Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Thoughts about Ordeal Weekend

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.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dread Pirate Roberts Consulting

For those who are fans of the movie "The Princess Bride" you will know this character :). He was portrayed by Cary Elwes (the alter ego of "Wesley") and the foil for many of the characters to go up against. The parts of the movie I remember the best were his quips when he and Buttercup were walking through the Fire Swamp and he was describing how he became the Dread Pirate Roberts. I'll not spoil the whole setup for the perhaps two or three people out there who have not seen this movie, but there's a section where the "Dread Pirate Roberts" takes in Wesley by saying "well, I've never had a valet before, so let's see how this works, but be warned, I shall probably kill you in the morning" (paraphrased).

I've long thought on this quote and wondered "what would I do in my everyday life if I had that as a way to work and to live, the notion of work hard, work well, do what you can, I shall probably kill you in the morning"? How would you do things differently? How would you approach problems? How would you approach projects? Lately, I've felt overwhelmed by many things, as though I'm trying to get so many aspects of my life to line up correctly. For grins, I'm taking a page out of Dread Pirate Roberts play book, and approaching each day as if it were a standalone, with work, with play, with family, with scriptures, etc. and I'm asking myself "do I feel that this is the best use of my time considering the Dread Pirate Roberts will probably kill me in the morning?" If the answer is "yes", then that's truly been a good day. If the answer is "no", then it's really time to de-emphasize that piece, whatever it may be.

Here's wishing you all great days and great efforts, whatever they may be. May you not be killed in the morning. Oh, and do your best to avoid the R.O.U.S.'s, too ;).