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OA Ceremonial Update

Effective January 1, 2020, changes will be enacted pertaining to the attire worn by ceremonialists during the official Order of the Arrow ceremonies.  While American Indian attire has been the historic tradition used in OA ceremonies, circumstances may dictate that lodges use either the Scout Field Uniform or the Alternative Ceremonial Clothing. For example, Alternative Ceremonial Clothing should be used in situations where a lodge does not have a relationship with a local tribe, a local tribe has expressed concern with the use American Indian ceremonial attire for this purpose, or limited resources preclude a lodge from developing historically correct and acceptable American Indian ceremonial attire.  Beginning in 2020 one of the following three options should be selected for OA Ordeal, Brotherhood or Vigil ceremonies:  American Indian attire The Scout Field Uniform The Alternative Ceremonial Clothing ​consisting of black shirt with black pants The Alternative Ceremonial Clothing consists of a plain black shirt and pants, as well as the Order of the Arrow sash and ceremonial neck medallion. Ceremonialists should all wear shirts and pants of the same style to ensure uniformity. Ceremonial medallions are available through the national office and should be worn by ceremonial principals that use either the Scout Field Uniform or the Alternative Ceremonial Clothing option. They are not to be worn with American Indian clothing. If lodges use American Indian attire, all efforts should be made by the lodge to depict the American Indian tribes that are native to the area. It is recommended that a lodge engage and work with the American Indian community to determine what attire would be appropriate and accurate. If a lodge cannot feasibly fulfill the requirements to conduct ceremonies in traditional attire, the Scout Field Uniform will suffice. If this method is done, all pieces of the uniform, including the Order of the Arrow sash and ceremonial neck medallion are to be worn. Extraneous patches and additional headwear are prohibited.  Ceremony scripts and the core messages they possess are remaining the same. Uniformity in both attire and content will be maintained.  This will ensure the same meaningful experiences for candidates in these ceremonies.  The Order of the Arrow is proving more vital than ever, and the standards being set are to ensure the importance of the program and its values of forging a purpose of lifelong service for the future.  For questions related to this ceremony update, please email

Feb 10, 2020   Announcements, Lodge Ledger
2019 OA Innovation Award Recipients

Many lodges develop creative and innovative solutions to the challenges they face in implementing their annual program plans. In order to spread the best ideas to other lodges and areas across the country, the Order of the Arrow Lodge Innovation Award was created in 2012 to not only recognize lodges for their efforts but to share them nationwide as best practices. Up to two awards in each region can be presented annually. Each award is accompanied by a $1,000 cash gift to the donor restricted endowment fund of the council that each lodge serves. That gift will benefit Scouting in that council in perpetuity - meaning forever.  In total since 2012, local council endowment fund balances have received over $70,000 in total from the OA as a result of the creation of these permanently encumbered financial gifts. Announced in 2019, seven lodges were chosen for the Innovation Award. Narragansett Council’s Tulpe Lodge (Rhode Island) was one of the lodges to receive the Innovation Award.  Inspired by a fulfilling experience at the Order of the Arrow’s ArrowCorps5 in 2008, Tulpe Lodge developed and implemented ArrowCorps Yawgoog at their council camp, Yawgoog Scout Reservation.  “ArrowCorps Yawgoog is a one week experience at Yawgoog Scout Reservation where the principles developed during the summer of 2008 at national ArrowCorps5 are being applied in our own camp setting.” ArrowCorps Yawgoog is offered during one of the existing weeks of summer camp. The cost is much reduced from the regular summer camp fee. ArrowCorps Yawgoog participants form a provisional unit at a summer camp with Adult Advisers functioning as Scoutmasters for the week and a youth chairman who functions as the Senior Patrol Leader.  Participants work alongside camp rangers Monday through Friday all morning. The rest of the day they participate in camp programming and advancement opportunities. Projects have included the construction of Adirondack shelters and trail creation and/or trail improvements. According to lodge leaders, “The program has not only strengthened our lodge, but it has also provided expanded opportunities for youth leadership and service.  It has increased camp attendance, developed current and future camp staff, and offers an affordable summer camp experience for the families of southern New England.” Pee Dee Area Council’s Santee Lodge (South Carolina) was recognized with the Innovation Award for their “O.A. Week” program at Camp Coker.  At the end of the summer camp season, the week-long program is open to all OA members and newly elected candidates. There is an Ordeal at the beginning of the week and a focused “Day of Service” for members.  Merit badges are offered during the week, typically different merit badges than those offered during the regular summer camp program. A Native American-themed “pageant” – a full-length play – is practiced throughout the week and performed for families and guests at the end of the week.  The week concludes with the lodge’s Summer Fellowship. Staff positions are volunteers, each staff member paying $50 to cover the cost of food. Participants pay a fee well below the normal summer camp fee. “Order of the Arrow Week increases membership retention of our Scouts, improves the quality of leader for Santee Lodge, and provides increased direct benefit to Camp Coker with additional service opportunities.” Navajo Chapter of California Inland Empire Council’s Cahuilla Lodge was awarded an Innovation Award for its successful efforts to improve member communications and activate new members.  They developed a weekly e-mail campaign to keep members informed of upcoming events and service opportunities. They also had two “big events” after both of their Ordeals to welcome new members.  These “big events” were a summer barbeque and a fall luau. Each event included a chapter meeting, drum and dance, a patch auction, and other activities. “The costs of both events were offset by donations from members in a ‘tip jar’ and a silent/live patch auction with donated patches from one of our members.”  Both the e-mail campaign and the “big events” targeting new members served to engage members effectively, resulting in improved participation and enthusiasm. Other lodges recognized with the Innovation Award were Woapalanne Lodge, Patriots’ Path Council (New Jersey); Illini Lodge, Prairielands Council (Illinois); Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge, Dan Beard Council (Ohio); and Netopalis Sipo Schipinachk Lodge, Longhorn Council (Texas). Consistent with the business plan of the National Order of the Arrow Committee, lodges and their leadership should be focused on election, induction, and activation rates. The Lodge Innovation Award is the perfect platform to share innovative techniques and programs that lead to or sustain a lodge thriving in these areas. By seeking out those lodges that have been especially effective with unit elections, inductions and/or new member engagement, the National Order of the Arrow Lodge Innovation Award will provide a platform to enhance and promote the exchange of new ideas across our organization.

Feb 10, 2020   Lodge Ledger
Join Operation Arrow at the Summit for the 2021 National Jamboree!

Lodge Leader, We hope to see you and members of your lodge at the 2021 National Jamboree as a member of Operation Arrow! The OA has supported National Jamborees since 1950, but next year we will embark on our largest initiative to date. When tens of thousands of Scouts descend on the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) next July, it’s on us to help provide them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  When you join Operation Arrow, you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of Arrowmen from across the country as you provide critical support to the largest Scouting event in 2021. By serving on our dedicated Conservation Team or as part of our storied Service Corps, you will have the opportunity to impact the Jamboree at the most fundamental level at a variety of program areas across the Summit. As a reward for your service, you will get to experience all sorts of adventure from stadium shows, field sports, international fellowship and mountaintop experience hikes – all in the scenic backcountry of beautiful West Virginia. We have plenty of opportunities for adults to take on a role and youth get to participate for half the price of what they would pay as a regular contingent member! For us to continue our decades-long mission of serving the National Jamboree, we need your help to make it another success. We have seen first-hand the impact the OA can have on Scouting’s flagship event and now we are committed to paying that forward to the next generation of Scouts. As Arrowmen, we are charged to serve others so far as in our power lie­­­­­­­­s — let’s put those words of the Obligation in action. We are beyond excited for the Jamboree and know that the Order of the Arrow will continue to live up to its mission and purpose next summer. It’s time to face the challenge and recommit ourselves to delivering the Scouting program.  For more information and to access registration, visit!   In cheerful service, Zach Schonfeld National Chief Noah Smith National Vice Chief

Feb 10, 2020   Lodge Ledger
The Language of the OA to Serve as Primary Resource for OA Terminology

The Language of the OA encompasses style, usage and grammar norms observed by both the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the Arrow. The OA has developed this resource so that communications at every level of the organization are more consistent. Through periodic updates of terminology, it will become a more comprehensive primary resource to ensure chapters, lodges, sections and regions are aware of the terms and style specific to the OA.  An idea which began before the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference to provide Arrowmen with tools to effectively communicate, The Language of the OA has been a long-awaited project. We are excited to share this resource as a facet of the national communications committee’s initiative to provide tools to assist the development and execution of effective communication at the local level.  Designed to complement The Language of Scouting and BSA Style Manual, The Language of the OA includes terminology unique to the Order of the Arrow such as conference vice chief (CVC) and publications such as the Guide to Inductions. Be sure to refer to this tool while writing and editing publications and program materials. To make this resource more thorough, we will add more terms throughout 2020 and onward.  For more information on broader Scouting terms not commonly used in day-to-day OA operations, please visit The Language of Scouting and the BSA Style Manual. To suggest an update and/or edit of The Language of the OA, please email  This tool can be found here.  

Feb 10, 2020   Announcements, Lodge Ledger
Philbreak 2020

Have you planned your spring break yet? If not, sign up to join the Order of the Arrow during Philbreak as the Order performs cheerful service at the BSA’s premier high adventure base. Arrowmen from your lodge could help to prepare Philmont for the 2020 summer season! You will get to make new friends from across the country, all while providing service. Past Philbreak projects have included slope stabilization projects, such as log erosion barrier and wattle installation, as well as re-vegetation, campsite installation and forest thinning.  Projects in 2020 will continue work on forest thinning and volunteers may get to assist in burning debris piles made during the 2019 Philbreak! At the end of the week, every volunteer will get the opportunity to participate in a guided backcountry hike to iconic Philmont locations such as Window Rock, Heart Peak, and Lover Leap. There are four opportunities to participate in Philbreak 2020! The dates for the four different sessions of Philbreak in 2020 are: Feb 29-March 7, 2020 March 7-14, 2020 March 14-21, 2020 March 21-28, 2020 Philbreak is available to all Arrowmen 16 years old and above. Participants are required to be registered with the BSA and a member of the Order of the Arrow. The full Philmont medical form with your doctor’s approval is required. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. This PhilBreak program will require strenuous hard work, long hours, good crew spirit and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely. The Order of the Arrow reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program. The cost to attend Philbreak is $105. Participants are responsible for planning and booking their own travel. Shuttles are available from the Amtrak Station in Raton, NM and The Albuquerque Airport for an additional fee. For more information and to access registration, visit the Philmont website. Be sure to register soon - spots are filling up quickly!

Feb 10, 2020   Lodge Ledger
DSA and Red Arrow Award Deadline Reminder

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) was created in 1940 to honor those persons who render service to the Order beyond the lodge level. The award is presented to those OA members who render distinguished and outstanding service to the Order on a sectional, regional, and/or national basis. It is given primarily for dedicated service to the Order and Scouting over a period of years. The award is presented every two to three years during the National Order of the Arrow Conference. Youth members under 21 and adults (volunteer and professional) are eligible for nomination. Nominations will not be accepted or considered for posthumous awards. All DSA nominations must be received by the OA National Director no later than 5 pm (CST) on January 31, 2020. The Red Arrow Award, for distinguished service to the Order, is presented by the National Order of the Arrow Committee to either non-Scouters or Scouters who are not members of the OA. This service may take many forms and should involve a significant period of time, as opposed to a single event. Only a limited number of awards will be presented; therefore, only those nominees whose accomplishments are of the highest order will be recognized.  Nominations will not be accepted or considered for posthumous awards. Red Arrow Award nominations must be received by the OA National Director no later than 5 pm (CST) on January 31, 2020. Recommendations for the DSA and the Red Arrow Award must be submitted using the appropriate nomination form, which can be found at Thank you in advance for submitting nominees for the Distinguished Service Award and the Red Arrow Award.

Jan 17, 2020   Announcements
25 Years of OA High Adventure

One of the many unique opportunities afforded to Arrowmen that are not otherwise available to youth in Scouting is the Order of the Arrow High Adventure program. This program is offered at every national high adventure base, each with a different trek option. The benefits of Order of the Arrow High Adventure are numerous, from forging friendships that last a lifetime, to creating memories that you’ll never forget, and finally to developing strong leaders within our communities through unique challenges that are faced along the way. We are excited to have you join us in celebrating our 25th anniversary! This year you can expect to attend a program with the top Arrowmen from across the country and provide exceptional service for the community. In addition, we will also have specialized insignia signifying the 25th anniversary for those who attend during our year of celebration! Since the first crew began their adventure 25 years ago, Arrowmen from across the nation have enjoyed the ultimate combination of Brotherhood, Cheerfulness and Service that Order of the Arrow High Adventure has provided them. Join these Arrowmen in continuing the legacy by registering for a trek today! You can now register at: In addition, be sure to check with your lodge, section, and region regarding potential scholarship opportunities.

Jan 03, 2020   Live from Dallas
NOAC 2020

The 2020 National Order of the Arrow Conference is quickly approaching this summer from August 3rd-8th. NOAC is an event where Arrowmen from across our nation gather together for an inspirational and unforgettable experience full of fellowship, training, adventure, and fun! This past weekend during the National Planning Meeting the theme for NOAC was announced, “Step Up, Step Forward.” As Matt Parsons, the 2019 National Chief explained at the National Planning Meeting,  the theme is more than just the words embroidered on a patch, the NOAC theme is integrated into the conference program.  NOAC 2020 registration is currently open! If you are interested in attending NOAC 2020 as a participant, reach out to your lodge chief or lodge adviser for specific details about joining your lodge’s contingent. For more information on NOAC go to If you have attended previous NOACs and are looking for a new and exciting experience, join us on staff!. With many different opportunities, there is something that you will want to help out with! From serving as stage crew for the shows to working on the communications team for the conference, there is something for everyone! For more information go here. As we near closer to NOAC, expect to see updates about exciting news regarding our national gathering. So if you haven’t already, get registered today and we look forward to seeing you at NOAC!

Jan 03, 2020   Live from Dallas
Meet the newly elected officers of the Order of the Arrow!

Zachary Schonfeld — National Chief “I'm excited to build on the momentum we created this year to improve lodge performance and initiate long-term change for our organization. Between NOAC, Section ACT Conferences, and every event in between, I can't wait to meet Arrowmen from all over and make our brotherhood stronger than ever before.” Hailing from Reston, Virginia, Zachary is a Vigil Honor member and a Founder’s Award recipient from Amangamek-Wipit Lodge. He is a former Section NE-6A chief and served as the Northeast Region NLS Chief of Staff. With goals of becoming a journalist later in life, Zachary studies political communication at George Washington University. When Zachary is not busy being an editor for the student newspaper, he likes to travel and visit national parks. Congratulations, Zachary! Noah Smith — National Vice Chief “The 2020 National Conference Committee has been laying the foundation for this past year. I’m excited to see all of the future generations of Arrowmen all across the nation!” Noah is a Vigil Honor member from Brookland, Arkansas. After serving as the Quapaw lodge chief, Noah served for two terms as the Section SR-8 chief. He has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, as well as the Founder’s Award. Noah intends to major in business management at the University of Central Arkansas. During his leisure time, Noah enjoys playing soccer and partaking in high adventure opportunities. Congratulations, Noah! Patrick McInerney — Central Region Chief “Very excited to help plan NOAC, NLS, and support our lodges and sections throughout the Central Region.” Hailing from Mundelein, Illinois, Patrick is a Vigil Honor member from Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan Lodge #40 of the Northeast Illinois Council. He previously served as the Section C-7 chief, and has also served as a section secretary and chairman for various committees. Patrick has received both the Founder’s Award and the James E. West Award. Patrick is majoring in mechanical engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. He also enjoys participating on his local swim and dive team. Congratulations, Patrick! Seth Greiling — Southern Region Chief “Excited to see what the year will offer while serving as the Southern Region Chief and to build relationships with all Lodge and Section Officers in the Region.” Seth hails from Chesapeake, Virginia and is a Vigil Honor member of Blue Heron Lodge of the Tidewater Council. He is a recipient of both the Founder’s Award and the James E. West Award. Seth most recently served as the Section SR-7A chief. He is an information systems technology major at Tidewater Community College and plans to transfer later on to a four-year school. He currently serves as a Senator in his Student Government Association and enjoys spending time with friends. Congratulations, Seth! Conor Power — Northeast Region Chief “I am looking forward to leveraging the first ACT Conferences and the 2020 National Order of the Arrow Conference to continue building high performing lodges.” Conor is from Hingham, Massachusetts and is a Vigil Honor member of Tantamous Lodge of Mayflower Council. On top of recently serving as the Section NE-1 chief, he has also had time to attend both the 2017 jamboree as well as the 2018 NOAC. Conor currently attends Stonehill College as a communications major. He plans to serve as a brand identity strategist for nonprofit organizations. To pass the time, Conor enjoys camping and pursuing his hobby of graphic design. Congratulations, Conor! Gavin Cho — Western Region Chief “I am incredibly excited for 2020. This opportunity to capitalize on the momentum gained from the Focus 19 movement is unique and must not be squandered.” Gavin is from Burbank, California and is a Vigil Honor member from Spe-Le-Yai Lodge. Gavin has served as both the section secretary and as the section chief for Section W-4N. Gavin is currently majoring in public policy at the University of California, Riverside. Gavin hopes to one day have a career serving as a campaign manager. On top of Gavin’s commitments in Scouting, he serves as a Campus Coordinator at his school. Congratulations, Gavin!

Jan 03, 2020   Live from Dallas
2020 OA Service Grant Recipients

Since 1999, the National OA Committee has annually selected lodges from each region to receive matching service grants.  In 2020, four lodges in councils across the nation were chosen to receive a combined total of $10,900 in matching grants via the OA Service Grant program. The following grant was awarded within the Central Region: Kiskakon Lodge of the Anthony Wayne Area Council, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will receive $1,300 to replace the overhead lighting and ceiling tiles at the Anthony Wayne Scout Reservation dining hall.  The following grant was awarded within the Northeast Region: Ajapeu Lodge of the Green Mountain Council, headquartered in Waterbury, Vermont, will receive $2,300 for the construction of a new nature lodge at Camp Sunrise. The following grant was awarded within the Southern Region: Washita Lodge of the Cherokee Area Council, headquartered in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, will receive $3,300 to install solar generated electricity and LED lights at Camp McClintock. The following grant was awarded within the Western Region: Gila Lodge of the Yucca Council, headquartered in El Paso, Texas, will receive $4,000 to construct a new bathroom facility at Camp Dale Resler.

Jan 03, 2020   Live from Dallas
NOAC 2020 Remote Delegate Program

Have you been looking into attending NOAC 2020 only to realize that you are physically just unable to go? Well, many Arrowmen just like you faced that exact problem in 2018. So, we decided to create an entirely new NOAC experience which allowed those Arrowmen who couldn’t attend, to experience NOAC 2018 from home! This program was called the NOAC Remote Delegate Program. This allowed those who signed up as a remote delegate to get a thrilling NOAC experience right from the comfort of their own home, and best of all, we are bringing this program back for NOAC 2020! As a NOAC 2020 Remote Delegate, you will be able to enjoy everything that an on-site delegate would get to enjoy, plus more! The cost to attend NOAC as a Remote Delegate will be only $80! Attending as Remote Delegate, this will include the conference memorabilia packet and all program elements: Unique NOAC delegate pack complete with a special remote delegate conference patch that will only be available to Remote Delegates Live broadcasts throughout each day at the conference (a morning broadcast, lunchtime broadcast, and “pre-show” broadcast Live streaming of conference activities throughout each afternoon Live streaming of NOAC evening shows and special broadcasts for remote delegates only Viewership into various NOAC trainings in the mornings A virtual tour of the NOAC museum Various Meet-the-Man sessions with national leadership only accessible by remote delegates Viewing of athletic competitions and various recreational activities from the eyes of an on-site delegate Inside scoops and interviews looking into the planning and delivery of NOAC 2020 from the conference leadership Recorded playback of select activities based on demand Regional group challenges to all remote delegates for various prizes and awards Cost: $80 per remote delegate  Registration:

Jan 03, 2020   Live from Dallas
Letter from the National Chief and Vice Chief

Chiefs, It is hard to believe that only a few short weeks stand between this moment and the beginning of a new year. When we descend on Dallas for the National Planning Meeting (NPM), we will lay the groundwork for the 2020 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC). Each of you will play a key role in planning and delivering the 2020 national program of emphasis, and we are excited for the unique skills and ideas that you will bring to NOAC! A large majority of you have not attended a NPM before, and we would like to give you a brief overview of the meeting and provide you with a few key reminders. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when you touchdown at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (remember, don’t go to Love Field!): When you land, grab your bags and head to Terminal C, baggage claim C-31, and check-in with the uniformed BSA representative who will assist with transportation to the hotel. Once you arrive at the Marriott, you may check into your room and participate in afternoon recreation. Find some time to get to know the other section chiefs, national committee members, and key NOAC staff as they arrive! We will also be holding the traditional national officers vs. national committee basketball game. Feel free to come on out and watch; you know which team you should be rooting for… On the night of December 27th, there will be a reception, dinner, and a presentation on the basics of NOAC and the unveiling of the conference theme. Following this general session, you will go straight into the national chief and national vice chief elections. The elections are notoriously known to end late at night, so make sure you are well rested when you get to the hotel. After the elections, you’ll want to head to bed because you will have to wake up in the morning on the 28th for breakfast and region chief elections. Each region will meet in a separate room and elect their region chief. Following the region chief elections, professional photos of each planning meeting guest will be taken, as well as a group photo of all the meeting’s attendees. In the afternoon, the new officers will be installed, your conference committee assignments issued and NOAC planning will commence! After going through some initial, big picture discussions on your committee’s vision and involvement at the conference, you will elect a conference vice chief (CVC). The rest of the meeting will be spent compiling your plan to deliver on your respective committee’s responsibilities at NOAC next summer. Of course, the planning meeting is not strictly business. You will have the chance to enjoy fellowship with other planning meeting attendees, as well as see first-hand the exciting things happening in the Order of the Arrow. On December 30th, continental breakfast will be served and we will depart, ready to put on an event of a lifetime.  Please be sure all of your paperwork has been taken care of, and you have reviewed all of the event information that was sent to you several weeks ago.  Additionally, make sure to download the 2019 National Planning Meeting App on your smartphone or tablet to access schedules and other important information you’ll need on-site. We look forward to joining you soon, and if we may be of service, please do not hesitate to ask. Yours in Service, Matt Parsons & Eric Harrison 2019 National Chief & Vice Chief  

Dec 20, 2019   Chiefly Thoughts