Monday, September 10, 2007

A weekend of Cheerful Service

OA Fall Service Weekend
Originally uploaded by stepol

OlderSon and I spent the weekend out at Camp T. Brady Saunders to participate in the Fall Service Weekend for the Nawakwa Order of the Arrow Lodge. The Order of the Arrow, or OA, is the Boy Scout's national honorary society for experienced campers, based on Native American traditions, and dedicated to the ideal of cheerful service. They hold service weekends in the spring, summer, and fall to complete work projects at the camp.

Also, Scouts who were elected to the OA go through an Ordeal after which they are welcomed as full members in the Lodge. For the second session in a row, OlderSon was an enlangomat which is a guide or big brother to the ordeal candidates. OlderSon was in charge of the Eagle Clan group of candidates and once again performed his job well. If he serves again in the spring he receives a special red elangomat sash to keep.

The camp was hit by two pretty brutal storms in August so much of the work to be done involved cutting up fallen trees and dragging brush out of the camping/activity areas and back into the woods. I spent most of the morning doing that but also worked in the administration building at the Cub Camp fixing computers and doing web work that the council wanted done.

Early Saturday afternoon I got to take a break to see a father/son combo from our troop go through the Brotherhood ceremony. After 10 months as an Ordel member, OA members can seal their membership by going through the Brotherhood ceremony which I did just this past June. Going through the Brotherhood process is probably the best way to go through a service weekend. You learn a lot about the customs and goals of the OA program that kind of flew by during your Ordeal weekend. Also, the Brotherhood ceremony is very well done and I really enjoyed even just watching it as a participant.

After dinner, the three of us went back down to the OA circle to see another member of our troop, actually our current SPL, go through the Ordeal ceremony and be inducted as a new member. Again, a great ceremony that's always performed well by our award-winning ceremony team. We had a lot of new members so they actually ran three ceremonies with performance by the Lodge's dance team in between.

The weather was great and OlderSon got to use the Hennessy Hammock tent that he order back in June. He had just missed out on using at the last backpacking trip to Three Ridges (polMom called when we were halfway to the mountains to say that it had arrived). He had glowing reviews about it so I think it will be a staple in his camping experiences from now on.

This weekend also marked the 98th night of Scout camping he has done since joining the troop in March of 2004. The troop's camping again this coming weekend which will be nights 99 and 100 for him. That earns him the cool National Camping Award for 100 Nights and Days of camping. Actually, Scouts may include camping that they've done with their family while they were Boy Scouts so in reality he's well over the number needed. There's a Court of Honor coming up at the end of the month so it'll be cool if he gets it at that ceremony.

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