About the Order of the Arrow

The History of the OA


E. Urner GoodmanThe Order was founded in 1915 at Camp Treasure Island in Pennsylvania by Camp Director E. Urner Goodman and Camp Commissioner Carroll A. Edson as an honor camping society for those Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. Seeing as the camp had been a long-time American Indian camp, it seemed only fitting to include the Indian as a symbolic image in the Order of the Arrow. Though it started out small, the Order has grown to include Lodges in virtually every Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and even includes overseas Lodges for the overseas Councils. Almost every Lodge has its own official insignia, but even without it, the red arrow on the white sash that all members wear is legendary throughout all of Scouting.

Recently, the Order shifted its focus slightly. At the National Leadership Summit in Fort Collins, Colorado in the summer of 1999, the leadership, both youth and adult, of the Order unveiled the new Strategic Plan for the 21st Century. This included de-emphasizing the image of the Indian, for the focus of the Order was now on leadership and service. Specifically, the new Order of the Arrow vision is:

"To be recognized as Scouting's National Honor Society and an integral part of every Council. Our service, activities, and training for youth and adults, are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich, support, and help extend Scouting to America's youth."

The Order of the Arrow provides, among other things, tangible and intangible service to Council camps, service to National BSA property (i.e. Philmont, Florida Sea Base, and Northern Tier), the best leadership training the Boy Scouts of America offers, service at events of all levels, from district Camporees to National Jamborees, and, of course, fun.

For more information on what the OA does, what it stands for, and who the youth and adult leaders are, visit the National Order of the Arrow web site, at http://www.oa-bsa.org or you can find out more information about the Order of the Arrow at the Boy Scouts of America web site, at http://www.scouting.org.

Also check our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about the OA.

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