One of the most exciting and rewarding experiences available to members of the Order of the Arrow is the opportunity to participate in the OA High Adventure (OAHA) program, either as a foreman or as a participant. OAHA is a program run in cooperation with the BSA High Adventure bases that seeks to give members of the OA the opportunity to engage in meaningful experiences above and beyond that which are available to others at each of the bases. Participants get to experience extended programs at the base, at greatly discounted costs, and have the opportunity to engage in service as well as they carve out their own unique adventure. Many previous participants with the program eagerly share stories of their experiences.
The OA Summit Experience (OASE) is one such program within OAHA. Giving members the opportunity to experience the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) as never before, the program draws in a number of key elements of Scouting and the OA into the experience.
Foreman Nicholas Andrews shared his experience guiding OAHA participants throughout SBR. “Constantly on the trail, there were moments I would never forget,” Andrews said. “Everyone who goes through it, foremen included, will grow and come out with new skills and fond memories.” He told us of his stories from the trail where he had the opportunity to teach his fellow brothers and expose them to new elements of Scouting that they had never before been a part of. “The little stuff in programs like ours at the Summit really stick with everyone and if you just put everything into everything you do then only good will come of it.“
The SBR isn’t the only OAHA base available to members. Talon Parker from OA Ocean Adventure (OAOA) at Florida Seabase also shared his stories. Parker said, “[One night] I was just about to fall asleep when one of the participants knocked on my cabin door.” Talon was worried that something might be wrong. “The participant told me to calm down and that every was okay and he just wanted to talk. He really opened up to me and we ended up talking about some pretty deep stuff. I stepped out to get some fresh air and as I was on the way back to finish our conversation, I realized it was two o'clock in the morning.” Talon remarks that this was one of his most memorable experiences of the voyage, reflecting, “I realized why I loved being a foreman, truly connecting with the participants and seeing how they change throughout the program.”
Davis Kellogg from the OA Wilderness Voyage (OAWV) at Northern Tier has similarly glowing things to say about his experience. “As I reflect on my summer as a foreman, I think about the trails that were built to last lifetimes, the desire to see another beautiful piece of nature and most importantly the Arrowmen I met from across the country that changed my life.”
Every foreman interviewed said the same thing. This program, the people they met and the experiences they shared helped all of them to grow as individuals, and help others grow as well. The experience changed their lives for the better. All of them recommend this once in a lifetime experience to other Arrowmen.
Foremen and participants from all over the country share some of these same stories. Every brother who participates in these programs, who gets to see what OAHA has to offer, has come out of the experience a changed man. There is always room for adventurous Arrowmen to sign up to become foremen or just to get involved with OAHA experiences. All Arrowman who love the outdoors, seek opportunities to serve, and want to share some amazing adventures should sign up for OAHA as a foreman or participant. After all, the adventure is only a step away.
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