OA Ordeal participation UPDATED

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UPDATE 4/19/17: For newer information see article posted April 18, 2017. with an interview of the Jaccos Towne Lodge Chief James Colter.

UPDATED 4/26/17: Lodge Chief James Colter emailed today to emphasize that going out of council is only an option if specific, extenuating circumstances cause the need to go out-of-council. While we have tried to emphasize this point, we never used the phrase “extenuating circumstances.” If you do seek to go out of council, know that your letter requesting to go out-of-council must describe the nature of this extenuating circumstance. Inadequate explanation of the extenuating circumstance or an inadequate basis are both good cause for the request to be denied.


As the Order of the Arrow tap-out ceremony is coming up at Spring Camporee, Scoutmasters are looking ahead to when and where the Ordeal ceremonies will be.

This year the Council’s Lodge has chosen to have all districts’ OA chapters hold their Ordeals on the same weekend: May 19-21, 2017. (Our LOA chapter is with Central Section at Camp Krietenstein.) For families with scheduling conflicts, this presents a problem.

Remember ordeal candidates must complete their Ordeal within 12 months of being tapped-out for candidacy. Otherwise the offer of membership expires. The scout then has to be re-elected to candidacy.

There is traditionally a Lodge Ordeal in the fall. On the current calendar it shows at September 15-17, 2017. UPDATE: 4/16/2017: Chapter Advisor Mark Pishon is being told from the Lodge that no Lodge Ordeal will be held, despite the calendar. Both Jaccos Towne Lodge Chief James Colter and Council Director of Programs Lee Murdoch confirm that there will be a Fall Lodge Ordeal as posted on theLodge website. More details in my upcoming interview with James this week.

Regardless whether there is a Lodge Ordeal, some families will still have scheduling conflicts. 

In theory, a scout can attend an ordeal outside of our Lodge/Council. There is no formal paperwork to allow this to happen. It requires written pre-approval from both the home Lodge by the chapter advisor (where the scout would be a member) and the assisting Lodge Advisor (where the scout would be attending ordeal). The pre-approval is done by correspondence on a scout-by-scout basis. 

Please understand that these approvals are not the normal. OA strongly prefers that a scout do his Ordeal within his own Lodge/Council. Even so, efforts will be made to make Ordeals possible.

To assist this process, Scoutmasters or their designated ASM for OA should gather as much information about a candidate’s scheduling conflicts and availability before sending a request for approval. (UPDATED 4/26/17: This information about the scheduling conflict will need to be cited as “extenuating circumstances” before the permission to go out-of-council will be granted.)

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    […] to the confusion over the Order of the Arrow Ordeals in 2017, I spoke with Jaccos Towne Lodge Chief James Colter. We wanted to make sure that some of the […]

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