The second part of the equation in supporting Scouting’s many outings is ensuring that the people are in place to make it all happen. Arrowmen can provide a huge hand in managing and supporting council camping activities. Be sure that your lodge supports camping in your council by making people a priority.
Recruit Seasonal Program Staff
Any successful seasonal camp program (summer camp, winter camp, etc) is highly dependent on the quantity and quality of its camp staff members. Serving on camp staff provides Scouts with an enhanced opportunity to broaden their Scouting contacts, improve their leadership skills, and serve the hundreds of Webelos, Scouts, Explorers, Venturers and leaders who attend camp each year. Lodges should consider supporting the recruitment of seasonal program staff by offering information sessions or interviews at lodge events, publishing articles in lodge publications, and encouraging lodge officers to serve on seasonal program staff. The council’s camp program, as well as the individual camp staff member and the unit to which they belong, will all benefit richly from this experience.
Recruit Summer Camp Unit Leaders
Every year, certain Scouts are unable to attend local summer camps because of not having qualified adults to provide leadership to the unit while at summer camp. By working with the local council’s professional staff, camping committee, and camp director, the local lodge can determine which units and Scouts are most in need of adult leaders while at summer camp. Once unit identification has been determined, local lodges can begin to identify and recruit trained and qualified adult leaders to be matched to each of these units.
Recruit Council High Adventure Leaders
Many older Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Explorers, and Venturers consider high adventure the highlight of their outdoor Scouting experiences. No other youth organization offers a wider variety or more exhilarating experiences of high adventure for young people. Older youth seek out these programs, and often it’s what keeps them high on Scouting. High adventure challenges and inspires them, and broadens their appeal for Scouting.
Even a single high adventure experience can leave lasting memories with youth, and help to foster their development in both character and leadership. Local BSA Councils may already have a canoeing or backpacking high-adventure program, but high adventure often transcends conventional Scouting activities. This is why the local OA lodge should encourage their council’s unit leaders (e.g. Scoutmasters and Advisers), to make both local and national high-adventure opportunities a priority. By promoting participation by their unit members who are qualified for these elite outdoor activities, and by personally volunteering to serve as high adventure leaders. Lodges can assist council unit leaders with high adventure training and by serving as high adventure ambassadors. The BSA’s Passport to High Adventure (Publication No. 34245) can also serve as a resource to unit leaders and Scouts.
Recruit Council/District Training Instructors
“Every youth deserves a trained leader”…
Leaders, who understand their responsibilities, the aims of the Scouting program, and how to deliver it with enthusiasm and fun, typically provide their members with a more rewarding overall Scouting experience. A Scout’s participation in the program should have a positive influence on his life, and having trained leaders can help to ensure this.
Training offers leaders the chance to gain confidence in their ability to positively influence the growth and development of their youth members in ways which help to foster the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. As leaders help their Scouts grow and develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and morally…they gain satisfaction in knowing, and by seeing first hand, that their efforts are truly worthwhile. Leaders and trainers alike should understand that “training” is a process that will continue as long as they are active in Scouting. As honor campers, the OA can offer councils and districts experienced outdoor training instructors in areas such as Leave No Trace, Wilderness First Aid, Weathers Hazards, Outdoor Leadership Skills, Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, Climb On Safely, Trek Safely, etc. The local OA lodge can actively support their council’s outdoor program by promoting its training efforts at both the council and district levels and by serving as both training instructors and ambassadors for training. This can be accomplished by the recruitment of qualified training instructors from available Scouts, Scouters, and non-Scouters, as well as from within the lodge’s membership.
Develop a Council/District OA Service Corps
Councils and their respective districts are constantly looking for ways to more effectively deliver the merits of the Scouting program to their members. One way councils and districts accomplish this is through the use of specialized, highly coordinated Scouting events and activities, many of which are camping-related. Events and activities such as summer camp, camporees, merit badge fairs, food drives, popcorn sales, and conservation projects are but a few examples of this, and councils and districts alike need all the help they can get to make these events and activities successful. The local OA lodge can play a huge role in the effective delivery of the Scouting program in their council and respective districts by developing event-specific OA Service Corps. The use of an OA Service Corps can be instrumental in assisting event staff members (as well as unit leaders), with the administration, logistics, and safety of these events and activities. Arrowmen take a life-long Obligation to give cheerful service, and there is no better way to give that service locally than through an OA Service Corps.
Aid and Support the Cub Scout Program
The Order of the Arrow strongly believes that today’s Cub Scout has the potential to be tomorrow’s Boy Scout, Venturer, or Explorer…and subsequently a future Arrowman. T. Alex Gomez (2007 Southern Region Chief) stated; “By supporting and enhancing the Cub Scout program, the Order of the Arrow invests in its own future; enthusiastic Cub Scouts become actively involved Boy Scouts- the lifeblood of our Order”. Coupling knowledgeable Arrowmen with eager young Cub Scouts will ensure a beneficial program for youth across the country. The local OA lodge can serve their respective BSA council by aiding and supporting their Cub Scout program by providing event staff, hosting Cub Scout activities at lodge events and council/district activities, and providing Webelos crossover ceremony support. This will help to increase their membership retention, strengthen their outdoor program, and enhance their Webelos to Boy Scouting crossovers.