When the Order of the Arrow was founded in 1915 by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson, no one imagined the success and popularity it would have within the Scouting organization. The popularity of the Order of the Arrow was so great that a mere six years later the first national gathering of local lodges was held, dubbed the Grand Lodge Meeting. The years that followed were marked by many more successful milestones. In 1948, the OA was officially recognized as a national Boy Scout program. Now, in the year 2018, the Order of the Arrow has hit another momentous milestone. Following the formation of the new O-Ni-Flo Lodge in the Pony Express Council, there is now a lodge in every council across the United States. This was not a change that happened overnight; it took countless hours of hard work, many years, and many Arrowmen.
The Order of the Arrow has had a long-term goal to build positive relations in all councils and to have an active OA program available to all youth across America. When serving as the national chairman, Ray Capp formed a team to begin working with those councils that did not have a lodge. Through positive interactions, the Pony Express Council Executive Board agreed to charter an OA lodge. In 2017, 29 individuals were inducted, and helped pave the way for elections to be held in 17 troops, providing the opportunity for 104 new members to be inducted in 2018. All twenty-nine of the inaugural members have re-registered this year; nearly half have completed their Brotherhood. Section C-5A and the surrounding lodges gave their time and effort throughout this historical project. 2018 Section C-5A Chief Ben Friend and Section C-5A Associate Adviser Russ Votava worked to ensure the new lodge’s first induction weekend took place without a hitch. The section oversaw the election teams, planning, and execution for the event, and helped the new members hold the first Lodge Executive Committee meeting on May 19th, 2018. At the inaugural Lodge Executive Committee meeting, the members selected their name: O-Ni-Flo, which means “Last Arrow.” They also elected their first slate of officers, and later selected an arrow as their lodge totem. O-Ni-Flo sent five Arrowmen to the 2018 NOAC, where they were introduced to the entire conference in the opening show. At the National Council of Chiefs meeting, the lodge leadership was presented with their lodge charter by National Chief Anthony Peluso and National Vice Chief Michael Kipp. The O-Ni-Flo member’s accomplishments in just a few short months is no small feat. We wish all our brothers in O-Ni-Flo Lodge the best of luck in the coming months and thank the project team for their efforts!