This section is about Pioneering and the Order of the Arrow. The OA is unique to the BSA, but for those readers from other countries, its correlation with Pioneering can apply to all Scouting groups seeking to render cheerful service and promote camping.
HOW DOES PIONEERING BENEFIT THE ORDER OF THE ARROW AND SCOUTING? By contributing to the overall impact of a Scouting event, and by creating a positive impression about our Brotherhood of Cheerful Service, Pioneering benefits both Scouting and the Order of the Arrow. We are an honor organization that promotes camping. When the OA presents a well-built pioneering structure, it is often the first time many are exposed to these timeless, outdoor Scouting skills, and the OA is associated with advanced campcraft abilities that are functional and fun. Furthermore, when the project is presented by cheerful Arrowmen looking great in their sashes, symbolizing the values of our order, the OA is seen clearly in an impressive and positive light.
HOW DOES PIONEERING FURTHER THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE ORDER OF THE ARROW? For 100 years, the Order of the Arrow has inspired numerous Scouts, both young and old, by linking a love for the outdoors and camping with the cheerful rendering of service to our fellow man. Of course, featuring an impressive, interactive pioneering structure enhances the overall experience of an organized Scouting event. But additionally, when Arrowmen dedicate their time and skills to the construction process, their accomplishment carries with it a dual purpose. One: a properly presented and well-built Pioneering project in itself promotes a love for the outdoors and camping. Two: Arrowmen unselfishly sharing the fun inherent in their work is the kind of action that indeed exemplifies the cheerful service that embraces the watchwords of our order.
SCOUT PIONEERING AND THE ORDER OF THE ARROW’S DUAL PURPOSE. To contribute to the overall impact of the event and to increase awareness of the Order of the Arrow, the Chicora Chapter of Santee Lodge 116 received permission to set up their own exhibit at a Council Expo. They wanted to communicate and share with everyone in attendance that members of the Order of the Arrow were capable of providing an outstanding activity—one that provided real interactive fun while rendering cheerful service, and one that promoted camping by demonstrating advanced Scout skills.
ORDER OF THE ARROW AT A COUNCIL SCOUT EXPO. Because they impressed the staff and participants at the previous year’s event, the Scouter heading up the program for the following Council-wide Scout Expo invited the Order of the Arrow to set up several pioneering-related exhibits. Naturally, on the list was a request for a monkey bridge, but additionally the pioneering team was asked to come up with some team building stations and a Scout skills challenge. As a bonus, they put up a Swing Boat which served as a test run for their annual conclave which was less than a month away.
PIONEERING AT THE 2014 DIXIE FELLOWSHIP. Santee Lodge 116, Order of the Arrow hosted this year’s Dixie Fellowship at Camp Coker. With the input of the Dixie Design Team comprised of Pioneering Crews from Chicora, Iswa and Attakwa Chapters, Arrowmen erected a 24 foot gateway flying the American flag, the Order of the Arrow flag, the World Scout Crest flag, and the state flags of NC, SC, and GA. These six flags surrounded a 10’ banner welcoming everyone to the Dixie Fellowship! The OA Pioneering Crews also built a 12’ Swing Boat and 10’ Atomic Pile for intermittent fun during the Fellowship.
It’s been seen time and again, Scouts are impressed by well-built, pioneering structures. Tall gateways, strong bridges, or clever camp gadgets are found to be especially exciting when experienced outdoors during a Scout gathering. The attraction is even more pronounced in those Scouts who would love to have the chance to get involved firsthand in the challenge and fun, but frequently don’t possess the various skills or have the opportunities to build more involved or larger pioneering structures. So, what’s all this have to do with the Order of the Arrow? First and foremost, Pioneering aside, Scouts who are members of the OA should be seen as exemplifying the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. But, as the BSA’s national honor society, a very favorable impact is created when a specially-trained chapter or lodge pioneering crew can demonstrate they know how to accomplish some “bigger” things. They can build them! Then, as a celebration of Scouting, they can help others to enjoy what they’ve built! It’s a worthwhile opportunity to cheerfully serve their fellow Scouts, promote camping, and also contribute to the overall value of a district or council event. The resulting impact definitely serves to impress their fellow Scouts who will naturally hold the Order of the Arrow in an even higher regard.