Q/A: Verifying a Vigil Honor Member

Q: I received a call from a gentleman who was inquiring about his membership in the Order of the Arrow. He was a member in the 50's with another lodge and would like to re-activate his membership with our lodge. He is not certain as to his membership level, but he is fairly sure that it was Vigil Honor. I know that there is a Vigil Honor registry, however I am unsure as to how to find this information out. Is there a way to find out if he was a Vigil Honor member of another lodge?

A: The easiest method may be to ask the gentlemen in question if he has any records of his previous membership. An old membership card, Vigil sash, Vigil certificate, even an old scrapbook article on his involvement, would establish his credentials. If he has nothing from that time, you may wish to have him talk with a Vigil member. He may remember details of his Vigil ceremony, activities, etc.

You may also want to contact his former lodge, if it still exists. They may have records of his membership and honor.

If not, you would need to get the name and number of his old lodge, and the approximate year that he received his Vigil. The national office maintains an electronic database of Vigil Honor recipients, and may be able to find his entry for you. Entries are normally kept by lodge and year. You need to ask your lodge adviser or staff adviser to contact the Order of the Arrow Director's office at the BSA's national office in Irving, Texas. (Your staff adviser can get the address and phone number.)

Please be advised that the national database, although a good start, may still contain some errors. Keyboarding mistakes were common in many lodge listings. Among the errors that may exist are misspellings of names, Arrowmen listed in the wrong lodge, and Arrowmen who had been nominated for Vigil, but never completed the ceremony. (It is up to the lodge to notify national OA office when a nominee does not complete the Vigil, and not all did so.) Also, some records may have been lost over the years.

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