Dabney Kennedy epitomizes the lifetime Scout and lifetime Arrowman. His life has been devoted to leading and serving the Order. Otena Lodge of Comanche Trail Council, Brownswood Texas, inducted Kennedy into the Order in 1950. He served as a youth officer in Otena, first as Lodge Secretary and then two terms as Lodge Chief. He then at age 18 became “Junior Lodge Advisor”. In 1952, a time when the Brotherhood Honor was treated by many lodges improperly as an award, Kennedy became the first Brotherhood Honor member in his lodge. In 1954 Kennedy became Otena Lodge’s first Vigil Honor member. The Vigil name selected for Dabney is a Sioux name Akikta, “One who works with determination”.
Approximately 7,200 Arrowmen converged on Bloomington, Indiana as the OA returned to Indiana University for a record tenth time. This NOAC was the first to develop a social network web site where delegates and staff could share fellowship online prior to the big event.
Since the 75th Anniversary in 1990 there has been an organized display of historical Scouting and OA memorabilia at NOAC’s (displays, including historical exhibitions date back to at least 1948). In the early years, the displays were few and meager in comparison to later years. The first memorabilia displays in 1990 were located in a small reception area in a girl’s dorm at Indiana University. One of the principle displays, an exhibit of Eagle medals and memorabilia provided by Terry Grove, was placed on top of a piano. That display has grown since then and has been displayed at every NOAC since. In the early years, one could wander into the “museum” and almost be alone and see what they wanted to see in a matter of a few minutes.
For the eighth conference in a row, the number of Arrowmen exceeded 6,000 as 6,504 delegates and staff attended NOAC 2004. The Order of the Arrow returned for a second time to the site of the 1998 NOAC, Iowa State University in Ames. The conference theme "Chosen to serve, Inspired to lead" was featured throughout the meeting. The 2004 NOAC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Carl M. Marchetti, MD, personified this theme.
At the 2004 NOAC, the National OA Committee announced a new award aimed at honoring the Order’s heritage of service. To earn the Leadership in Service Award, an Arrowman provided 8 hours of service to his/her local camp and provided 6 hours of community service through a lodge or chapter run community service project.
Dabney Kennedy was born in March 1936, in Stephenville, Texas, a little town about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth. He enrolled in Cub Scouting and earned the Arrow of Light. When old enough, he became a Boy Scout, serving first as patrol leader and later as senior patrol leader. He earned the Eagle Award, with palms, and then went on to join Explorers and earn that program’s Silver Award.
The OA gathered for a third time at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville site of the 1977 and 1992 NOACs for the 85th Anniversary 2000 NOAC. 6,632 delegates were in attendance. The Conference Theme selected was "Bound in Brotherhood, Led By the Spirit".