“The Order is a thing of the spirit rather than of mechanics. Organization, Operational Procedures, and all
that go with them are necessary in any large and growing movement, but they are not what count in the end.
The things of the spirit are what count.”
– E. Urner Goodman, Co-founder of the Order of the Arrow
Scouting’s National Honor Society
For more than 100 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth.
The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.
More about the Order of the Arrow
As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:
- Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
- Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
- Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
- Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.
The Order of the Arrow was founded upon the principles of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service. These principles form the foundation for the Obligation of the Order. This is not an easy pledge to fulfill, for there are few who live a life of cheerful service in our world. For some, the Order will be like a supernova, shining brilliantly for a brief time and soon crumbling to ashes. For others, the Order will kindle a flame of brotherhood, brighter than a thousand suns, lasting throughout eternity.
The OA has more than 170,000 active members located in lodges affiliated with over 295 BSA local councils.