Del Loder’s Scouting career and OA history are lengthy and distinguished. In 2009 Del received the prestigious Order of the Arrow Lifetime Achievement Award. Del Loder has experienced a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge and he has spent his service in the Order imparting it to his fellow Arrowmen.
Del was introduced to Scouting at the age of seven when his father took him to a “Scout Circus” in Seattle, Washington. Years later while Del was a young assistant Scoutmaster, he made a list of Scout leaders that he wanted to meet. On that list was E. Urner Goodman, the founder of the Order of the Arrow. Surprisingly, the OA was not a topic on Del's agenda should he have the opportunity to talk to Dr. Goodman. Del wanted to speak with Dr. Goodman to learn how he went about organizing the first National Jamboree in the United States.
In May 1948, Del Loder met E. Urner Goodman. After the nineteen year-old Loder received the answers he sought, Goodman asked him a life-changing question. Goodman inquired about Loder's knowledge regarding the Order of the Arrow. Goodman walked Del through the Ordeal and Brotherhood process including Goodman’s own Vigil on the Devil's Tea Table. Loder would later say, “That was my beginning".
Del was elected into the Order in 1954. As a Scoutmaster at the time, Del made sure that his Scout Troop was registered for the first week of camp when the OA was to be chartered in his council. The first elected member of the OA in his council came from his unit that summer at camp, and Del was inducted on July 3, 1954. Del started as Adviser to the Historian in the new lodge and underwent the Brotherhood ceremony in 1955. He later became the Adviser of the Brotherhood Committee.
In 1956, his Lodge's Adviser, Ford Smith, was appointed to the National OA Committee, thus creating a void that needed filling. Loder's Scout Executive asked him to take over, but he turned it down. Del's commitment was to his Scout Troop, and he made it clear to his scout executive that he wished to continue service to his troop. In July 1958, Del was recognized with the Vigil Honor.
Although Del was not in the Order as a youth (Seattle had the Order of the Silver Marmot, a local camp honor society supplanted by the OA in 1954), he worked very closely with the ceremonies team as an adult. At that time, the Order of the Arrow was still more adult run in parts of the country than today giving Del a chance to experience being Meteu, the storyteller in the ceremonies.
Nearly ten years and multiple requests to be lodge adviser later, Del took over the role of Lodge Adviser in 1965, which he served for ten years. Meanwhile, Del attended the Golden Anniversary National Conference in Bloomington, Indiana where he realized that, though his lodge was in great shape, there were some problems. He instituted an effective training program for his youth lodge leaders and ensured that all his leaders knew the "ins and outs" of the OA. Del later served as Associate Section Adviser and then Section Adviser.
In August of 1974 Del was appointed to serve the National Council on the National OA Committee by the BSA President. Del was surprised that he was appointed (a testament to his character). At his first meeting, Del was asked to become the Chairman of the Ceremonies committee for the OA. Del, always having been interested in OA ceremonies, was thrilled to take on that position. He also knew that would give him the chance to work with Goodman. As a member of the National OA Committee, Del inherited what he deemed to be "a group of dedicated thinkers for ceremonies" (the Ceremonial Advisory Group or CAG).
Del's committee solved a great many of the problems in ceremonies that existed at that time. In 1975, Del was recognized for his unselfish service to the Order with the Distinguished Service Award. Meanwhile, Del served as the Western Region Area One Adviser concurrently with the National OA Committee. Del left the Ceremonies Committee in 1981 to become the Western Region Chairman. He "loved the position and the people with whom he worked," said Loder. "I traveled everywhere, and loved every minute."
Leadership and training has always been a passion for Del. In 1975, Del was concerned that there was no existing national OA Training program for lodge officers and advisers so he convinced the National OA Committee to re-institute the National Training Course and to create a new and improved training program (Brad Haddock spearheaded the effort as National Chief, while he was chief). In 1979, the program was fully functioning; the National and Region Chiefs would meet with Del to review the draft and plan. Del would ensure that the plan was enforced. This program developed into the National Leadership Seminar, and later the Lodge Leadership Development program. Del’s service continued when he assisted in the reformation of NLS and the creation of NLATS.
Del was appointed to the Founder's Council by then National Chairman Dr. Carl Marchetti. He served on the Council for two years, after which he was appointed National Vice Chairman of Lodge operations in 1993. This was also the first time he served the OA at a National Scout Jamboree. Del returned to the Founder's Council as Chair of the Goodman Society one year later.
In addition to his extensive list of accomplishments, Del has worked with OA Shows at seven National Jamborees, and worked on the OA training program where he trained in three of the four regions in the NLATS program. Del has attended every National Conference since 1959, attending a total of more than 28 national events. Throughout the past 65 years Del Loder has been involved in Scouting, his favorite memory is still the first time he stood in front of his Scoutmaster and held up the Scout sign proudly to recite the Scout Oath and Law.
Of the great many highlights in his Scouting career and in particular the Order of the Arrow, Del was given the opportunity to work with Goodman on the Ceremonies Committee during the last ten years of Goodman's life. Del sees the ceremonies as the most important part of the OA because they explain everything about the Order. His favorite part is in the Ordeal ceremony when Allowat Sakima says, "you are now entitled to all rights and privileges of the Order of the Arrow."
Del's advice to young Arrowmen today is,
Know the ceremonies; they are the core of the Order.