Posts Tagged ‘Order Of The Arrow’

2013 Jamboree PatchesYes, the 2013 National Jamboree may now be nothing but a memory, but I just received my set of patches from the Central Minnesota Council’s Jamboree troop. Now I am ready to attend! Well, if I would have gone that is. I almost did not receive a set of this year’s patches but Scoutmaster Mike of our Jamboree troop remembered me and saved me two sets. I now have council patches from the 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2013 National Jamborees.

I have to admit that I do like this year’s patches. The council shoulder patch is quite colorful and features two Boy Scouts canoeing on one of the 10,000 Minnesota lakes. Or it could be one of our many rivers. Or could it be one of the lakes at the Summit? It is hard to tell from the patch. From the deep blue waters, to the bright red canoe, to the green pine trees in the background, and the white smiles on the Scout’s faces, the colors and details really bring out a well designed patch for this year’s event. Although it’s trade value was maybe not as high as the Star Wars or Marvel patches I would still bet it was a well traded patch.

The Naguonabe Lodge put together a fantastic Order of the Arrow two patch set for the Jamboree. Once again it has keep the theme of featuring Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox, as they have for a few Jamborees and National Order of the Arrow Conclaves (NOAC). The two part patch features Paul and Babe parachuting into the Summit, the location of this year’s National Jamboree. The pocket flap patch features the bright red and white parachutes with the feather totem of our lodge. The pocket patch features the two central characters in their harnesses about to land on a… lake?  Paul even wears a Brotherhood Order of the Arrow sash. (I wonder how many yards of material it took to make a sash for him, and where he slept for his ordeal conclave.)

So now I am curious. How many of you who attended this year’s Jamboree took home these patches as part of your collection? What do you think about them? Let us know by writing a comment, and don’t forget to tell us your troop number and what part of the country you claim as yours.

Naguonabe Lodge 2012 NOAC patches

Several Boy Scout members and adult advisors of our Order of the Arrow Lodge, Naguonabe Lodge, attended the National Order of the Arrow Conclave (NOAC) last week. Unfortunately, I did not attend, but I heard that those who were there had a great time. Our lodge advisor, Chuck, sent me a note through Facebook that during one of the classes he attended this blog, A Scoutmaster’s Blog, was brought up as an example of blogs featuring the OA. Wow, I thought, there are some on the national level that read my blog? Cool.

Last Tuesday during our council’s roundtable meeting, I met with Dan, another adult advisor of our lodge. He had the 2012 NOAC patches with him and, of course, I bought a couple sets. Once again, they featured Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox. Once again, Paul was featured on the pocket flap patch while Babe was on the pocket patch. And once again, Babe would not be seen unless the pocket flap was raised. Somewhere along the way, Babe quit being a normal ox on our patches and became a minotaur, but that is alright with me. I am a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, after all.

What do you think of our lodge’s 2012 NOAC patches? (A larger version can be seen by clicking on the pictures.) What did your lodge’s patches look like? Maybe I should get a few more patch sets and do some trading with you.

More patches of the Naguonabe Lodge can be seen at our troop’s website:  .

That time of year has arrived when the Naguonabe Lodge of the Order of the Arrow is holding elections around the council. Even though Troop 68 has only one Boy Scout eligible we need to contact the lodge and set up an election date.

The troop currently only has three members of the O.A., two Scouts and myself. Neither of the Scouts has been very active. In fact, neither Scout has done anything with the lodge since they completed their Ordeal weekend, so you could say they are inactive at this point. Yes, I am a member of the lodge. I try to keep my dues paid, but if I do not attend a lodge function during the year then, I admit, my dues do not get paid.

Why are the boys inactive? I am sure there are several reasons. I do not think they are aware of when lodge activities are held. The lodge attempts to print a quarterly newsletter, but it does not always happen. I understand the challenges of printing a regular newsletter. When you are dealing with several people from across the council things sometimes just do not get accomplished.

Communications about lodge functions must start with the lodge, of course. Yes, a scoutmaster can do his part to try to keep O.A. members informed, but he can only do that when he is informed. As a scoutmaster, I would not mind receiving a letter a couple weeks before each activity to remind me to talk the the troop’s members. But mailings take time and money, so I have a feeling this is not something that will happen very often. Maybe they could start an email mailing group. That would not cost much to do. I did find a website that was started for our lodge, but nothing has been posted to it since April of 2007.

Am I active in the lodge? I am as active as the boys in my troop. I have had years when I have been quite active, and I have had years when I did not attend a single lodge activity. The Order of the Arrow is a youth organization, not an adult club, so I do not attend unless members from my troop do. I usually end up being the driver because most of the time the Scouts are too young to have a license.

Am I proud to be a member of the Order of the Arrow? Yes I am. I think it is a great organization. Unfortunately, I was never a youth member so I was never able to participate at that level. I do encourage current troop members to be active, and to complete the Brotherhood membership, but it is their decision, not mine.

In an ideal lodge all members would participate in most events. Unfortunately, in the real world there are family functions, jobs, sporting events, and troop activities that get in the way. Forgetting about those funtions does not help either.

I would not mind being a more active member of the O.A. I wish my Scouts were more active. As a scoutmaster, I can only do so much. I do have a life outside of Scouting, after all. I think the lodge leadership could be more active in promoting the lodge to its members. With a little help and encouragement from the council I think that could happen.

Three members of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 attended the Naguonabe Lodge Spring Conclave at Parker Scout Reservation in May of 2006. I was along for the ride to provide moral support, transportation, and to capture the weekend in photos. The three newly elected candidates did very well during the weekend, working hard, and passing the “tests”. The ate well at the Saturday night feast and met many fellow Order of the Arrow members. All in all, it was a great weekend.

Once I arrived back home I did what I do so well. I downloaded the pictures from my camera to the computer. Turns out I had taken quite a few during the weekend. During the next few days I thought about turning the pictures into a slide show but could not quite decide on what music to use. I finally decided to use a song from Steve McDonald’s Sons of Somerled album called Celtic Warrior. It was a great fit.

The video has been on Youtube since October, 2006. It has received nearly 1800 views since then, mostly by Order of the Arrow members, I believe. It has also created a small controversy which is something I did not expect. Because there are a few pictures from the ordeal ceremony several OA members from around the country thought I should remove the video from Youtube. Other members claimed that nothing was given away by the pictures unless you knew what happened during the ceremony. I agreed with the later comment and left the video on Youtube. Besides, most of the secrecy about the OA is no longer a secret.

Well, this video is the next installment on the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast. You can view the video here. Watch it, and see which side of the camp you fall on.

You can subscribe to the new podcast at

OA20061Last weekend I was at the Naguonabe Lodge spring Conclave. The candidates from my troop went through their ordeal to become members of the Order of the Arrow. While they were busy with their projects it gave me a chance to work with other adult leaders on one project and time to visit them.

It also gave me time to reflect on how the organization has changed during the last twenty years. Oh, the basic ideas are still there such as helping out the troop, promoting camping, and service to others. I was thinking more about the ceremonies and the ordeal itself.

I remember in the mid-seventies, when I was a Boy Scout, that it was almost frightening to be called-out at summer camp. The “Indians” would plow their way through the crowd standing around the council fire ring, practically pick up the candidate by the arms, and then nearly drag him to the front to meet with the chief and his assistants. The chosen one would get slammed on the shoulders as he was presented to the lodge officers. My heart was pounding rapidly one year when they shoved their way through the crowd to me. They chose a scoutmaster who was standing behind me. I was relieved that they did not grab me, but at the same time I thought it would be nice to be chosen.

I was finally nominated to become an OA member after I was a scoutmaster for several years in 1986 (I think). And I soon noticed things had changed since I was a Boy Scout.

The first difference was that instead of standing around the fire ring we now sat around it, on benches! There was no more plowing through the crowd to get the candidates. Now, the names were called out and the candidate stepped up to the opening to the council ring. From there he was escourted to the chief and lodge officers. There was no more shoulder slamming with the outstretched arm. It was now shoulder tapping. Things had become a lot less frightening, and a lot more friendly.

Of course, the night I was called out we candidates stood there in a rain storm and were soaked to the skin, and cold. The ceremony was pretty short that night. It was definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Over the years I have noticed that the ceremonies have been toned down to the point where I am beginning to think of the ceremonies as pretty wussy compared to the past. During my ordeal we were not allowed to speak. We were told three strikes and you were out! I never saw any Scout get booted out of the ordeal but you can be sure the candidates took the threat seriously. Lately, even though candidates are told to be quiet I do see a lot of the speaking and whispering to each other.

Lastly, I remember as a youth that the Order of the Arrow was very secretive. You needed to be an OA member to know what happens at the ordeal weekend. Very hush hush stuff. Of course, now we tell the boys they will not be eating very much for breakfast and lunch, they will be sleeping under the stars the first night, and they will be working their butts off for a good portion of the day. I suppose this change was made to keep it from sounding like some sort of hazing ritual.

Over all, I think the changes made were for the better. But you know, I still think a little mystery can be a fun thing.