This last weekend I spent one of the most arduous but tremendously rewarding weekends of my life participating in my Order of the Arrow ordeal at the 3,2oo acre Raven Knob Boy Scout Reservation. I was one of about 163 candidates to participate but I was probably the only one who was actually a candidate in 2008 but it took me a year before I was able to schedule my Ordeal.
Order of the Arrow is the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America and is entirely youth led. Adults can also be elected by their troop as candidates but they can't hold elected office however we are encouraged to offer advice. I was greatly humbled and surprised while attending an Order of the Arrow ceremony last summer when with more than a thousand scouters present, my name was announced to come forward for tapping by the lodge Chief. I honestly had no idea nor did I expect such an honor so I hesitated for a few moments until I was convinced that I really did need to step forward. What an honor.
Due to various complications in my schedule I wasn't able to attend an Ordeal last summer but I made sure that I was there this last weekend for the first of two Ordeals offered in 2009. Ceremonies are sacred in the Order so I won't reveal what happened because (1) I can't and, (2) I wouldn't want to spoil this unique experience for another prospective candidate. I'll just say that it was an enormously meaningful and powerful experience that I will never forget. In a nutshell an Ordeal is meant to emphasize service to others and self-sacrifice.
During this day of sacrifice I managed to grab a few short moments to carve the arrow assigned to me and to be worn throughout the Ordeal. In the beginning it was just a simple cut-out on the scroll saw but I knew that I'd want to have a real memento from my experience to remind me of what I went through for many years to come. When I got home yesterday evening I completed the Arrow with some woodburning and painting, then I attached the Wahissa Lodge 118 lanyard.
This has been quite a weekend where I made a lot of new friends and I'm looking forward to serving for many years to come.
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