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Temporary Camping Night Policy Due to COVID-19

More information about the Order of the Arrow's response to the COVID-19 outbreak can be found ​here. In light of the extended period of camping restrictions attributable to COVID-19, the following temporary modification is being made to the camping requirements for OA eligibility: Virtual camping (i.e., backyard or solo camping) may be counted toward the required nights of camping for OA election eligibility if all the following stipulations are met: To be counted, all virtual camping nights should be a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and be part of a BSA unit-organized unit camping event (i.e., multiple members of the unit are involved and camping simultaneously at remote locations). Some form of unit-organized communications should occur either during or immediately following the event. All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines should be followed. No more than three (3) nights of virtual camping are to be credited in any month in which government- or council-imposed COVID-19 restrictions are in place. This change is in effect until further notice Units which have already held an election between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 are authorized to hold one additional election for any individuals who were ineligible at the time of the election due to the camping requirement, but would have been considered eligible at the time if this temporary policy had then been in effect. This second election must be completed no later than July 1, 2020. Those who were previously considered for election in the first election may not be reconsidered on this second ballot (i.e., no one can be considered for election more than once in a year). Given that virtually all councils have either cancelled or reduced their summer camp programs this year, creating a situation where a high proportion of Scouts will not have the opportunity to attend an in-camp summer camp in 2020, a temporary provision to allow for "virtual" long term camping credit for OA eligibility is necessary. Virtual Long-Term Camping Authorization Two situations have developed associated with the current pandemic that may prevent Scouts from having an opportunity to qualify for OA eligibility due to not having attended a long-term camp this summer. The local council camp is closed and not offering a traditional summer camp experience. Scout parents are unwilling to allow their child to attend traditional summer camp programs due to health concerns. In order to address these circumstances, virtual long-term camping of five (5) consecutive nights is authorized to be counted toward the long-term camping requirements for OA eligibility consistent with the above guidance and the following additional guidelines: A long-term camp plan must be developed and approved by the unit leader prior to the commencement of the long-term camp. This plan is to be individualized to each Scout’s capabilities and situation and should strive to include: Progress toward advancement for each Scout Outdoor relevant experience consistent with local conditions and restrictions Unit-organized communications should occur on a daily basis during the camping experience and include discussion of progress made on summer camp goals. An end-of-camp assessment must be conducted with the unit leader to report on progress made during the experience itself and discuss how future virtual long-term camping experiences can be enhanced. During this assessment the unit leader will make the determination if the Scout’s participation warrants granting credit for a completed virtual long-term camping experience in terms of OA eligibility. This virtual long-term camping authority is not meant to substitute for attendance at traditional council summer camp programs, but rather to provide an alternative for Scouts who fit in one of the two categories mentioned above. If you have any questions, please reach out to membership@oa-bsa.org.

Apr 29, 2020   Announcements
Virtual Unit Elections and Induction Date Extension

More information about the Order of the Arrow's response to the COVID-19 outbreak can be found ​here. The National OA Director has approved lodges to hold virtual unit elections until further notice. Due to the cancellation of many induction events, candidates that were elected after February 1, 2019 will have 24 months from the date of election to complete their ordeal. This change is in effect until otherwise notified that we will go back to 12 months. There are no changes to the membership requirements with the exception of the temporary virtual camping policy. The following resources have been put together so that lodges may effectively implement virtual elections. Conducting Unit Elections via Zoom The following guidelines should be followed in order to conduct virtual unit elections. The Lodge and Council leadership must approve their lodge conducting virtual unit elections. The unit leader must agree to a virtual election. The Lodge Unit election team and the appropriate forms/videos must be able to be presented to unit members.  (This assumes the use of some type of online meeting technology.) The unit leader should continue to validate those eligible for elections. A means to confidentially collect votes for eligible unit members must be available and used.  NO OPEN VOTE COUNTING IS TO BE ALLOWED. Conduct your election in accordance with the Election to Ordeal process outlined on page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers which can be found here. If you have any questions, please reach out to membership@oa-bsa.org.

Mar 25, 2020   Announcements
NOAC 2020 Information Update

Are you getting excited for NOAC 2020? See below for some important updates regarding what to expect! Activities When we think of NOAC, we often think about all the fun that one has being alongside the thousands of other Arrowmen who have all gathered together. Well, you can certainly expect a bunch of great programs such as escape rooms, sports competitions, an auto show and much more! Trainings Delegates will engage with Arrowmen from across the country to learn how to improve their home lodges, succeed as a leader, and better support scouting. Four select Arrowmen from each lodge will also take part in the PILOT Academy to explore how individuals can affect change. If you are interested in becoming a trainer at NOAC, please email noactraining@oa-bsa.org. Delegates may also be trainers while still participating in all the other great things NOAC has to offer! Special Events A lot of special events will allow us to recognize those who have served the Order of the Arrow, such as the Distinguished Service Award Dinner and Distinguished Service Award Show, Very Important Arrowman (VIA) luncheons and many more. Also now, for the first time ever at NOAC, we will be hosting a special reception for the lodge leaders of this year’s high performing lodges to thank them for all their hard work!  Engagement Those of you who attended NOAC in 2018 might remember Seek and this year, the conference-wide game is back and more exciting than ever before! At the conference, you’ll be able to participate in Trek – a week-long game where you can meet other Arrowmen while earning points at the same time. Points can be redeemed for various prizes including a participation patch and fun activities throughout the conference. Sustainability In regard to sustainability at NOAC, we will have tons of cool activities! One can give back to MSU and the nearby cities through special conservation projects throughout NOAC. Don’t forget to also stop by the Arrowmen for Conservation, Education, and Sustainability (ACES) Village for live music to enjoy while learning about conservation and the Sustainability Trail to learn proper trail building techniques!  Starting April 1st, those who have already registered for NOAC will be able to start building their schedule by picking which activities, trainings, and more they would like to attend. Be sure you register for NOAC soon, because spots fill up fast! For those who are already registered, there will be an e-newsletter leading up to the conference called “The Tread” to update you about what’s to come in August. To stay up to date on the latest announcements regarding the conference, be sure to follow us @oabsa, @oanoac and NOAC2020.org! NOAC 2020 will be the event that you remember for the rest of your life, so If you haven’t already, make sure to talk to your lodge chief or adviser to find out about how you can register for NOAC!  If you aren’t able to make it to NOAC, being a remote delegate is a great way to still experience the conference from the comfort of your own home. For more information on the remote delegate program, access this link.

Mar 22, 2020   OA Today
OAHA Celebrates 25 Years of Service!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow High Adventure (OAHA) Program and we want you to be a part of it! Who better to tell you about their OAHA experience other than recent recipient of the OA Triple Crown Award, Zack M. He had the opportunity to attend three different OAHA programs: OA Trail Crew (Philmont), OA Summit Experience (Summit) and OA Ocean Adventure (Sea Base). Here is what Zack M. from Netopalis Sipo Schipinachk Lodge has to say: What can you say in general about the OA High Adventure programs? “Each program has something different to offer. Whether it is the types of activities you do, to the people that you meet, to the types of conservation projects that you do. No OAHA program is ever the same.” What was your favorite aspect of OA High Adventure? “My favorite aspect of OAHA is meeting other Arrowmen. I came to discover this summer it truly is the people that make the experience what it is. At each OAHA trek, I discovered unique personalities and we all played off each others’ personalities. We all share the same passion for service but we also differ when it comes to personal life, so it was always really eye opening to work on a team of such an awesome, diverse group of Arrowmen. From California to New York each person had something different to bring to the table. It helped me realize how much of an impact they had on me and how much I had on them. Meeting brothers with the same mindset of cheerful service is what I would consider to be my favorite aspect.” How is OA High Adventure unique? “Just in general you are allowed to do things normal unit treks wouldn’t be able to do. They trust the crew because they know you are responsible Arrowmen and we are allowed to do those cool things such as go to national forests and parks to provide service. In general, OAHA really does a great job of tying the ideals of our Order together.” What would you say about the OA High Adventure program as a whole? “OAHA is a program for any Arrowmen, young or old, no matter what program you go to, it is an absolutely amazing experience. You gain a new appreciation for conservation, for the OA and for Scouting. You gain a lot of applicable skills that you could bring back to your troop, your community, your lodge and your personal life. It is one of the best individual opportunities within the Scouting program. I believe that every Arrowman should take advantage of this amazing opportunity that the OA has to offer!” We want you to be a part of our 25th anniversary celebration! Be sure to register soon - spots are filling quickly!  You can sign up for your own OA High Adventure trek now at oa-bsa.org/high-adventure!

Mar 22, 2020   OA Today
Kittan Lodge Emphasizes Inductions During Their Latest Event

Have you ever wondered how Arrowmen could better improve the induction experience for all those involved? Well, Kittan Lodge from New York did just this when they decided to approach this challenge from different angles. The lodge decided to create a special event dedicated solely towards educating Arrowmen on various components related to inductions, ceremonies and elections. The appropriately named ICE Weekend is held at Camp Wakpominee every year where attendees are able to choose from a plethora of available trainings that cover subjects such as elangomat training, ceremonies training and election team training! Lodge leadership identified these aspects as major areas that shape a candidate’s experience with the OA and decided to host the inaugural event in 2018. They believed if elangomats were given more in-depth training and were invested in each candidate’s success, then the candidates would be more likely to continue being active in the OA. If ceremonialists fully understood and invested themselves into the ceremonies, they would produce an experience that all attendees could appreciate, bolstering their connection to the ideals of brotherhood, cheerfulness and service. Finally, they knew the unit election is the first interaction a Scout will usually have with the OA and could not have it be just an afterthought when it comes to preparation! Since the creation of this event, they have started to see the benefits of this program come to fruition. They not only have experienced increased induction rates throughout their lodge, they have also witnessed higher activation rates as well. This has led to them having had their highest attendances for their annual fall fellowship, the lodge’s largest event, in 2018 and 2019. The lodge leadership continues to add to their event each year, ensuring every Arrowman who attends, leaves with a greater understanding of the induction process. This year, the lodge leadership is planning to put what they learned from the Thrive webinar and put it into action. They plan on filming a welcome video at the ICE Weekend along with a special welcome event for newly elected Scouts and their families. They look forward to using these tools to better welcome the future members into our great organization! If you have a story that you would like to share regarding your local lodge, go here to find out how!

Mar 22, 2020   OA Today
A More Versatile Trading Post Leads to Higher Sales

Passaconaway Lodge has had a trading post like many other lodges, run out of totes and brought into their camp trading post for every lodge weekend. However, this process proved to be slow and inefficient so the lodge’s leadership developed a unique solution with their vision being; “If we use a trailer to transport the merchandise, why don’t we just sell out of it too?” With that in mind, the lodge started to build their new trading post. By using a trailer they’ll be able to use their time management skills to eliminate the setup and teardown times. The trailer was completely paid for within a year of sales and most of the cost was covered through various sponsorships. Their most popular item is a custom root beer that the lodge sells through a partnership with a local restaurant. Due to the newfound ease of transporting the trading post, it is now used at their district, council, and section events as well as every Tuesday during their council’s summer camp. Get an inside look at the trailer below! If you have a story that you would like to share regarding your local lodge, go here to find out how!       Previous Next

Mar 22, 2020   OA Today
A Guide for a Successful Lodge Banquet

Are you in charge of planning your lodge banquet or looking for new ideas for your lodge? Well we have everything you’d need to know when it comes to putting on a lodge banquet! Think of a banquet as the birthday party for the lodge. The banquet is a chance for all Arrowmen, new and experienced, to join together in a celebration of the previous year’s accomplishments. A banquet should be a relaxing occasion in which everyone can gather and join for a celebration with their brothers!  The great thing about a lodge banquet from a promotional aspect is that the entire target audience is in one place at one time. While it is a celebration of the past year, it is the perfect time to look towards the future through having guests speak about the wide variety of new and upcoming events within the Order of the Arrow. Whether that’s talking about NOAC, Conclave or a spring fellowship. The opportunity to spread a wealth of information is present, so make sure to take advantage of it!  Don’t forget we are all Arrowmen and we are proud to show it! The banquet is the perfect opportunity to allow everyone in your lodge to get their lodge apparel. Therefore, by having a small selection or the entirety of your trading post at a banquet is a great way to increase sales and promote your lodge to Arrowmen.  Finally, if you are looking to make your banquet one to remember, one way to do so is by adding a keynote speaker! While initially this may seem like a daunting task, there is a plethora of great speakers to choose from. The best way to pick a speaker is finding someone who can connect to everyone in the room such as a past lodge chief who did something exceptional, a former national officer from your section, a distinguished military or government official and even your local Scout Executive or District Executive are all great examples of possible keynote speakers. With a simple introduction, everyone in the audience can see the clear connection between themselves and the speaker. Overall, the banquet should be a chance for people to understand why they participate in the Order of the Arrow and the Scouting program as a whole! It is the culminating event of the past year and is a great chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends. Make it relevant and exciting so people will enjoy the banquet. If you have a story that you would like to share regarding your local lodge, go here to find out how!

Mar 22, 2020   OA Today
A Family of Cheerful Service spans Three Generations

This past September, Witauchsoman Lodge #44 from eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey had the privilege of having three generations of Arrowmen seal their membership in the Order at the same time. The family’s history in the Order of the Arrow goes back to the 1980’s, when a young man and his mother, who was one of the first females in Witauchsoman Lodge, completed their ordeal. Now thirty years later, that young man’s son became eligible to complete his Brotherhood and convinced his father and grandmother to join him in completing their Brotherhood as well! This story shows the long lasting legacy that the Order of the Arrow has on families. Their family was able to truly make cheerful service a tradition that could be pasted down and enjoyed by members of all ages. The lessons learned on self sacrifice, cheerfulness, service and brotherhood will never leave one’s mind. Even thirty years later, someone can come back and still apply the same virtues we learn through the Ordeal. Even better, they were able to share it with loved ones. As it is for most Arrowmen, the Order of the Arrow is something this family values and holds close to their hearts. They wanted to share the joys provided by brotherhood and cheerfulness with each other, further strengthening their bond. They can be proud of each other for their achievement of Brotherhood and have fond memories that many families never get the opportunity to share. If you have a story that you would like to share regarding your local lodge, go here to find out how!

Mar 22, 2020   OA Today
POLESTAR: Induction Leadership Training

Debuting at NOAC 2020, “Polestar” is a new nationwide Induction Leadership Training that will provide lodges with the latest updates and recommendations for how to conduct all aspects of the OA Induction, from Unit Elections through Brotherhood, with improved implementation and success. The training includes information on new guidelines for how to meet revised national standards, best practices, simplification of the Induction through use of the new national “Inductions Portal”, and support for solving unique problems that lodges may encounter. The results of participating in Polestar will include: Having trained lodge youth and adult members who are prepared to provide leadership and training for improved Inductions activities Knowledge of the latest recommendations and updated national standards Preview of upcoming changes to the “Guide to Inductions” Help with achieving High Performance Lodge criteria Increase in membership activation and retention. WHAT TO EXPECT “Polestar: Induction Leadership Training” is designed to help lodge leadership better serve new Arrowmen with a positive membership journey. Delegates will receive intensive and comprehensive training and certification by participating in two full morning sessions at NOAC on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Following NOAC, the Polestar material will be made available to Sections and Lodges for continued and ongoing Induction training. WHO CAN ATTEND? Polestar at NOAC is invitation-only. Each Section is expected to send a delegation of 2 youth and 1 adult to become resources for the lodges in their section. In addition, lodges are encouraged to send their own delegation of 2 youth and 1 adult in order to receive this valuable training directly. Participants do not need to hold a specific office but should be motivated to act as future Induction leaders / trainers within their lodge. Additionally, Brotherhood membership is required. HOW TO REGISTER Your lodge may participate either by coordinating with your Section Adviser to include a member from your lodge in the Section delegation, or by submitting your own complete delegation of 2 youth and 1 adult. For a lodge delegation, please submit the requested information prior to May 10th via this form. Registration questions can be directed to asmith@daltonstate.edu. SEE YOU AT NOAC! We look forward to seeing delegates from your Lodge at this important opportunity. Step Up, and Step Forward with “Polestar Induction Leadership Training” at NOAC 2020!

Mar 21, 2020  
Chiefly Speaking: From the National Chief Regarding COVID-19

Brothers, Our world has experienced a lot of change in recent days, and I want to take a moment to address the current situation. While the change caused by the spread of COVID-19 may seem disconcerting, we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture and our overall mission. The values that Scouting and the Order of the Arrow bring to communities are needed now more than ever before, and as we go through the uncertain days ahead, I implore you to always keep those principles at the forefront of your mind. To any Arrowman who has a family member or friend affected by the virus, my thoughts are with you. Earlier this week, we announced the suspension of all in-person national, region, and section events until May 2. We encourage you to work with your local council regarding lodge and chapter events. You can find our updates related to COVID-19 at oa-bsa.org/coronavirus. With the spread of the virus postponing many Scouting and OA events in the coming weeks, I know that many of you feel disheartened. I’m disappointed too, but I am not discouraged. To every Arrowman who planned to attend a Scouting event that has been affected by the virus—I am sorry. I cannot wait to see the exciting programs that still lie ahead, even if they may be delayed. To every unit elections chair, ordealmaster, conclave coordinator, and Arrowman involved in planning an event that has been postponed or cancelled—I am sorry. I appreciate all that you have done to deliver our Order’s program to our members, and your talent is still needed as we move forward. To every Arrowman who feels discouraged right now—I want you to reflect for a moment on how you feel. If the pause until your next Scouting event is saddening, I challenge you: channel these emotions into something positive. When we return to normal, whenever that may be, Scouting and the Order of the Arrow will need your help. Let’s work together as one united brotherhood to deliver this program to every Arrowman and the future generations of Scouts who will come after us. While some of our lives and Scouting plans may temporarily change, our core values of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service remain unaltered. These principles that bind us together are far stronger than any change or setback we encounter and will persist through the uncertain days ahead. Maintain our bonds of brotherhood. Keep planning engaging and innovative events that will help the future of our Order. Above all, never lose sight of the values we cherish. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin If I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to reach out. Stay healthy, and I’ll see you along the Scouting trail soon. In brotherhood, Zach Schonfeld 2020 National Chief 2020chief@oa-bsa.org

Mar 18, 2020   Announcements, Chiefly Thoughts
Order of the Arrow’s Response to COVID-19

August 21 Update: New guidelines have been released for conducting virtual lodge officer elections when local restrictions preclude in-person gatherings. August 5 Update: At the National Council of Chiefs during Momentum Launch, new updates were announced regarding in-person and virtual induction procedures. July 17 Update: It is with deep disappointment we announce the cancellation of the in-person Momentum event scheduled for next month at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Please view the full announcement for more details and FAQs. Momentum Launch, a fully virtual event, will still occur as planned. June 30 Update: The Order of the Arrow has released a plan for supporting our Lodges while emerging from Shelter in Place. The full plan can be found here. That page will updated continuously as new resources become available. June 9 Update: The virtual long-term camping authorization policy has been updated. June 4 Update: Philmont Scout Ranch announced the cancellation of all remaining programs for the 2020 summer season. All affected OAHA participants have received communication about their treks and what options they may have. June 3 Updates: The temporary camping night policy has been updated. The virtual unit election policy has been updated. May 1 Updates: Information about the cancellation of NOAC can be found here. OAHA Programs have been delayed. More information can be found here. All national and regional events through June 15, 2020 have been postponed. April 29 Update: The temporary camping night policy can be found here. March 25 Update: Information about virtual unit elections and an induction date extension can be found here. March 18 Update: Read the update from the 2020 National Chief Zach Schonfeld here. As always, your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect the National Order of the Arrow Conference and other upcoming Order of the Arrow events. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both nationally and locally with the BSA Health and Safety Department, Michigan State University and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The following information regarding events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety. Status of NOAC It is with deep sadness we inform you that the 2020 National Order of the Arrow Conference has been cancelled out of concern for the safety of all attending Arrowmen, as well as the Michigan State University and East Lansing communities. Please see this article for details, FAQs, and refund information. A virtual event will be held during the NOAC timeframe; more information about this event will be released in the coming weeks. We know there are some Arrowmen who still would like to attend a national Order of the Arrow event this summer. To meet this need, we are offering a new event called Momentum that will be held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve from August 3-8, 2020. This event will focus on the many programmatic opportunities that exist at the Summit. Go here for more information about this event. Status of Lodge, Section, and Region Events We encourage all lodges to work with and follow guidance from your local BSA council and county/state health departments to address any concerns about upcoming events in your area. All national and regional events through June 15, 2020 have been postponed. Please check with your section for the status of section conclaves. Region and Section leadership will provide updates to changes in event status based on guidance from the relevant health authorities in the event area. Regions are assessing all options including rescheduling NLS and DYLC to a date in September, October or November. Sections are doing the same regarding conclaves. Status of OA High Adventure Programs The BSA High Adventure Bases have delayed the start for all summer programs, including OA High Adventure. Northern Tier and Sea Base are planning to open on June 15th. The Summit Bechtel Reserve is planning to open on July 1st. On June 4, Philmont Scout Ranch announced the cancellation of all remaining programs for the 2020 summer season. All affected OAHA participants have received communication about their treks and what options they may have. More information can be found here. BSA Policies to Prevent the Spread of Illness The Boy Scouts of America continues to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at a large Scouting event. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist. Everyday Preventive Measures Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases: Stay home when you feel sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc. Avoid shaking hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate and not attend any Scouting events. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Mar 12, 2020   Announcements
Feb 24, 2020   Announcements