My name is Scott. I am the Vice Chief of Owaneco Lodge of the Connecticut Yankee Council. This is my NOAC Blog. I intend to update it every day so check back often for what I am doing at NOAC 2006!
The morning began with our final class session. For me, the session was called Overcoming Challenges in Large Lodges. This proved to be a very interesting and prevalent session because our lodge is about one thousand strong. As a group we were able to identify several problems that we all face as large lodges, and then we each gave advice on ways to solve these problems. My hope, is that I will be able to bring back much of what I have learned at these sessions thus bettering our lodge.
At the end of the session, the instructor of the course approached me. He thanked me for offering my opinions and suggestions to the rest of the group and then asked me to attend a special luncheon. It was a real honor to be asked to attend such an event and I happily accepted.
The day only got better from there. At one in the afternoon, our Lodge continued its quest to become repeating National Ultimate Frisbee Champions. After a grueling three games, and a thrilling finale, the members of Owaneco Lodge were National Champs once again. While not every member of our lodge played in the game, all of the rest were there cheering on our teammates. The finale ended with the score of four to three with the other team scoring in the final seconds of the game. It was a hard fought game that we will be proud of for many years to come. Back-to-back-to-back in 2009!
The day concluded with a Region wide meeting as well as the Grand Hodag, a street festival of sorts. There were games, a band, and lots and lots of root beer. What a way to end the day.
Once again the sun had risen on what has proven to be yet another awesome day here at NOAC. In my eyes, my day officially began when I entered my first session for the day. The session was called NLS II, a seminar that built on the National Leadership Seminar I had attended previously in my region of the country. It was an enlightening three hours. Right before we left we were told to visualize a door. From there, we were given the choice, open it and go through and achieve our dreams, or only dream but never reach for that door knob. At the end of the session we all walked out of the door with new hopes and aspirations, knowing that we had and would continue to walk out the door.
The rest of my day consisted of wandering up to the High Adventure Experience and also entering TOAP, The Outdoor Adventure Place. There I participated in fly-fishing, climbing, rock walls, and monkey bridges, as well as playing in the disabilities awareness games. All these activities were fun and were a great learning experience at the same time.
I also played Ultimate Frisbee that afternoon where our team won our first game to get into the tournament by winning 10-0. Tomorrow we play for it all.
As the sun began to set, our contingent headed towards the arena for the third show of the week. The show was focused on a cynosure of the OA, our American Indian heritage. The show consisted of Indian dance performances of the top ten youth of each style of Indian dancing. One boy from our lodge made the top ten for traditional Indian dance and as we waited to hear if he was one of the top three the anticipation grew. Although he didn’t win, his performance was awe-inspiring and later that night the adults of our lodge treated us all to ice cream to congratulate him. Standing in line for the ice cream I learned that our lodge is definitely the most spirited lodge here at NOAC. For the 45 minutes we stood in line, we sang the whole time.
"I have sunshine on a cloudy day, when it’s cold outside I have the month of May."
"I guess you’ll say, what can make feel this way… NOAC, NOAC, NOAC, talking about NOAC!"
Not four hours after I finally fell asleep last night, the sun rose on another day at NOAC. As the sun pierced through my window, similarly to most days, I sat quietly on my bed taking in all the sounds of the new day. While East Lansing, Michigan, didn't sound too different from a day back home, it gave me a greater sense of anticipation for the day to come. Who knew what lay in store for me just outside my dorm room?
After a light breakfast, I headed off to my first training session of the week. The session was both entertaining and educational. While I regularly don't think I would have fallen over laughing reading a computer manual, our instructors made our class on a new computer program called OA LodgeMaster both exciting and intriguing. For me, learning about this program was also beneficial because if our lodge did implement it, I would be using it as a tool to make my life as Vice Chief of Chapter Operations a whole lot easier.
As the day progressed, I experienced The Experience, a new program area at NOAC devoted to showing the different parts of Scouting, especially High Adventure. Then I attended a Leave No Trace (LNT) workshop, and while I have previously been trained at LNT, it was an excellent refresher.
Following the 12th point of the Scout Law, a Scout is Reverent, I attended the service of my faith, Judaism, and led the opening prayer of the service. In my opinion, it was to lead one hundred boys at this service.
By this point in the day, I was amazed that our contingent was already slowly progressing towards the stadium for our second arena show. Just as the last, this one didn't disappoint. The crux of the evening was honoring those members of our Order who had given service "even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities." We were left in one thought, a quotation from Mr. Forrest E. Witcraft, "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." As said in the show, "some things never go out of style." We are all members of this Order to give cheerful service, hoping one day that we will have an affect on another.
Today, tomorrow, and the next day, I shall continue that journey.
Today, I arrived at what is to be my first National Order of the Arrow Conference. After a twenty-eight hour train and bus ride from New Haven, Connecticut, Owaneco Lodge arrived at Michigan State University in East Lansing. I think I can honestly speak for everyone in my contingent when I say we were all a little more than excited to see the welcoming banner proclaiming we were finally here! Soon thereafter, we settled into our dorms in Landon Hall, where our contingent will be living for the rest of the Conference.
After becoming situated in our dorms we set off to meet with the Northeast Region Leadership. While I had been to the 2005 Jamboree, I was still taken aback by the shear number of Arrowmen that would be spending the week here. Our Northeast Region Leadership summed it up the best though: we were here for a common purpose, to learn, to meet other Scouts, but most importantly have fun. They told us to keep an eye and ear out for when they raised their hands in the air and said, “Is Northeast Region the best Region in the country?” We will all raise our hands in the air as well and as one, pull them down, and say at the top of our lungs, “YES!”
The rest of the evening flew by and before I knew it, we were gathering to leave for the first NOAC Arena Show. As we waited to leave, my contingent's leadership called us together and handed out what looked to be devil horns, which LIT UP! Now, while to most this would seem rather odd, I learned as we left for the show that each Lodge wore or brought something rather different to each arena show. While I still can’t believe our whole contingent wore glowing devils horns for tonight, I honestly think ours had to be the most creative.
Walking into the MSU Stadium and sitting down to watch the show will always stay engrained in my mind. It was then, that I realized why eight thousand fellow Arrowmen would travel across the country and congregate here at MSU. We were here living the legend (part of the theme of our conference) to continue a tradition which has lasted ninety-one years. I wanted to be here no doubt and what I realized then was that those eight thousand Scouts all wanted to be here too. I have so much to look forward to tomorrow.