Wow, what a great conference. There’s nothing that I could write that could possibly do it justice. If you followed us on Facebook or Twitter last week, you saw plenty of highlights.
Last week, more than 15,000 Order of the Arrow members converged upon Michigan State University for an unforgettable week of training and fellowship. From training, ceremonies, and dancing to patch trading, shows, and an endless amount of late-night pizza, it’s impossible to cover everything that happened over the span of about 100 hours. It’s safe to say, however, that everyone left NOAC with memories that will last a lifetime.
Some of us joined the largest-ever gathering of Eagle Scouts to hear remarks from the first Vigil Honor recipient in space. Others were part of the largest evacuation drill in Spartan Stadium history.
More than 15,000 Arrowmen attended the opening show. (Photo: David Murphree)
The shows in Breslin Arena, all played to an audience of more than 15,000, featured inspiring remarks from Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock, National President (and former CIA Director) Dr. Robert M. Gates, Order of the Arrow National Chief Alex Call, and Order of the Arrow National Vice Chief Donnie Stephens.
The theme each night was a little different, but they all echoed the main theme of the conference: It Starts With Us. The recurring question of “What is It, exactly?” was answered in each of these shows, but it was really crystallized in Alex Call’s remarks on Wednesday night.
“I’ll be daring all of my friends,” Alex said, “whether or not they’re members of the Order of the Arrow, or even Scouting, to start an extraordinary movement based on ordinary acts of service.”
“A classmate who sits alone on the school bus, hoping that someone will strike up a conversation. A co-worker who stays late every night, wishing they could make their daughter’s soccer game instead of an extra shift. A homeless teenager who stands at the street corner during your daily commute, looking for a warm meal — or even just a warm smile,” Alex said. “With just a few words and a few minutes of our time, we can live out the admonition of the OA through everyday acts of service.”
And then, perhaps most importantly, the National Chief of the Order of the Arrow encouraged all of us do 100 acts of unselfish kindness in 100 days and to share these acts with the world via social media with the hashtag #DAREtoDO.
You can watch Alex’s speech in its entirety here:
For me, personally, the most awe-inspiring moment of the entire conference happened just a few minutes into the opening show: During the 65th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow, founder E. Urner Goodman was asked if he had any words for those Arrowmen who would be present for the Order’s 100th Anniversary.
Monday night, among more than 15,000 of my Brothers, I got to hear that message.
There was something for everyone at the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference, and it’s a shame that so many people were unable to attend. Your next chance to experience some NOAC magic will be in 2018 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
For more videos looking at the fun we had across campus, head over to the official NOAC YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC14Dr_GrHiQeBCDqeTAVcIQ
For all of the on-site coverage from Scouting Magazine, go to: http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/category/noac-2015/