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Shenshawpotoo #276


The Order of the Arrow - Scouting's National Honor Society

About the Lodge


The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold:

  • To recognize those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives
  • To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit
  • To promote Scout camping
  • To 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. In 1948, the OA was recognized as the BSA's national brotherhood of honor campers and became an official part of the national camping program of the Boy Scouts of America. Today, the OA is recognized as Scouting's National Honor Society.


To become a member, a youth must be a registered member of a Scouts BSA Troop and hold the First Class rank. The youth must have experienced 15 days and nights of camping during the two years before his/her 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, such as a week of summer camp. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps. Scouts are elected to the Order by their fellow Troop members, following approval by the Scoutmaster.


The Ordeal induction ceremony is conducted at Scout camp and is the first step toward full membership. During the experience, candidates complete various tasks while maintaining strict guidelines which have much more significant values.

Brotherhood Membership

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.

Vigil Honor

After two years of 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 outstanding service to Scouting, his Lodge, and the community. This honor is bestowed by special selection from the youth Vigil Honor population and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the Lodge each year.


Each Order of the Arrow Lodge is granted a charter from the National Council, BSA, upon annual application by the local council. The OA 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. The Shenandoah Area Council lodge is Shenshawpotoo.


Upcoming Events


Shenandoah Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
107 Youth Development Court, Winchester, VA, 22602
540-662-2551 (Phone) | 540-662-2725 (Fax)

For hours of operation and holiday closings, please click here to visit our Scout Shop page.