National Event

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50th Anniversary 1960 National Jamboree

The 1960 National Jamboree was held at Colorado Springs, Colorado, from July 22 to 28 with the theme “For God and Country”. 56,377 Scouts and Explorers participated in the jamboree.

To open the jamboree, 200 Native Americans set up a huge tepee village on stage as James Arness (Marshall Matt Dillon of television’s “Gunsmoke” series) narrated a western story. Scouts shared daily chores, cooked their own meals as was now the tradition, took part in displays, campfire gatherings, demonstrations, skill contests, a rodeo, and made inter-camp visits during the event.

NOAC 1958

The Order of the Arrow met in Lawrence, Kansas at Kansas University for the 43rd Anniversary Conference. While also called a National Order of the Arrow Conference, the acronym NOAC was still not in official usage. The 1958 NOAC was considered extra important because the OA leadership was already planning on skipping 1960 as a Conference year. This was to avoid conflict with the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Jamboree and also to line the Order up for its own 50th Anniversary meeting in 1965. A record 2,368 Arrowmen attended. It was the first conference where each state was represented.

1957 National Jamboree

The 1957 National Scout Jamboree was held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, from July 12 to 18 with the theme “Onward For God and My Country”. 52,580 Scouts and Explorers paid $50 to participate in the Jamboree not including the cost to get there. For the opening show, Scouts were greeted by Vice President Richard Nixon and during the Jamboree were entertained by Jimmy Dean and the “Harmonica Rascals”.

NOAC 1956

The OA returned to Indiana University for a third time. So-Aka-Gha-Gwa Lodge served in its familiar role as host lodge. The official delegate count of 2,201 was a single delegate more than the record from the 1952 Conference. The 280 lodges in attendance was easily a record surpassing the 1952 total of 210 lodges. This was the second Conference with a theme, “Arrowmen! Lead in Service to God and Country” (often shortened to the verbiage on the Conference patch, “Service to God and Country”.)

NOAC 1954

The OA gathered west of the Mississippi for the first time to for the 1954 National Order of the Arrow Conference (most often referred to as the “39th Anniversary Conference”). The meeting was held at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. The barely three-year old Kola Lodge, based in Fort Collins, Colorado together with a chapter of theirs in Laramie served as host. The conference was down in attendance from two years earlier as it was reported that there were 1,400 delegates. This was mainly due to the extra distance required for travel to Wyoming.

Patch Trading

Nobody knows when the first swap of Order of the Arrow emblems took place, but it had to be soon after the first badges of Wimachtendienk appeared. In the early years there was no trading of OA insignia. The first insignia in 1916 were pins. Pins were made of silver or gold. They were relatively expensive, certainly when compared to patches. An Unami Lodge gold Second Degree pin in 1919 might have cost $2.00; the cost of 20 die-cut felt camp monogram patches. No one was trading them with each other.

1953 National Jamboree

The 1953 National Jamboree was held at Irvine Ranch, California, from July 17 to 23 with the theme “Forward on Liberty’s Team.” 45,401 Scouts and Explorers were in attendance for the Jamboree.

Because the Jamboree was held close to Hollywood, many movie stars including Roy Rogers, James Stewart and Bob Hope were able to make appearances. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (and Vice President Richard Nixon, who stayed overnight and helped to prepare breakfast for his home town troop) also visited the Jamboree.

NOAC 1952

The 1952 NOAC was called the “37th Anniversary Meeting”. For the first time the term Conference is used often to describe the event. The first documented usage of the phrase “National Order of the Arrow Conference” is in a letter following the event written to the National OA Committee by LeRoy Kensrad of Hyas Chuck Kah Sun Klatawa Lodge, Portland, Oregon.

NOAC 1950 - 35th Anniversary Meeting

While today the 1950 meeting is called a National Order of the Arrow Conference or NOAC, back then they called it the 35th Anniversary Meeting or Convention. This meeting was like a modern NOAC. It was held for the second time at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Approximately 1,100 delegates attended. There were group discussions and classes on topics ranging from regalia, ceremonies and lodge functions. This time many of the classes were taught by youth including Area Conference Chiefs.  The OA Distinguished Service Award was presented.

OA Service at National Jamborees

The OA has provided service at Boy Scout National Jamborees since the second event in 1950 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. For most of the early Jamborees, that service consisted of OA Service Troops, made up of youth Arrowmen and led by selected adults. However, recent years have seen the role of the OA at the Jamboree grow into an integral part of the BSA’s largest gathering.

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