Lodge Ledger: Unali’yi Lodge sets the standard for camping promotions

By Brendan Switts

In 1969, the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award was established in honor of the Order of the Arrow's co-founder. This award was developed with the vision of inspiring lodges to increase their efforts in camp promotions. With only two awards presented annually in each region, competition is highly intense, and proves that being bestowed with this award is truly an honor.

Unali'yi Lodge has been awarded with the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award for the last two years. A milestone that is not often met, being chosen for the award two subsequent years has left Unali'yi a lot to be proud of. Furthermore, its efforts over many years of service have secured a strong future for Camp No Hon Wa, its local council's camp.

Unali'yi's foremost camping promotions initiative is its "ambassador" program, focused on expanding and strengthening support for Camp Ho Non Wah. Starting with the lodge chief, a letter is sent thanking each unit that visits its camp, asking them not only to consider o Non Wah again, but also help promote the camp if they decide to attend somewhere else.

Continuing on the theme of spreading support, lodge members are expected to promote Ho Non Wah wherever they go. Whether it be NOAC, a section conclave or even to the national jamboree, Arrowmen are expected to wear camp T-shirts and pass out promotional wooden nickels.

The wooden nickels, along with rulers and other trinkets, were created by the lodge. Each item is garnished with Camp Ho Non Wah information, and are given to each unit that attends during the summer.

In addition to its financial and publicizing efforts, Unali'yi Lodge works to provide useful supplements to Ho Non Wah's program throughout the summer, such as an American Indian powwow on Thursday nights. Aligning with the previously scheduled family night, the powwow serves to not only improve the camper experience, but also promote the lodge. Additionally, the lodge hosts a call-out ceremony at the Friday night campfire for all in and out of council troops.

The lodge also seeks to serve their camp on a day-to-day basis. Even though the majority of staff are active lodge members, Unali'yi takes the next step and produces morning newsletters for each unit at no cost to the camp.

Unali'yi Lodge also plays a heavy role in Ho Non Wah's annual winter camp program. While continuing many of the same aspects of summer camp, such as the newsletter, Unali'yi is able to boast that a massive 80% of the volunteer staff are also OA members. This program would be the focus of its 2014 petition, displaying how its efforts do not stop at the end of summer camp.

Unali'yi Camping Promotions Chairman Zachary Kontenakos cannot wait to see how this example will leave an impact.

"We encourage other lodges to go above and beyond in promoting and caring for their camp as well." Zachary said. "We want Scouting and camping programs to continue to grow, and that can only occur if lodges help out in any way possible, for the betterment of their camp. It gives us such great satisfaction to see a great camp and camping program influence the lives of Scouts. We hope that other lodges can do the same."

There's still time left to apply for the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award and share your lodge's innovative camping promotions. The E. Urner Goodman Camping Award Application is in the Forms section.

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