Play-by-Play: The Boys in Blue – Part 2

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As Scouting’s National Honor Society, part of our mission is to serve as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America. In Part 2 of our Play-by-Play Guide on supporting “the boys in blue”, we highlight opportunities to support Cub Scout programming in your district and council:

Cub Scout Program Involvement

Facilitate adult leader training sessions

Arrowmen in Nguttitehen Lodge of the Lincoln Heritage Council recognize that the OA brings together some of the most experienced and tenured leaders in Scouting. Therefore, the lodge hosts training sessions for new Cub Scout leaders and parents. These sessions, led by youth Arrowmen and facilitated by adult advisers, help orient leaders and parents as they get involved in Scouting.

Host a fun fall event

Halloween is a great time to engage new Cub Scouts and get them excited about a whole year of Scouting adventures. Arrowmen in lodges throughout the country work alongside Cub Scouts at annual “Pumpkin’ Chunkin'” events, teaching Scout skills like lashing and knot tying while building a catapult. Then the real fun ensues – for both Arrowmen and Cub Scouts: using the catapults to “chunk” pumpkins as far as they can.  Other lodges host a “Spookoree”, a Halloween themed event where Cub Scouts participate in a haunted house, crafts, and spooky games.

Support the pinewood derby

District and council Pinewood Derby races are some of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Work with the event organizers and offer the support of your chapter or lodge at this year’s event. Arrowmen can help in all capacities of the race: at check-in, pit stop maintenance, track setting, and awards. Consider having Arrowmen build a chapter or lodge car or bring their old Cub Scout pinewood derby cars for a “big Scout race”.

Play-by-Play: The Boys in Blue – Part 1

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The Order of the Arrow’s support of the Cub Scouting program is absolutely crucial to developing strong bonds with our local units, and having a positive impact on the Scouting careers of our future Arrowmen. There are many ways an Order of the Arrow lodge can support the Cub Scout program in the local council.  Supporting the Cub Scout program can:

  • Develop interactive skills between all ages of Scouts
  • Enrich the overall council program on all levels
  • Encourage collaboration between troops and packs

Through OA program exposure, Cub Scout ceremonies, Cub Scout program support, and camping promotions, local lodges can play a significant role in their local Cub Scout program. In this month’s first Play-by-Play Guide, be sure to check out how lodges around the region are highlighting OA programs and getting “the boys in blue” to notice.

OA Program Exposure

An Order of the Arrow lodge can provide Cub Scouts an opportunity to interact with OA members in Native American dance outfits.  Events may be dance demonstrations or may provide an opportunity for the Cub Scouts to participate in the dance with OA members. A few specific examples of involvement are:

Day of Service

Each year, Chicksa Lodge of the Yocona Area Council holds community service projects with local Cub Scout packs.  Arrowmen work alongside Cub Scouts, engaging them and educating them about the importance of service to the community.

Cub Scout Pow-Wow

Arrowmen from Coosa Lodge, chartered to the Greater Alabama Council, engage with Cub Scouts in various types of Native American dancing during an annual Cub Scout Pow-Wow. Drum lessons are also offered. Be sure to consider including fancy dance, a popular type of dancing that will get younger Scouts involved.

OA booth at Cub Scout Camping Events

Several lodges in the region participate in Cub Scout camping events by hosting an OA craft booth. Cub Scouts can construct a Scout craft, such as keychain charms, neckerchief slides, or medicine pouches with the OA logo.

Native American Dance Expo

OA dance teams from Mowogo Lodge of the Northeast Georgia Council visit local packs in order to educate and inform Scouts about Native American traditions. Dance Expos are a great way to get Cub Scouts involved and participating in an OA program.

Be sure to keep a lookout for Part 2 of this month’s Play-by-Play Guide: Supporting and Enriching Cub Scout programs.

Play-by-Play: Supporting Scouting’s Many Outings – Part 2

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Play-by-Play LogoThe 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.

Play-by-Play: Supporting Scouting’s Many Outings – Part 1

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Play-by-Play LogoThe promotion and support of Scout camping is central to the Order of the Arrow’s purpose. Supporting council camping programs is one of the most direct ways that the Order fulfills this segment of the purpose. Be sure that your lodge supports Scouting’s many outings with the resources found in this month’s first Play-by-Play Guide on lodge camping support.

Summer Camp Troop Promotion Kit

The greatest adventures of a Scout’s life begin at Boy Scout camp. Where else but in the great outdoors can a boy hear the midnight hush of the deep woods, breathe the sweetness of distant wood-smoke, look down in awe at where he’s been, and look up in wonder at where he still must go. Where else but in the great outdoors can a boy glimpse the deer drinking at first light, watch eagles soaring in a cloudless sky, feel the warmth of the campfire as it glows orange against the thickening darkness, and at the end of a long day, hear the hooting owl under a sky flashing with stars.

Who can say that in such an atmosphere a youth’s mind is not reached, his faith not freshened, or his heart not stirred. Or that, in ways that are a mystery to us all, he will not grow closer to the man he is becoming.

The Order of the Arrow’s Summer Camp Troop Promotion Kit  contains resources for the tools you need to share the summer camp experience with Scouts.

OA Camp Coordinator (OACC)

The OA Camp Coordinator (formerly known as the OA Camp Chief), is a youth Arrowman who cheerfully serves both the camp and the lodge during the summer camp season. Summer camp is a great opportunity for the lodge to maximize the Order’s impact on members and non-members alike. Whether its conducting unit elections, organizing OA gatherings, performing in various ceremonies, coordinating service projects, participating in Indian dance exhibitions, or teaching the Indian Lore merit badge…the OA Camp Coordinator is the “go-to” person for all Order of the Arrow related questions and activities

The OACC program provides many benefits to both the council and camp. In addition, the position is a prerequisite for those lodges/councils interested in participating in the Get Kids To Camp Partnership. Also, for those lodges seeking to earn the Southern Region’s We Support Camping Award, the OACC is a mandatory requirement.

Get Kids To Camp Partnership

The Southern Region actively promotes and strongly supports the National OA Committee’s Get Kids To Camp Partnership program. To better assist lodges with a stronger awareness of the program’s details, as well as with the program’s implementation, the Southern Region’s Lodge Camping Support Subcommittee has developed a Get Kids To Camp Partnership Information Sheet. The flyer includes not only a detailed description of the program, but a five-step implementation plan to assist lodges with administering the program.

We Support Camping Award

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 and incentivize lodges to sharpen their focus on their camping support programs within their council. As such, the region’s Lodge Camping Support Subcommittee will provide support and encourage all Southern Region lodges as they serve their councils in these camping support programs. Be sure to submit the petition after satisfying the award requirements.

Play-by-Play Guides: For Tackling Tough Issues

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This year marks a critical time in our Order’s history. As the 100th Anniversary of our great organization approaches in 2015 and our involvement at the National Scout Jamboree in 2013 reached record levels, the opportunity for growth in each lodge and collectively, the entire Order of the Arrow, is astounding. Therefore, 2014, without a national program of emphasis such as those aforementioned, is perhaps the most opportunistic year for growth and enhancement of lodge operations in nearly a decade.

To aid lodges in the growth process now or at any time in the future, our 2013 Southern Region Order of the Arrow Committee youth members have created a series of Play-by-Play Guides for tackling some of the toughest issues our lodges face. Each month, we’ll highlight a new Play-by-Play Guide, composed by section leaders from throughout our region. Each guide will outline a particular area of lodge operation from lodge camping support to high adventure promotion, equipping lodge officers with useful tips and applicable materials to utilize in their local programs.

In addition to providing tips for success in the lodge, each guide references resources or programs the Southern Region offers that will ultimately improve participation and efficiency in each lodge. As your Order of the Arrow regional leadership team, we commit our time fully to providing the resources each of our 90 lodges need to succeed, perpetuating proper leadership into the Order’s next century of service. We hope you’ll stay tuned to our region website over the next year and take the next step toward a more prosperous future in your lodge.




Brad Torpey                                                                  Wes Seaman
2013 Southern Region Chief                                          2014 Southern Region Chief