National OA Committee

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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).

First Meeting of National OA Committee

The very first meeting of the National OA Committee was held January 28 – 30, 1949 in Greensboro, North Carolina. G. Kellock Hale, Chairman set the agenda and discussed issues related to changes with the full integration into the BSA. One issue was the usefulness of the 12-region BSA system. Arrangements were discussed for a change in the Area system. The National OA Committee also agreed to send a letter to each lodge reminding them to send a stone to E.

Second National OA Committee Chair

In December of 1949 the President of the BSA appointed H. Lloyd Nelson Chairman of the National Order of the Arrow Committee. G. Kellock Hale Jr. reluctantly submitted his resignation after only one year under doctor’s orders to give up all activities and have complete rest.

First National Planning Meeting

On December 29 – 30, 1949 the National OA Committee met with a conference of Area Conference Chiefs (the predecessor name for Area Chiefs and then later Section Chiefs, that were elected to a full year term) for the first National Planning Meeting. In the early years of National Planning Meeting only about half of all Area Conference Chiefs were invited. The tradition of holding a National Planning Meeting between the end of the year holidays has since been repeated more than 40 times, becoming annual in 1987. The inclusion of youth Area Conference Chiefs was new and in keeping with the new direction the OA was taking since the 1948 merger of the BSA and OA. This meeting was held at Alpine Scout Camp, Alpine, New Jersey. Future meetings would be held at the location of the next NOAC so that facilities could be reviewed or be held at or near the national BSA headquarters.

National OA Committee Red Sash

In the spring 1950 issue of the National Bulletin, Arrowmen were told that members of the National OA Committee would be available to meet with them at the 1950 NOAC. It was stated that they would be accessible to help members better understand the Order and its policies. Members were also told,

you’ll recognize these men because they will be wearing a special Vigil Honor band on which the colors will be reversed. These bands were made specifically for our Committee so that lodge members could recognize these officials and seek their help.

National OA Committee Formed

With the integration of the OA into the BSA reorganization of the national OA infra-structure was necessary. Gone was the old National Executive Committee and in was the new National Committee on the Order of the Arrow. The OA would report to the Director of Camping. That person in 1948 was Wes Klusmann. Klusmann had already served on the old National Executive Committee as the National Council BSA representative. His role would actually be about the same. The National Committee on the Order of the Arrow would be a sub-committee of the Committee on Camping and Special Event.

The OA’s representative on the Committee on Camping would be a new position, the OA National Secretary, a BSA paid Scout professional.

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.

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.

National Bonnets

The original golden eagle feather bonnet worn and passed down by the national chiefs of the Order of the Arrow (OA) was made in 1938 by members of Anicus Lodge, East Boroughs Council located in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. Former Anicus Lodge Chief, Joseph A. Brunton, Jr. was the first chief to wear the bonnet. He had recently been elected chief of the National Lodge at the twelfth National Lodge Meeting hosted by Shawnee Lodge 51 at Irondale Scout Reservation located in Irondale, Missouri. Subsequently, Anicus Lodge presented this bonnet to the National Lodge of the Order of the Arrow in 1940 when they hosted the Order of the Arrow’s 25th Anniversary meeting at Camp Twin Echo, located near Ligonier, PA. Chief Brunton was the host council’s Scout Executive at the 25th Anniversary meeting and it was Brunton that ceremoniously passed the bonnet to the newly elected National Chief, George Mozealous of Owasippe Lodge. The ceremonious passing of the bonnet is a tradition that still continues to this day.

Formation National Executive Committee

Grand Chieftain Thomas Cairns authorized by the Grand Lodge at the 1933 meeting formed the Transition Committee to handle negotiations required for the Order to become an official BSA program. He renamed it the Grand Lodge Committee. This committee replaced the old Grand Council that was the executive board for the Grand Lodge. Cairns placed on the committee the Grand Lodge Officers, H. Lloyd Nelson, L. J. (Bert) Case and Joseph Pattison. Recognizing the need for the very best leadership to strategize, interface and negotiate with the BSA, Thomas Cairns consulted with E. Urner Goodman and appointed three more Arrowmen to the Committee – Alfred C. Nichols, Robert S. Henderson and Charles M. Heistand. Goodman was added to the committee as the National Council representative.

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