Membership Requirements and the Induction Process
The OA has more than 160,000 active members located in lodges affiliated with over 270 BSA local councils. As of 2018, there is now an OA Lodge in every council across the United States!
The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:
- Be a registered member of Scouts BSA.
- Have experienced 15 nights of Scout camping while registered with a troop, crew, or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Only five nights of the long-term camp may be credited toward the 15-night camping requirement; the balance of the camping (10 nights) must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps of, at most, three nights each. Ship nights may be counted as camping for Sea Scouts.
- At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, and hold one of the following ranks corresponding to the type unit in which they are being considered for election: Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery Award, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Sea Scout Skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.
- Adults (age 21 or older) who meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to and approval by the lodge adult selection committee.
The induction ceremony is the first step toward full membership in the Order. During the induction experience, youth and adult candidates will partake in a day full of cheerful service and undergo a series of ceremonies that will personally challenge each candidate in different ways. The entire experience is designed to teach significant values within the Order of the Arrow. All candidates must successfully complete the induction process in order to become a member.
After 6 months of devoted service as an ordeal member and fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the brotherhood ceremony. This ceremony places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order of the Arrow. Completion of this ceremony signifies your dedication and service to the Order.
After two years of exceptional service as a brotherhood member and with the approval of the National Order of the Arrow Committee, a scout or scouter may be recognized with the vigil honor for their distinguished contributions to their Lodge, the Order of the Arrow, and the Scouting program. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered within the lodge for that year. Anyone in the Order can submit a nomination to your Lodge’s Vigil Chief who will then review it and take it to a vote in front of the Vigil Selection Committee. Those who are selected will then be called out at summer camp and put through their vigil ceremony at your Lodge’s Fall Fellowship event.