Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Often referred to as the OA, the Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s Honor Society.  It is a brotherhood of honored scouts and scouters who promote scout camping and perform service to others.

As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:

  • Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
  • Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
  • Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
  • Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

The Order of the Arrow (OA) was founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948 the OA, recognized as the BSA’s national brotherhood of honor campers, became an official part of the national camping program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Being inducted into the OA is a honor given to you by your troop. However, it is not an award. You were selected because being in the OA will help you give back to your troop. Remember, Arrowmen are not elected for what they have done, but for what they are expected to do.

All but one Scout council in the nation has an OA Lodge associated with it.  In the Washington Crossing Council, the OA Lodge is Ajapeu Lodge 2.

The Lodge is run by an Executive Committee (LEC), at the head of which sits the Lodge Chief.  He is joined by the other Lodge Officers; Vice Chiefs, Treasurer and Secretary.  No OA member over the age of 21 may serve as a lodge position.  The Council Scout Executive appoints a Lodge Adviser to guide the LEC and help facilitate their goals and objectives.  The Lodge Adviser appoints an adult Adviser for each Vice-Chief and any other Advisers as may be necessary.  The Scout Executive also assigns a Staff Adviser to the Lodge, who is a member of the Council’s Professional Staff.

The Order of the Arrow is not a secret organization, nor are our activities “secret.” Rather, we recognize that an aura of mystery not only stimulates interest in the Lodge, but also helps new members feel proud of an accomplishment that is not achieved by every Scout.

Most candidates receive fewer benefits from the induction if they know about the induction in advance. Knowledge lowers expectations, and dulls the edge of experience. In other words, you hurt candidates by telling them about the “Ordeal.” Parents should feel free to discuss the experiences their children had at the Ordeal, after it’s completion.

The Order of the Arrow is happy to share any pertinent information about our activities with legitimately interested individuals. For more information, one should contact the Lodge Adviser.

If you believe that you were a member of the Order, talk with the Lodge Chief or Lodge Advisor. Perhaps you can find an old newspaper clipping, your sash, lodge flap or be able to describe your Ordeal.

Only active, dues-paid brothers of the Lodge can wear a Lodge Flap on their uniform. If you are not a current member of the lodge, because you failed to pay your dues, you must remove your lodge flap from your uniform.

Any lodge flap issued by Ajapeu Lodge 2 can be worn on the uniform.

Election Questions

Youth members (under the age of 21) are elected by other youth members of their troop in an election conducted by the OA Lodge through the Chapters.  At least 50% of the registered youth members of the troop must be present for an election to be held.

Adults are nominated by the troop committee and the nomination is forwarded to a Lodge Adult Selection Committee, headed by the Lodge Adviser, for consideration.

Yes.  To be considered for election, a youth must be a registered member of his unit, must have achieved the rank of First Class, must not have reached his 21st birthday, and must, while registered with a troop, have a minimum of 15 days and nights of Scout camping experience, including one (and only one) long-term camping experience (7 days/6 nights) within two years prior to the election.  With the exception of the First Class and age requirements, adult nominees must meet the same camping and membership requirements.

Provided they all meet the eligibility requirements, no.

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, he does not have to list them as eligible for election even though they may meet the membership requirements.  NOTE: The Scoutmaster is strongly encouraged to inform any Scout that this action is being taken well before the election is to occur so that there are no hurt feelings or suprises on the night of the election and also to allow the Scout a chance to rectify his course of action before the election occurs.  The Scoutmaster has full discretion as to the eligibility of any troop member for the election, but he may not waive the membership requirements established by the national Order of the Arrow committee.  This certification takes place prior to the election, and cannot be changed once the election takes place.

No. No one over the age of 21 may cast a vote in the election.

Each troop is entitled to only one election per year, which must be completed by the end of February.

Beginning in early Fall each year, the Chapter election teams will start contacting each Scoutmaster. If your troop has not been contacted by January 1st, you are encouraged to contact your Chapter Adviser.

No.  Lodge practice requires that one member of the Chapter Election Team be present for the election.

For unit Scouters, adult nomination forms are available from the election team or your Chapter Adviser.  They must be filled out accurately and completely, and signed by the unit’s Committee Chairman.  The Committee Chairman should retain one copy of the form with the remaining copy and original forwarded to the Chapter Adviser.

If the potential nominee is a district- or council-level Scouter, please contact the lodge adviser.  Only a handful of individuals may nominate district- or council-level Scouters for adult membership in the OA, and Scouters at these levels have a separate process that requires additional scrutiny.

Each troop who has at least one youth elected (a “successful election”) may nominate one adult per three Scouts elected, rounded up in the case of a number not divisible by three (e.g.: If a unit has 1-3 Scouts elected, it may nominate one adult.  If it elects five Scouts, it may nominate two adults).  Additionally, if the unit has a successful election and the sitting Scoutmaster (not assistant Scoutmasters) has been the Scoutmaster for one year and is not already a member, he may be nominated for membership regardless of the quotas above.

The adult nomination process is very selective. Since the OA exists by and large for the youth, with youth exclusively holding leadership positions, adult nominations are carefully screened by the Lodge Adult Selection Committee.  The committee, which consists of the lodge adviser, the Washington Crossing Council camping committee chair, and the lodge staff adviser, considers the adult’s ability to perform the necessary functions to help the OA fulfill its goals and purposes, how the adult will be an asset to the Lodge, and whether the adult will be a positive role model for the youth.  OA membership is NOT a recognition for service either past or present NOR is it a reward for achievement or position.  All adult nominees must both receive the recommendation of the aforementioned Lodge Adult Selection Committee and be approved by the Scout executive.  Notification of candidacy for adult nominees will come directly from the lodge to the adult nominee and units should not inform the adult of his nomination nor should they publicly announce the adult nominee(s).

Ordeal Questions

No.  All those who are elected must first successfully pass an Ordeal.

The Ordeal consists of a night sleeping outside, alone under the heavens, followed by a day of minimal food and silent labor.

After your election, you will receive an email from the Lodge, around March 1, detailing the information about the Ordeal weekend, what to bring, and other information. There will also be a registration form, which must be filled out and returned by the specified deadline. This information will be supplied to you electronically, so it is crucial that the Lodge receive your correct e-mail address on the election form and that you check your e-mail.

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.

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 Lodge Executive Committee.  For more information, contact the Lodge Adviser.

Yes. Adults have to successfully pass the same Ordeal as the youth in order to become members. They must also complete it within a one-year period.

The Scoutmaster has the right to seal the election results for release at some later date, such as a troop Court of Honor or call-out ceremony. The year of eligibility starts, though, at the date of the election, regardless of when the Scoutmaster announces the results.

Once you’ve completed your Ordeal, you are entitled to all of the rights and privileges of the rest of the Order’s membership.  You may attend all lodge and chapter functions.  You may vote in all lodge and chapter affairs, provided you are under the age of 21 at the time.  You may run for lodge or chapter office, provided you are under the age of 21 for the entire term of office.  You may serve on ceremonial teams.  You may be an elangomat at future Ordeal weekends.  You may participate in national programming like OA High Adventure, NOAC, and others.  The only things that, as an Ordeal member, you are not able to do are attend the ceremonies for the Brotherhood or the Vigil Honors until you have met the eligibility requirements for and have been recognized with those honors yourself.

Lodge Dues

Yes, annual Lodge dues are $25. 

The Ordeal fee includes one year of dues.

No, membership cards are not automatically sent out. If you would like a membership card, contact the lodge advisor at

A member only has to pay their yearly dues. There are no longer any reinstatement fees.

Certainly.  When you get where you’re going, have your new council formally request your OA records from us. Once you register in a new Council, you can no longer remain a member of Ajapeu Lodge 2 unless you maintain your primary registration in the Washington Crossing Council.

No. National 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.

No. OA membership dues are separate from the membership fee to be registered in the Boy Scouts of America.

Yes. You must be registered in a Pack, Troop, Crew, or Team, or be a district or council member 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.