Conclave season for the Arrowmen of Sections W-4N and W-4S was very special this year, as it included an unique event – Areaclave. An “Areaclave” in this case is a joint-conclave held by two sections. The event was a major challenge for both section’s leadership who had to plan and organize the event. Before this event, Area 4 had not held an Areaclave in almost 30 years, which made the leadership nervous, but excited to bring it back. While it would be an amazing opportunity for both sections, it would also be a massive undertaking to plan such a colossal event. Organizing a single conclave is hard in itself, but doing the same for an event doubled in size is a very challenging and impressive feat. Section W-4N Chief Jorge Salazar had to work with the leadership of both sections to make sure everything was running smoothly. The planning process lasted for several months, and the sections’ leadership met four times in person, twice on-site, to ensure a quality experience. This was in addition to holding numerous conference calls.
In the weeks leading up to the event, hundreds of emails were sent to double check everything and make last minute fixes. In order to ensure a large attendance, each lodge chief was charged with setting a goal of members they would bring and hopefully exceed their goal. To promote the event further, the two section chiefs issued the challenge of creating an Areaclave promotional video to every lodge, a long time Section W-4S tradition. The youth leaders were willing to give plenty of their time and service to make sure that this was an event to remember by stuffing it full of unique attractions. Salazar said that the biggest challenge was managing the finances and usage of resources for this event, as taking bits and pieces from all nine lodges was no small task. All of the lodges had their own ideas to bring to the table. At times, it would be difficult to reach a consensus, and other times it would be a breeze. When determining a theme, everyone had ideas that they wanted to contribute but ultimately, only one theme could chosen. Finally, the conclave season was upon them and after months of planning, the event was about to kick off.
On September 15th, at Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, over 500 Arrowmen gathered to begin the Areaclave hosted by Wiatava Lodge of Orange County Council. The weather was great and spirits were high. From sand painting to patch trading, all sorts of activities were available throughout the day. The Areaclave also featured a Section W-4N tradition called “Flight of the Thunderbird,” a triathlon-styled event that pits lodges against each other in a classic Section W-4N manner. To make it unique to the event, they created the “Flight of the RamBird,” a similar event conjoining both sections’ totems. To accompany the Hawaiian theme of “Kaikua’ana,” roughly translated to brotherhood, there were shows with Pacific Islander dancers and traditional leis given out to everyone. Just as you would see at a regular conclave, there was still a fair share of singing, drumming, and ceremonies. Expert dancers from Wipala Wiki Lodge in Arizona came out to host the evening pow-wow and lead everyone in a traditional dance. On Sunday morning at the closing show, awards were given out after various competitions and final goodbyes were said. Malibu Lodge was named “Best Overall Lodge” in the Area and Cahuilla Lodge was deemed “Most Spirited Lodge” in the Area.
After all of the planning and effort it had finally paid off as the Area put on the best Areaclave that Area 4 had ever seen. For now, the sections are returning to their regular conclave schedules, but they hope for the Areaclave to one day make a reappearance.