Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains questions that we have been asked from time to time. If you would like to suggest another FAQ for our list, please email webmaster@blueheronlodge.org.

If you are an Ordeal candidate or parent of an Ordeal candidate, please see the Ordeal Candidate Instructions page.

If your question is not answered here, please see our FAQ for Scoutmasters and other unit leaders or the national OA FAQ page.


Membership Questions (5)

I was a member of Blue Heron Lodge some time ago, but have moved out of Tidewater. How do I join a local lodge in my new home town?

Every lodge has its own membership policies. All lodges will require you to be registered with the local council before you may join the lodge. Most will require that you demonstrate your OA membership in some fashion, perhaps by showing an OA membership card. Others require a letter or some other sort of verification from the prior lodge. If your new lodge requires membership verification from Blue Heron, please visit our leadership page to locate the email address for our Lodge Adviser and email him with your request.

I was a member of Blue Heron Lodge some time ago, but allowed my active membership to lapse. How do I renew it?

Provided that you are currently registered with Tidewater Council, you may renew your Lodge membership simply by contacting the lodge and paying your dues along with the late fee, if applicable. In accordance with the lodge rules, the current dues are $10 per year and a $2 late fee is assessed if payment is made after January 31.

If the last time you paid dues to the lodge was less than twenty years ago, then we most likely still have records of your membership. If it has been more than twenty years since you were a member, then it would be helpful if you could show an OA membership card or in some other fashion provide evidence for your prior membership. You may pay your dues at the Council Service Center or at most chapter meetings.

I was elected by my troop to become a member of the OA. Where do I get a candidate registration form?

Normally, the form is distributed to candidates at their callout. If you were not given one at your callout, if you misplaced the form you were given, or if you were never called out, then please ask your chapter for one or email the Lodge Unit Elections adviser, Mr. Ron Misdfelt, or the Lodge Adviser, Mr.Erich Roetz .

I recently attended my Ordeal but I was not able to pick up the Lodge pocket flap after the Ordeal. Please advise me on how I can get one.

Lodge Flaps may be purchased at most Lodge of Chapter events. Please check the calendar for lodge event dates or the chapter page for your specific Chapter meeting location and date. Your Chapter Custodian or his adult adviser should have Lodge memorabilia available at most meetings.

How do I get our Troop’s OA candidates recognized at a summer camp call-out ceremony if I’m at an Out-of-Council summer camp?

Page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers says the following:

Call-outs should be conducted by the OA lodge of the council in which the troop or team is chartered. This is the preferred method of call-out. It is recognized that there is some value in holding a call-out at a summer camp. A lodge may not call out candidates from a visiting out-of-council troop or team unless the unit leader presents a letter from the home lodge chief and lodge adviser, requesting the call-out and identifying the members to be called out. A signed copy of the home lodge’s unit election report must accompany this letter. The home lodge chief and lodge adviser must receive confirmation of the call-out following the event.

If a Troop/Team is planning to have their OA candidates called out at an Out-of-Council Summer Camp, the Unit Leader is required to present a letter of request from the Lodge Chief or Lodge Adviser of Blue Heron Lodge to the Camp Director and Lodge Chief of the Host Council.  The earlier you start the process to request the letter from the Lodge, the sooner you can expect to receive it.  The Lodge Chief will need the name of the camp your unit is attending, the dates your unit is registered to attend summer camp, the Council in which the Camp is located, the names, ranks, and unit positions of any youth or adults to be called out.

On the return to Blue Heron Lodge the Unit Leader should contact the Lodge Induction Team to acquire Lodge Ordeal schedule and registration information.

All Ordeal functions will be performed in Tidewater Council under the direction of Blue Heron Lodge, unless, as per page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers, “religious custom and observance precludes attendance at the Ordeals of a Scout’s home lodge”. Please contact the Lodge Adviser if an exemption is needed.

Candidates have one year from the date of election (not the date of the call-out) to complete their Ordeal. It is important to use good judgment in scheduling — Blue Heron Lodge holds Ordeals in May and August and so if the election is held in March, and the candidate is called out at summer camp in July, he will have only one opportunity to complete the Ordeal before the expiration of the one year.

Questions for Candidates and Candidates' Parents (3)

I was elected by my troop to become a member of the OA. Where do I get a candidate registration form?

Normally, the form is distributed to candidates at their callout. If you were not given one at your callout, if you misplaced the form you were given, or if you were never called out, then please ask your chapter for one or email the Lodge Unit Elections adviser, Mr. Ron Misdfelt, or the Lodge Adviser, Mr.Erich Roetz .

Can my family members attend my Ordeal Ceremony?

In a nutshell, visitors at Ordeals are not encouraged and persons who are not OA members are not permitted at ceremonies. Parents with questions or concerns should contact the Lodge Adviser, Mr. Erich Roetz, or the Ceremonies Adviser, Mr. Gene Hoffman.

OA Members

Any family members who are Lodge members should pay the registration fee, attend the Ordeal, and participate at the event. If there are unusual circumstances that don’t allow them to attend this particular event then the person desiring to visit may contact one of the Key 3 (Lodge Chief, Adviser, or Staff Adviser). Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

We understand family schedules that don’t allow Lodge members to attend every event but we will not make a Lodge policy allowing open attendance while other members bear financial burden for the event. Opening an Ordeal to visitors sends the wrong message to the membership about being in the OA, performing service for Scouting, and paying to attend events.

Non OA Members

If parents are not members but are interested in learning about the organization their son has been elected to join, we offer a video, “Scouting’s Brotherhood of Cheerful Service”, at the Council Service Center. This video explains the purpose and mission of the OA and will help the parents understand the event their son is experiencing.

The May 2006 Order of the Arrow Operations Update states the following:

The Order’s membership requirements have been added to the Handbook along with a rewrite of the section “Why ceremonies?” on page 30. The new text emphasizes that non-OA members should not attend the ceremonies. The lodge adviser is given a procedure to follow for nonmembers to learn about the ceremonies and for parents to ultimately decide whether they want their son to participate.

The referenced passage of the Order of the Arrow handbook says:

 

Youth and adult candidates for membership into the Order of the Arrow are introduced to the Order’s concepts of servant leadership through a safeguarded ceremonial induction. Nonmembers should not attend the ceremonies.

Although the content of the ceremonies is private, the ceremonies were designed to avoid offending any religious belief and have received the approval of religious leaders. The ceremonies are consistent with Scouting traditions and the spirit of the Scout Oath and Law.

The Order of the Arrow recognizes and respects the right of any parent, Scout leader, or religious leader to be interested in the content of the ceremony. The lodge adviser, or his designee, may discuss the content of the ceremony and any other issues brought to his attention by one of these interested and responsible adults, with the understanding that the adult will maintain the confidentiality of the ceremony.

If after discussing the ceremony with the lodge adviser, the parent, Scout leader, or religious leader continues to have questions about the ceremony, that person will be permitted to read the ceremony text and view the Order’s ceremony training DVD. Following this, parents will be in a position to decide whether to allow their son to participate in the ceremony. Candidates will not become members of the Order of the Arrow without completing the pre-Ordeal and Ordeal ceremonies.

 

How do I get our Troop’s OA candidates recognized at a summer camp call-out ceremony if I’m at an Out-of-Council summer camp?

Page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers says the following:

Call-outs should be conducted by the OA lodge of the council in which the troop or team is chartered. This is the preferred method of call-out. It is recognized that there is some value in holding a call-out at a summer camp. A lodge may not call out candidates from a visiting out-of-council troop or team unless the unit leader presents a letter from the home lodge chief and lodge adviser, requesting the call-out and identifying the members to be called out. A signed copy of the home lodge’s unit election report must accompany this letter. The home lodge chief and lodge adviser must receive confirmation of the call-out following the event.

If a Troop/Team is planning to have their OA candidates called out at an Out-of-Council Summer Camp, the Unit Leader is required to present a letter of request from the Lodge Chief or Lodge Adviser of Blue Heron Lodge to the Camp Director and Lodge Chief of the Host Council.  The earlier you start the process to request the letter from the Lodge, the sooner you can expect to receive it.  The Lodge Chief will need the name of the camp your unit is attending, the dates your unit is registered to attend summer camp, the Council in which the Camp is located, the names, ranks, and unit positions of any youth or adults to be called out.

On the return to Blue Heron Lodge the Unit Leader should contact the Lodge Induction Team to acquire Lodge Ordeal schedule and registration information.

All Ordeal functions will be performed in Tidewater Council under the direction of Blue Heron Lodge, unless, as per page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers, “religious custom and observance precludes attendance at the Ordeals of a Scout’s home lodge”. Please contact the Lodge Adviser if an exemption is needed.

Candidates have one year from the date of election (not the date of the call-out) to complete their Ordeal. It is important to use good judgment in scheduling — Blue Heron Lodge holds Ordeals in May and August and so if the election is held in March, and the candidate is called out at summer camp in July, he will have only one opportunity to complete the Ordeal before the expiration of the one year.

Ceremonies (4)

Can my family members attend my Ordeal Ceremony?

In a nutshell, visitors at Ordeals are not encouraged and persons who are not OA members are not permitted at ceremonies. Parents with questions or concerns should contact the Lodge Adviser, Mr. Erich Roetz, or the Ceremonies Adviser, Mr. Gene Hoffman.

OA Members

Any family members who are Lodge members should pay the registration fee, attend the Ordeal, and participate at the event. If there are unusual circumstances that don’t allow them to attend this particular event then the person desiring to visit may contact one of the Key 3 (Lodge Chief, Adviser, or Staff Adviser). Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

We understand family schedules that don’t allow Lodge members to attend every event but we will not make a Lodge policy allowing open attendance while other members bear financial burden for the event. Opening an Ordeal to visitors sends the wrong message to the membership about being in the OA, performing service for Scouting, and paying to attend events.

Non OA Members

If parents are not members but are interested in learning about the organization their son has been elected to join, we offer a video, “Scouting’s Brotherhood of Cheerful Service”, at the Council Service Center. This video explains the purpose and mission of the OA and will help the parents understand the event their son is experiencing.

The May 2006 Order of the Arrow Operations Update states the following:

The Order’s membership requirements have been added to the Handbook along with a rewrite of the section “Why ceremonies?” on page 30. The new text emphasizes that non-OA members should not attend the ceremonies. The lodge adviser is given a procedure to follow for nonmembers to learn about the ceremonies and for parents to ultimately decide whether they want their son to participate.

The referenced passage of the Order of the Arrow handbook says:

 

Youth and adult candidates for membership into the Order of the Arrow are introduced to the Order’s concepts of servant leadership through a safeguarded ceremonial induction. Nonmembers should not attend the ceremonies.

Although the content of the ceremonies is private, the ceremonies were designed to avoid offending any religious belief and have received the approval of religious leaders. The ceremonies are consistent with Scouting traditions and the spirit of the Scout Oath and Law.

The Order of the Arrow recognizes and respects the right of any parent, Scout leader, or religious leader to be interested in the content of the ceremony. The lodge adviser, or his designee, may discuss the content of the ceremony and any other issues brought to his attention by one of these interested and responsible adults, with the understanding that the adult will maintain the confidentiality of the ceremony.

If after discussing the ceremony with the lodge adviser, the parent, Scout leader, or religious leader continues to have questions about the ceremony, that person will be permitted to read the ceremony text and view the Order’s ceremony training DVD. Following this, parents will be in a position to decide whether to allow their son to participate in the ceremony. Candidates will not become members of the Order of the Arrow without completing the pre-Ordeal and Ordeal ceremonies.

 

How do I get our Troop’s OA candidates recognized at a summer camp call-out ceremony if I’m at an Out-of-Council summer camp?

Page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers says the following:

Call-outs should be conducted by the OA lodge of the council in which the troop or team is chartered. This is the preferred method of call-out. It is recognized that there is some value in holding a call-out at a summer camp. A lodge may not call out candidates from a visiting out-of-council troop or team unless the unit leader presents a letter from the home lodge chief and lodge adviser, requesting the call-out and identifying the members to be called out. A signed copy of the home lodge’s unit election report must accompany this letter. The home lodge chief and lodge adviser must receive confirmation of the call-out following the event.

If a Troop/Team is planning to have their OA candidates called out at an Out-of-Council Summer Camp, the Unit Leader is required to present a letter of request from the Lodge Chief or Lodge Adviser of Blue Heron Lodge to the Camp Director and Lodge Chief of the Host Council.  The earlier you start the process to request the letter from the Lodge, the sooner you can expect to receive it.  The Lodge Chief will need the name of the camp your unit is attending, the dates your unit is registered to attend summer camp, the Council in which the Camp is located, the names, ranks, and unit positions of any youth or adults to be called out.

On the return to Blue Heron Lodge the Unit Leader should contact the Lodge Induction Team to acquire Lodge Ordeal schedule and registration information.

All Ordeal functions will be performed in Tidewater Council under the direction of Blue Heron Lodge, unless, as per page 23 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers, “religious custom and observance precludes attendance at the Ordeals of a Scout’s home lodge”. Please contact the Lodge Adviser if an exemption is needed.

Candidates have one year from the date of election (not the date of the call-out) to complete their Ordeal. It is important to use good judgment in scheduling — Blue Heron Lodge holds Ordeals in May and August and so if the election is held in March, and the candidate is called out at summer camp in July, he will have only one opportunity to complete the Ordeal before the expiration of the one year.

Is it permissible to bring a camera to a ceremony?

Page 17 of Chapter 3 of the 2015 printing of the Guide to Inductions says, “Unlike the other OA ceremonies, photos and video may be taken at call-out ceremonies”. We are not aware of any direct statement of policy on cameras at ceremonies (only this indirect statement, regarding photos at call-outs) and so we have adopted the following guidelines:

  • Recognizing that the Order of the Arrow safeguards its ceremonies, neither video of ceremonies, nor still pictures that clearly display any symbol or symbolic act should be posted publicly. (This includes Facebook.)
  • The Order of the Arrow is NOT a secret society. Any request from a parent to see photos or video from a ceremony should be accommodated.
  • Under no circumstances should any camera with a flash or which makes noise be utilized. Flash photography is inherently disruptive to the ceremonialists, the candidates, and the other spectators and will not be tolerated. Please set your camera to not use the flash and turn off its sound PRIOR TO THE START OF THE FIRST CEREMONY. If you are uncertain whether your camera makes noise, take a test shot beforehand. If you do not know how to turn off the flash, ask for help or do not use your camera. If you cannot comply with this policy, you will be asked to leave.
  • Photographs of ceremonies are generally taken by the ceremonial, website, historian, and Drumbeat committees and posted in the photos section of this website or on the lodge’s informal Facebook page.
  • Because of the distraction that can be caused by excessive numbers of cameras, it is asked that individuals use reasonable discretion with cameras.

Someone at my chapter told me that there are three OA handclasps — one for each honor. Is that correct?

Please see also http://www.main.oa-bsa.org/qanda/qa-36.htm

No, that is incorrect. It is a popular misconception, though.

There is one Order of the Arrow handclasp that is used in the Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies. It is as described in the Order of the Arrow handbook that you received when you were inducted. In the Brotherhood ceremony, just as he does in the Ordeal, Allowat Sakima refers to the “handclasp of the Order” when he congratulates the Brotherhood candidates, not as something separate for Brotherhood.

Persons who are Vigil know what does or does not exist in the Vigil ceremony and that should not be discussed or speculated upon at an event where persons who are not Vigil are present. The Guide to Inductions, available at http://www.oa-bsa.org/resources/pubs/gti/, gives as principle #9, “symbolic progression”. It says, “No symbol or symbolic procedure should be mentioned or used unless and until it is called for in the authorized ceremonies.” (Chap 1, pg 8). No person who is not Vigil should be made aware of whether or not a Vigil handclasp exists (with the usual exceptions for a concerned parent, etc).