They are the best of the best in the world of Boy Scouting. Yet they could not speak a word for two days.
Elite Scouts and Scout leaders were inducted into the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scout honor society, last weekend at Camp Tahuaya. Selected by their peers, those who attend the rigorous two-day event are known for implementing the Scout Oath and Law in their day-to-day living.
Assistant Scoutmaster Jim Imhoff obtained his Ordeal membership into the privileged society.
“I learned that I not only became more spiritual with myself and our earth, but gave so much back by cleaning and beautifying Camp Tahuaya,” Imhoff said. “I have so much respect for all of my fellow brothers before me (who) paved the way and nominated me to attend.”
The Order of the Arrow enters its 100th year of recognizing top Scouts in 2015. To be eligible, inductees must have completed 15 days of camping over the past two years. There is no minimum or maximum age required for OA membership, which includes both adults and Scouts younger than age 21.
OA has three levels, including Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil members, known as “honors.” OA induction begins with a surreptitious initiation ceremony called the Ordeal before the campouts or events begin. The secrecy of the ceremony is intended to give younger Scouts a greater appreciation when they attend OA camp because they do not know what to expect. The induction included a two-day vow of silence and required the Scouts to complete a community service project without speaking to one another.
Ordeal member Connor Foster said the intensive 48-hour induction event will pay off in the future.
“It was a lot of hard work and cooperation. It will help me get the help I need for my Eagle project,” Foster said.
Ordeal members Alex Jacobs and Zack Rokosh found the initiation had a lifelong effect. “This taught me about serving selflessly and that will impact my attitude on serving others in the future,” Jacobs said.
“I earned more experience with cheerful service and putting others before myself. How could that not help me in the future?” Rokosh said.
Upon completing the Ordeal, Scouts are expected to invest their lives even deeper into the mission of Scouting over the next 10 months before they may participate in the Brotherhood ceremony, which requires an even greater commitment to living the ideals of Scouting in their daily lives.
Brotherhood members must demonstrate living their lives dedicated to Scouting for at least two years before they may be recognized with the Vigil Honor, which is limited to only one OA member for every 50 members of the local OA lodge.
Other Scouts inducted over the weekend include Nathan Sellers and Eric Boschee, who were both inducted as Ordeal members. Elijah Santos, Christian Leight and Jimmie Imhoff all earned the honor of Brotherhood as did adult Scouters Bill Allen and Mike Harrison.
Former Lodge Chief Michael Marek obtained the highest level as a Vigil member.