“Text and Photos by Joshua Murdock”
In the summer of 1915 at the Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson created a program through which scouts who lived the Scout Oath and Law in exemplary fashion could be recognized and could coordinate to better serve their fellow scouts at camp. 100 years later, the Order of the Arrow is officially considered the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America and has more than 170,000 members across the United States.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Order of the Arrow, Arrowmen from each of the nation’s four scouting regions organized an ArrowTour – a “Centennial Experience” of the Order of the Arrow that would visit councils around each region during the summer of 2015. ArrowTour stops are open to current Arrowmen, scouts, and the general public.
On Sunday, July 26, the Western Region ArrowTour visited the Denver Area Council’s Frederic C. Hamilton Scout Headquarters in Lakewood. The Centennial Experience was based around three goals, said ArrowTour West Road Chief Michael K.: Reflect, Connect, and Discover. Exhibits showcasing the history of the Order of the Arrow allowed visitors to connect with the organization’s past, while other exhibits, along with road crew Arrowmen and local Arrowmen volunteering at the event, offered visitors a connection to the Order of the Arrow as it exists today. One of the main goals of the ArrowTour was to “get the message out there about who we are,” said Michael. The discovery portion of the mission was based off of the previous two points, he explained, “People are reflecting and connecting with the Order of the Arrow, now what can they do with the Order in the future?”
The Denver Area Council stop of the ArrowTour was unique in that it incorporated the facilities and programs offered at Colorado Adventure Point, a hands-on technical and adventure facility at the council headquarters, including indoor rock climbing and a hydrogeology stream table that modeled riverbed formation.
Chandler H. of the White Buffalo Chapter of the Order of the Arrow in Denver was the ArrowTour Chief for Sunday’s visit to the Denver Area Council. More than three months of planning culminated in roughly 40 local Arrowmen volunteers assisting the eight Arrowmen on the road crew. “It’s definitely putting a spotlight on the Order of the Arrow and the council,” he said. Chandler was pleased to see a large amount of Cub Scouts non-Arrowmen Boy Scouts learning about the organization throughout the afternoon, and he hoped that the ArrowTour stop in the council would result in more Ordeal candidates.
While many of the visitors to the ArrowTour could only learn about the history of the organization, Al Paul lived it. At 64 years old, Paul became an Eagle Scout in 1965 and was a Brotherhood Arrowman during his time as a Boy Scout with Denver Troop 201. He became involved in scouting once again when his sons became Boy Scouts in the late ’90s, after which he became a Vigil Arrowman. Paul believes older scouts often need more than simply what their troops can provide, and that, “the Order of the Arrow provides that opportunity for growth and leadership.” Paul was present at the Denver Area Council ArrowTour stop not only as a visitor, but also to help distribute gear to local Arrowmen for their upcoming trip to the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) in East Lansing, Michigan.
Brothers Spencer G. and Trenton G. from Troop 130 in Golden paid a visit to the ArrowTour on Sunday. Spencer, 14, is a Life Scout and Ordeal Arrowman while Trenton, 11, is a recent Arrow of Light crossover who has already reached Second-Class Scout and has aspirations of someday being elected into the Order of the Arrow. Not only did they enjoy the exhibits and activities, but the ArrowTour reminded Spencer how proud he was to be in the Order of the Arrow. “I have more responsibility in my troop,” he said, “The Order of the Arrow is about being a better scout.” Spencer said he admired his fellow Arrowmen. “You can really tell the difference based on their attitude and the way they lead.”
The Western Region ArrowTour route covers more than 7,400 miles and, between the San Francisco Bay Tunnel, Rocky Mountain National Park and various wilderness areas of the west, it is the highest, lowest, and most remote ArrowTour in the U.S.. All four of the nations’s ArrowTours are planned exclusively by Order of the Arrow youth (under 21) and are a testament to “what the Order of the Arrow is capable of,” said Michael. So far, the Western Region ArrowTour has seen more than 11,500 visitors, which accounts for nearly one third of 35,000 visitors thus far nationwide.
More information on the ArrowTour can be found HERE.