The Order of the Arrow (OA) celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 1990, and in keeping with earlier traditions established during the Order’s 50th and 60th Anniversaries, the celebration was a national event. The 75th Anniversary Award Program was first unveiled at the 1988 National OA Conference (NOAC) by the National OA Committee. The award program, which for the first time allowed adult participation, consisted of three main elements: the Individual Challenge, the Lodge Challenge, and the Rededication Ceremony.
The first element…the Individual Challenge was a three-part quest for service designed for both youth and adult participation that included Lodge and Chapter Development; Scouting/Unit and Community Development; and Personal Development. Youth and adult requirements for the Individual Challenge were outlined on separate scorecards, and individuals completing the award’s requirements prior to August 31, 1990 could receive a special 75th Anniversary Award. Unlike previous anniversary awards for the 50th and 60th anniversaries that were worn on an Arrowman’s sash, this was a unique award featuring a turtle superimposed over an arrow, suspended from a red and white ribbon. The award was to be worn suspended from the button of the right breast pocket of the scout uniform shirt. Additional instructions for wear stated that Founder’s Award recipients could use the solid red ribbon of that prestigious award to replace the traditional red and white ribbon of the 75th Anniversary Award.
The second element was the Lodge Challenge, and it was designed to encourage lodges to develop new activities for their council’s summer camp program. The central focus of this challenge was to devise a multi-year experience leading to repeat attendance at camps by scouts. Lodges were required to submit a written history to the National OA Committee, which described the success of their program. Lodges attaining recognition could receive a $1,000 endowment.
The third and final element was the Rededication Ceremony, and it was to be performed by lodges for individuals who earned the 75th Anniversary Award. The ceremony included a restatement of the Order’s purpose to the things that an Arrowman could achieve. These achievements were: to be recognized by others as a living example of the Scout Oath and Law; to nurture and improve Scouting’s outdoor traditions and spirit; to promote year-round camping; and to lead and live a life of cheerful service.