The Order of the Arrow (OA) is a service organization and the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America. Members are elected from within their units and recognized as those who best live the ideals of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service. Under the guidance of selected capable adults, OA members under 21 provide leadership to the organization. The OA has enjoyed a long history of service and emphasizes servant-leadership nationwide in nearly 300 Boy Scout councils. In addition to local community service, the OA provides service on a national level. In 2008, for example, the Order of the Arrow improved five national parks during a 5 week event called “ArrowCorps5” – 280,000 service hours by 3600 volunteers valued at over 5.6 million dollars. In 2013, the OA coordinated days of service at the National Scout Jamboree, resulting in significant service to the Mount Hope, West Virginia area.
The Mission and Purpose of the Order of the Arrow
The Order of the Arrow was founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948 the OA, recognized as the BSA’s national brotherhood of honor campers, became an official part of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1998, the Order of the Arrow became recognized as Scouting’s National Honor Society when it expanded its reach beyond camping to include a greater focus on leadership development, membership extension, adventurous programming, and broader service to Scouting and the community. Today, its service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults, are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich, support, and help extend Scouting to America’s youth.
Link to the official history of the OA website