Scouting magazine

Highlights of the Order of the Arrow’s first 100 years

An incomplete history of the OA.

1915: Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson form the Order of the Arrow at a council camp in Pennsylvania. It’s designed as a fraternity for honor campers, seeking to turn the words of the Scout Oath and Scout Law into action.

1922: The OA and two other camp fraternities are deemed “official experiments” of the Boy Scouts of America.

1933: President Franklin Roosevelt, a longtime supporter of Scouting, becomes the first and only U.S. president to be inducted into the OA.

1934: The BSA’s National Council votes to approve the OA as an official program, effective Jan. 1, 1935.

1941: The Echockotee Lodge of Jacksonville, Fla., becomes the OA’s 200th lodge. It had taken 22 years for the OA to reach 100 lodges and then just four more to reach the second 100.

1948: The first NOAC is held at Indiana University in Bloomington.

1965: The OA celebrates its 50th birthday at NOAC. The conference, with the theme “Mindful of our Traditions,” was again held at Indiana University.

1980: OA founder Goodman dies at age 88. His memorial service ends with these words: “May the virtues which he represented glow the brighter in our hearts and consciences.”

1997: Tradition meets technology when the OA launches its official website.

2008: OA completes ArrowCorps5, a national service project involving 5,000 Arrowmen working at five national forests. The Arrowmen did conservation work in Missouri, Utah, Virginia, California and Wyoming.

2015: Some 15,000 Arrowmen gather at the OA’s 100th birthday party, held at NOAC at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Want more OA history? Visit history.oa-bsa.org.


See you at NOAC 2018
The OA has announced the location for the next NOAC, held in 2018: Indiana University in Bloomington. Make plans now to attend or serve on staff.