For those who know me, my involvement with Order of the Arrow is something that I enjoy, and I'm trying to teach that joy to others in my Troop and around my council. I've long said that I did my Church Callings in Scouting as my calling, My Cub Scout jobs in Scouting as support for my son (and now I can say the same for being Scoutmaster), but that I did O.A. for me, and that's still true. Not to say that I do not enjoy my callings or my service in Scouts as a leader 9I very much do and have) but that O.A. was the one thing that others felt I would be good at doing (i.e. they elected me to it) and my involvement in it is wholly on my back and owned by me.
This past weekend, we brought one youth and one adult up to participate in the Ordeal weekend as candidates, one youth who had been a member of O.A. for a year and was looking to become a Brotherhood member, and my son, his friend, said friend's Dad, and me. The purpose of Ordeal weekend is to induct young men and adults into the Order of the Arrow, perform some meaningful service, reflect a bit on life and what our purpose is, and also to have ceremonial elements from Native American traditions.
When we arrived up there, my son and his friend were asked if they could participate in the Ceremony team and dress the parts for the candidates. While they knew that they would not be able to 100% cover the lines, they had the scripts and some small LED flashlights to help them. With this they said they would do it, and so they did.
I did my part as Ceremony guide (I often split this role with another adult in the Lodge, he does it during the Spring Ordeals, and I typically do it during the Fall Ordeals). It gives me an excuse to break out the buckskin regalia I made a few years ago and wear the Headdress I purchased.
My son and his friends did a presentation of the Lodge Dance Team during Lunch, where they didn't say anything until the end of the performance, and that was "to learn more about the O. Dance Team, come visit us after dinner!"
Since we had two friends going through the Ordeal, Chris (the dad of my son's friend) and I did all we could to help get the ceremony grounds ready and looking good, including cutting wood, setting up a ti pi and marking the trail the candidates would take. Since we had all of the Lodge regalia there, we were able to outfit many of the participants in full regalia and have them line the trail, standing next to smudge pots (large reel film canisters filled with wood chips and paraffin and set afire for dramatic effect). Finally, the candidates came in, received their sashes, we had a great dinner and then we went home at 10:00 PM (and truthfully, I struggled a little with this, as it was later than when I usually left Ordeal, but we had two cars patrolling each other so that helped a lot :) ).
Yesterday, I will freely admit, I was useless. I was *so* tired yesterday that I pretty much spent the majority of the day napping or not doing too much. Is this a sign that I'm getting old? I used to bounce back from these things pretty quickly, but I was really feeling the effects yesterday. Still, it was a great weekend. two new Arrowmen, one new Brotherhood member, what I felt was a great ceremony considering two new members were recruited just prior to the ceremony, and my son and his friend, i felt, did a fantastic job under pressure, and yes, I'm very proud of both of them :).
So now it's back to the real world and everyday life, but I will admit, I do enjoy these weekends when they happen, and I enjoy being able to help this group induct new members. Here's hoping those new members get the same sense of joy and good feeling from O.A. as I do, and I hope to see them become active members, too.