of the Arrow History
The Order of the Arrow was founded in 1915 by E. Urner Goodman and co-founded by Dr. Carrol Edson. These two men directed the summer camp of Treasure Island located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They saw a need for recognition of those Scouts who best exemplified the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. Using the legend of the Delaware Indians, Goodman and Edson developed the idea for a brotherhood which did not elect its own members, but instead inducted those elected by their fellow Scouts. So, in 1915 in the valley that was home to the Delaware, a selected group of Scouts were banded together in a rebirth of the brotherhood which Chief Chingachgook founded.
In 1921 the Order had expanded over many portions of the country and these lodges cam together and formed the National Lodge. In 1934, the O.A. was adopted by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A) as an integral part of the Scout Camping Program. In 1948 the National Executive Board of the B.S.A. approved the complete integration of the O.A. into the Scouting program. This brought the Order under direct administrative supervision of the B.S.A.
The first Ordeal Ceremony held by Washita Lodge #288 was in February of 1946. It was chartered in the previous year. Mr. Bill Nelson was the organizer and Charles Alexander was elected as the first Lodge Chief.
Membership in the Order of the Arrow (O.A.) is bestowed by fellow Scouts upon those whom they feel best exemplify the ideals of Scouting. You were elected by your fellow Scouts because they saw in you something they respected. Once elected, you underwent an Ordeal. By passing this Ordeal, the tests for membership, you have become an Ordeal Member of Washita Lodge #288. As an Ordeal members you wear the claws of our Lodge pointing inward; this signifies that you are learning about the Order and your place in it. You may wear your sash, consisting of a red arrow on white cloth, to all O.A. functions and formal Scouting event. You wear the sash over your right shoulder (typically under the epaulet), point upward, and never on your belt or any other way.
You are eligible for Brotherhood membership after ten months of service in the Order, provided that you are still active in Scouting and in the Lodge. This is the sealing of your membership in the Order of the Arrow.
Gaining the Brotherhood membership is very easy. First, you must study and know the material on pages 51 to 53 in you O.A. Handbook (1993 printing). Second, you must write a letter to the Lodge Secretary explaining the following:
What you think the Obligation means.
How you have been fulfilling the Obligation in your everyday life.
Your specific plans for giving service in the Lodge program.
At each Conclave, there will be a study group to assist you with your pursuit of the Brotherhood membership. The information needed for Brotherhood will be covered at this meeting.
The Vigil honor is conferred by a Vigil selection committee, with the approval of the National Committee, on those members of our Order who, by unusual devotion to Scouting or the Order of the Arrow, merit this honor.
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Washita Lodge honors those Brotherhood members who have performed exceptionally or with admirable devotion their duties to the lodge or their Scouting unit. This recognition is known as elevation. The elevation ceremony is only performed at conclaves. To be eligible for elevation you must meet the following requirements: (1) O.A. and B.S.A. dues must be current, (2) you must have attended, or be attending, the third sanctioned O.A. event since receiving Brotherhood or your last elevation (sanctioned events include Chapter events, Lodge conclaves, Section conclaves, Winter Banquet, Ceremonies training weekend, National O.A. events such as NOAC, NLS, Jamboree O.A. meetings, and O.A. contingent trips); To be elevated to the Keeper status you must be at least 16 years of age, you must be at least 21 years of age to be elevated to Medicine Man. To be elevated, two Arrowmen must nominate you at a meeting of the Tribal Council at a conclave. They must cite the specific reason or action that distinguishes you from the majority of Arrowmen. The Tribal Council then votes whether to approve the recommendation for elevation.
The totem of Washita Lodge is the bison. A symbol of Washita Lodge is a pair of eagle claws worn on a lanyard around the neck. Another symbol of our Lodge is the wearing of paint on the tips of the claws, recognizing lodge members who have been honored by elevation. Colors should be painted on from one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch wide. Identifying colors are red band (Fire Builder / Drummer), yellow band (Runner), green band (Keeper), gold band (Tribal Council Member), and white band (Medicine Man). The bands should be painted such that the current level of elevation adorns the tip with previous levels proceeding up the body of the claws. No other point, decoration, or other detracting marks should be placed on the claws (except by special permission of the Tribal Council). This does not allow for attaching emblems or hanging items from the claws except for Vigil Honor members. When bestowed the Vigil Honor, and Arrowman may affix a Vigil Honor pin onto the center of the claws; he may also suspend an arrow or bison beneath the claws. The claws are to be worn at O.A. functions, while in Indian costume, while in class "A: uniform, and may be worn with informal attire at O.A. events only.
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Washita Lodge also utilizes coup beads to recognize achievements and accomplishments of its members. These beads are worn on the same lanyard as the eagle claws and may be worn in any desired order. Youth beads are earned for any of the items noted below while as a member of Boy Scouts or Explorers. The coup beads and their respective meanings are as shown below.
Allow Sakima (non Pre-Ordeal)
Pre-Ordeal ceremonial part
Tribal Council member
Three years summer camp
Kitchkinet (non Pre-Ordeal)
Lodge Vice Chief
Meheu (non Pre-Ordeal)
Chans (Brotherhood Hike Tutor)
Nutiket (Non Pre-Ordeal)
Sachem (Adult Advisor)
5 Eagle/Arrow of Light Ceremonies
One year O.A. membership
Three years summer camp Staff
One year Dance Team
One year summer camp
Three year O.A. membership
Arrowman of the Year
One year summer camp staff
Call-out - Principle characters
National OA event
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Washita Lodge has seven major events a year. These are Spring Ordeal Weekend, Spring Fellowship, Section Conclave, Fall Ordeal Weekend, Fall Fellowship, Lodge Leadership Development and Winter Banquet.