What is the Order of the Arrow?
Sometimes referred to as the OA, the Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society. It is a brotherhood of honored Scouts and Scouters who promote scout camping and perform service to others. The order is for those scouts and scouters who best exemplify the Scout oath and law in their daily life.
Nearly every Scout Council in the nation has an OA Lodge associated with it. In the Capitol Area Council, the OA Lodge is Tonkawa Lodge Ninety-Nine. Our Lodge has a Chapter representing each District in the Council. The Chapter takes the same name as the District.
Who runs the Lodge & Chapters?
The Lodge is run by an Executive Committee, at the head of which sits the Lodge Chief, Vice-Chief of Ordeal, Vice-Chief of Publications, Vice-Chief of Brotherhood, Secretary, and Treasurer. These people are considered the Lodge Officers. The Lodge also has established a number of standing committees headed by committee chairman. Similarly, each Chapter has a Chapter Chief. The Chapter Chiefs, Lodge Officers and Committee Chairman comprise the voting members of the Lodge Executive Committee. All voting members, that is, all the Lodge Officers, Chairman and Chapter Chiefs are youth members, under the age of 21. No OA member over the age of 21 may serve as an officer, chairman or chief. The Council appoints a Lodge Adviser to guide the executive committee and help facilitate their goals and objectives and each District Committee appoints a Chapter Adviser. The Lodge Adviser appoints a Committee Adviser for each Chairman and any other Advisers as may be necessary. The Council also assigns a Staff Adviser to the Lodge. Although members of the Executive Committee, the Advisers are not voting members.
When does the Lodge Executive Committee meet?
The Lodge Executive Committee meets the Second Sunday of each month from September through May at The Frank Fickett Scout Training and Service Center. Meetings begin at 2:00 PM. All OA members are invited to attend. While all members are invited to attend, please remember that only executive committee members may vote. Chapter meetings are generally held the same night as the District Roundtable meetings.
How does one become a member of the OA? (What's an OA Election?)
The OA has different procedures for youth and adults. Youth members (under the age of 21) are elected by other youth members of their troop or team in an election conducted by the OA Lodge through the Chapters. At least 50 % of the registered youth members of the troop must be present for an election to be held. The OA is unique in this respect because candidates are elected by both troop youth OA members and non-members alike. Adults are nominated by the troop committee and the nomination is forwarded to a Lodge Adult nomination committee headed by the Lodge Adviser for consideration.
Are there any membership requirements?
Yes. To be considered for election, a youth must be a registered member of his unit, must have achieved the rank of First Class, must not have reached his 21st birthday, must have the Scoutmaster approval, and must, while registered with a troop or team, have a minimum of 15 days and nights of scout camping experience, including one (and only one) long term camping experience (6 days/5 nights) within the two years prior to the election. With the exception of the first class and age requirement, adult nominees must meet the same camping and membership requirements.
Is there any limit to the number of youth who are placed on the ballot for election?
Provided they all meet the eligibility requirements, no.
Does the Scoutmaster have to list all youth who are eligible?
No. The scoutmaster must sign the election form certifying that all those on the ballot are eligible for election. If the scoutmaster feels that a certain member or members of the unit do not exemplify the high ideals of the OA, he does not have to list them as eligible for election even though they may meet the membership requirements. The scoutmaster has full discretion as to the eligibility of any troop or team member for the election, but he may not waive the membership requirements. This certification takes place prior to the election, and cannot be changed once the election takes place.
Can the Scoutmaster vote in the election?
No. No one over the age of 21 may cast a vote in the election.
How many elections can my troop have per year?
One. Each troop or team is entitled to only one election per year. The Lodge calendar runs from January 1st through December 31st. Each troop or team may have only one election during that time period.
When can this election take place?
The election period is set by the Lodge Executive Committee each year. It generally runs from late January to Late spring. All elections must be completed within this time period.
How do I arrange for an election?
Beginning in January each year, the Chapter election teams will start contacting each scoutmaster in their Districts to set up elections. If your troop has not been contacted each year by January 1st, you are encouraged to contact your Chapter Adviser or the Lodge Adviser for action.
Can a Scoutmaster conduct his own election?
NO! All elections must be conducted with at least one member of the Chapter or Lodge election team present, preferably a member from outside the troop or team.
How do I nominate an adult for membership?
Adult nomination forms are available from the election team or your Chapter Adviser. They must be filled out accurately and completely, and signed by the Committee Chairman. The committee chairman should retain one copy of the form with the remaining copy and original forwarded to the Chapter Adviser. The Chapter Adviser will forward the original on to the Lodge Adviser for consideration.
How many adults may I nominate?
Each troop or team who has a successful youth election (meaning at least one youth was elected) may nominate only one adult for each 50 youth members of the unit, regardless of the number of youth elected.
What if my troop or team does not have an election, can I still nominate an adult?
Can my Venture Crew, Varsity Team or Explorer Post have an election?
OA elections can only be held by Scout Troops and Varsity Teams. Elections cannot be held by Venture Crews or Explorer Posts.
Once elected, am I member?
No. All those who are elected must first successfully participate in the Ordeal experience.
The Ordeal consists of camping out alone under the heavens (weather permitting), followed by a day of minimal food and silent service at one of our camps.
Where can I take this Ordeal?
The Ordeal is administrated by the Lodge at one of our two Lodge weekends/Assemblies at LPSR.
When are the Lodge Weekends/Assemblies?
They occur twice a year - first weekends in May and October
Can I take my Ordeal at summer camp?
No, only call-outs happen at Summer and Winter Camps
Is there a fee for the Ordeal?
Yes. The current fee is $35.00. The fee includes all your food, accommodations, OA sash, handbook, flap, your first year dues, and other materials.
How long do I have after the election to take my ordeal?
You have one year from the date of your election to take your Ordeal. This affords every person many opportunities to complete their Ordeal.
What if I fail to take my Ordeal within that one-year period?
Then you would have to be re-elected. In extreme cases such as family emergencies, the Lodge Executive Committee will consider granting an extension of the Ordeal eligibility period. However, each case is considered separately on its own merits and must be brought to the Executive Committee preferably by the Chapter Chief. For more information, contact your Chapter Adviser or the Lodge Adviser.
Do adult nominees have to take the Ordeal also?
Yes. Adults have to participate in the same ordeal as the youth in order to become members.
Do adults have the same one year eligibility?
Yes. Adults have one year from the date of their letter of approval from the Lodge Adviser.
Yes. Dues for the Every Lodge year will be $10.00. The Lodge year runs from January 1st through December 31st. Dues are due before February 1st
Do new Ordeal members have to pay dues?
The Ordeal fee includes one year of dues.
To be considered an active member of the Lodge and be entitled to wear the flap and sash, your dues must be paid. By paying your dues you directly support the activities and programs of the Lodge as well as you are able to attend events, receive all mailings, and purchase Lodge properties such as patches, flaps, etc.
Where do I send the dues form? Can I be a member of more than one Lodge?
No. National policy dictates that you can only belong to one lodge at a time. It must be the lodge associated with the council where you hold your primary registration. Even if you pay a registration fee to more than one council, you must choose only one lodge.
Do my OA dues include BSA registration?
NO. OA membership is in addition to membership in the Boy Scouts of America.
Do I have to be registered in the BSA to be member of the Lodge?
YES. You must be registered in a Pack, Troop, Crew, Team, or at-large in order to be considered an active member of the Lodge and participate in Lodge events. OA membership does not supersede or include BSA membership.
Where can I purchase Lodge Flaps and OA supplies?
Lodge Flaps, OA sashes, and Lodge merchandise can be purchased at each Lodge Assembly and at all Lodge Banquet. Lodge Flaps are also available at summer camp in the Scout Shop.
Where do I get more information?
Contact the Lodge Chief, Lodge Adviser or your Chapter Adviser. Also, please visit the Lodge Website often for updates and more detailed information. Another option is to visit the National OA website at www.oa-bsa.org