The Order of the Arrow (OA) is a National brotherhood of Boy Scouts and Scouters, founded in 1915 to promote Scout camping and to maintain the tradition of the daily Good Turn. Its traditions are rooted in the lore of the Lenni Lenape, of the Delaware Indian tribes. The purpose of the OA is:
Each council operates the OA program in its own “Lodge”. Our council’s lodge, Lodge #85 is named “Seminole”. Each lodge is further divided into Chapters, which correspond to the districts of the council. Like our district, we are part of the Withlacoochee Chapter.
Scouts are chosen, once a year, in each troop, by a secret ballot. Those elected are given the distinctive honor of being nominated, not for what they have accomplished, but for the greater service they are expected to give in the future. An OA election is not a popularity contest.
Once elected, a Scout must complete the Ordeal, a weekend-long series of tests of his character, resolve, and commitment to Scouting’s ideals, before he is accepted into the brotherhood.
Adult Scouters are also eligible to be nominated for OA membership (1 adult allowed per troop per year). Such nominations are made by the Troop Committee, providing at least one Scout is elected during the current year.
The lodge pocket flap is worn on the right pocket of the uniform to signify membership in the OA. The universal arrow ribbon and the distinctive sash also identify an Order of the Arrow member.
As an Arrowman, a Scout can work to promote Scout camping in his own troop, and get involved in many other service-related activities, including the recruitment of new members (through elections) and performing in the annual ceremonies.
Arrowmen can seal their membership after ten months of membership by taking part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order.
After two years of faithful service as a Brotherhood member, a Scout may be recognized with the Vigil Honor by his lodge and the National Order of the Arrow Committee. This is the highest level of OA membership.
Once a year, several lodges get together for a weekend of extended fellowship. These “conclaves” are opportunities for Arrowmen to make new friends, to share ideas, to learn more about the OA, and to have some fun.
Once every two years, Arrowmen from all over the country come together in a National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC), kind of like a National OA Jamboree.