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OA Service at National Jamborees

The OA has provided service at Boy Scout National Jamborees since the second event in 1950 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. For most of the early Jamborees, that service consisted of OA Service Troops, made up of youth Arrowmen and led by selected adults. However, recent years have seen the role of the OA at the Jamboree grow into an integral part of the BSA’s largest gathering.

The Goodman National OA Committee Red Sash

In 1950 the National OA Committee created a reversed color OA Vigil Honor sash so that National OA Committeemen could easily be identified. There were as few as 15 of these special felt Vigil Honor sashes issued. One of these special sashes belonged to E. Urner Goodman. The sash was only used for a few years and after 1954 the sash retired from usage.

NOAC's

The National Order of the Arrow Conference, or “NOAC,” is the primary national gathering of Arrowmen. They are typically held every two years unless a conflict exists. NOACs are always held on university campuses. All NOACs have had at least 1,000 attendees and as many as 8,000.

The modern NOAC started in 1948 at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana University has now hosted ten Conferences, more than any other university. Each Conference has a host lodge that is assigned service duties best performed by a larger local group.

G. Kellock Hale, Jr.

G. Kellock “Kel” Hale was born January 17, 1904 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He joined Scouts at the age of 12 (minimum age in those days) in 1916. During World War I, Kel sold more war bonds than any other Scout in Philadelphia. As a result of this achievement, Kel was selected as the Scout that would serve as Lord Baden-Powell’s Orderly when he came to visit Philadelphia.

Kel was inducted in the OA at its birthplace, Treasure Island, in 1918. He was one of the Council’s most decorated Scouts. By the time Kel was twenty-years old and attending the University of Pennsylvania he was an Eagle Scout with three Silver Palms (that would be at least 66 merit badges in 1924, a remarkable achievement in that era).

J. Rucker Newbery

J. Rucker Newbery is best known as the editor of the first Order of the Arrow Handbook in 1948. Newbery officially joined the OA on June 11, 1936 when he chartered the Bob White Lodge, Augusta Georgia into the Order while serving as their Scout Executive. Newbery remained a member of the Order until his death in 1978.

Early in 1942 Frank Dix of the National Executive Committee tendered his resignation. Dix had been selected to the National Executive Committee as the Southern representative. When he was re-assigned by the national office as a Deputy Regional Executive to Cincinnati, he could no longer serve. It was a national BSA policy requiring balance on the lead OA committee that a Southern representative was required on the committee. Dix suggested J. Rucker Newbery as his replacement and in 1942 Newbery was appointed to the National Executive Committee.

OA Handbooks

With the coming full integration of the Order of the Arrow (OA) into the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), it was decided by the National Executive Committee of the Order of the Arrow that a handbook was needed. The National Executive Committee wanted to make sure that all lodges would have the same information.

National OA Committee

The National Committee on Order of the Arrow was officially formed in 1948 with the full integration of the OA into the Boy Scouts of America. However the genesis of the committee dates back 15 years earlier. In 1933 at the Chicago hosted Grand Lodge Meeting the Order established a “Transition Committee”. The Transition Committee was basically given unlimited authority to negotiate with the BSA National Council regarding integration of the OA into the BSA. This move meant for the first time a national type committee for the Grand Lodge could operate without the need for a vote from the membership.

25th Anniversary OA Meeting

The 1940 25th Anniversary National Meeting hosted by Anicus Lodge of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania was convened at their beautiful Camp Twin Echo (often called CTE), National Chief Joe Brunton’s home camp. Records for number of lodges and delegates were set with 64 lodges and 615 attendees, a nearly 50% increase over the 1938 Meeting. This was the last National Meeting held at a summer camp. With the continued growth they would have to move to a larger venue. During the early years of the Grand Lodge the OA had met in cities, hotels and camps. That would change for the next meeting.

DSA Profile

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) was created in 1940 to honor those who have rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the Order on a sectional, regional, or national basis. It is given primarily for dedicated service to the Order and Scouting over a period of years.

History of Pocket Flap

It is strongly recommended by the National Committee that these emblems be made to fit the shape of the right shirt pocket flap. The right shirt pocket flap has been approved by the National Committee on Badges and Insignia for official Order of the Arrow Insignia where the other emblems are only temporary insignia when used on the uniform. It should be realized that this is a great advantage and a compliment to the Order of the Arrow. -THE ORDER OF THE ARROW HANDBOOK pp. 64 & 72, 1954 printing, 1950 edition

In the 1930s the Scout uniform was a showcase for all sorts of colorful Scouting related insignia on the shoulders, sleeves, and collars, as well as above and on the pockets. In fact, the only areas of the Scout uniform spared from this potpourri of decoration were the back of the shirt and pocket flaps. The pocket flap eventually became the official location for wearing Order of the Arrow insignia, but not without a few twists and turns.

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