Coup Thong

Members of the Nampa-Tsi Lodge wear a coup thong around their necks as a display of their achievements in the Order of the Arrow and in Scouting. The coup thong of our lodge is unique and should be worn with pride. Some other lodges have similar award programs, but each is different in its own entity.

If you study the coup thong, it has embedded symbolism. The eagle claws are reminders of Scouts BSA’s highest rank and come together to form a crescent moon, a symbol of both strength and guidance. The two claws bound together also remind us of our union, the Nampa-Tsi Lodge, which came to be because of the merger between the Metab and Po-E-Mo lodges in 1971. Additionally, they also represent an Arrowman’s connection with all other Arrowmen, as well as his or her commitment to the Admonition and Obligation of the Order of the Arrow. In addition, the program uses three types of beads:  small spherical – 3/8″ in diameter, large spherical – 1/2″ in diameter, and flat round – 1/2″ in diameter across and 1/8″ tall.

Order of the Arrow Candidacy

After being called, candidates are given the initial and essential part of the coup thong the blue call-out bead, a large spherical blue bead on a brown leather thong. Simplistic in appearance, it is the symbol of the candidacy. If an Arrowman was tapped out instead or called out (approximately prior to mid-1991) this bead shall be black in color.

Ordeal Membership

After completing the Ordeal, Arrowmen are given their pair of two plastic eagle claws, as well as their first pair of black tenure beads (small spherical – 3/8″ in diameter). For each concluding year after having paid dues, a new pair of tenure beads will be given to them matching their membership status (until an Ordeal member becomes a Brotherhood member, he or she will continue to receive black tenure beads as long as he or she pays his or her dues). Also, an Ordeal member will wear the Universal Arrow Ribbon below the eagle claws.

Brotherhood Membership

Upon sealing one’s membership in the Order as a Brotherhood member, members are given a pair of red tenure beads (small spherical – 3/8″ in diameter). Arrowmen will receive an additional pair of red tenure beads each year that they pay their dues. A Brotherhood member may wear the lodge totem below the claws attached to the Universal Arrow Ribbon.

Vigil Honor Candidacy

Should a Brotherhood member be called to become a Vigil Honor member in the Order, he or she wears the wooden Vigil triangle attached to his or her coup thong. Following obtainment of the Vigil Honor, the triangle should not be worn.

Vigil Honor Membership

Upon completing the Vigil, members are given a pair of white tenure beads (small spherical – 3/8″ in diameter). Arrowman will receive an additional pair of white tenure beads each year they pay their dues. The Vigil Honor pin should also be worn on the Universal Arrow Ribbon with the lodge totem.

Further Information on Tenure Beads

As an Arrowman ages, his or her coup thong may become very long. If an Arrowman desires, ten pairs of small tenure (small spherical) beads (representing one year for each pair) can be replaced by one pair of large tenure (large spherical) beads of the same color.

Coup Thong Award Program

Beads can be worn as preferred in any order or combination; however, beads will be worn above the call-out bead and under the tenure beads in a single column with both strands of the necklace going through each bead. Only one bead of each color is to be worn.

Youth recognition beads (large and spherical) may be earned before becoming twenty-one years of age. Adult recognition beads (flat and circular) may be earned after becoming twenty-one years of age. An adult may continue to wear all youth recognition beads (large spherical beads) after turning twenty-one years of age if earned before becoming twenty-one years of age or they may wear the adult flat beads for any beads earned as a youth.


Chapters may develop and wear a chapter totem attached to their coup thong; however, the Lodge Executive Committee must first approve the totem. At this time no chapter has a totem approved by the LEC.

The Tradition of Lodge Chief Claws Being Painted White

Another unique tradition in our lodge’s coup thong award program is the current lodge chief painting both of his claws white. When his term ends, only one claw is to be painted white and is to be worn on the wearer’s right; therefore, the current and past lodge chiefs of our lodge can be easily distinguished.

Special Award Ribbons

Additionally, recipients of the Fred A. Zimmann Distinguished Service Award are permitted to wear a blue ribbon on their coup thong in substitution of the Universal Arrow Ribbon. Recipients of the Founder’s Award may also wear the gold-colored arrow suspended from a red ribbon on their coup thongs (like the ribbon of the Fred A. Zimmann Distinguished Service Award, the ribbon for recipients of the Founder’s Award substitutes for the Universal Arrow Ribbon). If an individual should happen to receive both the Fred A. Zimmann Distinguished Service Award and the Founder’s Award, he or she may wear a ribbon that is half red and half blue.


Eagle Scout (red) – after the Council is notified by National that the Eagle Scout Application has been approved

Camp staff (purple) – after the completion of five full weeks (or the entire summer) as a paid or volunteer camp staff service

NOAC participant (orange) – after participation in NOAC

NOAC staff (orange with black stripe) – after participation in NOAC or service as a Staff member

Elangomat (dark brown) – after your clan completes the Ordeal ceremony

Nimat (light brown) – after your Brotherhood Candidates complete the Brotherhood ceremony

Vigil Guide (clear) – after serving as a Vigil Guide

Chapter Chief/Chapter Adviser (green) – at the conclusion of six or more months of service for youth or at the time of 12 months of service for adults

Lodge Vice-Chief (white) – at the conclusion of six or more months of service

Ceremony Team member (yellow) – serve in a principal capacity for at least one ceremony

An adult version of beads may be traded out for any youth beads received.