Things To Know About the Order of the Arrow

Oct 27, 2022

Many people are familiar with the Boy Scouts of America and even with some of the various ranks that Scouts can attain as they grow and develop as members of their local chapter. But did you know that just as students who earn excellent grades in high school can join the National Honors Society, Scouts who exhibit excellence can join the exclusive Order of the Arrow? Admittedly, the Scouting society sounds more fun and imaginative—because it is. Here’s what you need to know about the Order of the Arrow and how to join it.

What Is the Order of the Arrow? 

The Order of the Arrow (OA) is the Boy Scouts of America’s national camping honor society. The OA is made up of the Scouts who best exemplify the values of the organization and serve as officially recognized role models to other Scouts in their respective chapters and on a national level.

The Purpose of the OA

The mission of the OA is to create positive examples of youth leadership in the Boy Scouts of America under the guidance of qualified adults. The Order breaks this purpose into four key components

  • Recognize Scouts who most embody the Scout Oath and Law on a regular basis and, in offering that recognition, inspire others to follow their example.
  • Promote camping, other forms of responsible outdoor recreation, and environmental conservation in every Scouting experience. This should be encouraged within the unit, throughout the year, and during summer camp.
  • Develop leadership skills in Scouts who have the character, willingness, and ability to promote Scouting values.
  • Instill the Scout qualities of helpfulness and service to prepare Scouts to become good leaders as adults and to champion the spirit of service to others.

The History of the OA

The history of the OA is closely connected with the history of the Boy Scouts of America as a whole. It was founded by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson on an island in Delaware in 1915, and OA numbers increased across Boy Scout chapters nationwide. After it became established at Camp Naish in Kansas, the associated Tamegonit Lodge became known for the strong leadership and character of its Scouts. 

During the 1950s and ‘60s, the lodge produced one of the first National Order of the Arrow Conference Chiefs and began hosting biannual National Order of the Arrow Conferences. Tamegonit Lodge grew so large and successful in the 1970s that it became what is now known as the Boy Scouts of America Heart of America Council. Throughout the 1980s until the present day, the lodge has served a key role in expanding not only BSA membership, but establishing the traditions, programs, and titles that make the Order what it is today. 

Requirements for Joining the OA

In order to become a Boy Scout Order of the Arrow member, Scouts must meet the following requirements:

  • Be registered as a Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Have completed 15 nights of official Scout camping with a crew, troop, or ship within the past two years. One of these trips (but no more than one) must be a longer one of at least five nights, but only five nights from this trip count toward the 15. The other qualifying camps must have been shorter sessions, and no more than three nights per trip count toward the 15 nights. Ship nights do count for Sea Scouts.
  • Be under the age of 21.
  • Have attained one of the following ranks: Scouts BSA First Class rank, Venturing Discovery Rank, or Sea Scout Ordinary rank (or higher). 
  • Be approved to join the OA by a Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor, or Sea Scout Skipper and be elected to do so by the youth members (under age 18) of the Scout’s unit.
  • Adults (21 and over) can join the OA by meeting the camping requirements and being nominated and approved to do so by the lodge adult selection committee.

Make a Positive Difference With BSA Laurel Highlands Council

If you live in the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, enrolling your child in the Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council is an excellent way for them to learn the value of giving back to their communities and one day join the Order of the Arrow.  

Scouting’s programs and outdoor adventures give young people the opportunity to try new things, provide service to others, build self-confidence, and develop leadership skills. These experiences not only help Scouts while they are young, but help them grow into exceptional men and women that respect their family, community, religion, country and themselves.

The Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council serves youth members and volunteer adult leaders throughout Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and parts of West Virginia. We aim to beneficially involve every eligible child and their family in the fun and adventure of our programs. 

So what are you waiting for? Join now!

We provide extraordinary youth development programs that develop and strengthen the values of the Scout Oath and Law. However, we can’t do it without you. Give today!


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