Membership Requirements and the Induction Process

The OA has more than 170,000 active members located in lodges affiliated with over 295 BSA local councils.

The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • After registration with a troop or team, have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election.  The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America.  The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.
  • Youth must be under the age of 21, hold the BSA First Class rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity team Coach, be elected by the youth members of their troop or team.
  • Adults (age 21 or older) who are registered in the BSA and meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee.  Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition of service, including current or prior positions. Selected adults must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.

Induction

The induction ceremony, called the Ordeal, is the first step toward full membership in the Order. During the experience, candidates maintain silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp improvement projects, and sleep apart from other campers. The entire experience is designed to teach significant values.  All candidates for membership must complete the Ordeal.

Brotherhood Membership

After 10 months of service as an Ordeal member and fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies full membership in the Order.

Vigil Honor

After two years of exceptional service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a Scout or Scouter may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.

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