Written by Brandon Kelly
The Meaning of Fall Fellowship for One Arrowman
Do you ever get the feeling that you are in over your head? Like when you go to a swimming pool and think, “I’ll just go over to the deep end,” and you do, but then you start struggling to float. You try waddling back to the shallows and you forget why you jumped off the diving board in the first place. However, you press on…or paddle on, I guess is a more applicable term. After a while, you become versed in deep end pool etiquette and become a model for the young swimmers watching you. Their parents tell them, “Look at that kid. You can do it, too.” You begin to feel confident and feel like you are doing something right, doing something impactful; or at least that is what I have experienced.
I have never missed a Fall Fellowship since I first joined the Order of the Arrow. Attending it this year I recollected several different key moments that ended up enhancing my scouting career. The Order of the Arrow provided me with a myriad of experiences, all of which have been rewarding and priceless.
The memories started when I passed by the activity field on my way from Admin to the Sullivan Center. In 2009 I went through my Ordeal with my older brother and we camped in the activity field with the rest of our clan until it was time for our Pre-Ordeal ceremony. At the time of my Ordeal I was a young scout and did not have a single clue as to what was going to happen: truth be told, I was pretty scared. However, my brother did not let my fear consume the reflection process that I went through during the weekend, and after I became an official member of the OA I was intimidated.
I continued to ask myself, “how can I, only thirteen years old, make an impact on my lodge?” My brother assured me that my age didn’t matter. As you can imagine, this motivated me more, and I started to attend chapter meetings and strive for Brotherhood. One year after our Ordeal, my brother and I both became Brotherhood members in the OA, but my brother sadly lost interest and discontinued his involvement a few months later. For the next two years, I persistently tried to convince him to become reengaged with the OA, but he declined every offer I made.
Due to what I perceived as a failure, I considered taking the same route that my brother did, but was convinced by another Arrowman in 2012 to remain active. That same year my brother went off to college and I decided to dive into the deep end, even though I barely knew how to swim, running for lodge office. I was elected to serve the next year as the Lodge Vice-Chief of Communications. As my term progressed, I started to forget why I ran for the position, but was reminded whenever I accidentally washed my white sash with a red shirt. It wasn’t the discoloration that reminded me, but rather it was the fact that I had to replace my sash with my brother’s sash.
Eventually I forgot that the sash even belonged to him, but I was reminded of this fact whenever I was recognized as a Vigil Honor candidate at the Friday night campfire. In a sense, my brother accompanied me to center stage and received the honor as well. I started to look around and realized that some of the people that I appointed as chairmen were either serving, or planning to serve, as Lodge officers, and as I watch them jump into the deep end I cannot help but notice all of the scouts that are watching them, aspiring to make an impact as well.
To me, Fall Fellowship is a time to dream, strive, and reflect. Dream big, and dream often, because those who dream the most, do the most. Strive for your dreams, because sometimes the simple act of trying to swim in the deep end is enough to inspire someone else to jump in with you: this is fellowship, and its impacts are exponential. But don’t forget to look down at the water every once in awhile, because when you see your reflection and are reminded of your motives it is enough to keep treading water when you feel like you are in over your head. However, with the utmost frankness, I will state that being involved with the Order is creating an impact on its own. So welcome to the deep end; what will your impact be?
2013 Lodge VC Communications