Recently, Muscogee Lodge sent 28 Youth, 7 Adults and 9 Staff (Youth and Adults) to join nearly 7,000 of their brother Arrowmen at the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. NOAC is the second largest gathering of Scouts in the country (National Jamboree is the largest) and takes place every 2 or 3 years. The emphasis at NOAC is on Leadership and Training. It is also the national level for competition in American Indian Activities.
This was my second NOAC, my first as your Lodge Adviser. Together with your Lodge Chief, Kevin Tidwell, I had the privilege of attending the National Council of Chiefs (NCOC). One statistic that was provided at the NCOC was that Ninety Percent of Youth in the OA will have their ONLY exposure to the OA at the local level – that is, their only experience of the OA will be within their own Lodge.
Another way of stating that is that only ten percent of our Youth in the OA will have a chance to attend a Section, Regional or National event.
There are a great number of opportunities at the Section/Region/Nation level. Our Section Conclave, the Dixie Fellowship, is like no other and year in and year out is one of the largest section conclaves in the country.
Throughout the Region, several times a year, great training opportunities exist. NLS – National Leadership Seminar: is a weekend conference focusing on the skills and attributes of leadership – offered at locations throughout the region. In March 11 members from Muscogee attended NLS in Atlanta. Upcoming opportunities in the Southern Region include: September 28-30 in Richmond, VA and November 9-11 in Pineville, LA;
DYLC – Developing Youth Leadership Conference: is a weekend conference for Adult Advisers offered in parallel with NLS and is designed to deepen an Adviser’s capacity to develop youth leadership. Again, Muscogee sent 4 adults to Atlanta in March to attend. Upcoming dates are the same as for NLS (see above.)
OA High Adventure: the OA offers unique opportunity to both experience and provide service to the BSA’s High Adventure Bases. These include: Canadian Odyssey in Quetico Provincial Park, Ont.; Wilderness Voyage at the Boundary Waters in MN; Ocean Adventure at Sea Base in FL; Summit Experience at the Summit Bechtel Scout Reservation in WV and Trail Crew at Philmont Scout Ranch in NM. Muscogee Lodge supports a few Arrowmen each year with attending these High Adventure programs by paying the fees – all you have to provide is transportation to/from the base!
In the past, the OA has offered service opportunities such as Arrow Corps and is sure to do so again in the future. Next year, in 2019, the OA will offer its second Hackathon for any Arrowman interested in computers, web development, or technology. Details on date and location have not yet been set.
And of course, there is NOAC. Mark your calendars because in just two short years, NOAC will be held at Michigan State University, August 3-8, 2020. I plan to be there and hope you will, too.
Ninety percent of Arrowmen will have their only exposure to the OA through their local lodge. To me, this means two things. 1) We must do more to encourage our members to step-up to the next level. Have you attended Dixie, NLS, OA High Adventure, NOAC? If so, spread the word! Share your experiences with your friends in the OA and especially with their families. Encourage them to attend! If you have not yet attended an event beyond our own Lodge, make plans to do so! 2) Even with encouragement, statistics tell us that most still won’t attend a Section, Region or National event. That means, we need to make their experience here at Muscogee Lodge the best it can be. We are an organization based on service. What are YOU doing to serve your fellow Arrowmen. Are you serving in a leadership position? Active in AIA? Participating in your Chapter’s meetings and activities? This is YOUR Lodge, and it is up to you to make it a great one. Do what you can to improve Muscogee!
Will you be part of the 90% who never attend an event outside the lodge? Or will you take your participation in the OA to the next level.
Dan Wagner - Lodge Adviser