Unit Election Process for Youth Members

Last Updated: February 16, 2020

For over 100 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has served as scouting’s national honor society and has recognized Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth. The Order of the arrow helps develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit, and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, and scouting. It helps Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

All elections must be conducted by the Order of the Arrow lodge of the council in which the unit is chartered. No unit may visit outside its own council and hold an OA election under the auspices of an OA lodge of another council. Elections must be conducted by somebody who is NOT apart of the unit holding an election. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

Membership Requirement to be Elected into the Order of the Arrow:

  • Unit Leader Approval - To become eligible for election, a Scout must be registered with Scouts BSA and have the approval of their unit leader prior to the election. The unit leader must certify their Scout spirit (i.e., their adherence to the Scout Oath and Law and active participation in unit activities). The unit leader must also certify that the nominee meets all specified requirements at the time of this annual election.
  • Youth Membership Qualifications - All members of, or candidates for membership in, the Order of the Arrow who are under 21 years of age shall be considered youth members or candidates for youth membership, subject to meeting the following requirements at the time of their election:
    • Be a registered member of Scouts BSA
    • Hold the Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery Award, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher (as a minimum)
    • After registration with a unit, the Scout or Venturer should have experienced 15 nights of Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of five consecutive nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of Scouts BSA (Ship Nights may be used for camping requirements). The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps. Candidates for youth membership shall be elected by other youth members in accordance with policies set forth by the National Order of the Arrow Committee.

Scouts with Special Needs - The Order of the Arrow is committed to including Scouts and Scouters who have special needs because of a disability. In the case of special-needs units, election teams should follow the same procedures, keeping in mind that any Scout who is classified as a youth member of a unit, regardless of age, will be considered a youth (voting) member.  All other membership requirements remain the same. When inducting a Scout or Scouter with a special need, as with any candidate, lodges should make the activities challenging within the individual’s limitations, and plan accordingly. Accessibility to ceremonial circles, sleeping sites, and appropriate work projects should be taken into consideration to ensure a meaningful induction.

Click here for the Adult Selection Process.

How the Unit Election Works

A unit wishing to have an OA Election should fill out the election forms found on the Wipala Wiki Lodge Website, the liason for the unit will fill out the form in full and then will wait for a response from the local chapter. After setting a date, the local chapter team will come to the Unit Meeting to hold the election. After explaining what the Order of the Arrow is, as well as going over who is eligible and who can/cannot vote, the election team will then take blank ballots and hand them out to all voting members. After the votes are complete, the election team will notify the unit leader, at which point the unit leader may either announce those who have passed the election OR wait until an official OA callout ceremony (this is the preferred method) After the election, the election team and the unit leader MUST fill out an official form on the results and send the form to the VC of Inductions for official documentation. If a scout was on the ballot b

ut did not gather enough votes to be elected, they cannot attend the ordeal weekend and must wait an entire calendar year before being eligible for another election.

The Unit Election Video

Here is the unit election video that we will show. We would appreciate a tv or other viewing device to be able to show this video. 


After the Election

As soon as the election is completed, the Unit Leader may or may not choose to announce to the entire unit the names of members who have been elected.

Newly elected candidates will be called out at the earliest possible time, either at a resident camp, a camporee, or a special ceremony. The Guide to Inductions, which is available for download and printing at www.oa-bsa.org, contains information on how to conduct a call-out ceremony. Call-outs should be conducted by Wipala Wiki Lodge or one of its Chapters of the Council in which the Unit is chartered. This is the preferred method of call-out.

It is recognized that there is some value in holding a call-out at a summer camp. A lodge may not call out candidates from a visiting out-of-council troop or team unless the unit leader presents a letter from the home Lodge Chief and Lodge Adviser, requesting the call-out and identifying the members to be called out. A signed copy of the home lodge’s unit election report must accompany this letter. The home Lodge Chief and Lodge Adviser must receive confirmation of the call-out following the event.

Candidate Status (Time Limits, Lodge Jurisdiction)

 Youth and adults remain candidates until completion of the Ordeal and Ordeal ceremony. If this period of candidacy exceeds the date after one year of their election, the candidate’s name will be dropped. To become candidates again, they must be elected/selected again. The Executive Committee of the Lodge may extend the one-year limit if a candidate is ill or there are other unusual circumstances.

If a candidate permanently relocates to a new Council prior to completing the Ordeal, the candidate should immediately join a Unit in the new Council. A copy of the election report must be presented to the new Unit Leader to arrange induction in the new Lodge.The candidacy period is not restarted or extended.

Ordeal Candidates: Candidates for membership in the Order must complete the Ordeal and must be inducted into the Order by the lodge that serves the council in which the unit is chartered. Out-of-council Ordeals are not permitted except when religious custom and observance precludes attendance at the Ordeals of a Scout’s home lodge (e.g., Sabbath-observant Jewish Scouts). In this special case, the region Order of the Arrow chairman may be petitioned for an exception to permit the Scout to be inducted by another lodge.

Sign Up for your Unit Election