OA Lodge Chief Interview UPDATED

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UPDATE 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.


Due 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 confusion could be laid to rest in advance of this weekend’s Tap-Out Ceremony at the Spring Camporee at Camp Ransburg.

First things first: there will be a Fall Lodge Ordeal in 2017. More on that in a minute.

James Colter
2017 Lodge Chief James Colter

James is the current chief of Jaccos Towne Lodge, that covers all of the Crossroads of America Council. James comes from Troop 335 in North East District.  He is currently a student at Ball State University. As such, he also serves a troop in Golden Eagle District while at school.

Each Council has one and only one Lodge. A lodge can then be divided into chapters. North Star District has its own chapter.

James also shared with me that he was elected secretary of Section C6A for Order of the Arrow. This is Area 6 of the Central Region of the BSA, of which A is a subdivision.

James explained to me that the Ldoge is trying to redesign its programs so that stronger chapters can help support struggling chapters. Part of this plan is to have chapters carry out more of their efforts together. While Council’s overall restructing into three section, Lodge is following a completely different alignment of chapters based on the characteristics of the chapters, not their georgraphy.

From May 19 to 21, 2017, the Lowaneu Allanque (LOA) Chapter of North Star will be joining with the Kickapoo (KPO) of Wabash Valley District (Terre Haute area), the Tatankaskah (TAK) Chapter of Sugar Creek District (Crawfordsville area), and the Wundchenneu (WUN) Chapter of Hou Koda District (Plainfield area). This will be held at Camp Krietenstein a/k/a Camp K West.

As noted earlier, James confirmed that there will, in fact, be a Lodge Ordeal at Camp Kikthawenund from September 15 to 17, 2017.

What has changed dramatically is that other Spring Ordeals will be held on the same weekend as North Star’s. In years past, scouts who had scheduling conflicts could attend another chapter’s spring ordeal. This would allow them to complete their requisite 10 months as an ordeal member of OA before participating in the Brotherhood Candidacy at the following Spring Chapter Ordeal Weekend. Attending the Fall Lodge Ordeal slows this process down.

James told me the reason for the stacking of dates was that when the decision was made to group chapters, many campsites were already booked. The weekend selected was the only one that could accomomdate the multi-chapter weekends. Unfortunately, that meant little flexibility.

James reports that plans are already under way for 2018 to avoid this stacking problem. The goal will be to keep the multi-chapter ordeals, but spread them across several weekends.

For 2017, James did confirm that attending another lodge’s ordeal (or affiliated chapter ordeal) is simply a matter of having your Chapter Advisor make a request an invitation to the desired lodge or chapter ordeals’ chapter advisor, and having that responding chapter advisor extend an invitation to attend. These invitations are freely granted.

I asked James whether he knew of one place to find these alternate ordeal dates and locations. He did not. He referred me to the Section C6A website. He promised me that he would send out a blast email to the Council of Chiefs to compile a central list. He would then request that the Jaccos Towne Lodge Webmaster post it on the Lodge website. As of this writing, that has not yet been done.

Nearby OA Sections worthy of note C6B in western Ohio and C3B in southern Illinois.

James had many good ideas for the long-term success of the Jaccos Towne Lodge. He wishes the transition in 2017 were smoother.

But frustrations in change are normal. It just forces us to remember that OA is the place for happy service to others.

UPDATED: 4/20/17: James provided the following Lodges and dates so far:

Takachsin Lodge
Spring: May 12-14
Fall: August 11-13

Kiskakon lodge
Lodge ordeal: June 2-3
Fall ordeal: Aug 11-13

Kiondaga
May 19-21

Sharla Merrick at Troop 69 provided this research (note that James use lodge names and Sharla uses council names, so there is likely duplication. I don’t have time right now to sort it out):

Wabash Council 8/25/17 – 8/27/17

Camp Bear Creek ? 9/15/17 – 9/17/17

Anthony Wayne  Council 6/02/17- 6/04/17

Sagamore  Council – 5/12/17 – 5/14/17

Hoosier Trails  Council – 5/19/17 – 5/21/17

LaSalle Council – 5/12/17 – 5/14/17

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

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