History of the Order of the Arrow
The Order of the Arrow (OA) was founded by E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in 1915 at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America. It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948 the OA, recognized as the BSA's National Brotherhood of Honor Campers, became an official part of the national camping program of the Boy Scouts of America.
Originally, lodges were assigned numbers in the order of charter. At some point the assigning of lodge numbers changed, and new lodges could reuse numbers from disbanded or merged lodges, or could take a number higher than the last assigned number. As of December 2003, the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow officially discontinued the use of lodge numbers. Lodges are now known by lodge name, Council name and Council number for all National purposes. Subsequently, the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow issued a follow-up statement that existing lodges could continue to use their lodge numbers for Section and Council matters (i.e., conclaves) and that new lodges (now formed exclusively by mergers) could select a number for the same use. Lodge names are approved by the lodge and submitted to the National Order of the Arrow Committee for approval. Names usually reflect some local Native American connection, although there have been lodges with non-native American names.
Each local Boy Scout Council is encouraged to have an Order of the Arrow lodge. Each lodge is granted a charter from the National Council, BSA, upon annual application. The OA lodge helps the local Council provide a quality scouting program through recognition of scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure.
The Legend of the Order of the Arrow
Long years ago, the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Delaware Indians inhabited the Delaware River Valley. They pursued the deer, bear, wildcat, and the panther. They hunted and fished. Their villages were numerous and powerful; their hunting parties strong. They tilled the fields as well as followed the chase. They were a peaceful people, never warring with other tribes unless first attacked. The smoke arose from their wigwams as they smoked their pipe of peace.
Many moons they lived in this happy state of blissful contentment. Springtime blossomed into summer, summer matured into autumn, and autumn faded into winter in what seemed a never-ending succession of seasons. A cloud arose on this peaceful scene, however. Neighboring tribes and distant enemies began to raid their hunting grounds. Then Chingachgook, the chief of the Lenni Lenape, made an inquiry: "Who will go to the villages of the Delaware and warn them of the danger that threatens?" but none wished to go. One said, "Let them look to themselves--we are happy here." Another said, "Why should we be concerned as long as we are safe?" But Uncas, his son, said, "My father, here I am, send me. All these villages are of our blood--the Lenni Lenape. What is danger to one is the affair of all. The need is urgent. They are six to our one, and if we are to survive as a nation, we must all stand by each other. Meanwhile let us both urge upon our kindred the necessity of unselfish devotion to each other and the cause in which we are enlisted, and as they get this higher vision, send them forth on their errand of cheerful service."
Then Chingachgook, the chief, and his son Uncas set to work. In every village were found some who were willing to give themselves cheerfully in the service of others. Their enemies were compelled to retire to their own borders, and when peace was declared between them, they who first went out cheerfully to serve their kindred were raised to places of high eminence in the tribe by the chief. He said, "The servant is the greatest of all." These men became so convinced of the truth of this saying that they besought the chief to perpetuate it in some manner.
Therefore, Chingachgook bound them together in a Brotherhood into which only those who can forget their own interests and advancement while looking out for those of their brothers may be admitted. These also must be recommended for membership by their associates.
So greatly did this Order aid and strengthen the Lenni Lenape that other tribes sought their help in forming similar lodges in their own tribes. In the spirit of service many such lodges were formed, and they were bound together into one great Brotherhood. Therefore, as followers of the early Indians, we perpetuate even to the present day the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service, which, being translated into the language of the Delaware Indians, becomes Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui (See note 1).
1Thus, Order of the Arrow patches contain the letters WWW.
History of Immokalee Lodge
Immokalee Lodge (#353) of the Order of the Arrow was officially chartered in Chehaw Council on January 17, 1947. It remained the chartered Order of the Arrow lodge when the Council changed its name to Southwest Georgia Council and when the Council changed its name back to Chehaw Council.
Immokalee Lodge was actually organized in 1945, although it was not officially chartered until 1947. The known charter members were: Luther Wood, Jr. (Albany), Jimmy Buchanan (Americus), Billy Morton (Tifton), Henry David “Sonny” Collier (Tifton), and a scout with the last name of Williams (Colquitt). There were possibly one or two more members in the initial group. These members were selected by the Council and went through their ordeal at the Area J conclave in Jacksonville, Florida, the weekend of November 2 to 4, 1945. Luther Wood, Jr. was lodge chief from 1945 through 1947.
According to Luther Wood, Jr., the first Lodge Chief, the Council professionals gave the Lodge the name of Immokalee with no input from the boys. No one who has been contacted knows if they researched the meaning of the name or if they just picked the name out of a book on Seminole history.
The word “Immokalee” originated from the Miccosukee Indian word “Ah-mo-glee” which means "my home" or “my place.” The Miccosukee language was not a written language, which made it easier for the words to change pronunciations over time. As the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes began to merge in the 1800s, the word became “Immokalee.” Thus, Immokalee is considered a Seminole word. The word “Immokalee,” nor anything with a similar spelling, is found in the Creek Indian language. In the Creek Indian language, “house” is “Cuko” rather than something similar to Immokalee.
The first “Tap-Out” and “Ordeal” to be held at Camp Osborn were in 1946. Through 1949, each troop voted at summer camp for which of its members would be elected to the Order of the Arrow. Beginning in 1950, troops have voted at a regular meeting prior to summer camp. The “Tap-Out,” which took place on Friday night after dark, consisted of members of the Order of the Arrow dancing in full regalia among the scouts and striking those elected on the shoulder with an arrow to signify their election. These ceremonies were attended by the Scouts and Staff only. At some time in the 1950s, the “Tap-Out” was moved to Wednesday night to coincide with Family Night.
In the 1940s, upon being “tapped-out” the Ordeal (or initiation) began immediately thereafter with the “night alone under the stars.” Saturday was the workday, which ended at 5:00 pm and was followed by the traditional supper and ceremony. In about 1950, the Ordeal was changed from each weekend of summer camp until the last weekend of camp. All candidates came back on that Friday to begin their Ordeal. At some time in the mid-1960s the Ordeal was moved to a weekend after summer camp. In the early 1970s the practice of using arrows for the “tapping” was prohibited at Camp Osborn due to a severe injury to a scout’s ear. By the 1980s the use of arrows was prohibited in all lodges and the “Tap-Out” became known as the “Call-Out.”
In 1986, Immokalee Lodge adopted the Elangomat program for use during Ordeals. The first Elangomats were Christopher Merritt, Jim Vinson, Jr., Cleve Roland, Mark Tippins, and Ed Oendroski, Jr. and were used at the Fall Ordeal in 1986.
Immokalee Lodge publishes its news in The Owl Hoot, which was first published in 1960. A number of these publications can be found on the Lodge’s website. Also, in 1998, Ben Horton took Immokalee Lodge into the internet age by starting the Immokalee Lodge website. The website was one of the first for an individual lodge and is still operating today at www.immokalee353.org.
Active membership in Immokalee Lodge has varied over time. Currently it averages 200 scouts at any time, including both youths and adults. The earliest recorded lodge membership is from December, 1960, when the Lodge had a total of 98 members. These 98 members consisted of 65 Ordeal members, 31 Brotherhood members, and 2 Vigil members. In 1997, The Owl Hoot reported an all-time high total membership of 194.
The Order of the Arrow is a youth-lead organization, even at the national level. Scouts are considered “youth” for purposes of the Order of the Arrow until they reach the age of 21 rather than 18. Each lodge elects a Lodge Chief. A list of past Immokalee Lodge Chiefs can be found at the end of this Chapter. In addition to the Lodge officers, at the yearly conclave each Section elects officers from the Scouts in attendance. Over the years Immokalee Lodge has had three members hold the position of Section Chief. These members are: Jason Adams in 2002 for Section S4N; Troy Golden in 1990 and 1991 for Section SE4 and Ben Horton in 1987, 1988, and 1989 for Section S4. Additionally, a number of Immokalee members have held other Section offices such as Vice-Section Chief, Secretary, Treasurer and Historian.
While the arrow sash is the identifier of a member of the Order of the Arrow, a patch for the right shirt pocket (usually with the totem and lodge name) was used as an identifier for the individual lodge into the 1950s. In the late 1950s a patch designed to fit on the flap of the right pocket became the standard Order of the Arrow identifier. These patches are commonly referred to as “flaps.” During the first Tap-Out held by Immokalee Lodge, a long-eared owl gave its dire hoot of warning and flew down across the dance area as the Tap-Out team selected those chosen for the Ordeal. As a consequence of this, the lodge adopted the large, long-eared owl, the óbo of ancient Creek warriors, as lodge totem. The first patch Immokalee Lodge used was an hourglass-shaped right pocket patch with the owl emblem. In 1958, under the direction of Miles T. Clements, a member of the Lodge, Ken Hancock, a talented Tifton artist (but not a scout), designed the first flap patch featuring the owl totem. The first flap is commonly known as the S1 flap. The “S” means that the flap has stitching covering the backing fabric rather than using the backing fabric as the background. The “1” means that it was the first flap from the lodge. All of the patches that Immokalee Lodge has issued can be found in the Appendix and on the Lodge’s website.
Immokalee Lodge has traditionally provided Camp Osborn with much of its maintenance and most of its summer camp staff, both youth and adult. In keeping with the tradition of service, in 1994 the Lodge initiated a service flap which was the standard flap (S21, S22 & S23) with a gold Mylar border (S29). The Lodge Executive Committee initially ordered 50 of the flaps, but later ordered 200 more for a total of 250. The requirements to earn the special flap were: (1) 50 hours of community service, (2) attend 75 percent of lodge and chapter functions, and (3) bring the spirit of Order to the scout’s troop. In 2000 the lodge issued a second service flap (S37) based also upon service during the year.
Lodges are subdivided into chapters much like councils are subdivided into districts. Prior to 2004, the Immokalee Lodge’s Chapters corresponded to Chehaw Council’s Districts. Each Chapter had its own set of officers. The first recorded mention of chapters in Immokalee history is in the November 1965 Owl Hoot. Known Immokalee Chapters with traditional names over the years were Achewon, Chehaw, Gischhatteu, Gokhotit, Kinchalee (Thronateeska District, 2004), Kuwewanik (Central District, 1965) and Wulihan. Many times chapters simply went by the name of the Chehaw Council District such as “East District Chapter.” In 2004, Immokalee Lodge did away with its Chapters. The reason was the small size of the Lodge itself made chapters meaningless. In 2009, Immokalee Lodge reinstated Chapters. Two Chapters were formed, a North Chapter and a South Chapter.
The Legend of Immokalee
The following legend was found on the original website. Its origin is unknown.
Native Americans living in Southwest Georgia during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries believed that a spring called Skywater (now Radium Springs, near Albany, Georgia) had magical healing powers. During the sixteenth century, these natives heard news that strange men with pale faces who dressed in hard, shiny clothing were in the land south of Skywater searching for a spring that would give long life. With this news also came tales of terrible deeds that these strangers were inflicting upon the land and natives in that area.
Afraid that these men would hear of Skywater and come north, a council of chiefs was assembled. After much discussion, the Great Spirit appeared before the council with a solution. Taking the form of Immokalee the Spirit Owl, he would fly south and appear in a dream to Ponce de Leon their leader and instruct him to follow a flying owl which would lead him to the magic spring. Ponce de Leon had the dream and followed the owl further south into Florida, away from Skywater.
Spanish legend mentions a great owl that guided Ponce de Leon and his men on their journeys. The image of an owl can be found on the tombstone of Ponce de Leon. Our lodge takes its name from Immokalee the Spirit Owl which protected the springs called Skywater.
The following legend was provided by Gordon Smith.
During the first tap-out held by Immokalee Lodge, a long-eared owl gave its dire hoot of warning and flew down across the dance area as the tap-out team selected those chosen for the Ordeal. As a consequence of this, the lodge adopted the large long-eared owl, the obo of ancient Creek warriors, as lodge totem.
Immokalee Lodge #353
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