Centennial Update: Celebrate the OA Centennial in Washington, D.C.!

By Axel Anderson
History & Archives Committee, National Capital Area Council

Scouts from across the nation–particularly Order of the Arrow members–have the chance this year to earn a special patch and medal, and to mark the OA’s centennial on the weekend of May 23rd‐25th by stretching their legs on the James E. West/OA Centennial Hike in Washington, D.C.

West was the BSA’s first and longest‐serving Chief Scout Executive. He held the position from 1911‐1943. The five‐and‐a‐half mile hike will snake through the District of Columbia and require participants to visit sites of Scouting significance along the way.

In 2013, the BSA sanctioned the National Capital Area Council’s History of Scouting Trail (HOST) program as a National Historical Trail. HOST offered two “inaugural” hikes in 2013 and 2014, the 5.9‐mile Colin Livingstone and 7.2‐mile Baden‐Powell hikes. Livingstone was an American railroad executive and first president of the Boy Scouts of America. This year’s event is the third and final inaugural hike. 

The inaugural hikes, held on Memorial Day weekends, offer participants the opportunity to purchase special patches and medals after they have walked the hike, the patches and medals can be worn on the Scout uniform.

 This year, participation has been expanded to include Scouts from all U.S. councils as well as international Scouts, OA members in particular are also encouraged to attend. One of the hike’s 21 stopping points will be the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall – a must‐see for OA members interested in Native American culture as well as those focused on earning the Indian Lore merit badge.

Registration for this year’s hike is just $10 – plus one donated uniform part – and is open until all slots are filled. To sign up, go to www.ncacbsa.org/host. The uniforms will go to inner‐city Scouts in need.

More than 3,000 Cub and Boy Scouts and Scouters are expected to participate in this year’s hike. Each trek is considered part history hike, part treasure hunt and part challenge trail, which means the hike is more than a long walk; the special patch and medal participants may purchase must be earned.

For this year’s hike, 1,800 slots have been earmarked for out‐of‐council hikers.  This means Scouts – Cub and Boy Scouts and Venturers – who want to do the hike need to sign up quickly. 

Outside of the three inaugural hikes, any Scout or Scouter can hike any of the three trails any day of the year and earn a special patch and (non‐inaugural) medal.  Details for the hikes can be found at www.historyofscoutingtrail.org.

OA members helping to staff the hike can earn service hours applicable toward their 100th anniversary OA patch.

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