Alertness to the needs of others is the mark of the Vigil Honor. It calls for an individual with an unusual awareness of the possibilities within each situation.
The Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting. Membership cannot be won by a person’s conscious endeavors.
The Vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowmen who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort, and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position of office to one or more of the following:
- Order of the Arrow
- Scouting community
- Scout Camp
Under no circumstances should tenure in Scouting or the Order of the Arrow be considered as reason enough for a Vigil Honor recommendation.
Any member of the Order of the Arrow registered in Scouting and in good standing in a regularly chartered lodge is eligible for recommendation to the National Order of the Arrow Committee for elevation to the Vigil Honor provided that, at the time of the recommendation, the individual has been a Brotherhood member for a minimum of two years.
This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.
After a Candidate has received the Vigil, he or she is bestowed with a Vigil Name. This name usually represents a characteristic of the individual that has made him or her well known to others. The name is usually given in the language of the Lenape (a Lenape-to-English dictionary, compiled by a German missionary, still in use to this day). Candidates are also usually provided with the English translation. Due to the difficulty of pronouncing and remembering the Delaware translation, many Vigil members only use the English translation when asked about their name. Names are usually serious (usually based on the Vigil candidate’s history, hobbies, or other major aspect of his or her life), although they can be unintentionally humorous. It is customary in many lodges to convene a meeting of Vigil Brothers to discuss a name conferral that is in sync with the high honor that the Vigil denotes. If a Lodge utilizes the standard calling out ceremony; the sponsor is also agreed upon who will read out the biography of said candidate at the appropriate occasion. Call out biographies should be indicative of “why” the candidate was chosen. Jokes, monologues, and mindless anecdotes all detract from what is regarded as a milestone in the Scouting journey of the candidate.