A shiny new medal that glints in the sunlight, a smooth patch emblazed on your scout uniform, awards come in many forms and have been a part of the program of Occoneechee Lodge #104 since the beginning. Even with so many current awards, a new award is soon to make a place on the uniform of worthy thunderbirds, the Brotherhood Award.
After about 3 months of hard work by Matthew Bobzien, the current Brotherhood Chairman, and his Advisor, Brian Lehrschall, the award is finally in place with the approval of the Lodge Executive Committee (LEC). The process began with an idea, followed by drafts of requirements, then patch and recognitions committee approval, and finally a presentation to the LEC leading to their approval. According to Matthew, the biggest challenge with the award development process was to determine how people could purchase the award and confirmation, without “putting pressure” on various committees throughout the year.
The award is available to all due-paid members who have everyone eligible in their troop reach Brotherhood by the end of Fall Fellowship. Each troop OA representative of any eligible unit will receive and complete an award request form from lodge104.net. This form will be submitted at Winter Banquet, along with a check made payable to Occoneechee Lodge, with 2 dollars for each person of that troop who wishes to obtain the patch award. If approved by the brotherhood chair, the trading post will then give the award patch to the recipients.
No troops have applied but 8 have been found to be eligible this year. The award is retroactive, meaning that troops eligible in past years can also apply for the award, such the 17 eligible units last year. This award is certainly an encouragement for all lodge brothers to get each member of their troop eligible for brotherhood to convert by Fall Fellowship each year.
Matthew says to anyone who wants to receive the award to “stay active in the OA, earn your brotherhood, and encourage all Arrowmen in your unit to convert.” This award is also a testimony that the creation of awards in the Order is an ongoing process, and you can work to make one yourself if you see a need to do so. To anyone who wishes to take upon themselves such an endeavor, Matthew says that “it takes a lot of hard work and effort” but in the end it is all worth it for the benefits it may have to interests within the lodge.
The Brotherhood Award is an award that will help keep member retention and be an integral part in encouraging people to say active in Occoneechee Lodge and the Order of the Arrow.
Questions for Matthew Bobzien
What was your role in the institution of the Brotherhood award? As the Brotherhood Committee Chairman I worked with my advisor, Brian Lehrschall to come up with the idea. Once that was done I worked to draft requirements and figure out how to institute it. I then contacted the Patch Committee to make a patch and the Recognitions Committee to make an award form. Once it was all together I created a presentation, presented it to the Executive Committee, and it was approved.
What was the biggest challenge in creating the award? The biggest challenge in creating the award was was determining how arrowmen will be able to purchase the award and how to verify that everyone who earned it received it without having to put pressure on committees all year round.
How long did it take to create the award? We started discussing it at Lodge Leadership Development in November and was approved in January, so about 3 months.
What would you say to someone who wants to create an award for our lodge? It takes a lot of hard work and communication but afterwards it is all worth it because benefits every member of the lodge and properly recognizes all that deserve it.
What would you say to someone who wants to earn this award? Stay active in the OA, earn your brotherhood, and encourage all arrowmen in your unit to convert.
How does someone earn this award? All due-paid members that are eligible for Brotherhood in your unit must become Brotherhood by the end of Fall Fellowship. If you believe you have completed it, your OA Troop Representative will print the award form off of lodge104.net/downloads and fill it out. At Winter Banquet, he will then bring the form and one check made out to Occoneechee Lodge. The amount of the check should be the total of $2 for each Brotherhood (and Vigil) member who wishes to buy a patch. The Brotherhood Chair will then verify it and if correct, the trading post will give them an award flap for every Brotherhood and Vigil member in your unit who paid for one.
What are deadlines for the award? All arrowmen in your unit that are eligible for brotherhood at or before Fall Fellowship must be Brotherhood after Fall Fellowship. Also the award form must be turned in at Winter Banquet.
How many troops have applied for the award so far? No one has applied for the award yet. However, we know that 17 units were eligible last year and because the award is retroactive for last year they may apply and we so far have 8 units that are eligible for the award this year. So make sure you check with your Unit OA Rep and Advisor to see if you are one of those units. If yes, apply at Winter Banquet, If no, get everyone in your unit to complete brotherhood at Fall Fellowship September 16-18.