sure to join the hundreds of Arrowmen serving on Operation Arrow, the OA’s staff at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree. Learn more at the Operation Arrow website. Experience what it’s truly like behind the scenes of a national event and register to staff at both of these extraordinary events.