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News for all Arrowmen about what's happening today in the Order of the Arrow.

We Support Camping Award

<p>First created in 2012 by the Southern Region Committee, the "We Support Camping Award" is designed to recognize lodges who go the extra mile to promote campership in their councils. There are two sets of requirements for a lodge to earn this award. The lodge must complete all of the following:</p> <ul> <li>Provide funding to the council for two (2) camperships for summer camp</li> <li>Encourage active lodge members to serve on summer camp staff</li> <li>Complete Scout Executive-approved service project(s) on a BSA camp property</li> <li>Utilize chapters (or camping promotion committee if the lodge does not have chapters) to conduct council-wide camp promotions to troops and teams&nbsp;</li> <li>Organize an Order of the Arrow Service Corps for council/district outdoor activities</li> </ul> <p>The lodge must select and complete three of the following requirements:</p> <ul> <li>Provide an OA Camp Coordinator for summer camp</li> <li>Provide leaders and guides to council high adventure activities</li> <li>Provide camping instructors &amp; staff to council and district training venues</li> <li>Develop an OA Indian Village at summer camp</li> <li>Publish or update a "Where To Go Camping Guide"</li> <li>Help with the identification and recruitment of potential summer camp unit leaders</li> <li>Encourage active lodge members to serve on fall or winter camp staff</li> </ul> <p>Timothy Brown, a member of Kawida Lodge in the Blue Grass Council, serves as the lead adviser for council camping support on the Southern Region Committee and was responsible for the creation of this award. "The very first year I thought we were going to have forty or fifty lodges. Dr. Flatt was the Southern Region Chairman at the time and said 'we'd be lucky if we got fifteen.' We received fourteen. I was a little overambitious; but we kept promoting it." Brown worked hard to learn what worked and what didn’t from the first year in order to ensure that more lodges could be recognized for the hard work they do to promote campership in their councils. "My job now is to shepherd it, to make sure it keeps on going," Brown says.</p> <p>The award continued to be improved to this day. Last year, the Southern Region found that many lodges had a hard time turning the award petitions in, so an online form was created to help ease the submission process. Recently, the award requirements have been modified in order to better fulfill requirements for the 'E. Urner Goodman Camping Award', an award serving to encourage lodges to work closely with their councils to promote camping. The E. Urner Goodman Camping Award can be earned by two lodges per region each year.</p> <p>The hard work to improve the Southern Region "We Support Camping" Award has really paid off. "This past year we had a record number of thirty-two lodges receive the award, a dozen of them it was their first time. So we've had over a hundred awards given out over the five years. A lot of lodges are repeat recipients," Brown said. Since its inception in 2013, forty-nine different lodges have received it, for a total of one hundred and two awards issued. Recipients of the award receive a wood engraved plaque to acknowledge their hard work. Occoneechee, Shenshapotoo, Ittawamba and the Kawida lodges have been recipients of the award all five years. Brown shares, "we know that a lot of lodges are completing the criteria. We want to encourage lodges to keep note of what they’re doing to support campership and we want to recognize them publicly for it."</p>

Nov 26, 2018   OA Today
Holiday Store Sale

<p>Halloween has come and gone, and the countdown into the holiday season has begun. This is the time to think about the ones who mean the world to you and how you can show your gratitude towards them. Well this year look no further! This holiday season, the OA Trading Post will have the perfect gifts for your loved ones that will show them how much they mean to you! They come in all shapes and sizes ranging from OA blankets to laptop stickers! There will also be brand new items coming into the trading post this holiday season with items such as the vigil pendant, the newly designed OA leather belt, and of course the OA holiday ornament! Not sold yet? There will be a holiday sale with discounts running from November 22nd-28th in which you can get 10% off with a purchase of $75 or more, 15% off an order of $125 or more and 20% off an order of $200 or more. Just head to&nbsp;<a href=""></a> and find the perfect gift this holiday season!</p>

Nov 26, 2018   OA Today
High Performing Lodges Meet in the Northeast Region

<p>On October 5-7, 2018 at Camp Alpine in Alpine, New Jersey, the Northeast Region hosted the first ever High Performing Lodge Summit. The summit was attended by lodge chiefs, lodge advisers, and staff advisers, as well as one additional youth per lodge, for a total of one hundred participants from around the Northeast Region that came together to focus on what it takes to be a High Performing Lodge. 2018 Northeast Region Chief Justin St. Louis, 2018 Central Region Chief Will Coots, 2018 Western Region Chief Jordan Jefferis, the Northeast Region section chiefs and various national committee members led the charge to discover how lodges can find the key to becoming a High Performing Lodge.</p> <p>What is a High Performing Lodge? A High Performing Lodge (HPL) is a lodge that excels in three areas of lodge operation: unit elections, induction rate and activation rate. HPLs have a one hundred percent unit election rate, ninety percent induction rate and fifty percent activation rate. St. Louis wanted to provide lodges within the region the opportunity to learn where they can improve as a lodge and find what works for them. “Most Arrowmen will only experience the Order of the Arrow through the lodge and we understand that lodges are overloaded with things they have to do to run a successful lodge,” St. Louis said. “That is why the HPL program is so important. It will provide focus for lodge program and give lodges a way to strategically approach the jobs they need to do to run a successful lodge program.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The first step is unit elections, the foundation of the induction and activation rates. A unit member’s first interaction with the Order of the Arrow is typically at a unit election. This sets the tone for the remainder of the interactions a lodge has with the Scouts. After the unit election, the goal is to induct ninety percent of all elected candidates. Once inducted, the next goal is to have the Arrowmen come to their first lodge function within six months of their Ordeal. This combination of events helps lodges achieve a fourteen percent density rate, meaning fourteen percent of Scouts in the council are Arrowmen.</p> <p>When asked what his favorite moment of the event was, St. Louis said, “On Sunday morning, during a brainstorming session between the lodges, I enjoyed seeing the ideas flow and was encouraged by the innovative ideas going around the room, that can be easily executed by the lodge, yet make a major impact.” St. Louis reminds lodges to, “not be overwhelmed, take on tasks one step at a time and find what works best for your lodge.” The HPL program will help to shape lodge program and give the best experience to every Arrowmen and Scout who encounters the Order of the Arrow.<br /> &nbsp;</p>

Nov 26, 2018   OA Today
The Merger of Section C-4

<p>What do Cleveland, Ohio and the Summit Bechtel Reserve have in common? Where can you find the Rock &amp; Roll Hall of Fame and the New River Gorge? All these places lie within the geographic area encompassed by the new Central Region Section 4 of the Order of the Arrow. After a series of council mergers, the former sections of C-4A and C-4B have joined forces to form the new section.</p> <p>While the merger had been in the works since last year, the merger did not officially happen until last month. Earlier this year, C-4A and C-4B held their own separate conclaves for the last time in May and June, respectively. Arrowmen in both sections enjoyed their weekends of fellowship while looking forward to great things to come as the new super-section comes into existence.</p> <p>In September, the Section C-4 Council of Chiefs met for their first meeting where lodges elected their first group of section officers who have started preparations for their upcoming year with a new slate of section advisers. The founding section chief of C-4, Joshua Squirrell, commented on how the section has already hit the ground running planning conclave. He notes that their focus is&nbsp;“not just conclave, but all kinds of section business.” The new section leadership is ready to give the support its lodges are looking for, and the lodges are looking forward to kicking off a great inaugural year for the section.</p> <p>One goal of Squirrell’s is to ensure all lodges are represented on the Council of Chiefs. As many lodge leaders are meeting one another for the first time, steps are being taken to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Another unique aspect of the inaugural C-4 leadership team is that there is an entirely different team of section advisers. No advisers from C-4A or C-4B are serving on the new team of C-4, so all youth and adults on the section leadership team have the opportunity to chart a new, unique course for the section. All involved are excited to get to exercise their creativity in planning the section’s first year. It will be truly exciting to watch Section C-4 as they begin their first year as a new section how they strengthen ties of brotherhood in Ohio and West Virginia in the future.<br /> &nbsp;</p>

Nov 26, 2018   OA Today
Black Hawk Lodge Service Corps

<p dir="ltr">Black Hawk Lodge in the Mississippi Valley Council has started a local Order of the Arrow summer camp program called “Service Corps”. Service Corps focuses on giving Arrowmen the opportunity to attend Mississippi Valley Council’s Boy Scout summer camp but focus primarily on cheerful service and the opportunities available as an Arrowman. The structure of the program consists of each morning spent in cheerful service with projects ranging from constructing picnic tables for troops to use in their campsites, to helping with capital improvement projects like adding hand holds to the new bouldering wall, to good ol'&nbsp;trail work.</p> <p dir="ltr">Service Corps participants are given the afternoon to do essentially whatever they want. One major focus of this program was to provide an opportunity to youth in the council that have done the majority of activities and merit badges at summer camp but still want to attend and do something fun with their week of camp. With this in mind, the youth Arrowmen are allowed to spend their afternoon doing whatever they’d like. Doing anything from the camp’s ATV program, to swimming in the lake, shooting shotguns or rifles at the ranges, or taking a nap back at the campsite.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Black Hawk Lodge funds the camp staff position of “OA Camp Chief” who is responsible for coordinating the ceremonial programs, teaches Indian lore merit badge, and all OA functions at summer camp. The Camp Chief has become a vital part of summer camp staff as he is also the staff member directly responsible for the execution of Service Corps. The Camp Chief works closely with the other camp staff members to set up special opportunities for the participants. Ideas include: a special night climb at the climbing tower after hours, doing a “glow zip” at the zip-line after hours, special times at the shooting ranges, Service Corps pizza party, etc.</p> <p dir="ltr">Service Corps was set up to be the ideal summer camp experience for youth Arrowmen in the Mississippi Valley Council, and the surrounding areas. When this program was originally debuted in 2017, there was one week available of the council’s seven&nbsp;total summer camp weeks for the Service Corps. The goal in coming years is to expand to more than just one week so that more Arrowmen are given the opportunity to participate. With the debut of Service Corps, the youth LEC decided to also open up an opportunity to complete your Brotherhood at the end of the week and the response has been phenomenal. Allowing the Service Corps participants to complete their brotherhood at the end of their week was yet another reason for an Arrowman to attend. All other Arrowmen are also encouraged to complete their brotherhood at this opportunity if applicable.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another reward for attending Service Corps that was introduced the first year was the embroidered flannel shirt. In such a short time the flannel shirt has become a very coveted and sought-after item in the lodge. Every participant receives one at the closing campfire of that week of summer camp. Service Corps has become a vital part of Black Hawk Lodge’s summer camp presence in the Mississippi Valley Council. The lodge puts on an evening program called “Pow-Wow” every Monday night for all of camp which showcases authentic native American dancing and drum as well as the vast opportunities available to Arrowmen and even a craft for everyone to make and take home with them. The Pow-Wow, the lodge’s callout ceremonies and service to camp are among the long list of things Black Hawk Lodge and Service Corps has come to be known for executing and executing well.</p>

Oct 04, 2018   OA Today
Foremen Stories | Philmont 2018

<p dir="ltr">Philmont Scout Ranch is the premier base for all things Scouting, with features like rock climbing, blacksmithing and fishing. Many Arrowmen aspire to attend the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew program at Philmont Scout Ranch, a program focusing on brotherhood, cheerfulness and service. Serving on trail crew is a fun and rewarding experience; some may not know, Arrowmen can apply to be a foreman and lead trail crew programs throughout the summer.</p> <p dir="ltr">This summer, 2017 National Vice Chief Talon Parker had the opportunity to serve as a foreman for the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew program. Talon went through the program in 2014, where he had a blast bonding with brothers from all over the country and made memories that will stay with him forever. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what OATC entails, the program consists of one&nbsp;week of service where Arrowmen are working on and building trails and one&nbsp;week of exploring the ranch however the crew chooses in a highly customizable trek. Right now, the OATC program has been tasked with building a trail up Mt. Phillips. Talon explains, “Right now, there’s already a trail that exists there, but it’s not an easy hike. We want to build another trail which is a little easier to hike.” After the crew does their week of service, they are allowed to go anywhere on the ranch to do anything that they choose. Talon elaborates, “This is very untraditional for Philmont. Most people who come to Philmont choose an itinerary and a trek that has everything already selected for them. OATC is different. You as a crew get to choose your own path and do anything you would like.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Because of the Ute Park Fire, all treks coming to Philmont for 2018 were cancelled and as a result, the OATC foremen did not have the opportunity to work with any Arrowmen and build any trails. Being Arrowmen themselves, they spent the summer giving service to the ranch by performing TSI, or timber stand improvement. “Fires are not inevitable and in fact, are actually essential and healthy to just about every forest in the Southwestern United States. Timber stand improvement helps prevent a dangerously large fire like the Ute Park Fire from happening again. If we thin the forest and trees exist every five to ten&nbsp;feet, the next fire will be a healthy ground fire.” The conservation department had received 100 new saws, so the foremen were divided up into work parties to thin the forest in preparation for the forest fire.</p> <p dir="ltr">During their off time, the foremen stuck together and travelled all over Philmont. They enjoyed climbing at the bouldering wall and spent time at the staff activity center meeting new friends to climb with. “Whenever we left the ranch, we were always out climbing somewhere”, Talon said. Sometimes, the foremen would go to local towns like Santa Fe or Taos to explore the culture there and meet new people. If there was a concert for a popular band nearby, they were there. Throughout the summer, they traveled all over New Mexico, and even made trips up to Colorado and down to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon.</p> <p dir="ltr">Talon’s most memorable experience this summer as a foreman was attending the 2018 National Order of the Arrow Conference, where he served with his fellow foremen as a service brigade and was also able to catch up with friends he had not seen in years. Talon elaborated, “Another great experience [at NOAC] was when we got to go offsite for two days to help build trails in a national forest and actually do the job we all signed up for.” Although the OATC treks were cancelled this summer, the foremen still provided tremendous service to Philmont and created memories that will last a lifetime. Talon says that this summer was the best of his life and working at Philmont has been incredible for him. He is returning this fall to continue working at the ranch and will be returning next summer to serve as an OATC foreman. Talon also had one last word about the Philmont experience next year, “For Summer 2019, Philmont will be back up and running at 110%, so all of you should come check out OA Trail Crew!”</p>

Oct 04, 2018   OA Today
Bigfoot Lodge Assists With Flood Relief

<p dir="ltr">During the final show of NOAC 2018, we heard a lot about what Decide Your Destiny truly means and how even the small actions we commit can have big impacts on our everyday lives. Well, the Arrowmen within Bigfoot Lodge took this idea to heart and decided to act upon it in a big way. Over the past few weeks, we have seen a vast number of areas across the U.S. being slammed by heavy rainfalls and one of the heaviest hit areas across the United States is the state of Wisconsin.</p> <p dir="ltr">The northern parts of Wisconsin have seen anywhere between five to eight inches of rainfall within just the past few weeks and the southwest, south central and eastern parts of Wisconsin were hit even harder as they have seen anywhere between ten&nbsp;to fifteen&nbsp;inches of rainfall. With this extreme amount of rainfall in such a short period of time, there have been numerous reports of flooding across the entire state.</p> <p dir="ltr">When these floods were occurring across southern Wisconsin where Bigfoot Lodge is based, the Lodge Chief Noah G., heard that some of the local troops including his own were planning to help out. This is where he saw an opportunity to help. He thought this would be the perfect time for his fellow Arrowmen to really commit to the main principles within our Order and help out as well. With this in mind, he sent out a call to action to all of the Arrowmen within his lodge. He encouraged them to lend a helping hand within their local communities in any way possible, no matter what the task may be. This idea turned out to be a major success as they have seen an overwhelming number of Arrowmen from within Bigfoot Lodge volunteer their time to help out their communities.</p> <p dir="ltr">These volunteers have worked to fill sandbags that help divert flood waters and helped to clean up houses and stores throughout their communities. When asked about what inspired him to get his lodge involved with relief efforts, Noah had simply stated that, “Service in the Order of the Arrow doesn’t always have to be to Scouting or at a camp. Our community needed help so we stepped up.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Their volunteer efforts since August 28th are still ongoing. They are currently working to help their communities prepare for more flooding. Bigfoot Lodge’s humble actions serve as a reminder to us all: that our service need not be limited to Scouting, but that our service can impact the community. We wish all of our brothers that were impacted by these floods a quick road to recovery and that they remain safe throughout the rest of their relief efforts.</p>

Oct 04, 2018   OA Today
First Ever Tokyo Conclave

<p>Every year, Arrowmen get the chance to gather with the surrounding lodges in their section at a section conclave to have a truly memorable experience. Often, a conclave is a highlight of an Arrowman's experience. The 2018 Section W-6P Conclave proved to be one such highlight. The W-6P conclave took place in Tokyo, Japan at the Tama Hills Recreation Center on a U.S. military base, and was the first time Achpateuny Lodge 803 of the Far East Council hosted conclave. W-6P and its three lodges, composed of 13 countries, and all but one Hawaiian island, were present to "Forge the Bonds that Make our Brotherhood Strong," the theme at the event in April.</p> <p>2018 Western Region Chief Jordan Jefferis shared his experience about his time in Tokyo, Japan at the first ever conclave hosted by the Far East Council. Jordan said, "I really enjoyed seeing people from different backgrounds come together for the conclave with such comradery. I enjoyed spending time with Arrowmen from W-6P and getting to know them through the games, activities, and training sessions. The event was full of awesome events like a base wide capture the flag game," according to Jordan, "Which was a great way for all of the Arrowmen there to get to know each other a little better." The food was another success at this exciting weekend. Arrowmen were served authentic Japanese dishes and curry… with a side of cheerful service, of course. Jordan said, "The food was by far the best food I have ever had at a section conclave." Jordan and other leaders led a "Meet the Man" session, as well as a training session on how to be an engaged lodge member. "I enjoyed seeing how the Far East Council does Scouting compared to the other Scouting events I have attended," said Jordan.</p> <p>Congratulations to Section W-6P on a successful and phenomenal section conclave, to the newly elected Section officers, and to Achpateuny Lodge for hosting the first ever conclave in Tokyo.</p>

Jul 19, 2018   OA Today
Chief Visits VenturingFest

<p>VenturingFest 2018 was held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) in early July. This six-day high adventure festival invited participants to explore the best the SBR has to offer. Venturers went rock climbing, skateboarding, BMX biking, and participated in watersports, shooting sports, zip lines, challenge courses and so much more!</p> <p>According to National VOA President Dominic Wolters, "VenturingFest 2018 saw over 1,800 youth and adults discover the adventure of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, and we couldn’t be happier to share in that experience. VenturingFest was a great success with participants, encouraging them to promote the Venturing program and its opportunities to their friends and communities through service and adventure."</p> <p>Dominic, a Vigil Honor member of Totanhan Nakaha Lodge of Northern Star Council, was excited to invite 2018 National Chief Anthony Peluso to VenturingFest 2018. "Having the national chief at VenturingFest was an awesome experience, allowing Venturers and Advisors from around the country to learn more about opportunities for recognizing outstanding youth. Anthony was a tremendous help to our staff in performing outreach to participants at VenturingFest, and supporting a welcoming event culture."&nbsp;</p> <p>At VenturingFest, participants explored the SBR, made new friends and fulfilled rank advancement requirements. Dozens of Venturers earned a myriad of awards, including Anthony. He earned his Venturing Award at the event, comparable to the Scout rank.</p> <p>Recently, the National Order of the Arrow Committee announced that Venturers and Sea Scouts will have the opportunity to become Arrowmen beginning in February of next year. You can read the announcement <a href="/article/2018-membership-update">here</a>.</p> <p>Dominic is excited for this new era of Scouting. "As a program, Venturing looks forward to future collaboration with the Order of the Arrow to ensure that outstanding youth can continue to be recognized in Scouting’s National Honor Society."&nbsp;He continued, "Venturing and the Order of the Arrow both offer programs to develop youth into model citizens, with strong values and clear visions for a brighter future; we look forward to working together in support of our shared goals."&nbsp;</p> <p>Chief Peluso enjoyed his time at VenturingFest, meeting and connecting with hundreds of Venturers, while building bridges in light of upcoming changes. “It was awesome seeing nearly 2,000 Venturers united together. The Order of the Arrow cannot wait to begin welcoming all Venturers into the honor society of Scouting,” Peluso said.</p> <p>The National Venturing Officers' Association was happy with the results of the event. “I couldn’t be happier with the outstanding work of our VenturingFest staff, as well as deeply grateful for the staff of the Summit Bechtel Reserve; their commitment to providing quality program experiences ensured that participants left the Summit with memories that will last a lifetime,” said Dominic. There is no telling where this event will go in the future, but this year’s success is indicative of the great things to come. Keep your eyes open for the next VenturingFest and information on how you can attend! For more information about the Venturing program and the updates to the Scouting Program, please see the links below.</p> <h4><a href="">National Venturing Website</a></h4> <h4><a href="/article/2018-membership-update">National Order of the Arrow Committee Announcement</a></h4> <h4><a href="">Family Scouting</a></h4>

Jul 19, 2018   OA Today
Striking Gold | Understanding JTE membership objectives

<p>Welcome to the second article in the Striking Gold series, where we break down the Journey to Excellence program and how you can use its objectives and standards to help improve your lodge and chapter. In this edition, we will talk about the membership objectives and their importance to the success of our organization.</p> <p>Recognizing the challenges of various lodges, the JTE membership criteria aims to direct the attention of lodge leadership towards the most important factors aimed at growing numbers. The membership objectives give lodges the opportunity to earn up to 1500 points, the most of any other JTE category. Journey to Excellence measures performance on four main membership categories and rewards points as follows:</p> <div class="table-responsive"> <table class="table"> <tr> <th colspan="5">JTE Membership Criteria</th> </tr> <tr> <th>Objective</th> <th>Description</th> <th>Bronze level</th> <th>Silver level</th> <th>Gold level</th> </tr> <tr> <th><a href="#membershipimpact">Membership Impact</a></th> <td>Experience positive growth in youth membership over the previous year.</td> <td>Grow youth membership by at least 1 (250 points)</td> <td>Grow youth membership by at least 1% (300 points)</td> <td>Grow youth membership by at least 5.5% (450 points)</td> </tr> <tr> <th><a href="#membershipretention">Membership Retention</a></th> <td>Improve the retention rate of youth lodge members</td> <td>Achieve 56% retention of youth members (75 points)</td> <td>Achieve 63% retention of youth members (150 points)</td> <td>Achieve 72.5% retention of youth members (300 points)</td> </tr> <tr> <th><a href="#unitelections">Unit Elections</a></th> <td>Conduct unit elections in all troops and teams within the council</td> <td>Complete unit elections in 39% of troops/teams (100 points)</td> <td>Complete unit elections in 64% of troops/teams (200 points)</td> <td>Complete unit elections in 99% of troops/teams (450 points)</td> </tr> <tr> <th><a href="#ordealcompletion">Ordeal Completion</a></th> <td>Induct youth Ordeal candidates</td> <td>Induct at least 60.9% of youth Ordeal candidates (75 points)</td> <td>Induct at least 73.6% of youth Ordeal candidates (150 points)</td> <td>Induct 100% of youth Ordeal members (300 points)</td> </tr> </table> </div> <br /> <div id="membershipimpact"> <h2>Membership Impact</h2> <p>Membership impact is the first objective for a reason. What is your lodge doing to bring new Arrowmen into the program and keep them interested in Scouting? Traditionally, annual membership is calculated by the total dues-paid members when the lodge files their recharter paperwork at the end of the year. To calculate youth membership growth percentage, take your end-of-year youth membership number, subtract last year’s end-of-year youth membership and divide that number by last year’s end-of-year youth membership number. For example, a lodge that ended last year with 550 youth membership, but ended this year with 600 youth members would experience a youth membership growth percentage of 9.1% ((600-550)/550). It is not mandatory to experience positive growth. Even if a lodge did not increase membership, it may still qualify for a JTE award.</p> <p>What are some ways your lodge can increase membership? Some proven ideas include good communication between members using publications, emails, or social media, posting dues due dates, creating new and innovative programs, and expanding how dues can be paid.</p> </div> <div id="membershipretention"> <h2>Membership Retention</h2> <p>After you have increased your lodge membership, you must keep them active and coming to events. The membership retention criterion calculates the percentage of current, active OA members returning the following year and continue their active membership. Lodges that find new ways to improve their annual program are rewarded and typically score well. </p> <p>There are two main factors that make up membership retention:</p> <ol> <li>Members who had been active in the past may become inactive and no longer participate in lodge events or pay lodge dues</li> <li>Getting brand new Ordeal members active and interested in the lodge program</li> </ol> <p>Keeping current membership engaged in the program, as well as making sure events are fun and exciting, are great ways to help improve a lodge’s youth membership retention. It is the lodge’s responsibility to “activate” new Ordeal members in the lodge program. Different programs, such as <a href=""><u>NIMAT</u></a> or special new Ordeal luncheons, all help “activate” the new Arrowmen into the OA.</p> <p>Youth membership retention is calculated by subtracting the lodge’s total Ordeal inductions from the end-of year membership, all divided by the previous year’s end-of-year membership. For example, if a lodge had 490 youth members in 2017, 520 youth members in 2018, and 185 total youth inductions for the year, the youth membership retention would be 68.4%, earning JTE silver (150 point) for this criterion.</p> <p>Consider starting events such as cracker barrels, “brotherhood bashes,” activity nights during events, or even using themes. One of our key principles is brotherhood and promoting it at events will help create friendships within the lodge - helping people come back to events.</p> </div> <div id="unitelections"> <h2>Unit Elections</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to increase lodge membership is to complete a unit election in every unit in the council. Remember the purpose of the Order of the Arrow: to recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. In 2017, <strong>50% of units</strong> did not request a unit election (that is over 20,000 units)! Every eligible Scout should be given an opportunity to be elected into the OA. Providing unit elections also provides an opportunity to show the troop that the OA exists and can help the troop. There are endless opportunities for adventure and leadership within Scouting – let the OA be the medium to spread the message.</p> <p>According to the Journey to Excellence performance points rubric, all troops and teams must have been contacted and given the opportunity to request an election. <u>If a unit has no eligible Scouts, </u><em>that shall count as a completed election</em><em>.</em> Even if a unit has no eligible Scouts, it is a good idea to conduct a unit visitation and work with troop leadership to see if the OA can lead a certain activity or program during the unit meeting. Unit election teams should contain <em>trained youth Arrowmen</em> from different units than the one receiving the election. Always wear a sharp field uniform with the OA sash!</p> <p>Very few lodges will be able to conduct an OA election in every unit in the council. It is important to maintain contact with these units and to help them understand the OA can serve the unit in more ways than strictly providing a unit election. What can you do in your lodge to better serve your units?</p> <p>For more information on conducting a unit election, consult the <a href=""><em>Guide to Inductions.</em></a></p> </div> <div id="ordealcompletion"> <h2>Ordeal Completion</h2> <p>After you have successfully completed several OA elections in your council – what’s next? Encouraging newly inducted candidates to complete their Ordeal induction is critical. In 2017, 28% of youth Scouts did not complete their Ordeal – that equates to 10,667 youth “no shows.” That is almost as much as the number of youth delegates that attended the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference!</p> <p>The youth Ordeal completion percentage, also known as youth induction rate, is calculated by taking the total number of youth candidates successfully inducted and dividing it by the total number of elected youth candidates. It measures the percentage of youth Scouts elected to the OA who attend the Ordeal.</p> <p>The more opportunities your lodge offers for a candidate to complete his induction, the higher your completion percentage will likely be. Communication with candidates is key. Have the troop representative in the unit encourage candidates to attend an induction weekend or send emails to candidates informing them of induction weekends. Conducting a “call out” ceremony has proven successful for many lodges, either at summer camp or district camporees.</p> <p>One of the biggest takeaways with the 2018 JTE performance points is the emphasis on <em>youth</em> membership and <em>youth </em>Ordeal completion. Criteria noted as "youth" should be calculated to include all lodge members under 21 as of December 31, 2017. Be sure to read the description of each objective to ensure you are forming appropriate and suitable goals for you and your lodge.</p> <p>Researching best practices from other lodges is a great way to get your lodge moving in the right direction. Brainstorming with lodge leadership, attending trainings at NOAC or your section conclave, and consulting with former lodge leaders will help your lodge grow and increase performance on Journey to Excellence.</p> </div> <p>Our next article in the JTE series will examine the program objectives and how you can increase attendance at your lodge’s events. Missed an article in the series? Click the link below to get caught up!</p> <h3>Striking Gold: Series on Journey to Excellence</h3> <p><a href=""><u>Article 1: What is JTE?</u></a></p> <h3>Journey to Excellence resources:</h3> <p><a href=""><u>National JTE Website</u></a></p> <p><a href=""><u>Journey to Excellence Guide</u></a> (PDF)</p> <p><a href=""><u>2018 OA Lodge Performance Recognition Program</u></a> (PDF)</p> <p><a href=""><u>2017 OA Lodge Performance Recognition Program</u></a> (PDF)</p> <p><a href=""><u>2017 Chapter Journey to Excellence</u></a> (Excel)</p>

May 20, 2018   OA Today
Join NOAC Staff!

<p dir="ltr"><span>Every few years, the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) rolls around. Thousands of Arrowmen come together to celebrate our brotherhood of cheerful service for fun activities and fellowship opportunities; but NOAC wouldn’t come to life without the dedicated service of those Arrowmen who serve on staff. </span></p> <p><span>Conference staff members will enjoy a unique experience serving the roughly 7,000+ Arrowmen expected at the 2018 conference. While serving as part of the NOAC staff, staff members are encouraged to experience the conference and enjoy the many activities and special events at NOAC. Staff members have the opportunity to meet and work with Arrowmen from all across the country. Staff members will find the bond of brotherhood will grow stronger between them as they serve together throughout the conference.</span></p> <p><span>There are multiple committees staff members can serve on, from leading innovative training sessions,to &nbsp;inspiring Arrowmen through world class shows, to supporting exciting activities and recreation, or joining the NOAC Service Corps. NOAC staff has a place for every Arrowmen looking to experience NOAC in a fun new way. </span></p> <p><span>Members of the NOAC staff pay their own way to the conference, sometimes traveling with their own council contingent. At the conference, they are housed with the conference staff and work in an assigned support role to help make the national conference a successful and enjoyable event. Many staff positions are still open for the 2018 NOAC, but they’re filling up quickly! If you’re interested in joining NOAC staff, register </span><a href=""><u>here</u></a><span>. </span></p>

May 20, 2018   NOAC 2018, OA Today, Section Sentinel
Sweatshirts and Patches and Socks, Oh My!

<p>Every few years, thousands of Arrowmen from across the nation travel to the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) for the experience of a lifetime. Though, as any past delegate knows, memories are not the only thing taken home.</p> <p>The NOAC Trading Post is consistently a conference highlight - offering exclusive and speciality items for any and all budgets. This year, Western Region Chief Jordan Jefferis and his team want to make it even better through the increased involvement of youth in the planning process and execution.</p> <p>They began by sending out a survey to lodge leadership, which resulted in over 200 responses. This survey focused on what youth wanted to see in their trading post. Jefferis believes the feedback received was very valuable. One of the most popular requests was a NOAC belt buckle, which he is especially excited to offer this summer.</p> <p>Additionally, the trading post staff sought to increase their youth staff. At past conferences, youth trading post staff have numbered few to none. What is especially exciting is there are still positions available! Anyone interested can <a href="">apply to serve on staff</a>.</p> <p>The trading post will offer everything from hats to socks and everything in between. Clothing is not what they anticipate will be the most popular item, though. If you ask Northeast Region Chief Justin St. Louis, he will direct your attention to the patches.</p> <p>This NOAC will have 11 different patches, but acquiring them all may not be so easy. Only the basic patch is available at the trading post, leaving 10 left. Each patch follows the same basic design, with different color patterns.</p> <ul> <li>The <strong>Delegate</strong> patch will be given to every NOAC participant this year, but there is a twist. Unlike past conferences, there will not be a pocket loop on this patch.</li> <li>This is where the <strong>Maze Runner</strong> patch comes into play. Unlike the Delegate patch, this one has a slightly different color design and comes with a pocket loop. To earn this patch, you must complete the conference-wide game. Everyone will be able to complete it, and it will be based on participating in NOAC activities.</li> <li>The <strong>Remote Delegate </strong>patch will be mailed to anyone who signs up for the remote delegate program. This program is intended for Arrowmen who are unable to attend NOAC in person, but still wants in on the action. More information about remote delegates can be found <a href="">here</a>.</li> <li>The <strong>Lodge Leader</strong> patch will be given to the lodge key-3 and contingent leaders.</li> <li>The <strong>Staff</strong> patch will be given to all NOAC staff members. There are still positions available - <a href="">sign up here</a>!</li> <li>The <strong>Legacy</strong> patch will be given to those who donate to the national endowment.</li> <li>The <strong>Leadership/VIP</strong> patches will be given to the national officers to distribute.</li> <li>The <strong>VIA</strong> patch will be given to those who attend the designated “Very Important Arrowmen” luncheons.</li> <li>The <strong>Thank You</strong> patch will be given out by the conference vice-chiefs to Arrowmen they find integral to NOAC’s success.</li> <li>And finally, the <strong>Theme Team</strong> patch will be given to those who are responsible for the NOAC Theme, “Decide Your Destiny.”</li> </ul> <p>Already signed up for NOAC and want to guarantee you get your favorite NOAC merchandise? Pre-order your gear today at the <a href="">online trading post</a>, including NEW custom Swiss Army knives!</p> <div class="alert alert-info"><strong>Reminder:</strong> pocket knives are ONLY available for pre-order. Knives will not be sold in the trading post at NOAC.</div> <div class="container"> <div class="row"> <div class="col-md-4"><img alt="Picture of NOAC Pocket Knife" class="img-rounded" data-align="left" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c226a94d-87cb-409f-9ceb-7cd4f42aef5c" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/NOAC-2018-Pocket-Knife.jpg" /></div> <div class="col-md-4"> <p>This knife features the NOAC 2018 logo on one side and a stunning image from a NOAC show.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="container"> <div class="row"> <div class="col-md-4"><img alt="OAHA Pocket Knife as described in body text" class="img-rounded" data-align="right" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5268c9cc-e815-4c33-8665-a16f2e0842d7" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/OA-OAHA-Pocket-Knife.jpg" /></div> <div class="col-md-4"> <p>This knife features the OA logo on one side and a beautiful view from the OA Wilderness Voyage program.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not signed up yet? Talk to your lodge chief or adviser today to find out about attending with your lodge’s contingent!</p>

May 20, 2018   NOAC 2018, OA Today