History of the Order of the Arrow


The Order of the Arrow was founded in 1915 at Treasure Island, the Scout camp of the Philadelphia Council. Dr E. Urner Goodman and Col. Carroll A. Edson, the Camp Director and Assistant Camp Director, founded the Order of the Arrow during summer camp that year. While preparing for camp in the spring, Goodman read a book which described a camp of brotherhood which had been used to continue the traditions and ideals of the camp. Both Goodman and Edson wanted to establish some form of recognition for those scouts in camp who best exemplified the spirit of the Scout Oath and Law. They both agreed to establish a program of brotherhood in their camp.

Treasure Island was located in a region known as the Valley of the Delaware, “the home of the Lenni- Lanape Indians.” It was decided to base the ceremonies and lore of the new organization on the rich traditions of these Indians in a way that would reaffirm the principles of the Scout Oath and Law. In the first summer, twenty-five members were inducted into the brotherhood. Soon other camps heard about the new program and made inquiries with Goodman and Edson. Following a 1921 organizational convention, the growth of the Order accelerated. The success of the young organization was so remarkable that the Order of the Arrow was made an official “program experiment” of the Boy Scouts of America in 1922. Twenty-six years later, in May of 1948, the Order of the Arrow was officially integrated into the Scout movement.

Today, 200,000 active members carry on the traditions learned by over a million Scouts and Scouters. Wiatava Lodge #13 servers the Scouts of Orange County Council. With Chapters in every district, our lodge currently has over 1300 registered members. The brotherhood of honor campers reaches into every unit with a spirit of cheerful service in Scouting.

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