Bethlehem Lutheran Church's Boy Scout Troop 13 in St. Charles continues to play a large part in the Order of Arrow.
Currently, Troop 13 has 20 Boy Scouts and 21 Adult Leaders in the local Lowaneu Allanque Lodge 41 of the Order of the Arrow. Of those 41 Troop 13 members, there are 22 Ordeal, four Brotherhood, and five Vigil Arrowmen.
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In the last 10 years, the Fox Valley Chapter's Order of Arrow Chiefs and Advisor have been from Troop 13. Currently, there is a father and son Vigil honor team of Mike and Josh Nelson. In addition, there are four sets of brothers and seven father and son members from Troop 13.
Troop 13 also has nine Eagle Scouts who are also Order of Arrow members. In addition, Troop 13 also has two members who have step forward to help at the Council Level (Lodge Level) in Cory Miklas and Anthony Bailey. Furthermore, there are five Troop 13 members who served on the Ceremonial Teams for those either being called (elected) to the Order of Arrow or those moving from one level to another level which could be from Ordeal to Brotherhood or Brotherhood to Vigil.
The Order of the Arrow was founded in 1915 and has more than 170,000 members nationwide located in lodges affiliated with over 295 Boy Scouts of America local councils. As Scouting's National Honor Society, the purpose is of the Order of Arrow is to recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. OA members emphasize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others. The goal is to establish these as lifelong guidelines and to encourage continued participation in Scouting and camping.
There are certain requirements that a Boy Scout must meet in order to be eligible for election into Order of Arrow. They must have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping, include one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping during the two-year period prior to the election The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps. Finally, they must hold the BSA First Class rank or higher be elected by the youth members of their troop.
Registered adult Scoutmasters who meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to the lodge adult selection committee. Adult selection is based on their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition of service, including current or prior positions. Selected adults must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.
Once a Boy Scout has been elected in the Order of Arrow, they must go through the induction ceremony, called the Ordeal, as the first step toward full membership in the Order. During the experience, candidates maintain silence, receive small amounts of food, work on camp improvement projects, and sleep apart from other campers. The entire experience is designed to teach significant values. All candidates for membership must complete the Ordeal and once inducted are known as Arrowmen.
After 10 months of service as an Ordeal member and fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies full membership in the Order.
After two years of exceptional service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a Scout may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, or Scouting. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.
Throughout the years, the Order of the Arrow has played an integral role in the program of the Boy Scouts and in the community service its members contribute to their communities. To date, more than one million people have been members of the Order of the Arrow.