One of the most daunting challenges that a lodge faces is developing their future leaders, especially with a struggle to hold in-person events. Whether it comes from a Lodge Leadership Development event, from sending a contingent to the National Leadership Seminar or attending sessions at a section conclave or the National Order of the Arrow Conference, training sessions are one of the best ways to ensure amazing leadership for years to come!
This challenge was tackled headlong by Owaneco Lodge of the Connecticut Yankee Council. Unable to hold their usual Lodge Leadership Development training in-person, Vice Chief of Program Will H. set to work to find a way to develop the future leaders of Owaneco. Will and his team within the lodge weren’t going to be simply satisfied with holding a virtual LLD, they wanted to make their virtual program even better than an in-person training weekend.
They quickly got to work splitting up their LLD into six different sessions, each to be held on different weekends. To boost their engagement with their Arrowmen, they tied these sessions with engaging fellowships or merit badge courses and invited even non-OA members to join in on the fun. Coupled with an extensive social media presence [Owaneco’s social media engagement spiked by a 30% increase as a direct result of their promotions], their attendance has skyrocketed. Starting with only a handful of members present for the first session, this increased to over 50 people registered for their session during the weekend of January 30th, 2021.
This series of sessions has allowed Owaneco Lodge to “rethink” their approach to Lodge Leadership Development. Their new approach of splitting these courses into multiple weekends allows their members to come to as many sessions as their schedule allows, preventing them from missing out entirely. By pairing leadership development with fellowship opportunities, their members are enjoying training even more, and are eager to return to their next course.
Training sessions don’t just teach the participants; trainers are able to glean a great deal of information from their sessions as well. Owaneco Lodge pulled trainers from many different locations, from members of their LEC, council employees, past members, and leaders from throughout the Order of the Arrow. Each of these members were challenged to summarize years of experience, forcing them to think deeply about the nuances of their roles. This allowed them to continue to give back to our organization, and helped secure the legacy of Owaneco Lodge!
This innovative approach to virtual training seminars has definitely been a huge success for Owaneco Lodge! Just ask Jason Van Leeuwen, one of the lodge advisers, who says that
“Success comes with just a single Arrowman. If we are able to teach just one person, it will have been worth it.”
With dozens of Arrowmen going through this program, Owaneco has made a real difference in their council!
Owaneco Lodge’s Vice Chief of Program, Will H., put together an innovative program to ensure that his members continue to receive his lodge’s program in spite of the virtual setting. His efforts are echoed in lodge leadership throughout our nation. No matter what your idea is, in Will’s words, “It’s worth trying. Don’t be afraid to take a new idea and run with it. Who knows where it might take you and your lodge?”
With all the amazing work they have put into this innovative program, Owaneco Lodge should be immensely proud of their success! We look forward to seeing what the future holds for their amazing leadership team!