National Meeting

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.

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's

The National Order of the Arrow Conference, or “NOAC,” is the primary national gathering of Arrowmen. They are typically held every two years unless a conflict exists. NOACs are always held on university campuses. All NOACs have had at least 1,000 attendees and as many as 8,000.

The modern NOAC started in 1948 at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana University has now hosted ten Conferences, more than any other university. Each Conference has a host lodge that is assigned service duties best performed by a larger local group.

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 Handbooks

With the coming full integration of the Order of the Arrow (OA) into the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), it was decided by the National Executive Committee of the Order of the Arrow that a handbook was needed. The National Executive Committee wanted to make sure that all lodges would have the same information.

14th & Last "National Meeting" Held

After World War II, National Lodge could meet again. The original plan was to hold the 1946 meeting where the 1942 National Meeting had been scheduled. However, with all of the returning military the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill informed the National Lodge that they would not have the dorm space available. The OA was now too large to meet at a Scout camp and universities were filled with returning military. An alternate site was needed.

984 delegates from 114 lodges (both records) descended upon Chanute Field Army Air Corp in Illinois. The Arrowmen bunked in the more than ample barracks. Owasippe Lodge, Chicago took the traditional role of a host lodge handling registration and other activities. Even though Chicago was over 100 miles away, Owasippe was the only lodge with the Arrow-power to handle the responsibilities.

25th Anniversary OA Meeting

The 1940 25th Anniversary National Meeting hosted by Anicus Lodge of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania was convened at their beautiful Camp Twin Echo (often called CTE), National Chief Joe Brunton’s home camp. Records for number of lodges and delegates were set with 64 lodges and 615 attendees, a nearly 50% increase over the 1938 Meeting. This was the last National Meeting held at a summer camp. With the continued growth they would have to move to a larger venue. During the early years of the Grand Lodge the OA had met in cities, hotels and camps. That would change for the next meeting.

Twelfth National Lodge Meeting

Shawnee Lodge, St. Louis, Missouri at their Camp Irondale, hosted the 1938 National Meeting. Just like the 1936 National Meeting, the 1938 National Meeting was no longer handling Order of the Arrow business, with the notable exception of National Lodge officer elections. The National Executive Committee handled the business of the Order and had increased in number from three to five members plus a National Council BSA representative.

The official statistics reported at the meeting demonstrated the dramatic growth of the OA. At the time of the meeting there were 103 active lodges and for the first time over 10,000 active members and over 25,000 initiated. The OA was a nationwide growing phenomenon. A record 448 delegates attended the meeting from a record 44 lodges. After traditional reports from the national officers, the meeting broke into eight discussion groups.

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.

Third Degree / Vigil Honor OA Sashes

The first example of anything resembling a sash worn by recipients of the Third Degree (Vigil Honor) is a fraternal “bib” type three-part sash. These sashes can be observed around the necks of founders E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in the photograph taken at the Rededication Ceremony held at Camp Biddle in conjunction with the first Grand Lodge Meeting in 1921. Other than the photograph itself, there is no other evidence, documentation or even confirmation that these are indeed Third Degree sashes.

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