Throughout your OA journey, you will be given a chance to receive three honors. These honors are often confused with the Boy Scout “ranks.” There are both similarities and differences between honors and ranks. Like ranks, you have to get the honors in order. However, ranks show achievement, whereas honors show dedication. So what are these three honors? They are Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil.
You become an Ordeal Honor member once you complete your first OA Ordeal. At your Ordeal, you will be given a sash with a red arrow. The sash changes as you receive the three honors, so a basic red arrow distinguishes one as Ordeal. Once you are Ordeal, you are allowed to participate in Ceremonies other than Brotherhood and Vigil ceremonies. Becoming Ordeal is a sign of your troop’s opinion on your dedication to the ideals of Scouting. The troop elected you to become an OA candidate because they felt that you put forth an effort to follow the Scout Oath and Law, and observe cheerful service.
You must wait ten months after your first Ordeal before you can become a Brotherhood Honor member. To become a Brotherhood Hoonor member, you must attend a Brotherhood Ordeal. After attending a Brotherhood Ordeal, you receive a new sash. This one looks the same as the one you’ve already received, with the exception of a red bar at each end of the arrow. Once a Brotherhood Honor member, you may serve in Brotherhood ceremonies. Becoming Brotherhood is a sign of your own opinion on your dedication to the ideals of Scouting. You have decided to show everyone who sees your new sash how devoted you really are to the OA and its ideals.
Two years (or more) after you receive your Brotherhood Honor, you may find yourself elected by other OA members to the OA’s highest honor, Vigil. You will find that most major figures in Scouting and the OA are, in fact, Vigil Honor, so you know this is a great honor. After being elected by fellow OA members to be a Vigil Honor candidate, you can attend a final Ordeal, the Vigil Ordeal. Once you have completed this, you find yourself with a new “Vigil name” (often picked to suit the candidate) and a new sash. The Vigil sash looks like the Brotherhood sash, with the exception of a triangle in the middle of the arrow. Once you are a Vigil Honor member, you can participate in Vigil ceremonies. The Vigil Honor shows that other OA members, who adhere to the same ideals of service as you do, feel that you are devoted to the causes of Scouting (and its ideals), the OA (and its ideals), and the concept of cheerful service.