|ORDER of the ARROW
The purpose of the Order of the
Arrow is fourfold:
1. To recognize those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their
2. To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit
3. To promote Scout camping
4. To crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in
cheerful service to others
The Order of the Arrow (OA) was founded by Dr. E. Urner
Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia
Council, Boy Scouts of America. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was
approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948 the OA, recognized as the BSA's
national brotherhood of honor campers, became an official part of the national camping
program of the Boy Scouts of America.
The OA has more than 170,000 members located in lodges
affiliated with approximately 340 BSA local councils.
To become a member, a youth must be:
1. A registered member of a Boy Scout troop or Varsity Scout team.
2. Hold First Class
3. The youth must have experienced a minimum of fifteen days and nights of Scout camping
(including a six-night resident camp).
4. Scouts are elected to the Order by their fellow unit members, following approval by the
Scoutmaster or Varsity Team Coach.
The induction ceremony, called the Ordeal, is conducted
at Scout camp and is the first step toward full membership. During the experience,
candidates maintain complete silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp
improvement projects, and are required to sleep alone, apart from other campers, which
teaches significant values.
After ten months of service and fulfilling certain
requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further
emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies
full membership in the OA.
After two years of service as a Brotherhood member, and
with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow Committee, a Scout may be recognized
with the Vigil Honor for outstanding service to Scouting, his lodge, and the community.
This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every fifty
members registered with the lodge each year.
The local Order of the Arrow lodge is granted a charter
from the National Council, BSA, upon annual application by the local council. The OA lodge
helps the local council provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting
spirit and performance, youth leadership development, special support resources, and
enhanced membership tenure.
An Order of the Arrow section consists of local lodges
within a geographic area of the region. Once every year, representatives of lodges in the
section come together for a conclave to share in fellowship and skills. All of the elected
section chiefs form the conference committee for a national Order of the Arrow event,
which is held under the guidance of the national Order of the Arrow Committee.
The region chief is the youth leader of the region
elected by the section chiefs for a term of office specified by the national Order of the
Arrow Committee, which coincides with the term of national chief and vice-chief. This
election is held in conjunction with called meetings of the section chiefs to elect the
national chief and vice-chief, as well as to plan a national Order of the Arrow event.
The regional Order of the Arrow chairman is an adult
appointed by the regional director. The professional adviser for the region is a staff
member assigned to the position by the regional director.
NATIONAL CHIEF AND VICE-CHIEF
These are Arrowmen selected by the section chiefs, who
form the national Order of the Arrow conference committee. They serve as members of the
national Order of the Arrow committee, providing the opinion of youth on national OA
policy. They also serve as the presiding officers for the national OA event. Their term of
office is specified by the national committee. They are advised in their responsibilities
by the national committee chairman and national director of the Order of the Arrow.
NATIONAL OA COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
This individual is appointed by the chairman of the
national Boy Scout Committee. The professional adviser is the national director of the
Order of the Arrow, a member of the national Boy Scout Division staff.
This page last modified: October 14, 2005