On January 25, 2019 Wipala Wiki’s annual Winter Banquet commenced at around 6:00pm that night. Many awards were given out and many speeches were made. Honorable youth were mentioned and recognized for their amazing effort to assist the Lodge and the mission of the Order of the Arrow. Towards the end of the night, the 2018 Wipala Wiki Lodge Chief, Robert Bartlemay, gave an extraordinary speech that perceived the lodge and its past traditions. Many heads turned in disbelief when he mentions many unacceptable events that took part in Wiki’s past. Robert’s goal of this speech was too recognize these mistakes made by adults and to address the common problems that Wiki faces today. Some disagreed with Robert’s position and ideologies of his perception on Wiki politics but the speech was talked about highly with our national guests that evening.

Robert believed the lodges biggest problems it faced was that “there [had] been a loss of leadership ability.” Although he states that the problem was not the youth, but the adults who would not let the youth take charge of the problems at stake, no matter how small or big. And the fact that Wiki leader’s lost the ability to lead their very own lodge was the root of low JTE (Journey to Excellence) awards and the overall drama seen at lodge events. Robert states that “the youth have been barred from performing their duties” because youth have been harassed at LEC meetings, kept away from serious controversies by adult-only LEC meetings, and been rejected positions supposed to be filled by youth. Youth position that were supposed to be appointed by a youth were chosen by adults and finally, when the youth would attempt to stand up for themselves they were shut down by unsuitable members of scouting.

The JTE scores did not look good for 2018 but in Robert’s term, he believed he created something far more powerful than an award, he started the process of change. He believes that himself and the Chief before him laid the foundations of starting the lodge back on its feet and headed in the right direction. Keeping all National Policies and Lodge Rules and SOP’s in mind, 2019 officers will get a leg up on JTE and be able to perform at a high level. Robert ended the speech with a power message and a factual statement that “remember[ing] traditions are important, but that none are more important than Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui.”

Read Robert’s entire speech here.

Contributed by Kyle W.
2019 Vice Chief of Communications