Scouting's National Honor Society

Promoting Lodge Camping Support

wesupportcampingAs the promotion of Scout camping is central to the Order’s purpose, the National Order of the Arrow Committee recognized early the need to assist councils in meeting some of the challenges to their Outdoor Programs. To help the National Committee meet this need, the Southern Region OA Committee established the Lodge Camping Support Subcommittee. The subcommittee’s main focus is the utilization of the local OA lodge to assist with the Region’s implementation of programs and initiatives, which promote and support Scout camping in their council.

The local lodge’s role in camping support is to familiarize itself with the Order’s many camping support programs and initiatives, and to subsequently coordinate their implementation into the local BSA council’s outdoor programs. Simply put, the more successful lodges become at camping support, the more successful each council’s outdoor program will be. Lodges can greatly enhance their knowledge of camping support programs and initiatives by having their youth and adult leaders attend program specific training offered by the OA at national, regional, and sectional training venues.

To annually recognize those Southern Region lodges whose camping support efforts greatly enhance their council’s outdoor programs, the Lodge Camping Support Subcommittee developed the ‘We Support Camping Award’. The purpose of the award is to encourage lodges to sharpen their focus on the camping support programs within their council.

The award criterion was designed to be challenging. Lodges must demonstrate leadership, service, and financial assistance to their local council’s outdoor program. However, in its inaugural year, eighteen Southern Region lodges from nine different states earned the award. The 2013 awards were formally presented to the deserving recipients at their respective 2014 section conclaves. The award criteria and the award petition can both be found in our online document library.

2014 Lodge Advisers’ Summit

lodge_adviser_patchThe 2014 Southern Region Lodge Advisers’ Summit will be held on August 8 – 10 at the Huntsville Marriott hotel, on the grounds of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.  This program will be completely different than the National Lodge Adviser Training Seminar (NLATS) or other such conferences for advisers.  Rather than focusing on “how to become a better adviser”, we will focus on the process of “how to become a better lodge”.

Some of our Southern Region Lodges have exemplary programs, and yet most have at least a few specific issues that challenge their goal of maintaining a quality Order of the Arrow program within their council.  This summit will leverage the strength and proven ideas of our best programs as we explore development of the process, not only the “how’s” – how do you do it, but also the “why’s” – why is that important, in developing a consistent, quality OA program that each member can be proud to be a part of.

Our weekend program will begin at 7:30 PM on Friday, August 8, and end by 11:00 AM on Sunday, August 10.  The summit fee of $285 will include housing (2 advisers per room) at the Huntsville Marriott for 2 nights, meals on Saturday and Sunday breakfast, summit materials and conference room fees.  Note that no meal will be served Friday night, so plan to eat on your own prior to arrival.

The Huntsville Marriott is only about 5 miles from the Huntsville International Airport (HSV) for those who choose to fly.  Shuttle transportation from and to the airport will be provided.  For those driving, the Huntsville Marriott is on I-565, right off of I-65.

Each Southern Region Lodge should send their current Lodge Adviser, or, if your lodge will transition to a new Lodge Adviser during late 2014 or 2015, the upcoming Adviser should be the one to attend.  Only one adviser per lodge will be allowed to attend due to limitations of our hotel and meeting space.

Online registration is open now; please click on this link to proceed:

Once you’ve registered, you should be directed to a page to pay the registration fee online.  If you do not see this, please contact our Region Staff Adviser, Brian Glass.

Play-by-Play: The Mechanics of Journey to Excellence

JTE is one of many three letter acronyms that’s heard all the time in the Order and in Scouting, too. But what is JTE and why is it important in lodge and chapter operations? Our March 2014 Play-by-Play Guide has the answers.

When the Boy Scouts of America launched the new strategic plan, a transition was made to Journey to Excellence, a new program to measure unit, district, and council performance. Following the Boy Scout’s transition, the national Order of the Arrow committee adopted the Journey to Excellence program to replace the National Quality Lodge program. Journey to Excellence (JTE) places emphasis on continuous improvement. Just as the Boy Scouts of America Journey to Excellence program recognizes each level of the organization (unit, district, council), the OA’s program creates Journey to Excellence recognition for chapters, lodges, and sections.

How it works

There are three levels of JTE: bronze, silver, and gold. The bronze requirements, which are similar to the old Quality Lodge requirements, are the minimum indicators of a good lodge program. You will notice that under each content area, the silver and gold requirements increase in difficulty. Lodges earn points for each benchmark they reach. The total number of points accumulated determines the overall rating for the lodge. Lodges receive recognition for their accomplishments for the year, but are also able to see areas for improvement to be addressed in next year’s plan.

The JTE program is focused on continuous improvement rather than reaching some minimum requirements. The program is designed to encourage lodges to improve their program and set annual attainable goals. The process doesn’t stop once the goal is obtained, rather it enables lodges to identify areas for improvement whereas Quality Lodge simply gave lodges a pass or fail grade.

Just like with Quality Lodge, there are requirements for finance, program, membership, council service, leadership and governance. Each of these areas are indicators of how well the lodge is meeting the purpose of the Order and supporting its council.

Finance: The lodge’s financial stability determines their ability to easily execute their annual programs as well as their ability to contribute to their respective council.

Membership: Every lodge needs to experience annual growth but this is just as important as retaining new and old members.

Program: From unit elections to national event attendance, a quality program is how lodges display to the public their hard work, and this can only be accomplished through communication and proper planning on the lodge leadership level.

Council Service: The Order of the Arrow is a brotherhood of cheerful servants. We have received this title through our countless community service hours, but also through our support of local council programs, the primary purpose for which we exist.

Leadership: Developing future leaders is what the Order of the Arrow does best, and this is accomplished through superior training and opportunities to utilize the skills learned in the classroom. Each of these areas has specific requirements for lodges to work toward.

JTE allows chapters, lodges, and sections to analyze their health and program delivery in a quantifiable way. For more information on JTE, visit the JTE Resources Page on