One of the most beneficial programs the Order of the Arrow offers are the high adventure opportunities at each of the four national high adventure bases. Arrowmen who participate in OA High Adventure (OAHA) programs return to their lodges with renewed passion for the Order of the Arrow and a heightened interest in serving their lodges and units.
The challenge is to find ways of promoting OAHA opportunities so that Scouts know about these programs. The following ideas have been used around the country by different lodges and sections to successfully promote OA High Adventure; many of these ideas can be used for promoting any event.
- Fliers and brochures: these are available to be printed from the OA High Adventure website or you can contact the national office and they will send them to you. These are simple handouts that have information about program dates, costs and sessions.
- Business cards: a cheap alternative to fliers that are easy for Scouts to fit in their pockets so they are less likely to be thrown away. There are a number of websites that print business cards at low prices. A sample template is attached.
- Posters: These are also available on the OA High Adventure website or from the national office. Don’t bother putting them on walls, think outside the box and place posters somewhere they will be more noticeable. Some ideas include taping them to the floor, attaching them to cardboard and hanging from a string, etc. Be creative to get people’s attention. Visit the OA High Adventure website for free posters.
- Videos: There are a variety of videos on the website as well as the OA YouTube channel. They can be easily placed in shows or even just played on a loop during meals. Several OA High Adventure videos are available here.
- Display booths: Booths are a great addition to any sort of expo, ordeal or Scout show. Even setting up a booth during your lodge banquet or Saturday dinner during Ordeal can prove beneficial. Provide handouts, fliers and prizes for event attendees. Staff the booth with past OA High Adventure participants who have knowledge of the programs. For extra pizzazz you can contact any of the national high adventure bases and they will send promotional displays at no cost.
- Skits: Something fun and informative to get people thinking about OA High Adventure are skits at campfire. A brief sample skit is attached.
- Buttons: Many lodges and councils have access to someone with a button making machine. This is a great giveaway that people will wear on their uniforms and promote for you. They are easy to make and can be used to promote any event that you like.
- Banners: Nothing catches people’s eye like a flashy banner. These are available from a number of vendors and will add a level of professionalism to any display. They can also be reused at future events.
- Costumes and props: The easiest way to get someone’s attention and start a conversation is to look the part, if you have access to any past staff at a national base who can loan a uniform this will be a great conversation piece for people walking around. At the very least walking around with a backpack, paddle, pick mattock, etc. will get the point across.
- Sign Up sheets: Print up a simple spreadsheet asking for people who are interested in learning more so that you can follow up with potential leads after the event. Be sure to request a phone number, email, age, and which programs they’re interested in.
The goal of any promotional effort is to raise awareness of your event or program. By thinking outside of the box and getting creative about how you spread your message we can reach out to a broader audience and bring in Arrowmen who may otherwise not know about OA High Adventure.
Example of an OAHA Skit
Can be performed at campfire, during a banquet, etc.
This skit requires 4 actors dressed in some costume representative of each base (one Philmont person, one Northern Tier person, etc.)
The master of ceremonies starts with a speech about the event, Scouting or the OA. He should include some phrase that triggers the first OA High Adventure character who will loudly interrupt the speech to explain how his program is the best thing that ever existed. He takes this opportunity to describe the program, sights and sounds and meaningful experiences.
Once the first character has covered the main points the second high adventure character interrupts to explain why the first character is mistaken because his program is actually the best. He then repeats the same process describing the next OA High Adventure program.
This is repeated a 3rd and 4th time until all programs are covered. Once all characters have presented their case the master of ceremonies regains control and urges the Arrowmen to go out and sign up for OA High Adventure and see for themselves which program is their favorite