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Order of the Arrow Elections

Once each year, a unit (troop, crew, or ship) may hold a unit election to elect youth members to become members of the Order of the Arrow. Both youth and adult Scouts and Scouters can become members of the Order of the Arrow (OA), but only youth members are elected. Adult leaders in the unit under the age of 21 are considered youth members for OA purposes, including unit elections. New members are voted on by every youth member of the unit present at the election - not just the OA members.


Elections are normally held at a regular unit meeting, and take about half an hour to complete. In order for an election to be held, at least 50% of active youth members must be present – if less than 50% are present, the election must be rescheduled.


The OA elections must be completed by a trained election team with support of unit Arrowmen, the unit OA representative and their adviser, and the unit leader. Colonneh Lodge follows all Order of the Arrow policies contained in the Guide to Unit Elections.


Request an Election

Request an election through LodgeMaster.

Election Resources


Guide to Unit Elections

This guide provides information on Order of the Arrow unit elections to both members and non-members. It can be distributed to unit leaders and others who want to know the policies regarding unit elections and how unit elections are conducted.


Conducting a Quality Unit Election

Download the "Conducting A Quality Unit Election" video to assist in training unit election teams to provide a quality experience to units.


Electing New Members

Download the "Electing New Members Unit Elections" video to show during elections. The video contains a brief summary of the Order of the Arrow and its programs as well as an explanation of the election procedures. It is an invaluable resource to unit election teams.

Membership Requirements

The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.

  • Have experienced 15 nights of camping while registered with a troop, crew, or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Only five nights of the long-term camp may be credited toward the 15-night camping requirement; the balance of the camping (10 nights) must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps of, at most, three nights each. Ship nights may be counted as camping for Sea Scouts.

  • At the time of their election, youth must be under the age of 21, hold the Scouts BSA First Class rank, the Venturing Discovery Award, or the Sea Scout Ordinary rank or higher, and following approval by the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Sea Scout Skipper, be elected by the youth members of their unit.

  • Adults (age 21 or older) who meet the camping requirements may be selected following nomination to and approval by the lodge adult selection committee.


After the Election

Scouts who were elected into the Order of the Arrow (OA) by their unit must complete an Ordeal within one year, in order to become a member of Colonneh Lodge. If a candidate does not attend an Ordeal within one year, then the candidate has to be re-elected by their unit. A candidate can only complete their Ordeal in Colonneh Lodge.

A Call-Out Ceremony is a form of public recognition used to communicate the honor of being selected for membership into the Order of the Arrow to members, non-members, and the public and impresses the high ideals and standards of the Order of the Arrow. It serves to intensify a Scout's desire to become a member. Units and districts may conduct ceremonies (e.g., at camporee). Some unit leaders recognize Scouts immediately following the election, while others choose to allow the Scouts to be surprised at a Call-Out Ceremony. Scouts are not required to participate in a Call-Out Ceremony in order to participate in an Ordeal.

Unit leaders should encourage Arrowmen in the unit to attend the Ordeal with the candidates to serve as elangomats to work alongside the candidates to help inspire a life of cheerful service and have the opportunity to make a positive life-lasting impact on the candidate and to fan the flame for the next generation of leaders in our Order. Arrowmen with a passion for service, who will be able to communicate the spirit of the Order through their actions and example make ideal elangomats. 

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