Key youth leaders of the Order of the Arrow share their thoughts on aspects of Scouting and the OA
The Order of the Arrow has always served as one of the pinnacles of service to our country, not because we are asked to, and most definitely not because we are told to, but rather because it is our duty as Arrowmen. Dr. E. Urner Goodman, in his 1966 address at the Area 2C conference, talked to Arrowmen about the founding of the Order. He said to them that the Order of the Arrow was not founded on Treasure Island. Rather, it was founded many years beforehand. In 1776 a nation was founded, one that spoke of freedom and liberty.
When we think of a brother, we generally think of a sibling, both younger and older. Someone who shared childhood memories and laughter with us: someone who kept pestering us as we drove away on our family vacations to visit distant relatives. Our brothers have somehow helped us grow, both in our relationship and as individuals. Brothers have affected our lives; they are responsible for looking out for us, just as we are for them. However, in the Order of the Arrow, this word "Brother" has a different meaning, one that means something unique to each and every one of us.
When Chingachgook, Chief of the Delaware people, created a brotherhood that would memorialize the efforts of his son, Uncas, and the others that put service above themselves, he chose three words, W. W. W., to describe it. While brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service are as important today as they were to our legend’s chief, it isn’t often that we’re able to sit back and clearly think about these pillars of the Order, and what they mean in life.
Regardless of who we are, where we're from, and when we became members, each of us inducted as youth have something in common: we are members of the Order of the Arrow because our peers in our units selected us for the honor.
Some of my fondest memories in Scouting and as a young man have been directly related to the times I have had in the outdoors. These were times that I spent at the mountain lakes of Western South Dakota - times that I had in the majesty of Yellowstone National Park - times I cherished in the majestic and familiar mountains of Wyoming. No matter what the setting, one thing is and has always been a constant, and that item is how the experiences had the ability to affect me personally.
Leadership has been studied for years, dating back to the writings of Attila the Hun. Philosophers, business managers, psychologists, and sociologists alike have attempted to come up with the perfect definition of the vague term "leadership." I feel that no group or professional has come as close as we, the members of the Order of the Arrow, in defining this quality that we strive to instill in our members. Simply put, there is no one definition for a leader. The process of influencing others is subject to interpretation and differs with culture, age, society, etc. However, one attribute applies to all leadership: setting the example. In the Order of the Arrow, we call this "walking like you talk." Our members put it to practice in their daily lives and our leaders make it a reality in units, lodges, and communities across the nation.
The nature of the Order of the Arrow can be ascribed in many ways to the ideals that Lord Baden-Powell sought to nurture when establishing the Boy Scouts--to teach boys to appreciate the outdoors while remaining unselfish and courteous in their everyday lives. Dr. E. Urner Goodman envisioned a similar standard by creating an organization for youth who exemplified the spirit of Scouting. The Order of the Arrow was founded upon ideals dating even farther back, before the formation of the Scouting movement. The legend of our Order is the source from which we have derived many of our traditions throughout our history.
In 1915, Dr. E. Urner Goodman founded an organization that would have a great impact on the Scouting movement. Our founder's vision for our Order was a program built on the principles of Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, and Service that recognized older Scouts for service to their unit. After nearly ninety years, his legacy is the organization that we know today Scouting's National Honor Society.
I remember playing football in the fourth grade every recess. It was twenty minutes of my time during a long day of learning; but, for those glorious minutes, I was Cris Carter, John Elway, and Thurman Thomas, all in one. The games resembled nothing like a real football game, but my friends and I had fun. We all dreamed of catching the game-winning touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday that won our team the championship. During football season, I would watch every game that I could, and even go to some Arizona Cardinals games with my dad. On Monday, back at school, we would talk about the amazing plays and prepare to take the field as our favorite players, our role models. Their skills were envied by all, and we wished we could be like them. These NFL superstars did not know who I was, but I looked up to them.
When Dr. Goodman founded our great and honored Order, he glimpsed a vision. This vision was his dream of unity and a common bond that drew human beings together under the same purpose. The product of this dream is the reality of the Order of the Arrow today. It is an opportunity to aim for something higher. It gives Scouts and Scouters alike the chance to go beyond the routines of their units to gain special leadership experience and give back to those who elected them. The Order is an endless cycle and its possibilities are infinite. The root of it all lies with the brotherhood and fellowship that bring members together.
Ninety years ago, at a summer camp on an island in the Delaware River, E. Urner Goodman inducted a group of young Scouts into an organization of honor campers. Since that first ceremony, the organization has grown exponentially and has spread from coast to coast, with more than 300 lodges and more than 100,000 members. The organization, now known as the Order of the Arrow, has become a staple of the Boy Scout program and has developed into its premier leadership development program.
The vast forests, fields, oceans, and mountains of the United States have become our most vital resources in the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the Arrow; they are, for us the staging grounds to learn life's most precious lessons for every scout and scouter. As an Arrowman, one of our central obligations is to be mindful of our duty to the outdoors, to not only preserve them but also to interpret the deeper messages that nature leaves behind.
The founders of both the Scouting Movement and the Order of the Arrow valued camping as a way to teach Scouting skills. But each Scout who has truly experienced the outdoors while camping will value camping for its own sake. True, it is in the outdoors that many Scouts learn how to tie their knots and their bandages, and first use a compass. But it is also true that the outdoors is where a Scout's self-reliance is fostered.
The idea of "power" is quite remarkable. Empires have both come to being at its hand and conversely fallen because of its tight grasp. Although power is often thought of as a negative influence, when we think of it in terms of the NOAC2009 theme, "THEPOWEROFONE" its good qualities shine through.