Information for Unit Leaders

About the Order of the Arrow:

For over 100 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.


Mission & Purpose:

Mission

The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.

Purpose

As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:

  • Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.

  • Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.

  • Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.

  • Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.


More Information about the Order of the Arrow can be found by visiting the About Section of our website here.

How the Order of the Arrow Benefits My Unit:

The Order of the Arrow provides many benefits to your unit.

Over the years, we have heard from unit leaders who say the Order of the Arrow takes youth away from their unit. It is our goal to ensure this is not the case. It is important for an Arrowman to understand that their duty is to his or her unit first and foremost. After all, they are the ones who elected them to become members of the Order of the Arrow.

The Order of the Arrow provides leadership opportunities found nowhere else in Scouting, especially for older Scouts. Even with the most active unit programs, older youth tend to burn out and become less active in Scouting. The Order of the Arrow provides a unique method for them to grow and thrive at being a leader.

In fact, the Order of the Arrow is one of the best tools for units to retain older youth. Scouts who are active in the Order of the Arrow, regardless of rank, typically remain active in Scouting longer and are more passionate about the program. These youth gather additional skills and resources to better their units.

The Order of the Arrow also promotes Scout Camping. Units that have active Arrowmen tend to have a stronger camping program.

The Order of the Arrow builds lasting friendships. While cheerful service and leadership skills are great products of the Order of the Arrow, it is the relationships that Arrowmen build with each other that make the organization so strong and, in turn, provide the most benefits to the unit. By having active Arrowmen, your unit now has an additional network of resources to deliver the Best Scouting Program.

Membership Requirements:

Unit elections are permitted in Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout units. The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are as follows:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.

  • 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 rank, 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.

Unit Visitations and Unit Elections:

Each year, members of Scouts BSA Troops, Venturing Crews, and Sea Scout Ships are selected by their units to become members in Scouting’s National Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow (OA). Each Scouts BSA Troop, Venturing Crew, and Sea Scout Ship is strongly encouraged to hold an Order of the Arrow Unit Visitation each year.

Unit visitations provide the Lodge an opportunity to talk with your Scouts about the Order of the Arrow’s Program, Council Camping Opportunities, and recognize eligible members of the unit by electing them into the Order of the Arrow.

Unit Visitations and Unit Elections usually run from February to November of each scouting year

Scouts BSA Troops, Venturing Crews, and Sea Scout Ships: To schedule a Unit Visitation and/or Unit Election, use the link provided in your unit election scheduling request email. We are NO LONGER able to accept requests via email, verbal, or postal for Unit Visitation and/or Unit Election as ALL Requests, must now go through a Unit Portal provided by the National Order of the Arrow.

  • Cub Scout Packs - Can request a Unit Visitation by visiting the Unit Central Page found here and using the request link provided.

  • Ceremonies (Example- Eagle Court of Honor) can be requested by visiting the Unit Central Page found here and using the request link provided.

Please Note: All unit elections must be conducted by trained visitation teams. Units are not to conduct their own Order of the Arrow Unit Elections.

Unit Election Rules & Procedures:

All unit elections are conducted using the rules and procedures listed in the current printing of the Order of the Arrow's Guide for Officers and Advisers, The Guide to Unit Elections and The Guide to Inductions.

  • The Lodge Unit Elections rules and procedures can be found here.

Unit Visitation Process:

The process for holding a unit visitation is as follows:

  1. The Unit Leaders of Scouts BSA Troops, Venturing Crews, and Sea Scout Ships will receive an email from the Lodge to schedule a visit from the unit visitation team. Scheduling is now done 100% online through a Unit Portal provided by the National Order of the Arrow.

      • Cub Scout Packs - Can request a Unit Visitation by visiting the Unit Central Page found here and using the request link provided.

      • Ceremonies (Example- Eagle Court of Honor) can be requested by visiting the Unit Central Page found here and using the request link provided.

  2. Once a Request has been made the Unit Visitation Members, will work on getting a team together and contact the unit to confirm the visit and answer any questions the unit may have.

      • If the Unit is holding an Order of the Arrow Unit Election, the Unit Leader will be sent an email to input/send the names and information of eligible Scouts prior to the unit visit so paperwork can be created.

  3. The unit visitation team visits the unit and conducts the unit visitation.

      • If the Unit is holding an Order of the Arrow Unit Election, the Unit Leader makes the decision on how the results will be announced; at the conclusion of the election or at a later date (Examples- Unit Event/Court of Honor or during a Call-Out Ceremony at Council Camporee or Council Summer Camp)

            • Please Note: The Lodge is working on a new Call-Out Ceremony and will announce if a Call-Out Ceremony will be done at Council Camporee or During the Council Summer Camp season on the Unit Elections Page.

                • Also, the Unit will receive an email confirmation with the results of the election and a link to submit adult nominations after the election data has been entered into the Inductions System.

For More Information on Unit Elections Click Here.

Have More Questions:

If you have any questions about the Order of the Arrow, Unit Visitation, or Unit Election, please contact our Unit Relations Team Here