Troop 246's
Home Page
Trip Schedule
Troop Leadership
Eagle Scouts
Merit Badges Eagle
Merit Badges A-El
Merit Badges En-Med
Merit Badges Met-Sa
Merit Badges Sc-Wo
Camp Maps/Directions
Why Scouting?
The Scout Way
Troop By-Laws
Flag Etiquette

Boy Scout Troop 246
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
ScoutLander Contact Our Troop Member Login

What is the Order of the Arrow? 
    Sometimes referred to as the OA, the Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society. It is a brotherhood of honored Scouts and Scouters who promote scout camping and perform service to others.

I have heard that the OA is BSA's "Secret Society", is this true?
In short, No. According to the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting, "No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders". As such, the Order of the Arrow should not be considered as a "Secret Organization", rather as an organization with secrets. The only reason for "secret information" about the Order of the Arrow, is to ensure that Scouts and Scouters, who may be going through various Order of the Arrow ceremonies in the future, do not have their experience lessened or spoiled. As the Guide to Safe Scouting states, all ceremonies are open to parents and leaders who request to be present. Safeguarded information, signs, handclasps, etc. are all designed to be "selectively known" as means to authenticate/verify that an individual has been selected to receive the honor of being a member in the Order of the Arrow.

What's a Lodge?
    Nearly every Scout Council in the nation has an OA Lodge associated with it. In the Cradle of Liberty Council, the OA Lodge is Unami Lodge 1. We are the first lodge for the OA as it was founded on Treasure Island Scout Reservation in 1915. Similarly, our Lodge has a Chapter representing each District in the Council. The Chapter takes the same name as the District.

Who runs the Lodge & Chapters? 
    The Lodge is run by an Executive Committee, at the head of which sits the Lodge Chief, Vice-Chief of Program, Vice-Chief of Administration, Vice-Chief of Chapters, Secretary, and Treasurer. These people are considered the Lodge Officers. The Lodge also has established a number of standing committees headed by committee chairman. Similarly, each Chapter has a Chapter Chief. The Chapter Chiefs, Lodge Officers and Committee Chairman comprise the voting members of the Lodge Executive Committee. All voting members, that is, all the Lodge Officers, Chairman and Chapter Chiefs are youth members, under the age of 21. No OA member over the age of 21 may serve as an officer, chairman or chief. The Council appoints a Lodge Adviser to guide the executive committee and help facilitate their goals and objectives and each District Committee appoints a Chapter Adviser. The Lodge Adviser appoints a Committee Adviser for each Chairman and any other Advisers as may be necessary. The Council also assigns a Staff Adviser to the Lodge. Although members of the Executive Committee, the Advisers are not voting members.

When does the Lodge Executive Committee meet? 
    The Lodge Executive Committee meets the fourth Tuesday of each month from September through May at the Firestone Service Center. Meetings begin at 7:30 PM. All OA members are invited to attend. While all members are invited to attend, please remember that only executive committee members may vote. Chapter meetings are generally held the same night as the District Roundtable meetings.

Who decides what camping activities qualify for the camping requirement needed for election to the Order of the Arrow?
With the camping requirement, as with all other eligibility requirements, it is the Unit Leader's job to interpret whether a Scout has met the requirement.
As stated in the Guide for Officers and Advisers (#34997A, 1999 revision, page 20):
"Unit Leader Approval.  To become eligible for election, a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and have the approval of his unit leader prior to the election.  The unit leader must certify his Scout spirit (i.e. his adherence to the Scout Oath and Law and active participation in unit activities).  The unit leader must also certify that the nominee meets all specified requirements at the time of this annual election."

Other than defining the length of time needed for a camping activity to be considered a long-term camp*, the National Order of the Arrow Committee leaves the interpretation of the camping requirement to the unit leader.
* A "long-term camp" is one consisting of at least six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping. A "short-term camp" is anything less than that.

What are the requirements for an adult to become a member of the OA? I realize that the rank requirement is not an issue but do they have to meet the rest of the requirements that the boys do?
    In general, the adult qualifications are different from the youth requirements. Adult selection is based upon their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition as an honor. Selected adult Scouters must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive role model for the youth members of the lodge.

Once elected, am I member?
No. All those who are elected must first successfully participate in the Ordeal experience.

What is the Ordeal?
The Ordeal consists of camping out alone under the heavens (weather permitting), followed by a day of minimal food and silent service at one of our camps.

Where can I take this Ordeal?
The Ordeal is administrated by the Lodge at one of our three Lodge weekends or at one of our Council Summer Camps.

When are the Lodge Weekends?
The Lodge Weekends are generally held in October, April, and May. The locations rotate between our three Council camps. The dates are listed on our website and in the Council calendar each year.

Can I take my Ordeal at summer camp?
Absolutely! The opportunities available to you during summer camp are open if your unit is attending either Treasure Island or Resica Falls Scout Reservations, or you may attend a provisional ordeal during the month of July at Treasure Island.

Is there a fee for the Ordeal?
Yes. The current fee is $25.00 if you take your Ordeal at a Lodge Weekend and $20 if you take it while your unit is at summer camp. The fee includes all your food, accommodations, OA sash, handbook, flap, your first year dues, and other materials.


How long do I have after the election to take my ordeal?
You have one year from the date of your election to take your Ordeal. This affords every person at many opportunities to complete their Ordeal.

What if I fail to take my Ordeal within that one-year period?
Then you would have to be reelected. In extreme cases such as family emergencies, the Lodge Executive Committee will consider granting an extension of the Ordeal eligibility period. However, each case is considered separately on its own merits and must be brought to the Executive Committee preferably by the Chapter Chief. For more information, contact your Chapter Adviser or the Lodge Adviser.

Do adult nominees have to take the Ordeal also?
Yes. Adults have to participate in the same ordeal as the youth in order to become members.

Do adults have the same one year eligibility?
Yes. Adults have one year from the date of their letter of approval from the Lodge Adviser.

An election was held in our unit, but the results were not announced, what happens next?
The scoutmaster has the right to seal the election results for release at some later date, such as a unit court of honor or District call out. The year of eligibility for youth is always one year from the date of the election.

Are there yearly dues?

Yes. Dues for the 2009 Lodge year will be $10.00. The Lodge year runs from January 1st through December 31st. Dues are due before February 1st. An additional $1.00 is also due if the previous years’ dues were not paid.

Do new Ordeal members have to pay dues?
The Ordeal fee includes one year of dues. If a new member was inducted at one of the Spring service weekends or Summer Camp of the current Lodge year then his dues are paid till December 31st of that Lodge year. If a new member was inducted at the Fall Fellowship weekend in October then dues will not have to be owed to the lodge until the following Lodge year

What do dues cover?
To be considered an active member of the Lodge and be entitled to wear the flap and sash, your dues must be paid. By paying your dues you directly support the activities and programs of the Lodge as well as you are able to attend events, receive all mailings, and purchase Lodge properties such as patches, flaps, etc.



What is the cutoff age for youths and adults in OA Activities? 
    For Order of the Arrow participation (events, elections, etc.), a youth is anyone under age 21. Adults are those 21 or older. This holds true for everything except housing status at events, where adults are defined as 18 and older (see more below).
    Note that this does NOT change the BSA youth protection policies, which define Boy Scout youth as those under 18, and adults as those 18 or older. These policies still apply to all OA activities. 
    So individuals at OA activities really fit into one of three categories:


  • Those under 18, who are youth for both OA events and BSA policies
  • Those 18 to 20, who are youth for OA events, but are adults for BSA policies
  • Those 21 and older, who are adults for both OA events and BSA policies

This requires careful arrangements for housing, facilities, etc.

Where may I get official documentation that says the OA Troop Representative is an official leadership position qualifying for advancement for the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle Scout? 
    The official OA web site page on the OA Troop/Team Representative Basic Information states:

Scouts may use the Order of the Arrow Troop/Team Representative position to meet the leadership position requirements for the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks. As BSA publications are revised and updated, they will include this new position.

    Essentially the same statement is given in the OA National Bulletin issue of September - November, 1999 (Volume LI, Issue 3), page 1. (This issue is also available on this web site.)
    The current (2001) printing of the Eagle Scout Rank Application, #58-728, lists the Order of the Arrow Troop/Team Representative as one of the approved leadership positions for requirement #4. (
This form is available from the National BSA web site in PDF format). 
    If you want another document, you can wait until the next edition of the Boy Scout Advancement Requirements comes out, or the next printing of the Boy Scout Handbook comes out.
    If your local council Staff Adviser or Scout Executive has any questions on this position, he or she may contact the Order of the Arrow Director at the BSA national office. The director will confirm that the position can be used for rank advancement as noted.

I am preparing to seal my brotherhood in the Order. I am working on the Brotherhood requirements and have only one question, "What is the admonition?" I have searched and searched. I have read the OA Handbook cover to cover, I have searched the internet and can not find the admonition anywhere. I have only heard it whispered once during the Ordeal induction ceremony. I must have been excited because I have forgotten it. Can you help me? 
    As you have discovered, the admonition of the OA is not readily available. This is by design, as it is intended to be known only to those who are members. It is not surprising that you may have forgotten the admonition; the Ordeal ceremony is intended to be the climax of an intense experience, and the exact details of it may not be clear until later. Do not be worried.
    This is why most lodges have procedures to help Ordeal members like you as they work to better understand the Ordeal they went through, and its meaning. When you arrive at your event, you will probably find that there is a designated way for those members working to seal their membership in Brotherhood to meet and discuss the information they need to know. (Some lodges do this as a group session; others have the people working on Brotherhood meet individually with more experienced members.) You should be able to find out the admonition at that time.
    If, for some reason, no such activity is scheduled for those working on Brotherhood, ask the event leaders. If they can not help you, you can ask an experienced OA member what the admonition is. The ceremony chair and adviser should know, as the admonition is written in the Ceremony for the Ordeal book.