Saturday, April 28, 2007

Retro - Order of the Arrow

I had a very long stint where I did Order of the Arrow ceremonies for Scouts all over the Wright County area, and a bit beyond. Every weekend or two for about six years I'd dress up and do either a ceremony for new Order of the Arrow members (an extension of the Boy Scouts, populated by members voted in by the other boys and run by boys - sort of like a Scouting honor roll outside of the normal path to being an Eagle Scout) or for the Cub Scouts or Webelos as they transitioned between levels of Scouting. Once we even did a ceremony for a Girl Scout troop - my sister's troop - who in turn did a Cabbage Patch Doll Hand Motion ceremony for us. I think they got the better end of that trade. If you had any doubts that OA was populated by older, wiser kids, watching a number of 14-16 year old kids sitting around patiently observing Cabbage Patch dolls dance and sing, and commenting politely on how nice it was and were the girls having a great time camping, would have dispelled them.

Being on the ceremonial team was a lot of work - we had to haul costumes and six Scouts up to 120 miles away and memorize lines for a 30 minute (or significantly longer) ceremony, often for multiple parts in case someone wasn't available that evening. There were multiple ceremonies, so multiple roles to memorize, and once in a while it was necessary to ad hoc if it was a weekend-long event, or a non-standard event. The stage was never the same, varying from gymnasium, to local park, to Scout or local campground, sometimes with a firebowl, sometimes in the woods, sometimes on a river edge or lake edge, and almost never free of woodticks. And the circumstances were never the same. Once I set fire to my headdress with a torch, causing my Scoutmaster/English teacher to come sprinting down the firebowl with a speed I'd never seen him attain in years of Scouting. Those feathers are extremely flammable. Once we had to change clothes in the middle of a group of mothers. Not just down to our skiivies, but full nudity. We had our theatrical standards, and they included not having underwear showing during the ceremony - less a problem when we had the full suits you see in the picture below, rather than the simple loin clothes that were worn in the earlier ceremonies. The mothers assured us they were all there for their sons' Scout ceremony, so we didn't have anything that hadn't seen before. And once we had the cops called on us for having Satanic ceremonies and scarificing a horse in the city park. No horse was sacrificed - I simply rode it into the ceremony to add some show. The accusation was due to a teenager bringing home her parents' SUV and running over the other family car. Literally driving up on the side of it and grinding it into the driveway. Our ceremony stopped for a good five minutes while she drove the SUV back and forth over the car trying to separate the crunched metal on both vehicles, each time lifting the SUV wheel two to three feet off the ground, as the wheels locked and ripped fenders and bumpers and hub caps off with a horrific screech. I think she was trying to blame us for distracting her. Unfortunately for her, almost every cop in Wright County, and certainly many of the sherrifs, had either been in Scouts, OA, or Explorer Scouts (Scouts attached to cops, firefighters, a radio station, or some other career-related group). The sherrifs who arrived waited until the ceremony was over and then had a good laugh, although expressing some sympathy for the teen. Our town was small enough that everyone knew everyone else, and knew all the similar situations every other teen had encountered (or at least their sibling). A bit of empathy was a given.

This is actually a very late picture when I was training in a new group. I was about twenty (OA leadership as a "boy" lasts through 21 - if you read any of that, I was a Vigil OA member). Most of my early days had been done with the older brothers of the boys in this picture, and even the Scouts who had trained the older brothers of the boys in the picture. There are several future Eagle Scouts pictured. If you can't pick me out, I'm the one in white.


Brian McCooley said...

Who all is in that group? Jason Murphy, Chris Rohland, Josh Dickinson? Who Else?

Scooter said...

Chris Buckley

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap I'm young in that photo. What's up Scott? Mr. Rohland here. Glad to see Brian found this. That was a long time ago. Amazing what google finds when you are searching on your name to see what people are saying about you, lol.

Brian you sure were up early, hehe. I'm reachable at since this is a public board.