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Women in OAHA: Ocean Adventure

  Jonathan Hutchinson             OA Today

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Seven Arrowmen paddling in a pantoon. The pontoon is made with two canoes fastened together.

Every year, Arrowmen from across the country attend the National High Adventure Bases for a custom program designed specifically for Order of the Arrow members! This program, known as Order of the Arrow High Adventure (OAHA), provides a unique experience like no other!

Florida Sea Base is no different. Participants of the Order of the Arrow Ocean Adventure (OAOA) trek get to participate in a wide variety of activities unique to the marine environment that Florida Sea Base prides itself in!

This year, OAOA has marked a major milestone in the continued development of the diversity of its participants. For the first time, a female youth completed their adventure as a member of the Order of the Arrow at Florida Sea Base. The experiences of this individual, Sarah K. of Nisqually Lodge, demonstrates the amazing nature of Arrowmen in the Order of the Arrow. 

Q: How long have you been involved in Scouting?

A: I registered in a venture crew as soon as I was able in 2016, however Scouting is a big part of my family and I have been involved as a sibling ever since my brother was a Cub Scout and I was about 3.

Q: What was your favorite part about the trip?

A: I would say the people (fellow crew members and the foreman), [because] getting to go into the trip not knowing anyone and coming out with friends that’ll last beyond Sea Base was a great experience.

Q: What was the most difficult part of the trip?

A: Definitely the heat, particularly during our service days. Before I left home, we were averaging about 70° in the Northwest. Throughout the trip, we averaged 90°+ every day. It was quite a temperature change to get used to the first few days.

Q: Do you feel that you were ever treated differently because of your gender?

A: No, I never felt like that was an issue. I felt like I was always treated as a fellow OA member, and was never held to any different standards.

Q: What are your future plans in the Order of the Arrow?

A: I would definitely like to attend another OAHA trek! Specifically, I would like to attend OA Canadian Odyssey at Northern Tier! I would also like to someday return to Sea Base as an OA foreman, if I get the opportunity.

Q: What did you learn at OAOA?

A: I feel that the trip helped me grow and learn a lot in general, especially when it came to leadership and communication.

Q: How do you think you will use these lessons to better your lodge?

A: My experience at OAOA has further ignited me to help my lodge and the Order of the Arrow continue to provide the experiences they do. What I learned has given me the skills to help do that. I will also be able to promote OAOA and OAHA within my lodge with first hand knowledge.

Q: Is there any advice you would give to someone who is thinking of attending OAHA?

A: Go for it! Pretty much any reason you might have for not going will probably be far outweighed by the amazing experiences of the program!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to the many young women who are just starting out in the OA?

A: Don’t be hesitant to be one of the only females, we are all members of the Brotherhood first. There are so many amazing opportunities to learn and grow through the Order of the Arrow regardless of your gender!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to Arrowmen across the country?

A: I just want to say that it is a great thing having our brothers all throughout the nation supporting each other and helping each other out, especially those brothers who go above and beyond doing cheerful service during these trying times. Even though 2020 has been a hard year on many fronts, including all the event cancellations such as NOAC, try and stay active and keep your eyes open for all the opportunities to serve and explore through the Order of the Arrow. There are so many that you might not see at first, but they are out there!

Also, I’d like to thank my crew’s foreman, and all of the Sea Base staff for running an awesome program for all the participants, even in this crazy year!

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