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WWW Name

The original name of the OA was not Order of the Arrow. That name would not be accepted as the public name for the Order until later. The Original name selected was Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui or WWW and was known as 'The Wimachtendienk'. In a fascinating tale, the WWW name was not received in camp in time for the first ceremony at Treasure Island.

First Sash (Black)

One of the enduring mysteries of the early days of the Wimachtendienk is the question of what the very first sashes of our Order looked like. There are two differing written accounts, both from extremely reliable eyewitnesses that were present at the beginning in 1915. Harry Yoder, the first guide and charter member of the Order, wrote circa 1921,

First Insignia

For years and years generations of Arrowmen have swapped and collected OA badges. Over 2,000 new pieces of OA insignia are issued every single year. However, in the beginning it was not patches, it was pins, some as small as a dime that were issued as insignia. Wimachtendienk was started as a fraternity and fraternities frequently use pins, starting with a pledge pin.

First Totem

A requirement from the beginning has been that each lodge shall have a totem. Totems would later become a required element for insignia. While today’s lodge sometimes issue patches without their lodge totem on them, it is not the standard practice and it was virtually unheard of pre-1970. At the first ceremony on July 16, 1915 both Goodman and Edson wore tortoise shaped totems on their ceremonial robes. The 1916 Wimachtendienk Constitution specified the tortoise as their totem.

First Vigil Honor Ceremony

At end of the camping season in 1915, E. Urner Goodman held a vigil on the Devil's Tea Table. There was no real ritual ceremony that accompanied his experience, just Goodman alone with his thoughts through a night that he often referred to as life changing for him.

First (White) Sash

There are no known examples or photographs of the original black sash with white bar or arrow on it.

The earliest photograph known showing a Wimachtendienk sash being worn is 1919. This photo was taken at Treasure Island at the Council Fire Ring during a Friday evening public First Degree induction ceremony. The photograph is black and white and shows a white background sash with a dark arrow on it. Because the colors red and black have the same value in black and white photography there is no way to know if the arrows on the sashes in this early photo are black or red.

Edson Influenced

In 1915 I joined the staff of the Philadelphia Council, the head of the Field Department being E. Urner Goodman, afterwards Scout Executive of Philadelphia, and then of Chicago, and now a department head at the National Office.

Urner was designated as Director, and I as Co-Director of Treasure Island, the Philadelphia Camp. I found they had an award called “Treasure Island Scout”, for which an emblem TIS, was presented. The award was based on a point system, similar to a troop contest, so many points for passing tests, identifying nature objects, etc., etc. It seemed to me there should be some recognition of the spirit of Scouting, as the TIS was of the mechanics.

Woodcraft Indians

It would help bring together young people from various so-called stations, break down the barriers that society has foolishly placed upon them, and establish in their minds when they are young a finer kind of humanity, a real understanding that the important thing is the association of a human spirit.

--- from Ernest Thompson Seton about his development of the League of Woodcraft Indians

"Service" Influences Formation

From 1914 – 1916 the Philadelphia Council led by Scout Executive Walter S. Cowing used “Service” as its watchword. In 1914 the council recognized deserving individuals with a special “Badge of Service” pin.

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