Lodge Ledger: Tom Kita Chara Innovates with Brotherhood Clinic Event

The Brotherhood trail is a path that all aspiring Ordeal members go on in the Order of the Arrow. In the last few years, Tom Kita Chara has been making that path a little more eventful with its brotherhood clinic.

On Saturday, April 11th at Camp Phillips of Weston, Wisconsin, lodge members tested newcomers in all the traditional areas of study such as the Order’s principal characters and the deeper meanings of the organization’s ceremonies.

“[We try] to get them to seal their membership,” said Paul Krause, the adviser of the event for the last five years.

Interviews about the subjects and principles of the Order of the Arrow are used to test Ordeal members on their knowledge that they have hopefully accumulated since their Ordeal. In addition to this spring event, interviews are also conducted every Thursday at Tom Kita Chara’s council’s summer camp. The lodge’s leadership, along with Brian Cyr, the Brotherhood committee chairman, try to make the Brotherhood trail process as substantial and memorable as possible for new members.

“It helps the Ordeal members to give them the incentive to seal their membership so they don’t have to take the time away from their camping experience,” remarked Krause.

The Tom Kita Chara newsletter Into the Air keeps new members as well as old up to date on all of their events. A mail system is also put in place to give new Ordeal members friendly reminders about their upcoming opportunities for Brotherhood training and ceremonies if they have passed their interviews.

The clinic event itself is split into four or five sections to divide the members equally and test them on different areas of Order knowledge. Tom Kita Chara has also managed to fit service projects at its local camp during these Saturdays, too. These usually occur after a nice and hearty lunch of Arby’s roast beef sandwiches, much to contrast the scant food of the attendees’ Ordeals months earlier.

Implementing the Brotherhood clinic has been instrumental in raising Tom Kita Chara’s Brotherhood conversion rates. The event is, of course, great for the young Arrowmen too. The lodge has an average of 25 participants attend their clinics with sometimes as many as 50 showing up. A testament to their program is that only about five Ordeal members have failed to pass their interviews in the past several years out of hundreds of other fellow Scouts.

Tom Kita Chara also branches out into its council for instruction. Samoset holds a University of Scouting session every year in the March before the clinic. The “college” hosts a condensed version of the clinic in order to bring other Arrowmen in and bestow important information about the Order. The lodge may even have their normal clinics combined with the “college” classes in their council’s university in the future. 

Either way, Tom Kita Chara Lodge plans on the continued success of its unique Brotherhood program in which they are sure to see more new members make the transition, sealing their membership.

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