Re: "baptism" of fresh summer-campers (Long)
Rodger Morris (rlm@SUNED1.NSWSES.NAVY.MIL)
Tue, 11 Oct 1994 18:09:17 PDT
>Only one thing is not really organised, though it is an old tradition too:
>the "kampdoop", the initialisation of the boys and leaders who never before
>attended a summer camp. Traditionally this "feast" is quite rough, the
>victims having to crawl through dirt, mud or (at best) water, or being
>dragged allong blindfolded on carts, pulled by the "experienced" campers.
>This happening, as you will understand by now, is organised by the older boys
>who have been the victims themselves in past years, en therefore tend to be
>somewhat sadistic... as far as we will allow them!
>Yet we want the uglier facets of this "baptism" taken away, without really
>breaking the tradition of the "kampdoop", the initialisation to camping.
In the Boy Scouts of America, we have a a society of honor campers, called
the Order of the Arrow, or "the OA", as an abbreviated name. The OA is also
referred to as, "The Brotherhood of Cheerful Service". There is an
initiation process, ("The OA Ordeal") that goes along with entrance into the
OA that lasts almost 24 hours. You may be able to adapt it for your use.
The candidates for membership in the OA are placed on their Scout's Honor to
be silent for the duration of the initiation process, called, "the Ordeal".
They may only eat what they are given during the ordeal (this is waived for
Scouts who are diabetic, or any others for whom a 24 hour fast may be
injurious). They may drink all the water they wish.
The Scouts sleep alone for a night. During this time, they are to think
about their duties and responsibilities as Scouts and as members of the OA.
The next morning, the candidates are fed very little. Each OA candidate
carves a small arrow out of wood, which he hangs around his neck as a symbol
of that for which he is striving. The candidates work hard alongside the OA
members doing a service project that benefits others. At noon, the
candidates are fed very little, are allowed to rest for a bit. Then, they
resume working with the other OA members. During this entire day, they are
placed upon the Scout's honor to be silent.
In the late afternoon, the candidates are instructed in some of the history,
traditions and ritual of the OA. They are taught their parts in the
induction ceremony. Then, the candidates go through the induction ceremony
and they receive the sashes that symbolize their membership in the Order of
the Arrow. They are now full-fledged members of the OA, and are treated as
such from that moment forth. Immediately following the ceremony, the new OA
members are treated to a feast in celebration of their becoming members of
To keep hazing from occurring during this process, there is a position of
honor in the OA, called the "Elangomat". The Elangomat voluntarily goes
through the entire ordeal again as the leader and protector of a group of
candidates. He is silent, but he may break silence to stop hazing or to take
care of a Scout who needs help. He receives an award after the induction
ceremony that may only be earned by Elangomats.
We say of OA members:
1) "Only he is worthy of wearing the Arrow who continues faithfully to serve
his fellow man."
2) "Not so much for what you have done, but for what you will do." (In the
To my brethren in the OA:
I believe my limited description of our ritual and doctrine to be fully
justified by the needs of our fellow Scouts for an improved initiation
process. I trust you will concur.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Ventura County Council, BSA
National Woodbadge 416, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City