This past January, over 250 Arrowmen from throughout Section SR-9 gathered at Camp Tukabatchee for their 2019 Indian Winter. They experienced a wide array of American Indian Affairs (AIA) activities, history and training. All of this was in an effort to assist the lodges with their ceremony and dance teams. Held annually, Indian Winter has developed over time to offer leadership courses and additional trainings in addition to the AIA opportunities, leading to the 2019 event to become the most innovative one yet. In fact, the success experienced this year has set precedent for how the event should be run in the future.

Indian Winter is led by the SR-9 Section Vice Chief. There is also a host lodge rotation in place with Alibamu Lodge acting as this year’s host. The location of Alibamu’s Camp Tukabatchee was especially beneficial to the event’s success as its centralized location allowed greater accessibility to more Arrowmen than ever before. In addition, Alibamu performed exceptionally in their role as the host lodge, designing patches, scheduling the program and locating training sites while also collaborating with the vice chief on acquiring experienced trainers for the various courses.

Over the past few years feedback from Arrowmen has compelled the section leadership to look for new trainings and diverse courses designed to appeal to all types of Arrowmen, ranging from newly inducted Ordeal members to seasoned lodge officers. A new feature this year was the non-competitive ceremony evaluations, utilizing the conclave judging rubric to better prepare ceremony teams to compete at the 2019 SR-9 Conclave. Another beneficial addition was the inclusion of the Saturday night show, inspired by what one might see at NOAC. A prominent feature of the show was an AIA performance, highlighting the core component of Indian Winter on center stage.

Being an AIA event, Indian Winter’s main focus was on training and exposure to ceremonies, constructing regalia, native american dance, singing and beadwork. Trainings for specific ceremony roles were also offered to give participants a better understanding of their purpose within their lodge’s ceremony team and the impact it makes on new candidates. To generate greater diversity, the scope of the event has expanded from beyond just AIA to additional courses including a Journey to Excellence Q&A, mock NLS session, adviser workshop and an Lodge Leadership Development course. These additions are largely due to the section leadership’s focus on integrating the various aspects of Scouting into the entire event, leading to a more engaging and innovative experience.

It is their innovative spirit that has driven Indian Winter to be what it is today. The commitment seen in the Arrowmen leading the event has expanded its program to a much more comprehensive and dynamic experience. With this momentum, Indian Winter will only continue to grow as its benefits impact more and more Arrowmen throughout the section.