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Information about the Order of the Arrow

The Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society. The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold: OA Logo

Decorative PictureTo recognize those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives
Decorative PictureTo develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit
Decorative PictureTo promote Scout camping
Decorative PictureTo crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

The Order of the Arrow (OA) was founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934.

To become a member of the Order of the arrow a youth must meet the following criteria:

  • 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 (21 or older) who are registered in the BSA and meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee. Adult selection is not for recognition of service but is based on their ability to provide a positive example and help the Order fulfill its purpose.

New Members and Parents

Following the election and call out, Scouts can attend an induction ceremony called the Ordeal. This is the first step toward full membership. During the experience, candidates maintain silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp improvement projects, and sleep apart from other campers. The entire experience is designed to teach significant values.


The Jumpstart website is the best resource to learn more about the Order of the Arrow and will help answer many of your questions. The site requires a password that can be found in your Order of the Arrow handbook.

As a parent of an Order of the Arrow member we appreciate your support. While many organizations have specific committments for every member, the Order of the Arrow is unique because it offers each Scout a multitude of opportunities to serve, and your son can tailor his involvement accordingly.

What Chapter am I in?

If you know what District you are in then is should be easy to determine your chapter. Visit the Chapters page for a more detailed list of Chapter locations.

Cahuilla Lodge Chapter Map

Brotherhood and Vigil HonorBrotherhood Sash

After 10 months of service and 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 OA.

After two years of service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow Committee, a Scout may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for outstanding service to Scouting, his lodge, and the community. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.


The Order of the Arrow offers many different leadership opportunities from the OA Rep all the way to national positions.

Chapter: Each Chapter consists of a Chapter Chief and his staff. They are in office for one year and are elected by the members of the Chapter.

Lodge: The Lodge is run by the Lodge Chief and he and his staff are elected by the youth at the Fall Fellowship each year. The Lodge helps the local council provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of Scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure.

Section: An Order of the Arrow section consists of lodges within a geographic area of the region. Once every year, representatives of lodges in the section come together for a conclave to share in fellowship, skills, and training. A section is lead by three youth officers, the Section Chief, Section Vice-Chief, and Section Secretary, who are advised by an adult Section Adviser and professional Section Staff Adviser.

Region: The region chief is the youth leader of the region elected by the section chiefs in his region. This election is held in conjunction with called meetings of the section chiefs to elect the national chief and vice-chief, as well as to plan national Order of the Arrow events.

National: The national chief and vice-chief are Arrowmen elected by the section chiefs during the annual national planning meeting. They serve as members of the national Order of the Arrow Committee, providing the opinion of youth on national OA policy. They also serve as the presiding officers for national OA events.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the OA keep most of it's activities secret? No Secrets
First of all, the Order of the Arrow is not a secret organization. Rather, we recognize that an aura of mystery not only stimulates interest in the Lodge, but also helps new members feel proud of an accomplishment that is not achieved by every Scout. Most candidates recieve less benefits from the induction if they know about the induction in advance. Knowledge lowers expectancy and dulls the edge of experience. In other words, you hurt candidates by telling them about the "Ordeal." Parents should feel free to discuss the experiences their children had at the Ordeal, after it's completion.

The Order of the Arrow is happy to share any pertinent information about our activities with legitimately interested individuals. For more information, please contact the Cahuilla Lodge Adviser.

What is a Chapter and how is the OA organized?
The chapter is the most local form of the Order, relating to the Boy Scout District. This is where most members of the OA attend meetings. There are also some occasional functions that scouts can attend within their chapter. The next level up is the Lodge, which in Cahuilla's case serves the California Inland Empire Council (Riverside and San Bernadino Counties). The lodge organizes most of the OA events including Fall Fellowship, Conclave and the Ordeals.

How do I get involved?
Getting involved is easy. There are many positions in which you can serve, events in which you can attend, and ways to have fun. Attend your next Chapter meeting and find out how you can get involved!

What is a Lodge Chief?
The Lodge Chief is the lead youth postition in the Order of the Arrow. Since our organtiation is led by our youth members, the position is critical for the Order of the Arrow Lodge to run smoothly. The Lodge Chief, along with other elected officers, plan and guide our groups in daily and annual operations.