Centennial Update: Moving forward & preserving the past: The Centennial Campaign

By Donnie Stephens

The national Order of the Arrow committee hopes to leave a lasting mark on Scouting during the 2015 centennial celebration. Not only does the Order's leadership hope to inspire a new generation of servant leaders, but they also hope to also build permanent exhibits about the OA's history around the country at different key locations. To help make this a reality, the national committee has created the Centennial Campaign with the goal to raise over 1.2 million dollars by the end of 2015. During the silent phase of the campaign, the committee has raised over 600 thousand dollars toward that goal.

The campaign will fund the construction of OA exhibitions in the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas and at each of the BSA's four high adventure bases across the country.

The first aspect of this project is the expansion of the Order of the Arrow's archives to be housed in the museum located in Irving, Texas. The plans also include the creation of four new exhibitions within the museum that showcase the Order's history of youth leadership, the birthplace at Treasure Island Scout Reservation, the work of the Order's founders and pieces of art produced over the years to reflect the themes of our Order's founding principles.

The second project of this undertaking is the continuing preservation of the original ceremonial grounds. With the help of Unami Lodge and the Cradle of Liberty Council the original grounds were relocated from Treasure Island to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. Funds raised by the Centennial Campaign will ensure proper preservation of the lands that is appropriate for their historical significance. Leading the way to the new Summit Circle will be a new constructed national reflection trail. This trail will have 15 "columns of fire" housing the lodge rocks being donated for the 100th anniversary.

The third project is to expand the Order's presence beyond the National Scouting Museum and the Summit Bechtel Reserve to also include the three remaining national high adventure bases: Minnesota's Northern Tier, Florida Sea Base and Philmont Scout Ranch located in New Mexico. Since the inception of the Order's High Adventure program at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1995, there has been a desire to create a display in the ranch's Philmont Museum and Seton Memorial Library that spotlights the Order's connection and service to the outdoors. Similarly, displays will be created at Florida Sea Base and Northern Tier which affirm the Order's commitment to service and the outdoors in these unique destinations.

With such a monumental undertaking in the works, it becomes more important than ever that every able Arrowman, Scout, Scouter and friend lend a hand to preserve our past and protect our history for generations to come. Philanthropic contributions can be made specific to benefactors' areas of interest or through smaller gifts within this multi-pronged project, and the national Order of the Arrow committee is eager to discuss these opportunities with any interested donor. Information on contributing toward the Centennial Campaign can be found on the National Endowment Website, calling the Order of the Arrow office at 972-580-2455 or sending an e-mail to campaign@oa-bsa.org.

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