Frequently Asked Questions

This page lists a collection of the most common questions and answers regarding Coosa Lodge, the Order of the Arrow, and its role in Scouting.

Unit Elections

How does a Scout become a member of the OA?
To become a member of the Order of the Arrow, a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout under the age of 21 years old must be elected by the youth members in his unit.  Youth members are those Scouts who are under the age of 21 years old.  To be eligible for election, a Scout must:

  1. Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  2. Hold a minimum of First Class rank of the Boy Scouts of America.
  3. In the last 2 years, have camped at least 15 days and nights under the auspices of the BSA.  The 15 days and nights of BSA camping must include one, but no more than one, long-term camping experience consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping.  The other 10 nights of camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.

If a Scout meets these requirements, he may be considered for election by his fellow Scouts in his troop.  He must receive 50% or more of the votes of his unit to be elected, and all registered Scout youths, youth OA members and non-members, are entitled to vote.  Youths eligible for election may also vote, and may vote for themselves if they feel they are worthy.  More than one Scout may be elected; in fact, every Scout who is eligible and is considered for election may be elected, provided that each one receives 50% or more of the votes of his fellow Scouts – your Scouts may vote for as many eligible Scouts as they consider worthy of the recognition.

Who decides what camping activities qualify for the camping requirement needed for election to the Order of the Arrow?
As with all other eligibility requirements, it is the Unit Leader’s job to interpret whether a Scout has met the requirement.

For the camping requirement of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping does the camping have to be at a Boy Scout owned and operated camp, or can it be a troop long-term campout allowed by the BSA Council?
The exact wording of the camping requirement can be found in the current printing of the Guide for Officers and Advisers (#34997A, revised 1999).  This book sets forth the official policy of the Order of the Arrow on this topic.  The pertinent passage, on page 20, says:

“… long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America.”

It does not say that the resident camp must be at a Boy Scout owned or operated facility.  If the national Order of the Arrow committee had wanted to say that, they would have.  The language used was very carefully composed.  If a troop runs their own long-term resident camp, “under the auspices and standards” of the BSA, it qualifies.

Is there any limit to the number of youth who are placed on the ballot for election?
No, as long as they all meet the eligibility requirements.

Does the Scoutmaster have to list on the ballot all youth who are eligible?
No.  The Scoutmaster must sign the election form certifying that all those on the ballot are eligible for election.  If the Scoutmaster feels that a certain member or members of the unit do not exemplify the high ideals of the OA, the Scout Oath or the Scout Law, he does not have to list them as eligible for election even though they may meet the membership requirements.  The Scoutmaster has full discretion as to the eligibility of any troop member for the election, but he may not waive the membership requirements.  This certification takes place prior to the election, and cannot be changed once the election takes place.

Can the Scoutmaster vote in the election?
No.  No one who is 21 years old or older may cast a vote in the election.

How many elections can my troop have per year?
One.  Each troop may only hold one election per year.

When can this election take place?
The election can be held anytime during the year; however, most unit elections occur between February and April in advance of our Ordeal induction weekends at one of our Council camps.  Scout units are encouraged to schedule a recurring annual OA election date for planning purposes.

How do I arrange for an election?
In January of each year, Chapter Election Teams will start contacting each Scoutmaster in their Districts to set up elections.  If your troop has not been contacted each year by April 1st, you should contact your local Chapter Adviser to set up an election.

Can I hold an OA election in my unit without a Chapter Election Team?
No, all elections must be conducted by trained chapter teams.

Can an adult be elected to the OA?
No, only Boy Scout or Varsity Scout youth under the age of 21 can be elected to the OA.  Adults must be nominated for membership in the OA.

How do I nominate an adult for membership?
Adults are nominated based on their potential to enhance the Order of the Arrow program within the Greater Alabama Council.  This nomination should not be based on merit, but on what the adult can offer the program and its purposes.  Nominations for adults may be by a unit leader, the unit committee, the District Committee, or Council Executive Board.  An Adult Candidate Nomination Form must be completed and submitted according to the instructions on the form.

How many adults may I nominate?
Each troop that holds a youth OA election may nominate only one adult per every three youth elected (1-3 youth = 1 adult; 4-6 youth = 2 adults; 7-9 youth = 3 adults; etc.). Additionally, the troop’s Scoutmaster may be nominated without counting against the aforementioned limit, provided that at least one youth is elected.

What if my troop does not have an election; can I still nominate an adult?
No.  Your unit must have an OA election during which at least one youth member must be elected to the OA in order for you to nominate an adult.

Can my Venturing Crew or Explorer Post have an OA election?
No.  OA elections can only be held by Boy Scout Troops and Varsity Teams.  Elections cannot be held by Venturing Crews or Explorer Posts.

The election was held in our troop, but the results were not announced, what happens next?
Once elected, an “Ordeal Candidate” typically is publicly recognized for his election and status as an Ordeal candidate.  It is recommended that each candidate participate in the “Call-Out Ceremony”, held each week at the family campfire during summer camp at Camp Sequoyah and Camp Comer.  Please bring a copy of your Unit Elections Report Form to camp, which should be given to the OA Summer Camp Chief on arrival at summer camp to make sure that your elected candidates are called-out during the OA campfire.

Can my Troop or Team recognize the newly elected candidates at a unit function such as a Court of Honor?
Yes.  If your unit does not attend summer camp at Camp Sequoyah or Camp Comer, you may choose to recognize the newly elected candidates at a unit function, such as a Court of Honor, in lieu of their Call-Out at summer camp.

The Ordeal

Once elected, am I member of the OA?
No.  All those who are elected must first successfully complete an Ordeal.

What is the Ordeal?
The Ordeal is a weekend experience designed to teach significant values to the candidate.  The tests and activities are all things that a Scout can easily handle.  If you have any special dietary requirements or any health issues, please discuss them with your Chapter Adviser.  As with other tests or activities, the Ordeal can be adjusted to accommodate those with special requirements.

Where and when can I take this Ordeal?
The Ordeal is administrated by the Lodge at one of our Council camps during one of three Lodge Ordeal weekends which are usually held in the spring, summer, and fall.  Check the Lodge calendar for the dates and locations for each Ordeal weekend.

How long do I have after the election to take my Ordeal?
You have one year from the date of your election to take your Ordeal.  This affords every person at least three opportunities to complete their Ordeal.  The year of eligibility starts when the candidate is officially recognized at the Call-Out Ceremony or at a troop Court of Honor.

What if I fail to take my Ordeal within that one-year period?
Then you would have to be re-elected.  In extreme cases such as family emergencies, the Lodge Executive Committee will consider granting an extension of the Ordeal eligibility period.  However, each case is considered separately on its own merits and must be brought to the Executive Committee preferably by the Chapter Chief.  For more information, contact your Chapter Adviser or the Lodge Adviser.

Do adult nominees have to take the Ordeal also?
Yes.  Adults have to successfully complete the same Ordeal as the youth in order to become members.

Do adults have the same one-year eligibility?
Yes.  Adults have one year from the date of their nomination to complete their Ordeal or they will have to be re-nominated.

Can I take my Ordeal at summer camp?
No.

My troop is going out of council for summer camp this year.  Can I take my Ordeal there?
No.  The Ordeal must be completed within the Lodge in which you were elected.

How will I be notified about the Ordeal?
Your Chapter or your unit will give you your Ordeal notification materials at the time of your Call-Out (when you are identified as a candidate to the OA) detailing the dates of the OA weekends, what to bring and other important information.  There will also be a registration form which must be filled out and returned by the specified deadline(s) on the form.

Is there a cost for the Ordeal?
Yes.  Refer to the current Ordeal candidate registration form located on our Ordeal Candidate Information page for the Ordeal event price; which includes all of your food, first year of annual Lodge dues, OA Ordeal sash, OA handbook, and Lodge pocket flap.

Dues

Are there yearly dues?
Yes.  Annual dues are $10.00.  The Lodge year runs from January 1 though December 31.  Dues are payable starting at Fall Fellowship for the upcoming year.

Do new Ordeal members have to pay dues during their first year of membership?
No.  The Ordeal fee includes the annual dues for the upcoming year.

Do I have to pay the annual dues to remain an active member in the Lodge?
Yes.  To be considered an active member of the Lodge, your dues must be paid.

Where do I pay the annual dues?
You may pay your annual Lodge dues at any Lodge event during the year or you can fill out a dues form (available in the Forms section of this website) and mail your payment to the address listed on the form.

I am moving out of the Council, is my OA membership transferable?
Yes.  When you get to where you are going, have your new Council formally request your OA records from us.  Once you register in a new Council, you will officially be a member of their Lodge.

Can I be a member of more than one Lodge?
No.  National Order of the Arrow policy dictates that you can only belong to one Lodge at a time.  It must be the Lodge associated with the Council where you hold your primary registration.  Even if you pay a registration fee to more than one Council, you must choose only one Lodge.

I am not registered in the Greater Alabama Council; can I join Coosa Lodge?
No.  National policy dictates that you must be registered in the Council in which you wish to hold OA membership.

Do my BSA registration fees include the OA Lodge dues?
No.  OA membership is exclusive of membership in the Boy Scouts of America.

Do I have to be registered in the BSA to be member of the Lodge?
Yes.  You must be registered in a Pack, Troop, Crew, Team, or at-large in order to be considered an active member of the Lodge and participate in Lodge events. OA membership does not supersede or include BSA membership.

Brotherhood Membership

What is Brotherhood membership?
After 10 months of service 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 of the Arrow.  All Ordeal members are encouraged to seal their membership in the OA as a Brotherhood member.

Vigil Honor

What is the Vigil Honor?
After two years of service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the National Order of the Arrow Committee, a Scout or Scouter may be recognized with the Vigil honor for outstanding service to Scouting, his Lodge, and the community.  This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the Lodge each year.

Coosa Lodge Merchandise

How can I purchase Coosa Lodge pocket flaps, patches, clothing, hats, memorabilia, and other OA items?
Coosa Lodge pocket flaps, patches, clothing, hats, memorabilia, handbooks, sashes, and other OA and Lodge merchandise, are available for purchase at the Coosa Lodge Trading Post at all Lodge events throughout the year such as Winter Fellowship, the American Indian Seminar, the Spring, Summer and Fall Ordeals, and Fall Fellowship.

General

What is the Order of the Arrow?
Sometimes referred to as the OA, the Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society.  It is a brotherhood of honored Scouts and Scouters who promote scouting, camping and perform service for others.

What’s a Lodge?
A Lodge is a unit of the OA which is associated with the BSA Council in that area.  The OA lodge helps the local Council provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of Scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure.  Nearly every Scout Council in the nation has an OA Lodge associated with it.  In the Greater Alabama Council, the OA Lodge is Coosa Lodge.

What is the mission of Coosa Lodge?
It is the mission of the Coosa Lodge to achieve the purpose of the Order of the Arrow, as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America in the Greater Alabama Council, through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.

When was Coosa Lodge founded?
Coosa Lodge was founded in the year 2000 as a result of the merger of three old, historic Alabama Lodges: Cherokee 50, Achunanchi 135, and Kaskanampo 310.

What is a Chapter?
Chapters are the smaller groups that make up the Lodge.  Chapters parallel the District structure within the Council and each Lodge member is a member of the Chapter that corresponds to the District to which he is officially registered in Scouting within the Greater Alabama Council.  Chapters are led by their elected Chapter Chief and Vice-Chief(s).  They are advised by the Chapter Adviser and the Chapter Staff Adviser.

What is the LEC?
The term “LEC” refers to the Lodge Executive Committee which consists of the Lodge Chief, Lodge Vice-Chiefs, Immediate Past Lodge Chief, Chapter Chiefs, Committee Chairmen, Lodge Adviser, Lodge Staff Adviser, Lodge Associate Adviser(s), Lodge Associate Staff Adviser, Lodge Vice-Chief Advisers, Chapter Advisers, Committee Advisers, and the Council Scout Executive or his designee.

Who are the Officers of the Lodge?
The officers of the Lodge are the Lodge Chief, the Lodge Vice-Chief of Service, the Lodge Vice-Chief of Fellowship, the Lodge Vice-Chief of Inductions, the Lodge Vice-Chief of Native American Affairs, the Lodge Vice-Chief of Communications, and the Lodge Vice-Chief of Administration.

When does the Lodge Executive Committee meet?
The Lodge Executive Committee meets at least four times per year, usually at a Lodge event.

Who are the voting members of the LEC?
The voting members of the LEC are the Lodge Officers and the Immediate Past Lodge Chief if he is under the age of 21.

What is a CEC?
The term “CEC” refers to the Chapter Executive Committee which consists of the Chapter Chief, Chapter Vice-Chief(s), the OA Troop/Team Representative from each unit in the Chapter, the Chapter Adviser, and the Chapter Staff Adviser.  The CEC will meet as appropriate to carry out the OA program within its District.

What is an OA Section?
A Section typically consists of between 5 and 10 Lodges and is led by a youth leader, the Section Chief, who is advised by a Section Adviser and Section Staff Adviser.

What Section is Coosa Lodge in?
Coosa Lodge is a member of Section SR-9 (Southern Region, Section 9).

What other Lodges are in Section SR-9?
The other Lodges in Section SR-9 are Alibamu (Tukabatchee Area Council), Aracoma (Black Warrior Council), Chattahoochee (Chattahoochee Council), Echeconnee (Central Georgia Council), Egwa Tawa Dee (Atlanta Area Council), Ini-To (Flint River Council), Mowogo (Northeast Georgia Council), Waguli (Northwest Georgia Council).  For more information about our Section go to www.sr-9.org .

What is an OA Region?
A Region is a geographical area composed of a number of BSA Councils and OA Sections throughout that area.  The Southern Region consists of 11 OA Sections throughout the south in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.  The leadership for the Region consists of the youth leader, the Region Chief, who is advised by the Region Chairman and the Region Staff Adviser.  The Region Chief is a national officer in the Order of the Arrow and is elected by the Section Chiefs of the Region at the National OA Planning Meeting every December.  There are four Regions in the National OA organization: Central Region, Northeast Region, Southern Region, and Western Region.  For more information about our Region go to www.southern.oa-bsa.org .

What is a Conclave?
Once every year in the spring, the members from all of the Lodges within their Section come together for an event called a Conclave to share in fellowship, competitions, skills, training, patch trading and fun.  Each year, the Conclave is hosted by a different Lodge within the Section and the event is held at one of the host Lodge’s Council camps.

What is NOAC?
NOAC is the National Order of the Arrow Conference.  NOAC is a week-long event that takes place on a university campus once every three years.  Thousands of OA members from hundreds of OA Lodges from around the nation come together at this event for fellowship, competitions, dancing, drumming, training, arena shows, patch trading, and lots and lots of fun.

What is NLS?
“NLS” stands for National Leadership Seminar.  It is a weekend conference focusing primarily on the skills and attributes of leadership.  It is intended to enhance the leadership skills of the OA’s key youth and adult members as they seek to improve their service to the BSA and the greater community.  Youth participants should be at least 15 years of age or a Lodge officer.  The Region sponsors and schedules the NLS conferences and invites Councils to send participants.

What is NLATS?
“NLATS” stands for National Lodge Adviser Training Seminar.  It is a weekend conference focusing on the skills and attributes of effective Lodge Advisers.  It is intended primarily to enhance a Lodge Adviser’s knowledge of and connection with the OA’s strategic plan, program, and resources while emphasizing the personal skills that are necessary for the development of effective youth leadership and ultimately the Lodge deliverance of service to the Council program.  The Region sponsors and schedules the NLATS conferences and invites Councils to send their Advisers.

Can I wear my Coosa Lodge pocket flap on my Venturing uniform?
Yes.  The OA Lodge flap may be worn on the Venturing uniform.

Can I wear my Coosa Lodge pocket flap on my Cub Scout Den Leader uniform?
Yes.  Once a Scout or Leader goes through his Ordeal, he is a member of the Order of the Arrow for the rest of his life (as long as he is registered with the BSA).  Once you have paid your dues and are an active member, you can then wear the OA Lodge pocket flap on your uniform.  This is true for all adults registered as BSA leaders; no matter what part of the program (Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Venturing) they are currently participating.

Where do I get more information?
Contact the Lodge Chief, Lodge Adviser or your Chapter Adviser for more information.