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Boy Scout Troop 49
(Oconomowoc, Wisconsin)
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Please check the important OA Calendar and Conference information at end of page.


Founding and development of the society

E. Urner Goodman (c. 1917), founder of the Order of the Arrow

In 1915, E. Urner Goodman, a newly hired field executive for the Philadelphia Council, was assigned to serve as director of the council's summer camp at Treasure Island Scout Reservation on the Delaware River. He believed that the summer camp experience should do more than just teach proficiency in Scoutcraft skills; rather, the principles embodied in the Scout Oath and Scout Law should become realities in the lives of Scouts. Along with his assistant camp director, Carroll A. Edson, he started an experimental program, Wimachtendienk ("Brotherhood" in the Lenape language), to recognize those Scouts best exemplifying those traits as an example to their peers.

Goodman and Edson decided that a "camp fraternity" was the way to improve the summer camp experience and to keep the older boys coming back. In developing this program they borrowed from the traditions and practices of several other organizations. Edward Cave's Boy's Camp Book was consulted for the concept of a camp society that would perpetuate camp traditions. College fraternities were also influential for their concepts of brotherhood and rituals, and the idea of new members pledging themselves to the new organization.  Inspired by Ernest Thompson Seton's previous Woodcraft Indians program, American Indian lore was used to make the organization interesting and appealing to youth.  Other influences include the Brotherhood of Andrew and Phillip, a Presbyterian church youth group with which Goodman had been involved as a young man, and Freemasonry. The traditions and rituals of the latter contributed more to the basic structure of the rituals than any other organization. Familiar terms such as "lodge" and "obligation," were borrowed from Masonic practice, as were many of the ceremonial practices. Even the early national meeting was called a "Grand Lodge," thought to be a Masonic reference. Although Goodman's use of masonic ritual was quite refined, he became a Mason only after the OA was established.

They ultimately devised a program where troops chose, at the summer camp's conclusion, those boys from among their number who best exemplified the ideals of Scouting. Those elected were acknowledged as having displayed, in the eyes of their fellow Scouts, a spirit of unselfish service and brotherhood. Edson helped Goodman research the traditions and language of the Lenni Lenape—also known as the Delaware—who had once inhabited Treasure Island. The brotherhood of Scout honor campers with its American Indian overtones was a success and was repeated again the following summer at Treasure Island. Those Scouts honored at Treasure Island in 1915 and 1916 would eventually become members of the organization's Unami Lodge.

By 1921, Goodman had spoken to Scout leaders in surrounding states about the honor society resulting in a number of lodges being established by Scout councils in the northeastern United States. The name of the society was changed to Order of the Arrow, and in October 1921, Goodman convened the first national meeting of what was then called the "National Lodge of the Order of the Arrow" in Philadelphia—where Goodman was elected as Grand Chieftain. Committees were organized to formulate a constitution, refine ceremonial rituals, devise insignia, and plan future development.

In the early 1920s, many Scout executives were skeptical of what they called "secret camp fraternities." By September 1922, opposition to the Order of the Arrow was such that a formal resolution opposing "camp fraternities" was proposed at a national meeting of Scout executives. Goodman argued against the motion: "Using the Scout ideals as our great objective", he said, a camp activity that will "further the advancement of those ideals" should not be suppressed. The motion was narrowly defeated, and the fledgling Order continued as an experimental program throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In 1931, there were OA lodges in seven percent of BSA councils nationwide. By 1948, about two-thirds of the BSA councils had established OA lodges. That year also marked the time when the OA was fully integrated as an official part of the Scouting program.

Order in the 21st century

"The Order of the Arrow is a 'thing of the spirit' rather than of mechanics. Organization, operational procedure, and paraphernalia are necessary in any large and growing movement, but they are not what count in the end. The things of the spirit count: Brotherhood, in a day when there is too much hatred at home and abroad; Cheerfulness, in a day when the pessimists have the floor; Service, in a day when millions are interested only in getting or grasping rather than giving."

 — E. Urner Goodman

Over the decades since the Order of the Arrow's founding, more than one million Scouts and Scouters have worn the OA sash on their uniforms, denoting membership in the Brotherhood. The four stated purposes of the Order of the Arrow are: "(1) Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition; (2) Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp; (3) Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation; and (4) Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

In a new program of national service conducted from June through August 2008, the OA offered ArrowCorps5 to both youth and adult Arrowmen. Described as "one of the largest conservation efforts in Scouting's history" by the Boy Scouts of America, approximately 3,500 Arrowmen converged on five national forests to work on various conservation projects such as building new trails and helping preserve nearly extinct species, as well as removing invasive species, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. The five national forests are: Mark Twain National Forest, Manti-La Sal National Forest, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Bridger-Teton National Forest.


More than 180,000 youth and adults are members of the Order of the Arrow. This number is approximately one-seventh of the total number of those registered in the Boy Scout division. Youth members are elected by their local unit. In contrast to Boy Scouting, where youth members are under 18 and adult members are those 18 and over, OA youth members include all persons under 21 years of age while those 21 and over are considered adult members.

The OA is a program of the Boy Scouting division; youth members are elected only from Boy Scout troops and Varsity Scout teams. Youth and adults in Cub Scouting packs, Venturing crews and Sea Scouting ships may not conduct elections. To be eligible for election, a Scout must be at least First Class rank, have fulfilled specified camping requirements, have the approval of his Scoutmaster or Varsity Coach and must be elected by the youth members of the troop or team. Once elected, a youth must complete their Ordeal within one year; failure to do so requires that the Scout be reelected. Most lodges or chapters support an election team to help hold the OA elections; it is charged to inform the unit of the service and duty required of Arrowmen. Adults who had not previously joined the Order as a youth member may become members by being nominated by the unit, district or council committee and then approved by the lodge adult selection committee. Adults must meet the same camping requirement as youth and, if under age 21, must also meet the rank requirement of First Class or higher. In addition, at least one youth from the adult's troop or team must be elected to the OA in that year for an adult to be nominated. A unit may nominate up to one third of the number of adults as the number of youth elected. Honorary membership was once bestowed in special circumstances, as with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, but this practice was officially discontinued in 1953.


After being elected or nominated, candidates may participate in a call-out ceremony to recognize those Scouts and Scouters that were selected before they attend their Ordeal. The call-out ceremony may be performed at summer camp, a camporee, a call-out weekend or at a troop or team meeting. Candidates subsequently participate in an Ordeal induction, intended to emphasize service and self-sacrifice. Candidates undergo a 24 hour vow of silence, spend a night alone with just no more than a sleeping bag and ground cloth, receive scant food, and perform arduous labor. If they succeed in their ordeal the candidates are then welcomed as Ordeal members in a formal induction ceremony referred to as the "Ordeal Ceremony".


Ordeal members are entitled to all the same rights and privileges of membership in the Order as Brotherhood and Vigil Honor members—there are no ranks within the Order. However, moving on to Brotherhood membership offers an opportunity "to reaffirm [one's] belief in the high purposes of the Order. Before becoming a Brotherhood member, each Arrowman makes a special effort to serve his troop or team. Each Brotherhood member commits to even more service to Scouting through the Order." Arrowmen may "seal" their membership after ten months by demonstrating their knowledge of the traditions and obligations of the OA. They then participate in an induction ceremony and become Brotherhood members.

While the Ordeal consists primarily of physical impressions, "the Brotherhood ceremony is one of deeper and quieter mental impressions."

Vigil Honor

The Vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition "reserved for those Arrowmen who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort, and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position of office to one or more of the following: lodge, Order of the Arrow, Scouting community, Scout Camp." The Vigil Honor may be conferred upon Arrowmen who have completed a minimum of two years as a Brotherhood member and have performed exceptional service above and beyond their immediate responsibilities through leadership, exemplary efforts, and dedication. However, under no circumstances should tenure in Scouting or the Order of the Arrow be considered as reason enough for a Vigil Honor recommendation. Selection is annual and is limited to one person for every 50 members of the lodge, and members of the Order can be inducted into the Vigil Honor only with the written approval of the national Order of the Arrow Committee.

As a part of the Vigil Honor induction, each new Vigil Honor member is given a Vigil Honor name in the language of an American Indian tribe, on whom the traditions and ceremonies of the Order are based. An English translation of the Vigil Honor name is also provided, and the name often represents a characteristic of the individual.


The Order of the Arrow places great emphasis on being a youth-led organization. Only youth under age 21 are voting members and are eligible to hold elective offices. Professional and volunteer adults are appointed in non-voting advisory positions at the chapter, lodge, and section levels.


The basic unit of the OA is the lodge, which is chartered to a local BSA council. There are 300 (2011) lodges. The lodge chief is the elected youth leader, the lodge advisor is a BSA adult volunteer appointed by the Scout Executive, and the lodge staff advisor is the council Scout executive or his designated council professional Scouter. The lodge youth officers, consisting of the lodge chief, one or more vice chiefs, a secretary, and a treasurer are responsible for organizing and leading the various programs and activities of the lodge. Many lodges have standing committees responsible for ceremonies, service projects, publications, unit elections, camp promotions, and dance teams composed of youth members. Lodges can also divide into chapters, usually corresponding to districts within the council. The chapter is led by the elected youth chapter chief, chapter vice chiefs, secretary, and a volunteer adult is appointed as the adviser, the district executive is the professional (staff) adviser.

Original emblem of Unami Lodge, the first OA lodge


Lodges are grouped into sections that are then grouped into regions. The section chief is the elected youth leader, a volunteer adult is appointed as the section adviser, and the area director (or his designate) is the professional (staff) adviser. In addition to the section chief, the section has two additional elected officers. The vice chief and secretary are elected immediately following the election of the section chief at the section's annual business meeting. All sections gather annually at a Section Conclave held in the late spring or early fall. The Section officers lead the planning of this weekend with the help of the Lodge Chiefs in the Section.


Boy Scouts of America regions as of 1992

The Order of the Arrow is organized into four regions, Central, Southern, Northeast and Western Region; the boundaries of each OA region correspond with the boundaries of the BSA's regions. Each region has an elected Region Chief, a volunteer adult who is appointed as the Region Chairman to oversee its Region Committee, and an appointed professional (staff) adviser. Each Region Chief is elected at the National Planning Meeting the day after the election of the National Chief and Vice Chief by a caucus of the section chiefs from the given region. The members of the Region Committee consists of the Region Chief, the Region Chairman, all national committeemen from the region, and other appointed adult volunteers. Each Region annually has a gathering of all Section Officers and Advisers. As a region they are trained in topics relevant to their jobs. Each Region also provides opportunities for Order of the Arrow members to go through a National Leadership Seminar. This weekend course is highly rated and a lasting memory for many members.


The National Chief and the National Vice Chief are selected by a caucus of the section chiefs at the outset of the Order of the Arrow's National Planning Meeting. At the National level, the OA is headed by the National Order of the Arrow Committee of which the National Chief and National Vice Chief are voting members.The National Adult Leadership includes the National Chairman, a volunteer, and the OA Team Leader, a professional scouter.


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Sashes: Ordeal, Brotherhood, Vigil Honor (from left to right)
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Order of the Arrow pocket device

Arrowmen are identified by a white sash bearing a red arrow that is worn over their right shoulder. An Ordeal member wears a sash with a lone arrow. The Brotherhood member wears a sash bearing an arrow with a red bar at each end of the arrow. A Brotherhood member who has been awarded the Vigil Honor wears a sash with the same bars of as the Brotherhood sash at each end of the arrow, and a Vigil Honor triangle on the center of the shaft. The triangle bears three small arrows arranged in a counterclockwise direction. Members wear the sash at Order of the Arrow functions and special Scouting activities when members need to be identified as Arrowmen rendering special services. The OA sash is not worn at the same time as the merit badge sash, nor worn folded in the belt. The sash as a form of recognition dates to the founding of the Order and has a long history of changes in usage and design.

The OA Universal Ribbon is worn suspended from the right uniform shirt pocket button. Vigil Honor recipients may add the Vigil Honor pin to the ribbon. Lodge affiliation is indicated by the wearing of the lodge emblem (commonly known as a lodge flap), an embroidered patch worn on the right pocket flap of the uniform shirt. Each lodge flap has a unique design, generally reflecting the name, geography or history of the lodge. Many lodges, against national policy, have flaps which distinguish different membership levels. Special issues of flaps may be created to commemorate anniversaries and other events and are a popular item for those who engage in Scouting memorabilia collecting.

Arrowmen also exchange a special handshake as a token of brotherhood, along with other signs and passwords. A signature acronym, WWW (Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui - The Brotherhood of Cheerful Service) (in the language of the Leni Lenape tribe) is often depicted in publications, regalia, etc. by official use of National Order of the Arrow.


Most lodges hold several annual events for achieving the purpose of the OA, such as one or two annual lodge fellowships, an annual lodge recognition dinner, and one or more Ordeal weekends which usually include Brotherhood ceremonies as well. Many larger lodges devolve responsibility for Ordeal weekends and other service projects upon the individual chapters.

The section conclave is an annual activity (prior to 1972 known as an Area OA Conference) involving three or more lodges in an established geographic area. Each conclave is led by section youth officers elected from among the member lodges at the previous year's conclave, and the event itself is prepared in cooperation with various other lodge officers, and with one lodge serving as the "host lodge".

The National OA Committee also sponsors various national service opportunities, the oldest of which is the National OA Service Corps at the national Scout jamborees, at which Arrowmen help with many functions including shows and the Outdoor Adventure Program exhibit.

High Adventure Program

The National OA Committee also sponsors service groups to the three National High Adventure Bases, originally starting with the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew at the Philmont Scout Ranch working to build new trails and repair old ones. This expanded to the Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases with the OA Wilderness Voyage, repairing the portage trails in the Boundary Waters area, and then to Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in 2005 with Ocean Adventure, which offers scuba diving certification and works to repair reefs in the Florida Keys.

Order of the Arrow High Adventure -

National Order of the Arrow Conference

The National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) is a multi-day event which usually takes place on a university campus east of the Mississippi River, bringing together thousands of delegates from OA lodges around the nation for training and activities. NOACs are held every two years, with exceptions made to align the event with significant anniversaries. As a youth-led organization, these national conferences are organized and directed by the elected section and region youth officers, who serve on committees responsible for various conference aspects under the leadership of the conference vice-chief. Events include training for programs, leadership and American Indian culture; competitions in athletics, ceremonies, cooking and American Indian dances; and exhibits on OA history, outdoor activities and camping. There are also opportunities to talk with national leaders, perform service work and trade patches. Evening shows have different themes, including American Indian culture and recognition of dance competition winners, presentations of awards including the OA Distinguished Service Award and other entertainment.

2018 NOAC will be held at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.  More information will be made available.


In addition to training courses available at a NOAC or section conclave, the OA offers specialized leadership training as weekend events for members: Lodge Leadership Development (LLD), National Leadership Seminars (NLS), and National Lodge Adviser Training Seminar (NLATS). LLD is a one-day or two-day event conducted by a lodge to train their officers and advisers, making use of an OA website to create a customized training syllabus based on survey data entered by lodge officers and advisers. NLS's are conducted by regions for lodge officers and advisers. Many lodges send key officers to receive training. Typically, each region schedules three or four NLS weekends annually, at geographically dispersed locations within the region. NLATS is a training event for adults, usually held in conjunction with an NLS and conducted by regions, on the role of advisers in the OA.

Eligibility - Unit Elections

The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:

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.

Youth membership qualifications. All members of, or candidates for membership in, the Order of the Arrow who are under 21 years of age shall be considered youth members or candidates for youth membership, subject to meeting the following requirements:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Hold the First Class rank of the Boy Scouts of America, as a minimum.
  • After registration with a troop or team, have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.

Candidates for youth membership shall be elected by other youth members in accordance with policies set forth by the national Order of the Arrow committee.

Elections in the Wag-O-Shag Lodge start in January and go through the end of April.


National Order of the Arrow -
Order of the Arrow High Adventure -
BSA Order of the Arrow -
Wag-O-Shag Lodge 280 -

National Order of the Arrow is on Facebook and Twitter
Wag-O-Shag Lodge is on Facebook

Brotherhood Testing

Complete your Brotherhood Test

If you’ve been an Ordeal member of the Lodge for at least 10 months, then it’s time to complete your Brotherhood Test.  Any Brotherhood or Vigil member of the Lodge can perform your test.  In addition to the upcoming opportunities to test (weekly at Summer Camp at Long Lake, and at the upcoming Spring or Fall Conference’s), testing can be performed at any time and place, such at a troop meeting.  Be sure that the person who conducted your review reports the results to the Lodge Chief or the Lodge Advisor so they can be recorded.  To complete your test, you will need to know the following:

  • ·         The Admonition
  • ·         The Obligation
  • ·         OA Handshake
  • ·         OA Song

·         In addition to knowing the above, you will need to write a brief letter to the Lodge Chief about why you want to be a Brotherhood member of the Lodge.

For more information see the paperwork "Brotherhood Test.pdf" below.
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Brotherhood Test.pdf Brotherhood study guide is found here  

First Year Arrowman Award

First Year Arrowman Award

Congratulations on completing your Ordeal.  You are part of the Order of the Arrow.  To help you become familiar with our great lodge we have developed an award that you may earn if you successfully complete the requirements.

You will be awarded a restricted First Year Arrowman Pin upon completion of the requirements.  The pin is a silver fox that should be worn on your lodge flap to show everyone your great achievement.

Below you will find an document titled "First Year Arrowman Award", download it and print a copy for yourself.  Follow the instructions and complete part 1 and part 2 then signatures are required, again follow the instructions.

Good Luck!
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Monthly Chapter Meetings

The Potawatomi Area Council's lodge is the Wag-O-Shag Lodge 280. The monthly Chapter Meetings are held on the first Chapter meetings are now being held on the first Saturday of the month after the LEC meetings. The new chapter meeting will start at about 10:30 am and then end before 12:00pm.

All the meetings for the chapters will now take place at the scout office in the big meeting room. There will no longer be chapter meetings taking place on the first Wednesday of the month. Both the LEC and chapter meetings will start in October 3, 2015. All are welcome at the LEC and at the chapter meetings

Wear your Class A scout uniform and your OA Sash. This is a great opportunity to see all that your Lodge has to offer. Attend for fellowship, training, service opportunities and much more.

Every year our Lodge holds a Spring OA Conference and a Fall OA Conference that are held at Camp Long Lake. On these two weekends new Ordeal candidates serve their Ordeal and this is also an opportunity for current Ordeal members; once an Ordeal member for 10 months to take part of becoming a Brotherhood member. It is also on these weekends that Vigil candidates attend for their Vigil ceremony.

Keep your membership in the Lodge current, remember to renew your annual membership every year.

The Order of the Arrow is the brotherhood of cheerful service.


OA SPRING Conference - 2018


  JUNE 1- JUNE 3, 2018
Camp Long Lake

For new Ordeal Candidates, Brotherhood Candidates and All other members

After being elected and called out the next step is to undergo your Ordeal.  This can be done at Spring or Fall conference held annually in May and August.  You must attend within ONE year of being called out or you must be reelected.  An extension will only be granted for extenuating circumstances and if you can attend the next conference.  Contact the lodge chief and receive approval for an extension by writing a letter explaining why you need the extension.  Candidates are required to stay Friday night through Sunday morning.   Please eat dinner before you arrive as no food is served Friday night.  You will not be allowed yo use electronic devices such as cell phones Friday night trough Saturday evening.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact our lodge membership committee.


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2018 - 2019 Lodge Calendar

January 20th-21st - Section C-7 Winter Council of Chiefs (WCOC), Wisconsin Dells, WI.

February 3rd - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

March 3rd - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

March 3rd - Vigil & Founders Award Selection Meeting

April 7th - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

April 20th-22nd - Section C-7 Conclave, Sandwich, IL.

May 5th - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

June 1st-3rd - Spring Conference, Camp Long Lake, St. Cloud, WI

July 7th - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

August 17th-19th - Fall Conference, Camp Long Lake, St. Cloud, WI

October 6th - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

November 3rd - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

December 7th-8th - Lodge Leadership Development Conference (LLDC), Camp Long Lake, St. Cloud, WI

December 8th - Lodge Executive Committee Meeting / Chapter Meetings

January 11th, 2019 - Winter Banquet

May 31st-June 1st, 2019 - Spring Conference, Camp Long Lake, St. Cloud, WI

August 16th-18th, 2019 - Fall Conference, Camp Long Lake, St. Cloud, WI