“Who among you now is ready? Who among you will go on this journey?”
It has been 36 years since I heard these words on a dark night, as a young scout, from a Chief I could barely see through a smoky fire.
I remember these words, because I bought in immediately to the fundamentals and principles that I was hearing. I was intrigued by the challenge before me and the opportunities that seemed endless.
It is very interesting, I graduated from high school 31 years ago, and yet I am not in contact with any of my friends from high school or college. However, I am still in contact with, and very close with, my scouting friends I grew up with. We all came from different backgrounds and some of us share different views on politics, religion, hobbies, etc, but we respect and love each other no matter what. That is one of the things the Order of the Arrow provided for us…shared experiences and principles that bind us all forever in a life of servant leadership and wanting to make a positive impact in the communities we live in. In a society, where people seem so divided, I look at what Scouting and the Order of the Arrow taught me and feel that if only everyone could live these principles daily…the world would be better for it.
The Order of the Arrow’s primary focus is on supporting the units. One of my primary goals this year, is to get out and visit every troop and build a strong working relationship with Scoutmasters. I am passionate about this program, and the leadership opportunities it provides, and it is my vision to work with units to find out where the lodge can be of any assistance.
The lodge has a couple of immediate areas of focus:
- Getting candidates and lodge members to the Ordeals
- Membership Retention
- Grass roots promotion – visitation to all units, Roundtables, summer camps
Over the years, I have heard comments like “The OA is just manual labor” or “the OA just steals the scouts from the units” or “the OA is a clique or elitist organization”. Our leadership is focused on managing this perception and “re-branding” the image by building relationships with the units, and focusing on the leadership opportunities that this organization can provide. Since the OA states that scouts are considered a youth until the age of 21, the OA is an INCREDIBLE retention tool for scouts who “age out” at 18. As I mentioned in my previous “adviser minute”, I am still in scouting because of the OA.
I will begin making contact with Scoutmasters, with a goal of visiting 100% of the units this year and the hopes we can partner together and perform elections in all of the units.
This year is a National Order of the Arrow Conference year. The event will be hosted at Michigan State University, August 3 – 8. Wipala Wiki will be sending a contingent and I would like to invite all OA members to register for this event (info here) The conference is filled with sports, fun, patch trading, REMARKABLE shows, fellowship and training.
I cannot emphasize how excited I am about the youth leadership and their vision for this year. They are off to a great start and look to make 2020 an incredibly fun year.
Again, I am so honored to have been given this opportunity to serve and give back to a program that has given me so much. I look forward to this year and creating a positive and inclusive culture for the lodge that will inspire the next generation.
“It Starts With Us”