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Brotherhood Resources

Feeling a little lost on what Brotherhood membership in the Order of the Arrow is, or how to become a Brotherhood member? Fear not. Read on, and hopefully all of your questions will be answered.

What is Brotherhood membership?

Brotherhood membership is a continuation and intensification of your involvement and commitment to the Order of the Arrow. When you became an Ordeal member, this was not entirely by your choice, but required that your fellow scouts selected you for the honor. Because they saw in you those virtues which are at the heart of Scouting as set forth in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the Order of the Arrow welcomed you to your Ordeal weekend as a candidate. You completed several tasks over the course of the weekend, and thus became an Ordeal member. Throughout all of this, however, you probably had very little understanding of what was happening or what the Order of the Arrow is really all about.

Becoming a Brotherhood member is your chance to affirm that you truly wish to become an active part of the Order of the Arrow. It requires an understanding of the customs and traditions of the OA, as well as an active decision on your part to seal your membership. When you became an Ordeal member, the Order of the Arrow accepted you. When you become a Brotherhood member, your are declaring that you have accepted the Order of the Arrow into your life, and that you intend to support the principles on which it was founded.

Brotherhood membership is not another 'rank' within the OA. There are no special rights or privileges granted by becoming a Brotherhood member. It is not an achievement, but an affirmation that you understand what it means to be a member of the Order of the Arrow, and a commitment to continue to serve its purpose and mission in the future.

Why would I want to be a Brotherhood member?

There are several reasons why you might decide to become a Brotherhood member. You may be feeling pressure from the other scouts in your troop who are active in the OA, or you might be receiving encouragement from other Arrowmen in your chapter or lodge. You may feel that you are obligated to do it. You may have heard that the Brotherhood ceremony is the best ceremony the OA has to offer (and, most people would agree, it is). You might even be considering taking your Brotherhood just because you get a nifty new sash. None of these are good reasons.

The only real reason to become a Brotherhood member is because that is what you truly want to do. If you feel that your principles fit well with those of the Order of the Arrow, if you feel the desire to expand your leadership and service to others, if you wish to create a closer bond between yourself and your fellow Arrowmen, then Brotherhood membership is for you. Your ties to the Order already exist. Brotherhood membership will reinforce those ties, making them stronger and more lasting.

Still not quite sure? Come to a chapter or lodge event, and you will find many Arrowmen happy to talk to you about becoming a Brotherhood member.

What are the requirements?

  1. Memorize the signs of Arrow membership: the Obligation, the Handclasp, the sign of the Ordeal, the Admonition, and the Song.
  2. Advance in your understanding of the Ordeal. See the section of your Handbook on 'The Customs and Traditions of the Ordeal' to learn more about what the tasks and symbols of the Ordeal represent.
  3. Serve your unit. Maintain your registration in Scouting for at least 10 months after becoming an Ordeal member. During this time, strive to fulfull your Obligation by continuing and expanding your service to your own troop or team.
  4. Plan for service in the Lodge. Develop a concrete plan for how you expect to serve the lodge now and in the future.
  5. Review your progress by writing a letter to the lodge Brotherhood chairman that:
    1. Explains what you think the Obligation means;
    2. Describes how you have been fulfulling this Obligation in your troop or team and in your daily life, and how you have used your understanding of the Ordeal to aid in your service; and
    3. Describes your specific plans for giving future service in the lodge program.

When you feel that you have completed all of these requirements to your satisfaction, you will need to register for and attend one of the Brotherhood opportunities listed below or in the Lodge calendar.

Still unclear on exactly what the requirements mean? You can find additional explanation of these requirements here.

Are there any resources out there to help me?

Absolutely! The first resource you should use is your Order of the Arrow Handbook, which provides quite a bit of information about the OA in general, as well as the requirements for Brotherhood membership and details on many of the traditions of the OA. Check out the sections labelled 'The Challenges of Brotherhood Membership' (page 50) and 'The Customs and Traditions of the Ordeal' (pages 52-54).

Certain information is not included in your Handbook, including the Admonition, the Sign of the Ordeal, and the Handclasp. This is because these are used to identify you as a member of the Order of the Arrow, and thus are safeguarded more carefully. There are two ways you can learn these in case you have forgotten (or just didn't catch them during your ceremony): come to any lodge or chapter function and ask us, or check out the National Order of the Arrow's website, which includes a section called Jumpstart designed to help new Arrowmen learn more about the OA. You will need a password to enter the site, which can be found in your Handbook. Once you are in the Jumpstart area, click on the Brotherhood section to review the information you need. You can also look at the other sections to learn more about the Order of the Arrow.

When can I take my Brotherhood?

The Tecumseh Lodge will be offering several opportunities for you to become a Brotherhood member in 2012:

What if I still have questions?

Feel free to contact the Tendeuchen Chapter Advisor, Paul Post, at (614) 799-0086 or by e-mail at post.1@osu.edu, or come to any chapter meeting or lodge event.

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This page is maintained by Paul Post. Last updated March 20, 2013.

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