Philmont

OA Wilderness Voyage

The Order of the Arrow Wilderness Voyage (OAWV) was created in 1999 and was modeled after the success and service of the OA Trail Crew Program at Philmont Scout Ranch. This program operates out of the Charles L. Sommers canoe based at the B.S.A.’s Northern Tier National High Adventure Base in Ely, Minnesota.

Philmont Retreat

Beyond the success of the OA Trail Crew (OATC) program, the 1995 OA Retreat held August 20 – 24, 1995 also was a sensation for the 400 attendees. Reminiscent of conclave training, there were four seminar choices: American Indian events, ceremonies, quality program development and showmanship.

Philmont Trail Crew Vaca Trail

The first trail that was constructed by the OA Trail Crews (OATC) was dedicated during the weekend of August 15-17, 1997. The Vaca Trail was a new route for crews hiking in the Central Country of the Philmont Scout Ranch, hiking from Highway 64 towards Harlan Camp and beyond. Originally a one-year program, due to its overwhelming success in 1995 the program was continued to at least complete its first trail. The dedication weekend was important to commemorate the program’s first major milestone.

Philmont - Conservation Service

Conservation work by the Order of the Arrow (OA) had its roots at Philmont Scout Ranch. Special OA Treks were held at the ranch in 1985 and 1989, but these were short-term treks based more on camping and fellowship and without any long-term plans. However, the treks helped prove that an outdoor program for the OA could be successful.

By 1995 the national theme for the Order was “The Year of Service” and the OA Trail Crew (OATC) program became the major service initiative for the year.

OA Philmont Trail Crew Starts

Several important relationships and chance encounters served as the origin of what eventually became known as the Order of the Arrow Trail Crew (OATC) program. It is a wonderful story because of visionary youth, capable adults who knew when to listen, and collectively they devised a plan that forever changed the relationship of the OA and High Adventure. In essence it is what the spirit of Scouting is all about.

Second Philmont OA Trek

The OA’s second OA Philmont Trek, Aug. 11-22, 1989, coincided with the second year of Philmont Scout Ranch’s two-year 50th anniversary. Over a 12 day period more than 800 Arrowmen took part in five-day treks through the backcountry tackling routes graded as “typical”, “rugged”, “strenuous” and “super-strenuous". Along the way they took part in discussion groups and opportunities to further develop the Trek theme ‘’These High Places are Within You.”

1984 National Planning Meeting

Although it had been two years since the last National Planning Meeting and officer elections, there was no NOAC scheduled for 1985 to avoid conflict with the BSA 75th Anniversary Jamboree. It had been decided not to hold NOACs in National Jamboree years so that Arrowmen, including the National OA Committee, could concentrate on their council and jamboree responsibilities.

First Philmont OA Trek

The Order went trekking beginning in 1985 as Scouting’s “honor camper society” took on the pinnacle of high adventure – Philmont Scout Ranch with the first of two OA Philmont Treks. Over a four day period as part of the National Planning Meeting held in Euless, Texas, in December 1984 the Section Chiefs selected five trek vice chiefs and laid the foundation for the first OA Trek to be held Aug. 11-20, 1985, with an anticipated 1,200 trekkers. Besides the selection of the Trek Vice-Chiefs, the theme was chosen – “Ponder That Which Is Our Purpose” and the patch was designed.


OA at Philmont Training Center

In 1987 The Order of the Arrow began a lengthy utilization of BSA’s premier training venue – the Philmont Training Center at Philmont Scout Ranch. Scouting’s Mecca of high adventure camping was the perfect site for an organization often referred to as “Scouting’s Camping Honor Society.”

First National Indian Seminar

Since its earliest beginnings, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has enjoyed an almost spiritual relationship with the histories and traditions of Native American peoples. This kindred spirit is evident in the OA’s ceremonies, its symbols, and even in its name. By borrowing so much in the way of culture and crafts from the American Indian, the Order has accepted an obligation to maintain the highest standards of authenticity. Yet, with all of the interaction between the OA and that of Native Americans, there were those individuals who recognized a need for an informative program that furthered the understanding and awareness of the American Indian culture. This need gave rise to a pilot program known as the ‘National Indian Seminar’.

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