On September 11th, 2001 (often referred to as 9/11), a series of coordinated suicide attacks on the United States were carried out by al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization. The hijackers intentionally crashed two airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Both towers collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others.
On January 20, 2001, George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States. During the Bush administration the nation suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history. This led the administration to initiate wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. By the end of Bush’s second term the nation was in extreme economic distress.
In 1999, the National OA Committee announced a new program to encourage lodges to give service to their councils and camps. This program was designed to help lodges deliver the fourth part of the OA’s purpose, “to crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others”.
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 Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the Arrow (OA) have certainly been blessed throughout their histories with very competent and capable youth leaders. In their own way, these exemplary leaders have perpetuated the fundamental values that both of these groups represent. Their personal involvement and commitment have not only enhanced these programs, but also allowed them to continue to grow and flourish over the years. Josh Sain was one such youth leader.
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.
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.