For more than 90 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. "Arrowmen" are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America's youth.
Unit leader approval. To become eligible for election, a Boy 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.
- The induction process, called the Ordeal, is the first step toward full membership in the Order. Upon completion of the Ordeal and its ceremony, the member is expected to strengthen his involvement in the unit and encourage Scout camping. The Ordeal must be completed within the year of being elected. This can be accomplished at the OA weekend at Schiff Scout Camp either in the Spring or Fall or at Onteora Summer Camp. Click here for the Theodore Roosevelt website where you can search for the next Ordeal opportunity.
- After 10 months of service as an Ordeal member and after fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies full membership in the Order of the Arrow.
- After two years of exceptional service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a youth or adult Arrowman may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one Arrowman for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.