The change in the OA logo was made official by the National OA Committee as part of their adoption of the 1998 Strategic Plan. In discussing actions taken to achieve the vision spelled out in the plan, it states:
We will adopt a new logo; one focused on the Arrow rather than the Indian. The Arrow is easily the most recognizable symbol that has its origin in our first ceremony. By taking the Arrowhead from the Arrow on the sash as our logo, we unify our image and strengthen the identity embodied in our name, the Order of the Arrow.
The 1997 National Scout Jamboree was held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, from July 28 to August 6 with the theme “Character Counts . . . Be prepared for the 21st Century”. 36,015 Scouts participated in the Jamboree.
1997 marked another year for expansion for the OA at the Jamboree. The OA conducted four programs at the jamboree: OA Service Corps, The Outdoor Adventure Place (or TOAP), the OA Indian Village, and a new idea “Odyssey of the Law” program in addition to continuing to provide leadership service for the Youth Services Subcamp.
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.
The primary purpose of the 1997 National Planning Meeting was to plan the upcoming 1998 NOAC to be held at Iowa State University. The National Elections, which are always highly anticipated, was a highlight.
Planning started for a National OA web site in March of 1997. During the 1997 National Jamboree the first web team staff was recruited. The National OA Committee approved a budget in September of 1997 and the first pages went online in November. The site was officially launched in the National Bulletin at the beginning of 1998. The web site immediately started archiving pdf’s of National Bulletins. The primary purpose for the new web site was to have an online way to interface with lodges, participants and staff members for the upcoming 1998 NOAC.
1998 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Order of the Arrow being fully integrated into the Boy Scouts of America. While a concern at the time was that the OA would lose its autonomy and independence that did not prove to be the case at all. The OA had always been a complement to the BSA and had actually been run by professional Scouters volunteering their time. After 1948 primarily volunteers set the course and guided the OA.
The last National OA Conference of the 1900s was held at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa. It set a new record for delegates. For the first time a NOAC had over 7,000 Arrowmen in attendance with a tally of 7,043. The Conference theme, “Memories of the Past, A Vision for the Future” was the subject of the opening show which included a moving dedication to 1997 National Vice Chief Josh Sain who had been killed in an automobile accident while in office.