In 2019, the Order of the Arrow is turning its focus to the lodge in an effort to improve the program from the bottom up. This year, the year of the lodge, the OA has committed to growing membership and ensuring that every lodge is a high performing one. At the 2018 National Planning Meeting this past December, section chiefs divided into committees with a unique purpose for Focus 2019. Each group within Focus 2019 will seek to strengthen lodge membership and elevate lodge programs through three distinct areas: inductions, activation and elections.

The activation committee is tasked with discovering how to improve a lodge’s activation rate, which is the percentage of new ordeal members that attend at least one lodge event within a year of completing their ordeal. Years of research into lodge membership trends have shown that if an Arrowman does not come back to another lodge event within a year of his or her induction, then it is unlikely they will ever be active in the OA. The activation committee is researching what encourages new members to come back for a lodge event.

Before a lodge can be concerned with activation, they have to induct members. The inductions committee is researching what makes the induction experience a memorable one that will leave Arrowmen itching to come back to their next event. The committee will also emphasize improving a lodge’s induction rate – the percentage of elected candidates who complete an ordeal. The chief research question is how lodges can maximize the number of elected Scouts that follow through with their induction.

Lastly, before a member is activated or inducted, he or she is elected into the Order of the Arrow, and strengthening the unit election rate of every lodge is the focus of the elections committee. An increase in activated and inducted members can also result from an increase of elected members. No lodge is a stranger to having difficulty with elections, whether it be one particular unit or several. Alleviating concerns from units will benefit the elections efforts of every lodge, resulting in higher attendance at induction weekends.

The culmination of the work of these committees will be a webinar on October 19, 2019. Lodges are encouraged to schedule a training event or LEC meeting coinciding with the webinar. The committees will be presenting their findings on how to improve elections, inductions and activation within their lodges. Mark your calendar now, because the year of the lodge is here to help your lodge succeed for many years to come.