Each year, the National Order of the Arrow Committee honors those lodges which go above and beyond in one or more aspects of our mission, including promoting camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship. The Central Region of the Order of the Arrow is proud to have six of our lodges recognized for these outstanding achievements.
National Service Award
The National Service Award highlights those lodges who provide outstanding service within their council. This award considers both the quantitative and qualitative service that the lodge has provided. The 2019 National Service Award recipients within the Central Region are Black Hawk Lodge #67 and Onondaga Lodge #36. For their impeccable devotion to service, these two lodges serve as an inspiration to all within the Central Region.
Onondaga Lodge has long been a staunch proponent of service to the Ohio River Valley Council. Their council’s main camp, Fort Steuben Scout Reservation, has played host to many ordeal weekends and has received countless hours of service work. Through a joint effort with the Ohio River Valley Council, Onondaga Lodge created a mountain biking course at this camp, which has created yet another amazing activity for the summer camp participants. In addition, Onondaga Lodge has consistently provided a unique experience with Native American heritage for the Cub Scouts during the Ohio River Valley Council Cub Fun Day. Onondaga Lodge Chief Nick S. sees service “not as a chore, or something required by our program, but a rewarding experience for everyone. [It is] a time to improve one’s self and gather as a group to accomplish something meaningful.”
Black Hawk Lodge
For the third year in a row, Black Hawk Lodge has been a recipient of the National Service Award. This impressive streak is due to their dedication to participating in events within their community and the Mississippi Valley Council. Just over the past year, they have joined their community with sandbagging efforts during floods and have been instrumental with providing upkeep throughout their council’s camps. Black Hawk Lodge maintains two different programs dedicated to providing service at their camps. The OA Service Corps attends camp over the summer, and spends their mornings working on different service projects throughout the camp. On the other hand, their Ranger Corps works on a year-round basis to maintain these camps and to deliver program to participants. A combined effort of these two groups were able to build a trail and bridge between the camp activity field and the ranger’s workshop. In order to complete these many projects, Black Hawk Lodge has created a recognition program for those who have gone above and beyond in their service. By recognizing those individuals who have achieved varying thresholds of service hours in a year, they are creating inspiration for others to also reach these great heights. Black Hawk Lodge Chief Ryan H. says that, “As a Lodge Chief, service means that I am always trying to improve our lodge,council, and community that we serve. No matter what is going on, whether it be a pandemic that closes everything or a thunderstorm at camp, I am always finding ways to improve the things we do.”
Throughout the program offered by every lodge, there are inevitably many challenges that impede the success of the lodge. Every LEC must find their own solutions to overcome these challenges. Sometimes, a lodge finds a solution so creative or innovative that they are recognized with the Order of the Arrow Innovation Award. The 2019 Innovation Award recipients within the Central Region are Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge #145 and Illini Lodge #55. For their creativity in the face of adversity, these two lodges serve as an inspiration to all within the Central Region.
Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge had an issue. Year after year, their activation rate was low. But last year, they created a new way to keep their Arrowmen invested in the lodge. The lodge leadership realized that an Arrowman would become an active member once they attend one event. In order to facilitate this, Ku-Ni-Eh created an “Ambassador Program.” Throughout their lodge, they identified 10-15 active Arrowmen, mainly members of the Lodge Executive Committee. These members would contact new candidates directly in order to ease the process of getting a candidate through their Ordeal. This “ambassador” is able to answer any questions about the Ordeal process or the Order of the Arrow that the candidate or their parent/guardian may have. By being able to have a personal connection with a member, rather than receiving an impersonal letter, they have a greater inspiration to attend their Ordeal. Once they attend their Ordeal, they will meet their ambassador in person, who will then personally invite them to a fellowship event, which is always held the weekend immediately following. Since these newly minted Ordeal members have made it to their first event, they are more likely to continue to come to following events. This program led to an unprecedented rise in the activation rate of Ku-Ni-Eh because the ambassadors highlighted the fact that membership in the Order of the Arrow is a commitment rather than an honor. Through this program, Ku-Ni-Eh’s activation rate tripled, reaching a high of twice the average of their section. Aedhan S., the Lodge Chief of Ku-Ni-Eh Lodge, said that “This ambassador program addresses an issue that every lodge struggles with. This focus on personal outreach gives us a connection that allows us all to thrive.”
Illini Lodge noticed a trend occurring at the beginning of the terms of their officers: the new leadership was always inexperienced. The transition period from one officer group to the next consistently left the lodge in a weakened state until each officer fully understood their duties and responsibilities in their position. In order to facilitate this transition, the lodge had an idea: creating a series of “foundation books.” These documents, which are shared between all of the incoming officers, contain a full description of each position and tips on how to best function in each role. These pieces formed the basic knowledge that every lodge officer needs in order to thrive in their positions. But, instead of taking a significant portion of their term to understand their role, each officer now has a guide to reference immediately upon taking their position. The process to create these “foundation books” began with Benjamin H., who now serves as the Immediate Past Lodge Chief of Illini Lodge. Benjamin says that, “While everything should be about the members, providing service, fun times, etc., without a foundation, that can’t be done. […] Informed leadership also inspires others to get active and take on roles leading to more active youth and active chairman.” The current Lodge Chief of Illini Lodge, Connor D., has been the first chief to truly benefit from this innovative series of documents. Connor states that these documents have been a large benefit to the leadership of Illini Lodge, saying that, “Having the foundation books allowed for my Board and I to understand the basics of our roles and responsibilities as soon as we took over. As a Lodge Chief especially, these foundation books allowed me to more effectively guide my Officers than if I had not had these books readily available.” For this innovative solution to this common problem, the Central Region is incredibly proud of Illini Lodge!
E. Urner Goodman Camping Award
One of the core goals of the Order of the Arrow is to promote camping throughout their council. Lodges who go above and beyond in pursuit of this goal are awarded the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award, named as a tribute and testimonial to the dedication to camping held by the founder of the Order of the Arrow. For 2019, the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award recipients within the Central Region are Dzie-Hauk Tonga Lodge #429 and Lowaneu Allanque Lodge #41. For their dedication to camping within their home councils, they serve as a model for all of the lodges within the Central Region!
Lowaneu Allanque Lodge
Deep within the heart of Northern Illinois lies the Three Fires Council. This council maintains two independent camps: Camp Freeland Leslie in Oxford, Wisconsin and Camp Big Timber in Elgin, Illinois. This pair of camps is of the utmost priority to the youth members of Lowaneu Allanque Lodge, who earned the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award this year. Lowaneu Allanque is always working to improve their camps in one aspect or another. The most obvious way that they have improved their camps has been through their dedication to service work within the camps. At multiple times throughout the year, the lodge can be found on camp property working on a variety of improvements. In addition, Lowaneu Allanque is a driving force behind the “Haunted Hike” annual fundraiser, which serves to fund many components of the program at these camps. In addition to hosting fundraisers, Lowaneu Allanque makes many financial contributions to their camps, ranging from the funding of the annual marketing for the summer camp programs, to a range of scholarships for campers to attend during the summer, or to donations of materials for specific projects. On top of these other contributions, Lowaneu Allanque promotes their camp programs at multiple points throughout the year. These presentations are, of course, given directly to each unit during their annual elections. But, Arrowmen are also present at the Three Fires Council Annual Unit Leader meeting, which serves to continually reinforce their intertwinement with the camping program of the Three Fires Council. But even all this was not enough for the Arrowmen of Lowaneu Allanque. For, in all things that they do, they are always seeking to improve. Recently, they have created a plan for their Arrowmen to assist in food preparation during the summer camp season. Unfortunately, this plan has had to be severely modified due to unforeseen circumstances. Nevertheless, Lowaneu Allanque is dedicated to the continual improvement of their camps and camping program. After all, in the words of Roger J., the Lodge Adviser, Lowaneu Allanque is nothing more than “a great group of youth who absolutely love their camps.” For all that they have done for their camps, the Central Region is incredibly proud of Lowaneu Allanque Lodge!
Dzie-Hauk Tonga Lodge
In the heart of Jayhawk Area Council lies Falley Scout Reservation. The grounds of this vast landscape play host to Camp Jayhawk, which provides a Boy Scout Summer Camp, and Camp Delaware, which provides a Cub Scout Summer Camp. This entire reservation is open year round to provide an amazing program to all ages of campers. But in order to accomplish this task, the campgrounds need a lot of support. This support can be found within the Arrowmen of Dzie-Hauk Tonga Lodge, who, for their outstanding dedication to the well-being of their council’s camping program, have received the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award this year. For their outstanding work, the Central Region is proud to serve Dzie-Hauk Tonga Lodge!
In order to earn these awards, these six lodges put forth a great effort. The dedication towards the high ideals of the Order of the Arrow that these lodges demonstrate are a great inspiration to all within the Central Region. For their efforts, Central Region Chief Patrick M. is “beyond proud of our six lodges that received national awards. Service is more important than ever during this pandemic. Camping, although a bit different these days, remains one of the principle parts of our Order. And Innovation is exactly what we need as we have shifted our focus to moving every lodge towards high performing. I can’t wait to see even more lodges recognized for their greatness next year!”