Since the Order of the Arrow is the honor campers’ brotherhood of the Boy Scouts of America, a lodge’s basic objective is to promote the camping program of the local council. This should include troop and pack visitation by members of the lodge or chapter camping promotion committee. Each troop/team rep should become the camping promoter in his own unit.
Camping provided the environment for you to learn to work as a member of a group, to discover new places and friends, and to grow by becoming aware of your abilities. Because you learned these lessons, your troop elected you to the Order. In your Ordeal, camping again provided the time and place for growth.
Your task now is to enhance the camping program of your troop so that other Scouts learn, discover, and grow as you did. This may seem difficult, since the goal is vague and the effect of your efforts hard to observe. Here are some effective ways to improve camping that can make a real difference.
- Encourage camping. As a member of the Order of the Arrow, you are a respected member of your troop. Other Scouts look up to you. Thus you can enhance camping just by supporting patrol and troop campouts enthusiastically. Your enthusiasm for camping – especially when things aren’t going right – can make a tremendous difference in how others feel about going out.
- Improve your own camping skills. Can you identify most of the trees you see while camping? Can you start a fire with flint and steel? Do you always wash your dishes properly? Do you use topographic maps often enough to use them to navigate with? You can learn a lot from the Boy Scout Handbook and Fieldbook. To become good at a skill, you may need to do some library research or find someone (perhaps another Arrowman) who can give you some pointers. This is part of the fun. Above all practice! You can’t be an expert at everything, but you can find one or two skills that aren’t well known in your troop and learn all you can about them. Once you know them, use these skills often and enthusiastically.
- Help new Scouts with camping skills and jobs. Camping isn’t fun if you don’t know how. Show a new Scout how to enjoy his first campout – how to make a comfortable bed on the ground, cook a hearty meal, start a fire, and track a bird or animal. You will find that teaching others helps you sharpen your own skills.
- Finally, Go Camping! Don’t just talk about it, Do it!
If you are interested in knowing more about camp promotion or you would like to become involved in OA’s role in promoting camping, please email the Camp Promotion Chairman.