Skip to main content
We've detected that you're using an unsupported browser. You may experience issues using the OA website. Please visit our supported browsers page for more information.


2005 National Jamboree

The 2005 National Scout Jamboree was held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, from July 25 to August 3 with the theme “Character Not Only Counts, It Multiplies”. 43,307 Scouts participated in the Jamboree.

In 2005, the Order of the Arrow committed itself once again to assisting with the logistics and programming of the Jamboree. It was evident that the OA was solidly engaged in providing a tremendous amount of service and programs throughout the Jamboree.

One of the most popular programs at the Jamboree was the Order of the Arrow theatrical production Twelve Cubed. A successor to the Order’s famed productions of Odyssey of the Law and Scoutopia, at previous Jamborees, Twelve Cubed was based upon recognition that the term “values” has an application in mathematical equations as well as ethical ones. “Twelve Cubed” represented an equation for life and a formula for values obtained by applying the twelve points of the Scout Law and the three parts of the Scout Oath to one’s life — a multiplication, if you will, which has an exponential effect upon a Scout’s life. Through creative, artistic, and interactive endeavors with the audience, the Twelve Cubed production helped Scouts at the Jamboree define the true meaning of character and values.

Registering its largest turnout in its nine-year history, The Outdoor Adventure Place (TOAP) had 33,000 attendees visit the exhibit area during the nine days of the Jamboree. Through the Leave No Trace (LNT) program, Scouts were able to train in the seven principles of LNT, as well as meet with various federal land management agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Corps of Engineers, National Park Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to serving as a learning environment, TOAP was a place to have fun and hang out; Scouts were constantly involved with activities such as the many climbing walls, outdoor cooking area, and pioneering tower.

The OA American Indian Village continued to expand in popularity and scope from previous Jamborees. The Village, located near the Merit Badge Midway, also offered Scouts the opportunity to earn the Indian Lore Merit Badge and explore American Indian culture through living history displays, songs, and dance. During the Jamboree, 325 full and partial Indian Lore Merit Badges were awarded. The Village also hosted a large Pow Wow one evening, and used a traveling group of dancers to promote their program area and the American Indian culture throughout the Jamboree.

The Order of the Arrow’s Service Corps provided hundreds of hours of cheerful service to the thousands of participants in all corners of the Jamboree. Arrowmen on the Service Corps team served as security for arena shows, delivered lunches, conducted flag raisings, and hosted special dignitaries at Fort A. P. Hill. In addition, the Service Corps provided service to the various Jamboree camps and in turn became the most well-known and visible group on-site. Using the theme “Service: Can You Dig It?” they demonstrated the Order’s principles throughout the Jamboree.

3, Ceremonies, National Event, OA, Scouting

Elangomat Adopted

The Elangomat system for the Ordeal was introduced at the 1975 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) as part of the Inductions Enrichment Program. At the time it was a highly controversial method for not only managing candidate work groups during Ordeals, but also seen by some as “watering down the Ordeal challenges.”

First Elangomat patchFollowing the presentation of the optional “new” pre-Ordeal Ceremony at the 1977 NOAC, and its adoption as the official ceremony (replacing the prior pre-Ordeal ceremony) at the 1979 NOAC, the principles guiding Elangomat Ordeals were more clearly –and poetically – set forth in the official ceremonies.

By the time of the 1981 NOAC, Elangomat Ordeals were far less controversial.

The Ordeal Ceremony pamphlet was replaced by the Manual for the Ordeal – and for the first time the proper procedures for conducting the Order of the Arrow Ordeal were described in detail.

Much of this was based on the simple concept of the point of the Scout Law to be “friendly” – a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout – even, or especially, during the 24 hours of the OA Ordeal experience.

2, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

Campership Fund Created

The Maury Clancy Indian Campership Fund was created in 1971 to assist with funds to those American Indian Boy Scouts who wanted to attend resident camp. This fund was subsequently named in memory of long-time National OA Committee member, Maury Clancy. Mr. Clancy contributed significantly to the Order by emphasizing the significance of our nation's American Indian culture and he worked to encourage the preservation of our American Indian heritage.

Campership funds provide up to 50% of the cost of one week at an accredited Boy Scouts of America long-term camp. To be eligible, a youth must be recognized as being of American Indian heritage. The application must be filled out and signed by the Scout Executive by March 31st of each year. The campership is funded by donations from lodges that may also contribute through their section. Additionally, donations are often taken at section conclaves and region National Leadership Seminars.

2, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

Brotherhood Rituals Change

In 1956, the National OA Committee, after consultation with medical advisors, determined that it was no longer safe to draw and exchange blood between two people in the “Blood-rite” of the Brotherhood Ceremony.

The ceremony was changed to only “symbolically” draw blood. Many lodges were very slow in changing this practice of actually pricking the thumb or finger (or in some cases the palm with a knife) and mixing blood between two Arrowmen. There are accounts well into the 1960s of the practice continuing.

Today all lodges understand that it is a significant health hazard to comingle blood between two people and it is not tolerated at any ritual. The August 1956 Brotherhood Ceremony pamphlet officially incorporated the change from drawing blood to symbolically drawing blood.

This change and one other minor edit were made as follows (script difference in the 1956 ceremony):

“…cheerfully suffer…” becomes “…suffer cheerfully…”

“…draw drops of blood… “ Was changed to read “…symbolically draw ‘blood’ so that you may mingle your ‘blood’ …”

3, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

Ceremonial Rituals are Changed

In 1933, the Grand Lodge was making the preparations necessary to become an official BSA program. In August of that year, a document entitled: A Statement of Principles Applying in the Case of National Approval of the Order of the Arrow, was produced to give guidance to the transition needed within the Order of the Arrow (OA).

One of the sections made reference to the Rituals of the Order of the Arrow and stated the following:

A competent committee will review the Ritual in its entirety with a view to assuring that it is free from:

1. Any words or phrases, which may cause offense to religious bodies
2. Any performance or expressions, which may be interpreted as acts of religious worship
3. Any employment of the element of secrecy as in obligation, which may prove inconsistent with the policies of Scouting.

Between 1933 and early 1935 the OA’s rituals underwent strong examination and rewrites to ascertain that the rituals were in compliance with the guidelines set forth in 1933 necessary for National Council BSA approval.

Meteu’s prayers were a topic of concern and required changes. Thomas Cairns wrote to George Lower, author of those prayers and asked for his help in rewriting the prayers. Lower was at first reluctant but after Cairns persistence and good humor (remarking that he would lose what little was left of his hair if Lower did not respond) did eventually help in the rewrites.

Some of the changes made included the dropping of “Gitchee Manitou”, a reference to a deity, from all ceremonies. The word “Password” was changed to “Admonition”. Previous to 1933’s guidelines, the words “altar” and “sacred” had already been replaced and the word “Fraternity” had been replaced with “Brotherhood”.

In 1936 a series of five new pamphlets with all the approved changes were printed. The Ordeal cover was red ink. The Brotherhood cover was green ink. The Vigil Honor cover was blue ink. The Local Lodge Manual cover was brown ink and the Constitution and By-Laws cover was black ink. All the pamphlets were produced in 1936 except the Vigil Honor pamphlet, which was not printed until 1940.

The 1936 versions of the Ordeal Honor and Brotherhood Honor ceremonies remained virtually unchanged through and until 1948 when final changes were necessary for the OA to become fully integrated into the BSA program.

3, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

George Lower

George Lower was inducted into the Order of the Arrow (OA) at Treasure Island during the second summer of Wimachtendienk in 1916. He was one of the two major contributors to the writing of the rituals used by the Grand Lodge from 1921 until 1936. Prior to 1921, Lower was one of the quiet adult forces within the Wimachtendienk. In a newspaper article in August 1921, he is pictured in a sash and black robe and identified as one of two Medicine Men along with Dr. William M. Hinkle.

In 1921, for his leadership and influence in the Wimachtendienk W. W., George Lower became the sixth Arrowman to receive the Third Degree.

On November 8, 1934 National Chief Thomas Cairns wrote to George Lower asking for his assistance regarding transformation of the ceremonies critical to the integration of the OA into the BSA:

As you may know, the Order of the Arrow has been officially adopted by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and is to be a part of their official program for campers.

This step has brought to light a number of rather interesting questions and I should like, if at all possible, to secure your help in answering one of these.

In the Ritual (copy enclosed) on pages 9, 11, 13, and 22 the Meteu is called upon to say a prayer. This Ritual has been submitted to the National Scout Committee on Church Relations and by them to their subdivisions on Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Scouting. There is a common agreement, conveyed to me by Urner Goodman, of the desirability of eliminating from the Ritual these prayers as such since it is extremely difficult to have any one prayer which is acceptable to all three groups.

George Lower wrote back to Thomas Cairns on January 6, 1935. George Lower had become inactive in the OA and was a teacher at the Westtown School, Westtown, Pennsylvania. Along with agreeing to do the re-writes, George Lower wrote:

Receiving your request recalled to my mind the hours and hours Dr. Hinkle and I spent on this ritual years ago and I was quite surprised to see that it had not been changed since our last revision.

Lower completed the revisions of the ceremonies and the OA published them in 1936.

3, Ceremonies, OA, Profile, Scouting

First Ceremony Booklet

In 1921, the Grand Lodge distributed First Degree and Second Degree ceremonies in 8½" x 11" mimeographed booklets.

By 1927, it was decided that the First Degree (Ordeal) Ceremony should be printed in booklet form. The booklet was 5” x 7” and was 24 pages long. Folded vertically, it fit easily into a pocket, a tradition that lasted until 1998 when the booklet was replaced with a printed 8½” x 11” booklet. The booklet included the Pre-Ordeal Ceremony as well as the Ordeal Ceremony. The Legend in poetic form was introduced in this booklet as well.

The Second Degree (Brotherhood) Ceremony remained in mimeograph format until a first booklet was printed in 1936.

3, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

Ceremonies Principal Characters Change

Dateline: ---- Grand Lodge Bulletin, January 1, 1931.

Important! Attached to this bulletin is a very important list, which should receive consideration not only of the Supreme Chief of the Fire, but other members of the local lodge who may be interested. This is a sheet headed ‘Suggested Terminology for ORDER OF THE ARROW Officers.’ Please give this your earnest attention and write this office your opinion on it. The advantage of this list lies in the fact that all Indian names used are genuine, being taken from the LENNI-LENAPE dictionary. The term “Olomypees” and “Pow-Wow” are dropped because neither are Indian terms and are not found in the Delaware language.

The changes in “Suggested Terminology for Order of the Arrow Officers” were approved at the 1931 Grand Lodge Meeting and changed the Native American names for Grand Lodge and local lodge officers.

The “suggested terminology” name changes also impacted the ritual ceremonies. Principal characters had their names and lines changed. The Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies, which had previously featured as many as six principals, and the Vigil Honor ceremony, which previously had only one principal, were all standardized with four ceremonialists.

Allowat Sakima – Chief of the Fire
Meteu – Medicine Man
Nutiket – Guard
Kichkinet – Guide

The actual ceremonial content did not significantly change, however with the change in number of ceremonialists required a redistribution of lines and responsibilities.

The principal character changes have continued to the present time for Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies. The Vigil Honor ceremony returned to one significant principal when the ceremony was rewritten in 1940 (so that a lodge with only one Third Degree member could still conduct a Vigil Honor Ceremony.

3, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

First Meeting of the Grand Lodge

In 1921 Wimachtendienk, W.W. (a common way at the time of referring to what we know as the Order of the Arrow) was ready to have a national structure. Patterned similar to the Freemasons, it was decided that each lodge would become a member of the Grand Lodge. On October 7 and 8, 1921, the first Grand Lodge Meeting hosted by the Philadelphia lodges, Unami and Unalachtigo was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and at their Camp Biddle. These meetings would later become known as National Meetings and are the distant predecessors of today’s NOACs. The first meeting was attended by eight of the eleven known lodges. The use of the term “known” was deliberate in the meeting minutes. Our young Order had spread by word of mouth. In the early days of Scouting it was common for multiple councils/camps to share the same lake. For example, in upstate New York near Tuxedo Park there were more than thirty Scout camps around the Kanohwanke Lakes including council camps for Ranachqua Lodge and Pamrapaugh Lodge. It is still not known exactly which other lodges had formed in these early years, but clearly Goodman and Edson were aware that others had formed and they had no way to contact them.

Co-founder Edson was selected to chair the first meeting. During the meeting four committees were formed. One of the committees was formed to frame the Grand Lodge Constitution. Another committee was formed to re-write and provide for further revisions of the ceremonies. Committees were also created regarding insignia and record keeping. Grand Lodge officer elections were held.

At the conclusion of the first day of the meeting the delegates traveled to Camp Biddle and held a re-dedication ceremony. The image of this ceremony is a significant historical photograph of our Order. In the image can be seen the founders in the original black robes with turtle totems. It is also the only known image that shows the three-part Third Degree (Vigil) bib sash.

1, Ceremonies, Elections, Founders, Goodman, Insignia, National Event, OA, Scouting

First Modern Vigil Honor Ceremony

According to Edson, he recalled returning to Treasure Island at the end of camp in 1916 where he and Goodman wrote the ritual for the Second Degree (then equivalent to Vigil Honor). Edson further recalled that Goodman was put through that ritual. It is presumed that this is the ceremony that Edson experienced when he kept his vigil.

There is no known copy of this ritual. Presumably the Second Degree ceremony was evolving just like both parts of the First Degree ceremonies were evolving.

By 1919, after the next group of Second Degree inductees had held their vigils and experienced the Second Degree ritual, the ceremony was formalized and set in print. This formalization was hurried along because of the formation of the Grand Lodge and the desire for all ceremonies to be similar in all lodges.

The printed version was used for the vigil class of 1921, which by that time were known as Third Degree inductees. The transition from calling what we know today as Vigil from Second Degree to Third Degree was ratified in the writing of the Second Wimachtendienk Constitution in 1920. That constitution changed what had been called “Pledge” to First Degree (Ordeal), what had been the second half of the old First Degree to Second Degree (Brotherhood) and what had been called Second Degree to Third Degree (Vigil).

2, Ceremonies, Founders, Goodman, OA, Scouting

Grand Lodge Changes Ceremonies

Dr. William Hinkle presented the following report to the Grand Lodge in 1921:

Report of Committee on Ordeals and Ritual - 1921

The committee on Ordeals and Ritual beg leave to make the following report:

At the last annual meeting, the committee was requested to find a suitable name for the Lodge. After canvassing the matter thoroughly, the name - Unami - was decided to be the most appropriate, meaning as it does in the Delaware language - Brotherly Love.

As it was understood that meddlesome outsiders had access to the Ritual and became more or less familiar with it, at Treasure Island during the summer of 1920, it was decided to revise both the ritual for ordeals and for the different degrees, so that knowledge thus illicitly obtained might be useless.

The committee, furthermore, at the suggestion of Sakima, have prepared a ritual for the opening of the Lodge. A ritual for the installation and consecration of Sakima, and one for the installation of each of the elective officers of the Lodge (sic). It is hoped that those will meet with the approval of the Lodge, since by their use the Lodge will have work provided for one or two extra meetings during the year.

The committee further recommend that a Lodge of Instruction be formed so that there will always be a reasonable chance of having present at the meetings and initiations a sufficient number of officers who know this ritual well enough not to have to read their parts.

They also recommend that Sakima, with the Senior and Junior Vice-Chiefs have charge of this Lodge of Instruction: that at the annual election the only candidate be balloted for will be the Junior Vice-Chief – the old Junior becoming Senior, and the Senior becoming Sakima by complementary vote, unless there is reason for their removal, either through lack of interest, or some other cause. They also suggest that the candidates for Junior Vice-Chief be drawn from the Lodge of Instruction.

Finally, they strongly urge that the rituals finally adopted shall be limited to three copies. One in the hands of the Ritual Committee, one for Medeu, and one for Sakima. All other copies should be destroyed, and a pledge exacted from the holders of the three copies never to allow it out of their possession for any purpose whatever.

With reference to the adoption of the alternative ritual, patterned after the copy secured by Medeu, which is now in use by another Scout organization, they feel that while it has many commendable features, which appealed to them strongly; they, nevertheless, cannot recommend any change at the present time, as the ordeals seem somewhat too strenuous, to be imposed on boys of the age at which they become members of the W.W.W.


Dr. W. M. Hinkle


The result of this report to the Grand Lodge was the writing of new First and Second Degree ceremonies for distribution to chartered lodges.

The new First Degree ritual contained significant changes. The Pre-Ordeal was introduced. There were two significant tasks that a candidate was asked to do.

The first task was that the candidate would bare his left breast and have water poured on the bare breast area. The water symbolized the cleansing experience to rid oneself of all selfishness and evil.

The second task was to chew on a piece of rootstock that was supplied to the candidate. This symbolized the increasing of strength and vigor so one could serve others.

The new First Degree ritual changed the names of some Principal characters and added others. Medeu became Gegeyjumhet (Supreme Chief of the Fire) Medicine Man became Meteu Sakima remained Sakima (Chief) Nutiket remained Nutiket (Guard/Guide) Nischeneyit Sakima is introduced as a new character (Senior Vice Chief) Pow-wow became Kittakima (Chief of the Fire) The new First Degree ritual also added a “closing ceremony”.

The new Second Degree ceremony made the same character changes as the First Degree. The ceremony was rewritten, but the content of the Second Degree ceremony was not changed.

3, Ceremonies, OA, Scouting

Edson's Second Degree

There is a lack of consensus regarding the date of Carroll A. Edson’s Second Degree induction. Evidence exists that point to three different years: 1915, 1916 and 1917. (As an editorial decision the OA History Timeline has placed the date of Edson’s Vigil as 1917 as the most likely year based upon the evidence.)

The evidence that points to 1915 or 1916 as the year of Edson’s Second Degree is found in the writings of George W. Chapman. Chapman wrote the following excerpt that would seem to indicate that Edson kept his Second Degree (Vigil) in 1915 or 1916:

The second man on whom the Vigil Honor was conferred was Carroll Edson. The minutes of Unami Lodge carry a brief mention of this under the date of October 18, 1915, saying, ‘Carroll A. Edson, Sachem, was given the test. He was given the name Ahoweapowi, making him a member of the Second Degree.”

The Second Degree (Vigil Honor) was conferred at the annual fall meeting of Unami Lodge, held at Van Renesalaer Cabin, a week-end camping spot of the Philadelphia Council near Camp Hill, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

There are multiple errors of fact contained in this account. First, October 18, 1915 (a Monday) was prior to the first organizational meeting at Camp Morrell. The term Second Degree was not even in use in 1915, that required the framing of the 1916 Constitution of Wimachtendienk. Second, the term Unami Lodge had not been created yet, indeed it had not been invented by 1916 either. Finally, the first annual fall meeting of Wimachtendienk was not until 1916. It is believed that the above entry was written after the fact and was in error. Efforts to obtain copies of the Unami Minute Book have revealed that the book has not existed for decades.

The most persuasive account of Edson’s Second Degree initiation comes from the best possible source, Edson himself. Edson wrote a letter in 1942 to Moqua Chapter of Owasippe Lodge in Chicago at their request for the Moqua Chapter 20th Anniversary yearbook. In it Edson discussed the beginnings of the Wimachtendienk. As a part of that letter Edson shares the following story of his induction into the Second Degree:

… Shortly after that, I went to the National Staff, and shortly after that entered the Army. It was while in service, I believe in the fall of 1917, that I spent another weekend at one of the outlying camps of the Philadelphia Council, at an Order meeting. While there I received the 'Second Degree' initiation, we then called it – the present Vigil Honor.

This account is persuasive because it was written by Edson and he references specific events that also track to 1917. Edson was not on National Staff until 1917. He did not join the army until 1917 when the United States entered World War I. He has specific recall of being on Army leave (from New York) to travel to the fall Camp Van Renesalaer (the outlying camp) meeting for his initiation.

1, Ceremonies, Founders, OA, Scouting