Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona (CHAGGERTY@ARIZBPA.BITNET)
Tue, 22 Jun 1993 20:43:00 MST
I know Mike can explain Order of the Arrow (The Brotherhood of
Cheerful Service) to you. In the Order of the Arrow (O-A) there
are three honors (notice the word honors NOT RANKS, there are no
RANKS in O-A).
After being selected by your unit for nomination to the O-A, you
must pass through an Ordeal to become a member. The First honor
is called Ordeal Membership for this reason.
After learning about the traditions and purpose of the O-A and
serving for 10 months you may become a Brotherhood member of the
Order of the Arrow. (Or receive the Brotherhood honor.) This is
the equivalent of sealing your membership in the organization.
The last honor is Vigil. I quote from one of my many O-A books:
(Note: There is not end in O-A, I received my Vigil in 1973 and I am still
"The Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow
can bestow upon its members for service to their lodge and local
"It is a mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those
Arrowmen who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort,
and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions
beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position or office
to one or more of the following: their lodge, the Order of the
Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. Under no circumstances
should tenure in Scouting or the Order be considered as ample
reason for Vigil Honor recommendation."
"Membership cannot be won by a person's conscious endeavor. It
comes as a recognition of his (this is an old book folks)
altruistic leadership in service. This fact should be given
careful consideration in the selection of candidates for
A lodge may select one nomination for every 50 O-A members in their
lodge. 50% of the nominations must be youth members. You must
have been a brotherhood member of the O-A for two years (means
youths must be members for at least 3 years). Many lodges do not
fill their one per 50 because they do not have the youths and
because the do not feel they have ample people to fill this quota
who meet the criteria.
In a nutshell, you cannot work toward Vigil like you work on Eagle,
there are no set requirements to meet. Nomination to be considered
for nomination to Vigil must come from others who have observed
you. You cannot ask to be nominated or nominate yourself.
Most nomination committees look at you, what you have done and what
they think you will do before they make a nomination. On top of
all this is the Indian name of the O-A which best describes the O-
A. It translates into the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service. Three
key words and all very important.
I was nominated for Vigil because of what people had seen me do for
others (SERVICE) and because of their expectations of what I would
continue to do for others (MORE SERVICE). It was also important
how I did that service (Cheerfully, I love doing it!). That is why
Vigil is so important to me.
My Eagle Scout award is also important to me because it is better
understood in the community and is a practical demonstration that
I am a person who will sit down and finish the job, but to those
who truly understand, it does not convey the same message as Vigil.
Jessica, like most you have heard and know something about Eagle Scouts,
but most have not heard of Vigil. The pool of people drawn on to receive
this honor is much smaller. In addition, even National says the Eagle
Scout Award is the highest award which can be earned by BSA youth members.
The point I guess is that this is a personal preference on my part. To me
being recognized for helping and doing service to others is more important
than finishing merit badges and a service project (which I enjoyed doing).
To someone else who had a different experience in O-A, his Eagle may be
much more important to him.
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City