Your son or daughter has been elected by their peers as a candidate for the Order of the Arrow, the society of honor campers within the Scouts BSA. The OA is a national brotherhood of scouts that was originated in 1915.
Candidates for the Order of the Arrow are chosen not only for what they have done, but also for what they are expected to do in serving others. Because your son or daughter was selected for candidacy by the unique method of being elected by their peers, we are certain that he or she is worthy of this honor.
By National rule, if your son or daughter is elected as of January 1, 2023 they must now participate in an Assembly weekend within 18 months of the date of their election—NOT the date of their tap out ceremony to become a member of the Order of the Arrow. Candidates elected prior to this date continue to have 24 months to participate in an Assembly weekend. If a Candidate does not complete this requirement, their selection lapses and they must be elected by their peers again – they are NOT members of the Order of the Arrow until they complete this Assembly weekend.
Our Lodge typically offers four Assembly weekends per year: spring, summer, and fall at Lost Pines Scout Reservation in Bastrop and a winter weekend at Camp Green Dickson near Gonzalez.
The Assembly weekends offer a unique opportunity to reflect on their personal commitment to the principles of the Scout Oath and Law. The weekends will also allow them to become acquainted with the principles and purposes of the Order of the Arrow. The Assembly weekend must be completed by each new candidate and is a meaningful and inspiring experience that will not soon be forgotten.
The Assembly weekend comprises the induction processes for new members into the Order of the Arrow. Commonly known as The Ordeal, candidates will meet a series of challenges that will foster self-reflection and test their commitment to a life of cheerful service. For existing members, Assembly Weekend offers a chance to strengthen friendships and serve Scouting in meaningful ways.
Most of our Ordeals take place at Lost Pines Scout Reservation, located near Bastrop, Texas. Once a year, we move to Camp Green Dickson, located between Gonzalez and Shiner, Texas.
Be sure to keep an eye on our Lodge web site for registration information for these assemblies. Registration normally opens about a month before each Assembly weekend.
Induction into the Order of the Arrow will open many new doors for your son or daughter. Our Lodge participates in many events every year such as OA Section Conclaves, National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC), and various fellowship weekends. In addition, the OA provides some of the most valuable youth leadership training and opportunities available. These opportunities will build upon the knowledge your son or daughter has already received during their Scouting experience. This is truly an exciting time for your family. Once again, congratulations.
The current cost of an Assembly weekend for Candidates is $60 and covers your first year’s dues, a pocket flap, OA Handbook, and sash.
After you register for the Ordeal, additional information specific to the Ordeal you are attending will be sent to you via email – this includes important information on when to arrive and any special instructions.
In order to attend any Ordeal, you must bring along a hard-copy of your Annual Health & Medical Record (electronic copies will not work). Expect that these will not be returned, so be sure to have a copy you can part with. You will also need to bring along the email receipt you received via the registration system when you completed your registration – again, we need a hard-copy of this since we use it to cross-check and verify things during the check-in process.
Pursuant to Council policies for health and safety reasons, no visitors will be allowed on camp during these events.
Equipment and Packing List
The only gear needed by Candidates will be:
- The clothes they wear – we highly recommend the following since you will be working outdoors:
- long work pants,
- long-sleeved work shirt,
- closed toe shoes or boots (MANDATORY).
- A face mask is optional.
- T-shirts and other clothing should be Scouting appropriate.
- In a small backpack, Candidates should carry:
- weather appropriate gear (fleece or jacket),
- water bottle (MANDATORY),
- sleeping bag and pad,
- wet wipes,
- small bottle of hand sanitizer,
- pocketknife (MANDATORY)
- If they require medications, those can be packed as well.
- In a separate backpack (only for Ordeals at Lost Pines), Candidates should bring:
- Class-A uniform (please don’t wear while working),
- personal hygiene gear,
- small towel,
- change of underwear and socks,
- small tent for Saturday night.
For Ordeals at Lost Pines, we have a secure location for the separate packs for Friday night and Saturday during the day. Candidates will have an opportunity to retrieve their packs, set up their tent, and shower and clean up Saturday afternoon.
Food and Meals
Please plan on eating dinner before you arrive the night of your Ordeal. No food is available for Candidates the first night. Three meals will be served on Saturday, and a breakfast will be served on Sunday. We can accommodate vegetarian, no red meat, no pork, lactose intolerant, and gluten free dietary restrictions.
We will send out a menu prior to the Ordeal weekend for review. If you have special dietary restrictions that we cannot accommodate and cannot eat what is on the menu, you will need to bring your own non-perishable ready-to-eat food for the weekend. We have no refrigeration or other storage facilities for this. All others are expected to eat only what is provided.’
All registration is handled through Black Pug – the Council’s on-line registration system. Full or partial payment may be made electronically via the web site, or you can choose to pay at the door. On site, all outstanding registration fees are collected by cash, check, or credit cards at the time of check in.
Due to the remoteness of some of our sites, we cannot always ensure we have connectivity, so in-person payments are preferred to be made by cash or check.
Any checks should be made out to: Tonkawa 99
We do not have access to Troop accounts, so you must make payment through the web site or at the door.
The Ordeal is a time-honored tradition more than 100 years in the making. Following these rules will ensure that the Ordeal is observed with the utmost respect and decorum.
Watch the weather forecast and prepare accordingly. This is an all-weather event. Follow the packing list in your Candidate Letter but bring weather appropriate clothing.
There will be signs and personnel to help direct you. Medical check in will take place first.
Remember to bring the registration receipt automatically mailed to you by the BlackPug system.
You will need to provide the following documents:
- Black Pug registration receipt
- Part A and Part B of your Annual Health & Medical (signed by parents or guardian)
We need hard paper copies – do not try to upload at registration. These documents will not be returned.
Further check-in will take place after the medical check-in. All participants will need your final payment at this time (if you do not pay in full through the registration site).
Ordeal Completion Requirements
By National Rule, Candidate attendance at the Ordeal is mandatory from the beginning of the pre-ordeal ceremony on Saturday evening, until dismissal on Sunday after jumpstart. This means that leaving camp for any reason during the Ordeal is not permitted. The only exceptions to this rule are for Health and Safety. This means that family activities, school activities, church functions, etc. are not a valid reason for leaving camp once the Ordeal has begun.
Are Parents and Non-Scouters Allowed at the Ordeal Ceremony?
Only active, dues-paying and event registered OA members may attend ceremonies. Family members who are not OA members may not attend. Below is the national policy on this matter:
“Youth and adult candidates for membership into the Order of the Arrow are introduced to the Order’s concepts of servant leadership though a safeguarded ceremonial induction. Nonmembers should not attend the ceremonies.
Although the content of the ceremonies is private, the ceremonies were designed to avoid offending any religious belief and have received the approval of religious leaders. The ceremonies are consistent with Scouting traditions and the spirit of the Scout Oath and Law.
The Order of the Arrow recognizes and respects the right of any parent, Scout leader, or religious leader to be interested in the content of the ceremony. The lodge adviser, or his designee, may discuss the content of the ceremony and any other issue brought to his attention by one of these interested and responsible adults, with the understanding that the adult will maintain the confidentiality of the ceremony.
If after discussing the ceremony with the lodge adviser, the parent, Scout leader, or religious leader continues to have questions about the content of the ceremony, that person will be permitted to read the ceremony text and view the Order’s ceremony training DVD. Following this, parents will be able to decide whether to allow their son or daughter to participate in the ceremony. Candidates may not become members of the Order of the Arrow without completing the pre-Ordeal and Ordeal ceremonies.”