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Background

Evolution of Sashes

In the early ceremonies and Wimachtendienk literature arrow sashes were called arrow bands. The original band is the black sash used in the 1915 ceremonies on Treasure Island. Harry Yoder describes it as a black band with a white vertical stripe on the front. George Chapman described presumably the same band as being black with a white vertical arrow on the front with the arrow pointing over the shoulder. This band is the first sash and none are known to exist. The material used to make the sash is often described as being the same material that was used in the making of the black academic type robes worn by Goodman and Edson for the first ceremony.

The circa 1918 Ritual for the Second Degree written by Dr. William Hinkle has a line in it that moves the band from the right shoulder to the left shoulder just before the conclusion of the ceremony. There is no description of the design, color or material. This is the earliest reference that the First Degree (Ordeal) band and the Second Degree band (Brotherhood) were the same sash, just worn over different shoulders.

The earliest known photograph depicting arrow bands being worn is a Treasure Island council fire picture dated to 1919. Bands are shown on both the left shoulders and right shoulders of Arrowmen. Because the picture is in black and white, the color of the band appears white, but the color of the arrow cannot be confirmed. This is because the value of the color red is the same as the value for black in black and white photography.

A Philadelphia newspaper did an article on the Wimachtendienk in August 1921 with a photo included. The black robes were on the officers of the Wimachtendienk and all pictured were wearing the band with a white background and a dark colored arrow on the white background.

In the Camp Biddle Rededication Ceremony at the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1921, there is a famous picture that shows bands over both left and right shoulders and also pictures Goodman and Edson with a sash in the shape of a triangle on the chest and shaped like a “fraternal bib”. The photograph is black and white so color determination is inconclusive. However, the photo does document the Third Degree bib-type sash.

The early Wimachtendienk Constitution and By-Laws and the minutes of the Grand Lodge meeting in the early 1920s do not define the band. It is mentioned that it is available for purchase and that they were provided to the new lodges accepted in the Grand Lodge, but there is no description of color or materials.

In a letter dated 1922 from Horace Kern to the 14 known Third Degree members he reminds the members to purchase their Third Degree bands. Examples of several of these early Third Degree bands exist allowing confirmation of the colors of these white sashes with red triangles.

The First Degree/Second Degree (Ordeal/Brotherhood) bands created by the Grand Lodge were white wool-felt bands with red wool-felt arrows sewn on. The Vigil Honor band was the white wool-felt band with no arrow sewn onto the band. There was a large triangle sewn onto the middle of the band on the front. Sewn onto each side of the large red triangle were three small white arrows made of wool felt.

The sashes made by the Grand Lodge and its successors were all basically the same from 1921-1948. They were all white felt sashes with red felt arrows. The sizes and shapes of the band, arrow shaft, arrowhead and fletching varied through the years as they were constantly being re-ordered. The one exception was the bands made by the Region 7 and most prominently used by Owasippe Lodge, Chicago Council while Urner Goodman was the Scout Executive. Those bands were made out of a white twill cloth and the arrows were a red linen material sewn onto the cloth band. They were used from the late 1920s until the mid 1930s.

In 1948, the Order of the Arrow changed all sashes. The sash material remained the wool-felt. However the arrow was red-flocked silk-screening onto the wool-felt. Flocking is the process of silk-screening crushed felt with ink using an electro-static charge to make the felt stand-up creating a velvet like appearance. The Vigil Honor sash had a large red wool-felt triangle with the small arrows silkscreened onto it. The large triangle was sewn onto the Ordeal/Brotherhood band/sash. These large triangles exist with both flocked and non-flocked white arrows.

In 1950, following the decision that all sashes would go over the right shoulder, Brotherhood bars were flocked onto the sash to distinguish Ordeal and Brotherhood. Also, circa 1951/1952 the Vigil Honor sash eliminated the large oversized felt triangle. The new Vigil Honor sash had a smaller triangle and the entire sash could be silk-screened in a single process. For the first time the Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil Honor sashes were all the same size, using the same silk-screen flocking process.

In 1955 a completely new sash was introduced. Gone were the wool-felt and silk-screening. The new sashes were twill material with embroidery. The sash was made out of two plies of material so that the embroidered red arrow did not show on the back. It also gave bulk to the sash. The plies were sewn together with a distinctive two-track stitch.

By 1960, the design changed slightly, the distinctive two-track stitch was replaced by a process of edging called a rolled edge or merrowed border stitch. This sash remained in use with minor variations until 1980.

In 1980, the sash edging changed again. This time the plies were chain stitched together. Again there were variations in the embroidery pattern. The arrows on the Vigil Honor triangle were manufactured both counterclockwise and clockwise. In 1988 the sash remained the two-ply twill cloth. The two plies were stitched together by a single line of stitching on the edge. The real change was that the arrow, the Brotherhood bars and the Vigil Honor arrow with triangle and small arrows were all appliqués hot ironed onto the sash. These “wash and peel” sashes were short-lived. The appliqués would not stay on the sash after the sash was washed and they were generally derided by membership as insufficient quality. The Vigil Honor had small arrows on the triangle and were clockwise. Because of the short period of usage of this sash it has become somewhat of a collectors item.

In 1990 the sashes again were embroidered on to white twill cloth. There were two plies of cloth. The two plies were stitched together with a single row of stitching. The small arrows on the Vigil Honor triangle went counterclockwise. This sash is the current Order of the Arrow sash.

Background


Patch Trading

Nobody knows when the first swap of Order of the Arrow emblems took place, but it had to be soon after the first badges of Wimachtendienk appeared. In the early years there was no trading of OA insignia. The first insignia in 1916 were pins. Pins were made of silver or gold. They were relatively expensive, certainly when compared to patches. An Unami Lodge gold Second Degree pin in 1919 might have cost $2.00; the cost of 20 die-cut felt camp monogram patches. No one was trading them with each other.

At the first Grand Lodge Meeting in 1921 most of the delegates were professional Scouters. They had much to discuss, but they were not trading. The first badges of the Order were issued shortly thereafter. The first chenille shaped badge from Minsi Lodge of Reading, Pennsylvania was issued circa 1922. But there was really no one to trade it with and no real location to wear it (OA Insignia was forbidden from the uniform until 1942, and that was for just the Universal Arrow Ribbon.) It was not until 1945 that pocket patches (not flaps) were approved for uniforms.

Circa 1925 Ranachqua Lodge from the Bronx, New York issued a chenille. At the following Grand Lodge Meeting in 1926 a motion was made to fully authorize OA patches. The motion was approved, however a requirement was made that only Brotherhood / Second Degree members or above could have them. With such stringent patch restrictions there still was virtually no trading of Wimachtendienk emblems going on.

The earliest example of a multiple OA emblem collection came from an Arrowman in Minsi Lodge. He had only three patches, but they were from different lodges. That meant he either swapped them or was given them as he was only in one of the lodges. The first badge in the collection and only one previously known to collectors was a Minsi Lodge chenille dating to circa 1927. The other badges, dated to the same period, were from Unami Lodge and from Swatara Lodge, Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

By the 1930s swapping had begun at meetings of the Grand Lodge. In 1933 at the Chicago hosted Grand Lodge Meeting there would have been patches everywhere to be seen; not so many OA emblems, but camp patches and World’s Fair patches. Chicago was already using a system of year badges and activity badges on their neckerchiefs. Swapping would have taken place, although probably not much involving OA emblems. The trades were done in fellowship. It was an exchange to remember a brother from another lodge. By 1936 at the Grand Lodge Meeting that had changed. Arrowmen were trading patches. There is a reference in the 1938 National Meeting Minutes that states, “once again badge swapping was a popular activity at the meeting”. The earliest photograph of OA badge trading was taken at the 1938 meeting held at Camp Irondale, Missouri.

On February 19,1937 the National Executive Committee in a letter to Scout Executives asked them in their role as Supreme Chief of the Fire,

to stress to his Order of the Arrow members attending the (1937) Jamboree, that they should not swap or exchange Order of the Arrow insignia.

It is not known why such an admonishment was made and there was never a written order rescinding of the policy. It is known that OA patch trading took place at the 1937 National Jamboree with multiple collections documented from the event.

By 1940, patch “swapping” was a major pastime for Arrowmen at national, regional and area events. In general it was “one for one” trading. It did not interrupt program and was done in fellowship. Many Arrowmen when they left the Order and moved on from patch swapping would give the patches to younger lodge members to trade and have fun with.

Up until 1948, there were no books or guides that had pictures of OA patches. J. Rucker Newbery collected OA patches, or as he would have called them, emblems. He called them emblems because they were “emblematic” meaning they stood for something (a fact often lost when patches are made for no reason other than for them to be rare or collected). In 1948 Newbery edited the first Order of the Arrow Handbook. In the book he included two pages devoted to pictures of emblems. This gave some lodges the impetus needed to create their own emblem for the first time. The badges were also really wonderful looking and, to many of the thousands of Arrowmen that bought the handbook, were fascinating. The patch-trading hobby was spreading rapidly.

In 1952 Dwight W. Bischel published his Wabaningo Lodge Emblem Handbook (The “Wab” book). Inside the Wab book Bischel provided all sorts of information never offered to Arrowmen. Each lodge that was known to have an emblem was listed in lodge number order and the badge was photographed if available. Other pertinent information such as city and state of the lodge, council name, meaning of name, etc. was listed. The colors of the patches were also listed because the Wab book was not printed in color. The book was actively promoted in the OA National Bulletinand at the National OA Conference. Bischel quickly sold-out 2,000 copies of the book in under a year. A generation of patch collecting Arrowmen emerged.

The patch-trading hobby continued to grow throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Hobby newsletters were developed such as The Trader which emerged following the 1953 National Jamboree and was first edited by Mike Diamond. It was during the 1950s that the OA started to make flaps in large quantities. Once Arrowmen could collect the same shaped patch from every lodge neatly cataloged in number order the hobby accelerated amongst Arrowmen.

Just as with any thing that is new and explodes in interest, problems developed. When Arrowmen learned that Bischel had obtained the badges by writing to council offices many traders started writing to council’s seeking patches. Some offices liked making the extra money or had a relationship with an Arrowman more than glad to have a new patch trading pen pal. Other found it to be a major distraction having to devote personnel to return unwanted money or patches sent by a hopeful Scout. In 1960 the OA made an official statement that Arrowmen were not to write to council offices for patches.

Other problems involved “restrictions” on patches. This made patches unequal in trade and caused a loss of fellowship. National strongly recommended an end to restrictions in late 1975. The biggest problem though was from a minority of over-zealous traders who were disrupting actual program because they were only present to trade patches. To be sure, the great majority of patch traders were active Arrowmen giving service and trading some patches along the way. In 1977 the NOAC theme show actually vilified a flap trader for not having the correct spirit. They showed him with a brief case full of patches, skipping training and having no idea of the purpose of the OA. Within the patch trading community the hobby changed.

One part of the change was that patch “traders” were becoming patch “collectors”. There was a heightened awareness that program must come first and that collectors needed to police themselves. More books were being produced. National and regional books were being written and published that provide the history of insignia. Arrowmen started paying more and more attention to their locally issued items. Patch organizations such as National Scout Collectors Society, Western Traders Association, the American Scouting Historical Society and American Scouting Traders Association (ASTA) and later the International Scout Collectors Association (ISCA) formed. They included a code of ethics. Among rules were not mailing council offices and not trading during training sessions and always following the rules of the event (whether they agreed with them or not).

Starting in the 1960s and gaining in popularity through 2000 were events separate from program only for traders. They were called “Trade-o-rees”. By the 1970s a National Trade-o-ree was held in conjunction with each National OA Conference or Jamboree. Many lodges learned to host trade-o-rees as fundraisers often including a memorabilia auction. The first “official” trade-o-ree at a NOAC was at the 2009 Conference held on campus at the University of Indiana.

The patch trading groups that had developed were also publishing magazines that provided information for collectors. This had the affect of converting what were patch “collectors” in the 1980s and 1990s to Scout “historians” in the 2000s. More and more collectors were interested in preserving the insignia of their lodge, camp or council through the insignia that had been issued. Because the insignia became collectible, value became associated with the memorabilia. During the past 15 years unbelievable values have been associated with rare OA insignia. This is a measure of the passion of Arrowmen for their history.

Collectibles of all types have passion and value associated with them. But OA insignia is different than something like a baseball card. A baseball card never plays the game of baseball. In most cases the card is never even touched by the player depicted or anyone else in Major League Baseball. But OA insignia had to be earned by an Arrowman. The emblem represents the presence and service of an elder brother.

A fortunate by-product of the passion and swapping and trading over the years is the Order of the Arrow’s insignia has been preserved for posterity. Books such as The Blue Book - Standard Order of the Arrow Insignia Catalog, edited by Bill Topkis and websites like the Internet Guide to OA Insignia published by John Pannell along with exhibitions such as the OA Center for History at NOAC or the 2010 Mysterium Compass Vault at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree have made it possible for Arrowmen to continue to meet their obligation by observing and preserving the traditions of the Order of the Arrow.

The patch-trading hobby remains strong. Walk through any Jamboree or NOAC (when program is not going on, please) and patch trading can be found in almost every nook and cranny.

Awards, Background, Insignia, National Event, OA, Profile, Scouting


NOAC's

The National Order of the Arrow Conference, or “NOAC,” is the primary national gathering of Arrowmen. They are typically held every two years unless a conflict exists. NOACs are always held on university campuses. All NOACs have had at least 1,000 attendees and as many as 8,000.

The modern NOAC started in 1948 at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana University has now hosted ten Conferences, more than any other university. Each Conference has a host lodge that is assigned service duties best performed by a larger local group. There are many other common elements to NOACs. The list has grown over the years. Among functions one will find at a NOAC:

Arena Shows – Typically at least an opening show, an American Indian pageant and a closing show.

National Awards – The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is awarded at a special Awards show. The Red Arrow Award is also presented at that time. The newest national Award presented at the NOAC is the Lifetime Achievement Award.

National OA Competitions – The competitions have grown over the years. There are American Indian dance competitions, OA Ceremony competitions and evaluations, web site and newsletter competitions and all manner of sports competitions.

Training – From the very beginning of NOACs, training has been the single greatest program of emphasis. One of the primary purposes Arrowmen attend NOACs is to learn skills that can be utilized in their lodges, chapters, troops, camps and community. The modern NOAC typically allows delegates to choose and experience three hours of training by experts in their fields on three of the days of the conference. Well over 100 different topics may be taught at a NOAC. In addition special afternoon and evening activities involving training often take place.

TOAP – The Outdoor Adventure Place – Is the premier location of outdoor recreation at a NOAC. There are many activities and displays for Arrowmen to enjoy such as “Leave No Trace”.

Founder’s Day – Founders' Day is the biggest day of NOAC and boasts some of the best events that a NOAC has to offer. The day starts off with the Founders' Parade, followed by the opening ceremony. Then lodges and committees furiously setup their Founders Fair booths, and prepare for the crowds. The Founders' Fair is comprised of booths setup by lodge contingents and conference committees. Many booths include displays of their lodge history, and hand out information about their home area. Many lodges give away trinkets and lodge items including patches, t-shirts, pens, pencils and even small samples of Mississippi mud. Some booths provided food--those are sometimes the most popular at the fair. Food handouts include raisins from California, dried cranberries from Massachusetts, pretzels from Pennsylvania etc.  Local health laws may impact the ability to prepare and distribute food at some locations.

Meet The Man – Where any Arrowman has the opportunity to ask questions of National OA Committee members and other OA and BSA leaders.

Very Important Arrowman (VIA) functions – These are lunches and or dinners comprised of selected Arrowman (VIAs, the OA equivalent of VIPs) from across the nation. Often the youngest Arrowman of a lodge is selected.

Brotherhood Band and Brotherhood Chorus – Arrowmen who come together and serve at the conference either as part of a band or chorus used during the shows and other activities.

Museum / OA Center for History – An always popular feature where a museum is built and filled with artifacts relevant to Scouting and our Order. This is the place where Arrowmen fulfill that part of the Obligation to "observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow."

Patch Trading – The fellowship exhibited at every conference where two or more Arrowmen make the exchange of different Scout insignia. It is a favorite pastime of Arrowmen who are admonished not to let this fellowship activity interrupt program. Late night patch trading is never an acceptable excuse for missing training classes in the morning.

Background


National Planning Meetings

The National Planning Meetings started in 1949. Through the years they have evolved, but the basics have remained the same. In general the purpose of the meeting is to bring the adult leadership of the Order of the Arrow, in the form of the National OA Committee and key volunteers together with the youth leadership of the OA in the form of an assembly of the Area/Section Chiefs.

The meetings have almost always been held during the week or weekend between Christmas and New Years. Together the adult leadership assists and guides the youth leadership as they layout plans for the coming year or two, select a theme for the conference or other national event / theme and create working committees. In particular, the National Planning Meetings make the plans necessary to stage the next NOAC. One of the other key features and the most anticipated portion of the meeting is the election of youth national officers.

The first National Planning was held in December of 1949 for the purpose of planning the 1950 Conference. The meetings were held every other year unless the NOAC skipped a year, always held the December before the upcoming NOAC. Initially the officer elected was the National Conference Chief. Later a National Conference Vice Chief was added. Along the way Deputy Conference Chiefs were appointed (or elected) and later called Conference Vice Chiefs. In 1974 Region Chiefs were added to the elections at the National Planning Meetings. Area Chiefs not elected would be placed on committees and were collectively a part of the Conference Committee.

Starting in 1984 the meetings were moved to nearby the national BSA headquarters, in Westlake, Texas instead of being held at the university holding the upcoming NOAC. The National Planning Meeting became an annual event starting in 1987 when terms of National officers were reduced to one year. This change provided more youth the opportunity to serve in these national offices.

In years without a NOAC to plan the National Planning Meeting could direct its attention to other events and concepts such as ArrowCorps5, National Conservation and Leadership Summit (NCLS) and Philmont OA Trek.

Background


OA Handbooks

With the coming full integration of the Order of the Arrow (OA) into the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), it was decided by the National Executive Committee of the Order of the Arrow that a handbook was needed. The National Executive Committee wanted to make sure that all lodges would have the same information.

J. Rucker Newbery, National Lodge Treasurer, undertook the task. He gathered all the materials available and edited them into a proof edition. The content of this proof edition handbook was essentially the Constitution and By-Laws pamphlet, the Local Lodge Manual pamphlet, the Indian Ritual Costumes pamphlet and the Selection of Candidates and the Ordeal pamphlet. The “Dramatization of the Legend of the Lenni-Lenape” which was developed by Tomkita Chara Lodge of Wausau, Wisconsin was also included along with the song of the Order, articles by H. Lloyd Nelson and George Mozealous, and charts of growth rounded out this proof edition.

After edits of Newbery’s proof edition, the first edition of the OA Handbook was ready and distributed at the 1948 National Meeting. The first edition was reprinted later in 1948 in both soft cover and hard cover.

1950 brought a new handbook and its contents were similar. The following was the Table of Contents:

• Purpose and Principles
• Organization Pattern
• New Lodges
• Rules for Lodges
• Nominations and Elections
• The Ordeal Honor
• The Brotherhood Honor
• The Vigil Honor
• Indian Costumes
• Program
• Records
• Insignia, Literature and Supplies
• History
• Key to Pronunciation

A decade later in 1961, the handbook changed its content:

• History, Purpose, and Principles
• Relationship to Scouting
• Membership
• Organization
• Communication
• Training Opportunities
• Program
• Ceremonies
• Future Service for Arrowmen
• Insignia, Literature, and Indian Costumes
• English-Lenni Lenape guide

In 1973, the contents of the book were presented in a more creative way:

Obligation
Part I. Firm Bound In Brotherhood

o Chapter 1. Purpose and Principles
o Chapter 2. Ties of Brotherhood

Part II. Gather the Clan

o Chapter 3. Lodge Administration
o Chapter 4. Reference Information

1989 brought a new handbook. Changes in presentation were made and new materials added:

Part I – Guide for Members

o Purpose and Principles
o Ties of Brotherhood
o You, Your Lodge, and Scouting

Part II – Guide For Officers And Advisers

o Lodge Administration
o Structure, Program and Awards

The basic content of the OA Handbook has not changed since the 1989 revision.

In fact, it would be fair to say that the content of the book in 1948 and the content of the book in 2010 are very similar. The purpose of the book has not changed. The OA Handbook was and is designed to give a member of the Order of the Arrow all the information needed to participate knowledgeably in the Order.

Special edition handbooks were issued in 1965 for the 50th Anniversary of the Order of the Arrow, 1975 for the 60th Anniversary and 1990 for the 75th Anniversary.

Each of these handbooks had distinctive covers and the 1990 edition was published with a leather cover and binding.

Background


National OA Committee

The National Committee on Order of the Arrow was officially formed in 1948 with the full integration of the OA into the Boy Scouts of America. However the genesis of the committee dates back 15 years earlier. In 1933 at the Chicago hosted Grand Lodge Meeting the Order established a “Transition Committee”. The Transition Committee was basically given unlimited authority to negotiate with the BSA National Council regarding integration of the OA into the BSA. This move meant for the first time a national type committee for the Grand Lodge could operate without the need for a vote from the membership.

National Chief Thomas Cairns chaired the committee. Cairns selected the Grand Lodge elected leadership that included Grand Lodge Scribe H. Lloyd Nelson and with consultation from Goodman selected others to the committee including Goodman himself. All of the members of this committee, with the notable exception of Nelson, were Scout professionals working in a volunteer capacity.

In 1934 this committee changed its name to the National Executive Committee. Because of the growth experienced by the Order, and with the approval by the BSA in 1934 as an official BSA program, the Order was too big to be run by parliamentary procedure at open meetings every other year. The National Executive Committee took on all responsibilities except for elections. All members had to stand for election except for the two immediate past chiefs who were automatically members of the committee. In 1948, as an integrated part of the BSA, all members of the National Executive Committee became National Order of the Arrow Committee members. Kellock Hale, the next in line to be National Chief instead became the first National Committee Chairman.

The National OA Committee was formed to run the OA. Committee members would no longer stand for election and would be appointed by the BSA through its President. The National OA Committee was designed to have a balance of members from the regions of the country and no longer was comprised primarily of Scout professionals. The leadership of the OA has come from rank and file volunteers who have come up through their local lodges and answered the call to serve on a national level. Committee members are required to put in countless hours of service to run the OA. Many committee members put in decades of service including numerous leaders profiled in this OA History Timeline.

Over the years the National OA Committee has grown tremendously in size. From a group as small as nine, the committee has enlarged to over 50 members including two professionals and a number of youth leaders. The National OA Committee has expanded as the complexity and breadth of service has grown. At one time running a four-day conference for 1,000 Arrowmen was the Committee’s largest responsibility. Now the OA is involved in at least one national event every year, high adventure at numerous bases, scholarships, publications, leadership training and much more.

The following are the most recent published list of National Committee members including their areas of primary responsibility.  (Y) Youth; (P) Professional.

National Order of the Arrow Committee

National Chief
Nick Dannemiller (Y)
 
National Vice Chief
Taylor Bobrow (Y)
 
National Chairman 
 
OA Team Leader
 
OA Specialist
Matthew W. Dukeman (P)
 
 
Vice Chairmen
 
Communications and Technology
Craig B. Salazar
 
Council Relations
 
Development
N. Anthony Steinhardt, III
 
Financial Operations and Strategic Planning
Glenn T. Ault
 
Membership and Retention 
Clint E. Takeshita
 
National Events and 100th Anniversary
Michael G. Hoffman
 
Outdoor Adventures
Howard E. Kern
 
Partnerships
 
Recognition, Awards, History, and Preservation
Michael L. Thompson
 
Region and Section Operations 
Steven D. Bradley
 
Special Projects 
Scott W. Beckett
 
Training
David W. Garrett
 
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support 
Jeffrey Q. Jonasen
 
Youth Protection
 
 
Committee Members
 
L. Ronald Bell
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
Michael D. Bliss
Outdoor Adventures
 
Matthew E. Brown
Outdoor Adventures
 
Jack S. Butler, II
Training
 
Toby D. Capps
Region and Section Operations
 
E. Andrew Chapman
Training
 
Mark J. Chilutti
Region and Section Operations
 
Donald J. Cunningham
Development 
 
National Events and 100th Anniversary
 
Darrell W. Donahue
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
Wayne L. Dukes
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
Anthony J. Fiori
Communications & Technology
 
James A. Flatt, MD
Region and Section Operations
 
Stephen F. Gaines
Training
 
Christopher A. Grove
National Events and 100th Anniversary
 
Clyde (Bud) Harrelson III
Communications & Technology
 
Joshua P. Henry
National Events and 100th Anniversary
 
John W. Hess
Outdoor Adventures
 
Jason P. Hood
Development
 
Jordan L. Hughes
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
Recognition, Awards, History and Preservation
 
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
William D. Loeble
Recognition, Awards, History and Preservation
 
Development
 
Carey J. Mignerey
National Events and 100th Anniversary
 
Terrel W. Miller
Recognition, Awards, History and Preservation
 
John R. Rotruck
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
Max Sasseen, Jr.
National Events and 100th Anniversary
 
Sara L.  Seaborne
Unit, Chapter, and Lodge Support
 
Daniel T. Segersin
Region and Section Operations
 
Steven R. Silbiger
Development
 
William H. Topkis
Recognition, Awards, History and Preservation
 
Financial Operations and Strategic Planning
 
Russell D. Votava
Communications & Technology
 
Matthew M. Walker
Outdoor Adventures
 
Billy W. Walley
Recognition, Awards, History and Preservation
 
Jason A. Wolz
Communications & Technology
 
 

Background


DSA Profile

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) was created in 1940 to honor those who have rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the Order on a sectional, regional, or national basis. It is given primarily for dedicated service to the Order and Scouting over a period of years.

The first recipients were recognized at the 1940 national meeting at Camp Twin Echo Pennsylvania in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Order. E. Urner GoodmanCarroll A. Edson and nine others were the first recipients. Chief Scout Executive James E. West was one of the first recipients but did not receive the award until December 29, 1942, presented at the 28th annual meeting of Unami Lodge. Ten of the original 11 were current or former professional Scouters, the lone exception being H. Lloyd Nelson.

The award is a sterling silver arrowhead, bearing an arrow pointing upward and to the wearer’s right. Originally the ribbon was dark green to “to remind us of the great outdoors in which the program was centered.”

Between 1942, 1946, 1948, and 1950, the national lodge posed a tight limit on the number of awards with only three to six presentations for certain years. At this time in our history as a national organization, the award was rare.

During the December 1960 National OA Committee meeting at Indiana University, members discussed and agreed to change the color of the DSA ribbon from its forest green to explore a new color combination. The last awards presented with the forest green ribbon were at the 1965 National OA Conference (NOAC), which at that time there were only 111 recipients.

In 1966, during a National OA Committee meeting in Dallas, Awards Chairman Kellock Hale reported, “that at last the new ribbon was available.” The new design was a white ribbon with four embroidered red arrows on each side. The National OA Committee mailed all former recipients with the green ribbon the “new” replacement ribbon. The Class of 1967 was the first recipients to receive the new ribbon during their presentation.

The DSA is traditionally part of the pageantry at NOAC. During the early years through the mid-1970s new recipients were not announced until the show, which was a mystery to even the new awardees. In later years a formal announcement has been made beforehand and a formal letter was mailed.

Professional and adult Scouters received most of the awards in the formative years. Youth area chiefs, the forerunner title to a current section chief, were invited to help plan the 1948 National OA Conference. This opportunity allowed more youth to get involved nationally and to help plan their local area conferences, which became known as conclaves nationwide. The first youth recipients did not occur until the mid-1950s. National officers and national conference vice chiefs were elected at the planning meeting, which at the time was every two years to plan the upcoming NOAC. Participation for youth to help plan a national event is a unique and special opportunity, and afforded more youth leadership responsibility.

In the modern era of Scouting there is more opportunity for both youth and adult to serve on various levels: NOAC staff, National Jamboree, NLS, and the high adventure programs.

The DSA is the only award in the BSA that youth, adult volunteers, and professional Scouters can receive. Recipients that have been awarded include section chiefs who have contributed high-quality program to their respective sections, adult volunteers of the National OA Committee, Scout Executives, Chief Scout Executives, and Presidents of the Boy Scouts of America.

Gradually more DSA presentations were awarded, as there were more opportunities to serve in the increasingly diversified OA national programs. Between 1981 and 2012, there have been groups of DSA recipients presented at a NOAC ranging in size from 39 to 69, and a total of 908 awards have been presented in history. The total number may sound high, however, one has to consider the total BSA membership of over 800,000 and the national OA membership of over 171,000.

A special newsletter for recipients was started in the fall of 2008 called "The Silver Arrowhead". One goal of the newsletter is to reach out to former recipients, as many are not active in Scouting. Another goal is to share narratives about early recipients to share their story.

Awards, Background, OA, Profile, Scouting


Third Degree / Vigil Honor OA Sashes

The first example of anything resembling a sash worn by recipients of the Third Degree (Vigil Honor) is a fraternal “bib” type three-part sash. These sashes can be observed around the necks of founders E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in the photograph taken at the Rededication Ceremony held at Camp Biddle in conjunction with the first Grand Lodge Meeting in 1921. Other than the photograph itself, there is no other evidence, documentation or even confirmation that these are indeed Third Degree sashes.

The first Third Degree band that was worn over the left shoulder appeared in 1922. In a letter, dated August 1, 1922 on Philadelphia Council stationery, Horace P. Kern encouraged the 14 Third Degree members to purchase their own Third Degree band for one dollar and twenty-five cents each. Kern signed the letter as Secretary Third Degree.

The 1922 band was made out of white wool-felt and was backed by a linen cloth. The wool-felt and the linen were stitched together with a single line of stitching on both edges. There was no red arrow on the sash as was on the First Degree / Second Degree (Ordeal/Brotherhood) band. However, there was an oversized 4-inch equilateral red wool-felt triangle stitched onto the upper front of the band. Stitched to each side of the triangle was a small white wool-felt arrow. The direction of the small arrows was clockwise. These small arrows were designed with the shaft of the arrow extending past the end of the fletching.

Edward Pilkington received the Third Degree in 1924 and his Third Degree band was exactly the same as described above except the small arrows on the triangle were counterclockwise; a second variation of the first band.

Variation three of this first Third Degree band appeared circa 1926-27. The small arrows no longer had an extension past the fletching and they were clockwise in direction. Collectively, these sashes are known as “No Arrow” Vigil Honor sashes.

In 1927 Goodman left Philadelphia to become Scout Executive for the Chicago Council. The regional meeting of the Grand Lodge in Chicago for Region Seven introduced a new design for the Third Degree band. The material was white twill cloth with a bias edging. There was an Ordeal/Brotherhood red linen arrow on the sash and the Third Degree triangle was sewn onto the band over the red arrow on the front. The triangle was white twill and the small arrows were embroidered in beige or red (It is presumed the color on this embroidery was not colorfast) in a clockwise direction. This band was worn throughout Region Seven and other regions that surrounded Chicago.

In 1933, at the Grand Lodge meeting in Chicago, the minutes reflected a decision that all Third Degree bands would,

consist of a Brotherhood band to be worn over the left shoulder and to have a red triangle with three white arrows pointed clockwise superimposed upon it.

A sash already existed that met this description and was in use by the Region Two Grand Lodge. In the group photograph of the 1933 Grand Lodge Meeting all three types of Vigil Honor sashes can be observed in simultaneous usage as well as at least two additional variations for a total of five different Vigil Honor sashes.

Following the 1933 Grand Lodge Meeting, the Grand Lodge issued a new Third Degree band made of wool-felt and backed with linen material that would meet the new standard. To achieve uniformity, in a National Bulletin from the Chief dated February 1937, all members were told that only the band described in the 1933 Grand Lodge meeting minutes would be allowed to be worn at Order of the Arrow functions.

From 1937 until 1948, the Vigil Honor sash remained the same in appearance. However, the linen backing disappeared in the late 30’s and early 40’s. The felt small arrows on the triangle were changed from felt to chain-stitched embroidery and later to silkscreen. Also the direction of the arrows was inconsistent between clockwise and counterclockwise.

In 1948 the red arrow was changed from felt to flocked silk-screening onto the wool-felt. The Vigil Honor triangle remained oversized and the small white arrows came both silkscreened and flocked. Flocking is a silk-screen process where crushed felt is added to the ink and an electro-static charge is used to make the little felt pieces stand on end creating a printing that looked like velvet.

Circa 1951, in a cost saving decision, the Vigil Honor sash was simplified by flocking the entire sash, both arrow and the triangle, in one process. The Vigil Honor triangle became much smaller and was contained within the edges of the sash for the first time.

In 1955 the Vigil Honor sashes no longer came on felt. Henceforth they would be on twill material with red embroidered arrow and triangle. The sash was two plies of material stitched together on the edges by a double line of stitching.

From 1960 to 1980 the Vigil Honor sash was the same as used in 1955 to 1959 except the two plies were sewn together by a rolled or merrowed edge binding.

From 1981 to 1987, the Vigil Honor sash changed from the rolled border to a chain stitch along the edge.

From 1988 to 1990, the Vigil Honor sash had two plies of material stitched together with one row of stitches and the red arrow and triangle with small white arrows were made as an appliqué and hot ironed onto the twill material. This concept did not work well. The appliqué would not hold when washed and these sashes peeled apart. They were not well received and quickly discarded (and as a result became something of a collectors item).

By 1990, the appliqués were discontinued and the embroidery process reinstituted. The Vigil Honor sash of 1990 is the Vigil Honor sash of today.

Since 1955, the Vigil Honor sash has had minor changes in construction, but the design has remained the same except for the inconsistency between clockwise and counterclockwise placement of the small white arrows on the Vigil Honor triangle.

Background


National Jamborees

The National Scout Jamboree (NSJ) is a gathering of thousands of members of the Boy Scouts of America and guests, usually held every four years and organized by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. A NSJ provides opportunities for youth and leaders to participate in program events, activities and attractions focusing on the activities of Scouting such as: physical fitness, conservation, ecology, and the universal spirit of brotherhood. A jamboree is typically held for ten consecutive days and offers many activities for youth participants and the thousands of visitors from the general public who visit. It is considered to be Scouting at its best.

Key objectives of a NSJ is to: bring youth and leaders to a better understanding and a deeper sense of commitment to the ideals of Scouting, show the citizens of the United States of America and the world a model of democratic action as conducted by a great youth movement in a free society, to provide youth with a rich and genuine Scouting experience, and to provide an opportunity to meet and camp with brother Scouts from many parts of the United States of America and also the world.

Youth members sign up for the Jamboree through an application process through their local councils, who then places each boy into the Jamboree troop. Large councils are granted multiple Jamboree troops. Each troop comprises four adults (a Scoutmaster, and three assistant Scoutmasters) and 36 youth in four traditional patrols of eight boys each, plus a leadership corps of four older boys. Each troop that attends the Jamboree is assigned to a campsite location and in front of the campsite troops construct a gateway to display trademarks of their council or state. Gateways can range from the very simple to the extremely elaborate. Most troops issue a special patch, or series of patches, made especially for the Jamboree. Once at the jamboree, Scouts trade their council's patches for patches from across US and even the world.

The first Jamboree was to be held in 1935 in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scouting, but was delayed two years following a Presidential Proclamation cancelling it due to a polio epidemic. The 1937 Jamboree in the nation's capital attracted 25,000 Scouts, who camped around the Washington Monument and Tidal Basin. The event was covered extensively by national media and attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was inducted into the OA in 1933.

Following the disruption of World War II, the next Jamboree was not held until 1950 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Subsequent jamborees have been held around the country as a means to promote Scouting nationally. Since 1981, the NSJ has been located at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. Jamborees starting in 2013 will be held at The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia.

BSA National Scout Jamboree dates, attendance and location are as follows:

1937: 1st, 6/30-7/9, 27,238, Washington, D.C.

1950: 2nd 6/27-7/6, 47,163, Valley Forge, Pa.

1953: 3rd, 7/17-7/23, 45,401, Irvine Ranch, CA

1957: 4th, 7/12-7/18, 52,580, Valley Forge, PA

1960: 5th, 7/22-7/28, 56,377, Colorado Springs, CO

1964: 6th, 7/17-7/23, 50,960, Valley Forge, PA

1969: 7th, 7/16-7/16, 34,251, Farragut State Park, Idaho

1973: 8th, 8/1-8/8 & 8/3-9, 73,610 - Farragut State Park, ID and Moraine State Park, PA

1977: 9th, 8/3-8/9, 28,601, Moraine State Park, PA

1981: 10th, 7/29-8/4, 29,765, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

1985: 11th, 7/24-7/30, 32,615, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

1989: 12th, 8/3-8/9, 32,717, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

1993: 13th, 8/4-8/10, 34,449, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

1997: 14th, 7/28-8/6, 36,015, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

2001: 15th, 7/23-8/1, 40,002, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

2005: 16th, 7/25-8/3, 43,307, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

2010: 17th, 7/26-8/4, 43,434, Fort A.P. Hill, VA

2013: 18th, Will be held at "The Summit", WV

Note: In 1973, the BSA “National Jamboree” became known as the “National Scout Jamboree” adding the word “Scout”.

Background


OA Obligation Timeline

It is not known when the first WWW Obligation was used. Because it is part of the First Degree/Honor ritual it is believed that it likely was used in some form as early as 1916. The first known version of the Obligation dates to 1921. It read:

I, (your name), do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully preserve unbroken the secret rites, mysteries, signs and symbols of the Order of the WIMACHTENDIENK WINGOLAUCHSIK, WITAHEMUI, which I have now received or may be taught at any future time. I will always regard the bonds of brotherhood in this Order as sacred and binding, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others. I will attend, so far as I am able, all regular and special meetings of the Order and do what I can to promote interest in them.

The 1931 ritual contains a slightly different version of the Obligation. The most significant change was the term “as sacred and binding” to “as binding”. This was to satisfy religious groups that objected to the concept of sacred rituals for their congregants. It was also done as preparation for achieving the goal of becoming an official BSA program.

Other changes were the Arrowman no longer states his name, the name Order of the Arrow is stated before the actual name, WWW, which was changed to only have the first word in the name stated and the last two words just the letter “W” presumably to be spoken, but not written. There was also a minor change where “the bonds of brotherhood in this order” becomes “the bonds of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow”. The 1931 Obligation was said as follows:

I, do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully preserve unbroken the secret rites, mysteries, signs and symbols of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, W. ______, W. ______, which I have now received or may be taught at any future time. I will always regard the bonds of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as binding and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others. I will attend, so far as I am able, all regular and special meetings of the Order and do what I can to promote interest in them.

The 1935 revision of the Obligation was very minor. The word “secret” was removed before the word “rites”. This change was again to satisfy religious groups that objected to secret rituals. This change was part of the Order of the Arrow’s agreement with the BSA in order to become an official BSA program. Among other requirements the OA agreed to re-write rituals such that they would satisfy religious organizations. The 1935 version was:

I, do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully preserve unbroken the rites, mysteries, signs and symbols of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, W. ______, W. ______, which I have now received or may be taught at any future time. I will always regard the bonds of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as binding and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others. I will attend, so far as I am able, all regular and special meetings of the Order and do what I can to promote interest in them.

The change made for the 1941 Obligation was extremely minor. Once again the Arrowman would state his name as he spoke the Obligation. The 1941 version was spoken as follows:

I, (your name), do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully preserve unbroken the rites, mysteries, signs and symbols of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, W. ______, W. ______, which I have now received or may be taught at any future time. I will always regard the bonds of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as binding and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others. I will attend, so far as I am able, all regular and special meetings of the Order and do what I can to promote interest in them.

The 1948 version of the Obligation had the most significant changes of any revision. This was because in 1948 the OA became fully integrated into the BSA and all rituals including Obligations were reviewed. The phrase “faithfully preserve unbroken the rites, mysteries, signs and symbols” was changed to “faithfully observe and preserve the traditions”. “Bonds of brotherhood” was changed to “ties of brotherhood”. Finally, the entire last sentence regarding meetings and promotion was removed. The 1948 version strongly resembles today’s Obligation. It was spoken as follows:

I, (your name), do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, W. ______, W. ______, which I have now received or may be taught at any future time. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow, as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

The 1951 Obligation was altered to once again say “Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui”:

I, (your name), do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, WINGOLAUCHSIK, WITAHEMUI which I have now received or may be taught at any future time. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow, as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

The 1962 Obligation changed the phrase “which I have now received or may be taught at any future time” to “which I have now received”. The Obligation was now stated:

I, (your name), do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, WINGOLAUCHSIK, WITAHEMUI which I have now received. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow, as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

The 1986 version again tinkered with the phrase after the three W’s and completely removed the words “which I have now received”:

I, (your name), do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, WINGOLAUCHSIK, WITAHEMUI. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow, as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

The final change came in 1999. The Obligation had required the Obligor to state his name since 1941. This always created an awkward moment when said in groups. The Obligor's name was removed. This is the current way to say the Order's Obligation:

I do hereby promise on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow, WIMACHTENDIENK, WINGOLAUCHSIK, WITAHEMUI. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow, as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.

Background, OA, Profile, Scouting


Membership Cards

Many organizations create a membership card as a way to show a person is a member in good standing (current on annual dues). The Wimachtendienk and later the Order of the Arrow was no different in this regard. In many cases the local lodge created their own card.

In 1923, at the third Meeting of the Grand Lodge the Extension and Registry Committee made the following recommendation to create the first nationally printed membership card:

“We recommend that an engraved individual membership certificate be made available to members at a price that will provide a profit for the Grand Lodge, and we recommend that the Supply Officer draw up and submit a certificate.”

The recommendation passed and the Order’s first national membership card was made shortly thereafter. This card had the word Wimachtendienk spelled out followed by W. W. at the top of horizontally designed card.

Starting in the late 20s or early 30s the card design was changed and the name on the card was the Order of the Arrow; again a horizontally designed card with the name at the top. In 1941, the print design was changed to include a beautiful new logo – quill, arrows and shield. The layout was horizontal.

With the acceptance of the Order of the Arrow as a formal program within the Boy Scouts of America, the membership card changed. The new card was vertical in design, and had the words “Boy Scouts of America” added onto the card.

In the mid-1950s, the card format was changed back to being horizontal. A new design was accepted with a red arrow pointing right at the top and the back of the card had the Obligation imprinted upon it in red with a place for the member to sign his name. 1960 marked the next change in the membership card. The red arrow across the top of the card now pointed to the left and the words on the back of the card were in black ink.

In 1968, there was a complete design change; an image of a Native American chief viewed from the side was added along the entire left side of the card. The red arrow was moved from the top to the bottom of the card and pointed left.

In 1976, the card was plain and simple. No images and the red arrow remained at the bottom pointing left.

In 1986, computer format cards were introduced. The cards came in a roll with perforations on the sides and tractor holes to pull the cards through the printer. The “MGM logo” was in the center of the card and the red arrow was removed from the card.

In 1999, the Arrowhead logo was introduced as a watermark on the card. The cards came twelve to an 8.5 x 11.0 sheet that could be printed name by name in a computer software program. The format was three cards horizontal and four cards vertical per page. In 2003, the design remained the same but the format was changed to ten cards per 8.5 x 11.0 page arranged two horizontal and five vertical. These cards had only the Arrowhead logo and were completely blank of printing. There was an instruction sheet. Lodges could print lodge and member information directly onto the membership cards, all in the same font in real time as the data was entered into the computer.

Background


The Grand Lodge

When Wimachtendienk, W.W. started at Treasure Island they were a lone camp fraternity without a national charter. In 1921, the eleven active Wimachtendienk groups decided to have a meeting and form a national organization. The usage of the term “Grand Lodge” appears to have come from the Masonic fraternal system that also calls their national organization a The Grand Lodge. 

With the formation of the Grand Lodge, WWW became a national society. Just as in the college “Greek” system local fraternities have a national charter, the same was true for local OA lodges. Their national charter was with the Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge was formed in 1921 at the First Grand Lodge Meeting in Philadelphia with the creation of the first Grand Lodge Constitution. E. Urner Goodman was elected the First Grand Chieftain of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Council was the name that referred to the executive officers of the Grand Lodge when they met,  typically at Scout Executive conferences. While it was not a rule, in practice throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s virtually all officers and over 90% of attendees at meetings of the Grand Lodge were Scout professionals.  Although the professionals were not acting in their vocational capacity, it clearly influenced the decisions and guidance of the early years of the Order.

The Grand Lodge has since evolved. For a short while its name was National Tribe and then the National Lodge. Later the National Lodge would dissolve when the National Order of the Arrow Committee formed.

Background