Thoughts on Commitment to the Order of the Arrow

by Seth Mollitt, 2005 National Vice Chief

Ninety years ago, at a summer camp on an island in the Delaware River, E. Urner Goodman inducted a group of young Scouts into an organization of honor campers. Since that first ceremony, the organization has grown exponentially and has spread from coast to coast, with more than 300 lodges and more than 100,000 members. The organization, now known as the Order of the Arrow, has become a staple of the Boy Scout program and has developed into its premier leadership development program.

Thousands of Arrowmen gather together for national conferences every other year, hundreds attend lodge and section events on weekends, and over three hundred take time out of their summer breaks to travel to the BSA high adventure bases and render service. The Order has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on its members and on the Scouting program. Our members dedicate themselves to the idea of servant leadership.

Over time, however, our dedication can begin to fade. As we grow older and become busier with school and work, the things that at one time seemed so important to us begin to get pushed to the background by new opportunities and activities. As commitments pile up, it becomes easier and easier to skip the occasional lodge weekend; it becomes easier and easier to detach ourselves from the organization to which we once felt so connected.

When I was twelve, I almost quit the Scouting program. School and friends distracted me, and the things that had once seemed so important began to fade. Luckily, I did not quit. I found a way to rekindle my dedication to the Order of the Arrow, and so can anyone else who may find his enthusiasm waning. Every year we are provided with innumerable opportunities to renew our commitment to the Order and to servant leadership through programs like OA Trail Crew, OA Wilderness Voyage, OA Ocean Adventure, NOAC, National Leadership Seminars, and Scoutreach Mentoring. I challenge all of you to take advantage of these opportunities.

It seems almost ridiculous for me to ask you to give even more to the Order and Scouting than you already do. However, these programs have so much to offer you for such a small additional investment of your time. These programs have the ability to refocus your energy, revive your spirit, and renew your enthusiasm for the Order. We cannot allow this organization and the values for which it stands to become just another chore.

Take the time to examine your commitment to the Order and its principles. Are you still dedicated to it in the same way you once were? Take advantage of the national programs and the unique opportunities they offer. Use them to help you recharge your batteries and renew your commitment to the Order of the Arrow and to the idea of servant leadership. What you gain will far surpass what you give.

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