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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.


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

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.


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:

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.


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

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”.


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.


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.


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.


Ceremony Booklets

The ceremonies of the Wimachtendienk and later the Order of the Arrow were written down and passed around so that there was similarity of the rituals in all Lodges. However, we do not have the earliest ceremony in any form.

The 1915 ritual that took place on each Friday night of camp at Treasure Island does not exist. There is even disagreement about the content of that ceremony among those who were there and witnessed it.

The first written ceremony that exists is the private ceremony used in the city after camp that eventually became the Second Degree. Dr. William Hinkle wrote that ceremony and the known copy available has hand written corrections over the typing. This copy dates to circa 1918.

The written Ordeal Ceremony first appeared in 1921 with the formation of the Grand Lodge. The ceremony was mimeographed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and distributed to the Supreme Chief of the Fire of each member lodge. The names of the ceremonialists and the content of the ceremony in 1921 were different than the names and content of the teens.

Dr. Hinkle announced to the Grand Lodge that changes needed to be made to the ceremonies because unwanted people saw the ceremony at Treasure Island. The new ceremony introduced the Pre-Ordeal ceremony with two tasks to be accomplished by the candidates: 

  1. Application of water to the left bared breast to symbolize the cleansing of the candidate from all selfishness and evil and 
  2. Chewing on a root-stock that symbolized the increase in strength and vigor to be used in the service of others.

The new ceremony also introduced a closing to the ceremony for the ritual.

In 1927, the decision was made to formalize the Ordeal Ceremony and print it in a user-friendly 5 x 7 inch booklet. The Legend was introduced in poetic format giving ceremonialists the option of prose or poetry.

The Grand Lodge in 1931 enacted a major change in leadership names and ceremonialist names. The Ordeal Ceremony characters were decreased from six to four ceremonialists. Allowat Sakima and Kichkinet were introduced. Meteu and Nutiket remained. The new booklet cover was entitled Ritual for the Ordeal (First) Degree and the words, “Carefully Safeguard This Ritual” appeared on the cover.

In 1933, the Order of the Arrow was busy preparing to become an official part of the National Council Boy Scouts of America. In 1935, as part of the new relationship with the BSA, the Grand Lodge was renamed the National Tribe. As a result of these two events the ceremonies had to undergo changes in the names used as well as changes to the ritual language to meet the requirements laid down by the BSA, in particular regarding religious organizations. Therefore, in 1935 a new Ordeal Ceremony was written and presented in a 5 x 7 inch booklet. The approval date was May 10th, 1935. The cover had a significant addition,

A National Brotherhood of Boy Scout Campers Chartered by the National Council Boy Scouts of America.

There were only 500 of these Ordeal pamphlets printed.

In 1936 the term “Tribe” reverted back to “Lodge”. The National Tribe then became known as the National Lodge. The ceremony booklet was redone to reflect the change in name and the Ordeal booklet cover was color-coded using red ink. This version of the Ordeal ritual was approved January 31st, 1936 and was unchanged until August of 1948.

In 1948, the Order of the Arrow became fully integrated into the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Ordeal Ceremony was revised and distributed just in time for the National Meeting at Bloomington, Indiana. The major change in 1948 was in the Pre-Ordeal ceremony. The water poured on the bared breast for cleansing and the chewing of the root-stock for strength and vigor was replaced with the testing of the bow by drawing back the bowstring to “give proof in silence of his will to make the journey.” The cover changed significantly in design, but the red ink code remained. The cover and the ceremony used in 1948 remained essentially the same until March 1968.

In March 1968 the Ordeal Ceremony booklet was published with a new cover, the red ink color code was gone, and a new copyright was used. The Pre-Ordeal and Ordeal ritual did not change but the pamphlet added a section on the “Conducting of the Election” and a “Suggested Election Ceremony”. Also new was a section on “Training Ceremonial Teams”.

1973, 1977 and 1979 brought new covers but no changes in the 1968 copyrighted rituals.

In 1981 there were major changes. The cover was new and so was the format and contents of the “Manual for the Ordeal”. It was a complete “how to” manual for every detail in the administration of the Ordeal from Call Out to Investiture. The most important change was in the new Pre-Ordeal and symbols used. This was a direct result of the efforts and influence of CAG, the Ceremonial Advisory Group. Each principal ceremonialist had a symbol to explain and use in preparing the candidates for their Ordeal. In 1988, the cover design was changed but the content did not.

In 1990 the ceremony for Ordeal was divided into two booklets. The information for administering the Ordeal was contained in the “Administration Guide for the Ordeal”. The actual Pre-Ordeal and Ordeal rituals were in a separate booklet, “Ceremony for the Ordeal”. The content in both combined was essentially the same as the 1981 copyrighted rituals. The design of the covers of each booklet was the same design used in 1988. The “Administration Guide for the Ordeal” and the “Ceremony for the Ordeal” booklets remained in use until 1999. In 1999, the two booklets were again brought together into one ceremony book. The new book was 8.5 x 11 inches and contained 30 pages. The content remained as presented in 1981. These were the last changes for the Ordeal.

Brotherhood Ceremony In the earliest years of the Wimachtendienk, like the Ordeal Ceremony was divided into two parts – public at Treasure Island and private back in Philadelphia in the fall after summer camp closed. The private ceremony sealed the membership of the candidate and was the ceremony most similar to today’s Brotherhood.

While there is no copy of the teens Ordeal ritual, copies exist of the circa 1918 version entitled Ritual for the Second Degree of the Wimachtendienk written by Dr. William Hinkle. The ceremony was typed on 8.5 x 11 paper. The principal characters in that ceremony were Medeu, Chief of the Fire; Pow-Wow, Vice Chief of the Fire; Sakima, Chief; Nutiket, Guide and Guard of the Trail; the Medicine Man; and Olomipees, Recorder.

Dr. William Hinkle’s report in 1921 as the Chairman of the Ceremonies and Rituals Committee indicated that the Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies needed to be rewritten. The rewrite in 1921 of the Brotherhood ceremony was essentially a change in the principal characters’ name with minor changes in the language. The ritual was mimeographed on 8.5 x 11 paper for distribution.

In 1931, the Brotherhood Ceremony principals changed to the same four as in the Ordeal – Allowat Sakima, Meteu, Nutiket, and Kichkinet. The ritual remained in mimeograph format and the content again had just minor language changes. In response to the 1933 request for all ceremonies to remove language that would not be acceptable to religious organizations along with the name change to National Tribe, the Brotherhood ritual language was changed. There is no known copy of the Brotherhood Ceremony for the National Tribe in 1935.

On January 31, 1936 the OA’s name changed from National Tribe to National Lodge. This change, along with the changes to accommodate religious organizations was published in a green color-coded 5 x 7 inch booklet. New to the booklet was the 31-question examination for Ordeal members that had been approved in 1927, but published separately in the past. The 1936 printed booklet cover has two versions. Version one has the words, “The National Brotherhood of Boy Scout Honor Campers Approved (sic) by the National Council Boy Scouts of America”. Version two replaced the word “Approved” with “Chartered” (sic)”. The 1936 cover remained in use through 1948.

In 1949, the cover was changed to match the format and design of the Ordeal booklet. The color code remained green. “Carefully safeguard this pamphlet” was added to the cover. The Question List for Examination of Members on the First Honor was deleted from the booklet.

On October 9, 1950, the National OA Committee announced important changes in the language of the Brotherhood ceremony. All references to the direction left were changed to right, including the wearing of Brotherhood sashes. These changes first appeared in the March 1951 “Ceremony for the Brotherhood Honor”. In 1953 the cover design remained the same but the title became “Brotherhood Ceremony”.

In 1956, the cover had “Safeguard This Pamphlet” instead of “Carefully Safeguard This Pamphlet” In 1956 significant changes were made in the ritual. The “Blood Rite” portion of the ceremony was ended. Instead of actually drawing blood, the act would be performed symbolically. The next change came in 1968. The cover had a colorful, pictorial design. The contents again included the Brotherhood Questionnaire, Administrative directions, the Ritual, and Training Ceremonial Teams. The ritual content remained basically the same. In 1971, the cover changed and the side view of the Native American Chief was featured. No content changes were made nor was there ritual changes.

In 1974, there was no cover change but the Brotherhood Questionnaire was dropped from the booklet. 1978’s booklet cover changed but the Native American Chief side view was still featured. The next cover change was in 1986; there were no content or significant ritual changes. The copyright remained 1968. In 1988 the OA introduced a new cover design still using the 1968 copyright. The design was blacks and grays with a Brotherhood Arrow Sash in the middle. As with the Ordeal Ceremony, the Brotherhood Ceremony changed from a booklet format to an 8.5 x 11 inch book in 1999. The title was changed to “Ceremony for the Brotherhood”. Greater useful directions were given to the ceremonialists.

The Brotherhood Ceremony has not substantially changed in nearly 100 years. Dr. William Hinkle wrote it circa 1918 and the ritual experience has the same three tests, the same movement around the circle, and the same questions by the principal characters to the candidates.

There was no real Vigil Ceremony for Goodman when he kept the first vigil in 1915. The Vigil (then Second Degree) ceremony that was used in 1916/1917/1918 for Carroll Edson’s vigil is unknown. Edson, in a 1942 letter, speaks of a ritual that he helped to write in 1916. However, there are no written copies and there has not been ritual content gleaned from interviews of the founders.

In 1919, Howard Seideman, a youth, and Horace P. Kern, an adult kept their Vigil (then known as Third Degree) at the Devil’s Tea Table near Treasure Island Scout Camp. This Vigil ceremony is also unknown but presumed similar to the Edson Vigil experience.

The first known written copy of the Third Degree Ceremony existed by 1921 and was typed with handwritten notes on paper designed for a small notebook. This was the ceremony that was used for the 1921 class of Third Degree Honorees. The ritual is credited to Goodman and likely had many common elements to the Edson ritual and the one used for the class of 1919 Vigils. The ritual was designed for use at Treasure Island. The Grand Lodge used it as the model Third Degree ceremony. It is possible that only one copy of this ceremony existed. It is unknown when the next Third Degree ceremony was written or published.

In 1928 when Regional Grand Lodge Meetings were held, it is assumed that a written ceremony was used at each meeting, but no copies exist. In 1931, when the Grand Lodge changed the ceremony teams to four principal characters, the Vigil Honor Ceremony was changed from the one principal character to four. The ritual content remained the same but the words were distributed to the four principal characters to speak. The ritual was available only from the Grand Lodge and was in type format and mimeographed onto 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

With the 1933 request that all ceremonies be looked at to satisfy the religious organizations by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Horace “Shorty” Ralston, an important adult leader in the beginnings of the Wimachtendienk, was given the task of rewriting the Vigil Honor ceremony. The result of his work was approved on January 5, 1940. The 1940 Vigil Honor ceremony came printed in booklet form to match the covers of the Ordeal and Brotherhood booklets of 1936. The color code was blue ink. 1000 copies were made and this printing remained in used until February of 1951. The title was The Ritual for the Vigil (Third) Honor and it was “approved” by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “Carefully Safeguard this Pamphlet” also appeared on the cover.

The cover changed in 1951 to match the changes in the Ordeal and Brotherhood booklets and the blue ink color code continued. The title read “Ceremony for the Vigil Honor”. This booklet had a 1949 copyright. There were no changes in the ritual content or language. The copyright date simply acknowledged the change in the Order of the Arrow’s integration into the Boy Scouts of America in 1948.

The 1959 cover had the word “Carefully” deleted and the phrase was shortened to, “Safeguard this Pamphlet”. This cover remained the same until 1968. In 1968 the cover changed to conform to design changes for the Ordeal and Brotherhood pamphlets and remained the same until 1973. In 1973 the design of the cover changed for all ceremonies booklets. The side view of the Native American Chief came into use. 1977 had a change in the group of ceremonies booklets and the Vigil booklet changed as well. In 1979 the cover changed. This edition remained in use until 1987. 1988 was the next cover design change and it lasted until 1998.

The last major design change came in 1999, when the Vigil Honor ceremony pamphlet, like the other ceremonies, was published in an 8.5 x 11 inch book format. While there have been cover changes over the years since 1940, the ritual has stayed essentially the same since the rewrite was accomplished in 1940. The ritual experience has remained the same for the past 60 years for all Arrowmen who were elected to the Vigil.