Centennial Update: Colonneh Lodge creates committee to select adult NOAC participants

By Forrest Gertin and Donnie Stephens

Organizers of the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference have always planned for the centennial event to be the biggest, most exciting conference in history. But nobody expected registrations to nearly double the projected goal of 10,000 Arrowmen. Today, that list now exceeds 17,000 interested Arrowmen. Along with this unprecedented interest comes many unexpected challenges with regard to meeting the overall conference needs of such a large group of guests. Because of physical and logistical constraints of the campus where the conference is being hosted, organizers have capped attendance at 15,000 contingent and staff members. Lodges are being asked to help meet this cap in two ways: first, by adhering to their assigned contingent cap; and second, by fulfilling a three-to-one youth to adult ratio on their contingent rosters. Like many of its counterparts across the country, Colonneh Lodge has worked to institute a system to meet these unprecedented challenges.

Faced with the task of fitting 86 registered adults within an assigned adult quota of 40 participants, Colonneh Lodge Adviser Andy Chapman provides insight on his methodology for achieving these aims in the fairest way possible:

"To resolve the issue, I recruited an adult selection committee made up of the lodge contingent leader and four other adults not going with the contingent," Chapman explained. "Those five adults on the committee will vote and determine who gets selected to go."

This system is modeled much like the selection process for the adult leadership of a national Scout jamboree contingent. Criteria for the adult selection were finalized in a formative meeting of the selection committee representing both genders and a wide range of expertise. Following that meeting, an online application (a sample form is available for reference) was distributed as a way for the selection committee to gain background on each of the adults looking to attend the 2015 NOAC. The committee will solicit applications for a period of one week and collect responses in a master spreadsheet. The committee will then meet to evaluate the candidates and create an initial list of adult participants. In a final meeting with the lodge adviser as the non-voting chair, the committee will present the initial list. Committee members, along with the lodge staff adviser and council executive, will then get the chance to add any final input, and from there will create the final list.

"The committee's two goals are, first and foremost, put together an adult contingent that will lead to the best possible experience for the youth," Chapman said. "Secondly, include the adults that will have the greatest positive impact on the lodge in the future."

This method for adult selection is intended to represent a creative, fair and transparent solution to the overreaching problems posed by never-before-seen conference enthusiasm. As lodges across the country rise to their own NOAC attendance challenges, they are encouraged to exchange and institute best practices to prepare for the greatest event in the 100th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow.

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