Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Order of the Arrow?
Sometimes referred to as the OA, the Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society. It is a brotherhood of honored Scouts and Scouters who promote scout camping and perform service to others. The order is for those scouts and scouters who best exemplify the Scout oath and law in their daily life.
What's a Lodge?
Nearly every Scout Council in the nation has an OA Lodge associated with it. In the Cradle of Liberty Council, the OA Lodge is Unami Lodge One. We are the first lodge for the OA as it was founded on Treasure Island Scout Reservation in 1915. Similarly, our Lodge has a Chapter representing each District in the Council. The Chapter takes the same name as the District.
Who runs the Lodge & Chapters?
The Lodge is run by an Executive Committee, at the head of which sits the Lodge Chief, Vice-Chief of Program, Vice-Chief of Administration, Vice-Chief of Chapters, Secretary, and Treasurer. These people are considered the Lodge Officers. The Lodge also has established a number of standing committees headed by committee chairman. Similarly, each Chapter has a Chapter Chief. The Chapter Chiefs, Lodge Officers and Committee Chairman comprise the voting members of the Lodge Executive Committee. All voting members, that is, all the Lodge Officers, Chairman and Chapter Chiefs are youth members, under the age of 21. No OA member over the age of 21 may serve as an officer, chairman or chief. The Council appoints a Lodge Adviser to guide the executive committee and help facilitate their goals and objectives and each District Committee appoints a Chapter Adviser. The Lodge Adviser appoints a Committee Adviser for each Chairman and any other Advisers as may be necessary. The Council also assigns a Staff Adviser to the Lodge. Although members of the Executive Committee, the Advisers are not voting members.
When does the Lodge Executive Committee meet?
The Lodge Executive Committee meets the fourth Tuesday of each month from September through May at the Firestone Service Center. Meetings begin at 7:30 PM. All OA members are invited to attend. While all members are invited to attend, please remember that only executive committee members may vote. Chapter meetings are generally held the same night as the District Roundtable meetings. See your Chapter's page for the most up to date info.
How does one become a member of the OA? (What's an OA Election?)
The OA has different procedures for youth and adults. Youth members (under the age of 21) are elected by other youth members of their troop or team in an election conducted by the OA Lodge through the Chapters. At least 50 % of the registered youth members of the troop must be present for an election to be held. The OA is unique in this respect becasue candidates are elected by troop youth OA members and non-members alike, Adults are nominated by the troop committee and the nomination is forwarded to a Lodge Adult nomination committee headed by the Lodge Adviser for consideration.
Are there any membership requirements?
Yes. To be considered for election, a youth must be a registered member of his unit, must have achieved the rank of First Class, must not have reached his 21st birthday, must have the Scoutmaster approval, and must, while registered with a troop or team, have a minimum of 15 days and nights of scout camping experience, including one (and only one) long term camping experience (6 days/5 nights) within the two years prior to the election. With the exception of the first class and age requirement, adult nominees must meet the same camping and membership requirements.
Is there any limit to the number of youth who are placed on the ballot for election?
Provided they all meet the eligibility requirements, no.
Does the Scoutmaster have to list all youth who are eligible?
No. The scoutmaster must sign the election form certifying that all those on the ballot are eligible for election. If the scoutmaster feels that a certain member or members of the unit do not exemplify the high ideals of the OA, he does not have to list them as eligible for election even though they may meet the membership requirements. The scoutmaster has full discretion as to the eligibility of any troop or team member for the election, but he may not waive the membership requirements. This certification takes place prior to the election, and cannot be changed once the election takes place.
Can the Scoutmaster vote in the election?
No. No one over the age of 21 may cast a vote in the election.
How many elections can my troop have per year?
One. Each troop or team is entitled to only one election per year. The Lodge calendar runs from January 1st through December 31st. Each troop or team may have only one election during that time period.
When can this election take place?
The election period is set by the Lodge Executive Committee each year. It generally runs from late November to the end of May. All elections must be completed within this time period.
How do I arrange for an election?
Beginning in November each year, the Chapter election teams will start contacting each scoutmaster in their Districts to set up elections. If your troop has not been contacted each year by January 1st, you are encouraged to contact your Chapter Adviser or the Lodge Adviser for action.
Can a Scoutmaster conduct his own election?
NO! All elections must be conducted with at least one member of the Chapter or Lodge election team present, preferably a member from outside the troop or team.
How do I nominate an adult for membership?
Adult nomination forms are available from the election team or your Chapter Adviser. They must be filled out accurately and completely, and signed by the Committee Chairman. The committee chairman should retain one copy of the form with the remaining copy and original forwarded to the Chapter Adviser. The Chapter Adviser will forward the original on to the Lodge Adviser for consideration.
How many adults may I nominate?
The number of adults nominated can be no more than one-third of the number of youth candidates elected, rounded up where the number of youth candidates is not a multiple of three. In addition to the one-third limit, the unit committee may nominate the currently serving unit leader (but not assistant leaders), as long as he or she has served as unit leader for at least the previous twelve months.
What if my troop or team does not have an election, can I still nominate an adult?
How are adult nominations considered?
The adult nomination process is very selective. Since the OA exists by and large for the youth, with the youth only, serving in the leadership positions, adult nominations are carefully screened. The committee considers the adults ability to perform the necessary functions to help the OA fulfill its goals and purposes, how the adult will be an asset to the Lodge and whether the adult will be a positive role model to the youth. OA membership is NOT a recognition for service either past or present NOR a reward for achievement or position.
Once the adult nomination form is submitted, what happens then?
Within two to four weeks of receipt, the Adult Nomination Committee, through the Lodge Adviser, will generally respond in one of three ways. If approved, the nominee will receive a letter noting such. If additional information is needed, the nominator (unit committee chairman) will receive a letter requesting the additional information. If denied, the nominator will receive a letter noting such and the reasons why.
Can my Venture Crew, Varsity Team or Explorer Post have an election?
OA elections can only be held by Scout Troops and Varsity Teams. Elections cannot be held by Venture Crews or Explorer Posts.
Once elected, am I member?
No. All those who are elected must first successfully participate in the Ordeal experience.
What is the Ordeal?
The Ordeal consists of camping out alone under the heavens (weather permitting), followed by a day of minimal food and silent service at one of our camps.
Where can I take this Ordeal?
The Ordeal is administrated by the Lodge at one of our three Lodge weekends or at one of our Council Summer Camps.
When are the Lodge Weekends?
The Lodge Weekends are generally held in October, April, and May. The locations rotate between our Council camps. The dates are listed on the Calendar
Can I take my Ordeal at summer camp?
Absolutely! The opportunities available to you during summer camp are open if your unit is attending Resica Falls Scout Reservation, or you may attend a provisional ordeal during the summer camping season at Resica Falls Scout Reservation.
What is a Provisional Ordeal?
A provisional ordeal is an opportunity which Unami Lodge offers during Summer Camp during the campiong season at Resica Falls Scout Reservation to those who are not attending a Cradle of Liberty Summer Camp but wish to do their Ordeal. On Wednesday, a provisional ordeal candidate will arrive at Resica Falls Scout Reservation for the Call-Out ceremony. From there his Ordeal will begin. After completing his Ordeal on Thursday night, he will go home, a Brother in the Order of the Arrow.
My troop is going out of council for summer camp this year. Can I take my ordeal there?
No. The Ordeal must be completed within the Lodge in which you were elected. However, the Lodge does run a provisional Ordeal program over the summer at one of our camps. The provisional Ordeal consists on going to camp for a 24 hour period (Wednesday night to Thursday night). For more information, go to the Lodge website.
How will I be notified about the Ordeal?
After your election, you will receive a mailing from the Lodge, usually within two to four weeks, detailing all of the Ordeal opportunities, what to bring and other information. There will also be a registration form which must be filled out and returned by the specified deadline(s).
Is there a fee for the Ordeal?
Yes. The current fee is $40.00 if you take your Ordeal at a Lodge Weekend, the provisional program or if you take it while your unit is at summer camp. The fee includes all your food, accommodations, OA sash, handbook, flap, your first year dues, and other materials.
How long do I have after the election to take my ordeal?
You have one year from the date of your election to take your Ordeal. This affords every person at many opportunities to complete their Ordeal.
What if I fail to take my Ordeal within that one-year period?
Then you would have to be reelected. In extreme cases such as family emergencies, the Lodge Executive Committee will consider granting an extension of the Ordeal eligibility period. However, each case is considered separately on its own merits and must be brought to the Executive Committee preferably by the Chapter Chief. For more information, contact your Chapter Adviser or the Lodge Adviser.
Do adult nominees have to take the Ordeal also?
Yes. Adults have to participate in the same ordeal as the youth in order to become members.
Do adults have the same one year eligibility?
Yes. Adults have one year from the date of their letter of approval from the Lodge Adviser.
An election was held in our unit, but the results were not announced, what happens next?
The scoutmaster has the right to seal the election results for release at some later date, such as a unit court of honor or District call out. The year of eligibility for youth is always one year from the date of the election.
Are there yearly dues?
Yes. Dues for the Lodge year will be $15.00. The Lodge year runs from January 1st through December 31st. Dues are due before February 1st. An additional $5.00 is also due if the previous years’ dues were not paid.
Do new Ordeal members have to pay dues?
The Ordeal fee includes one year of dues. If a new member was inducted at one of the Spring service weekends or Summer Camp of the current Lodge year then his dues are paid till December 31st of that Lodge year. If a new member was inducted at the Fall Fellowship weekend in October then dues will not have to be owed to the lodge until the following Lodge year.
What do dues cover?
To be considered an active member of the Lodge and be entitled to wear the flap and sash, your dues must be paid. By paying your dues you directly support the activities and programs of the Lodge as well as you are able to attend events, receive all mailings, and purchase Lodge properties such as patches, flaps, etc.
Where do I send the dues form?
A form will arrive at your house in the mail with your personal information on it prior to the end of the Lodge year. You are to correct any information on the form which may be incorrect. Return the form to the Lodge; following the instructions on the form along with your dues payment of $15.00. Dues can also be paid online though Unami Lodge's Website by clicking on the "Where's My Dues Card" button, in person at the Firestone Service Center, at Valley Forge, or at any Lodge Service weekend in the spring or fall.
Once I pay my dues, will I get a membership card?
A membership cards will be mailed to you once your payment is received and your record verified. This takes from 2-6 weeks.
I am moving out of the Council, is my OA membership transferable?
Certainly. When you get where you’re going, have your new Council formally request your OA records from us. Once you register in a new Council, you can no longer remain a member of Unami.
Can I be a member of more than one Lodge?
No. National policy dictates that you can only belong to one lodge at a time. It must be the lodge associated with the council where you hold your primary registration. Even if you pay a registration fee to more than one council, you must choose only one lodge.
I am not registered in the Council, can I join Unami Lodge?
No. National policy dictates that you must be registered in the Council in which you wish to hold OA membership.
Do my OA dues include BSA registration?
No, OA membership is in addition to membership in the Boy Scouts of America.
Do I have to be registered in the BSA to be member of the Lodge?
YES. You must be registered in a Pack, Troop, Crew, Team, or at-large in order to be considered an active member of the Lodge and participate in Lodge events. OA membership does not supersede or include BSA membership.
Where can I purchase Lodge Flaps and O-A supplies?
Lodge Flaps, OA sashes, and Lodge merchandise can be purchased at each Executive Committee meeting and at all Lodge functions. Lodge Flaps are also available at summer camp in the trading posts and in the lobby of Firestone Scout Office. Lodge Flaps are not available in the Scout Shops.
Does Unami Lodge offer tours or perform the original ceremony?
Yes, but only on very special occasions.
Where do I get more information?
Contact the Lodge Chief, Lodge Adviser or your Chapter Adviser. Also, please visit the Lodge Website often for updates and more detailed information. You may also send any questions to the Communications Committee.
Last updated: January 23, 2014