History of the Order of the Arrow in Virginia

We are currently developing a comprehensive history of SR-7A and preceding sections that served Virginia-based lodges. In the mean time, please enjoy the text below be sure to check out the great work being done by Glenn Chase and others at www.va-oa.org

The history of the Order of the Arrow in Virginia through the early 1980s has been excerpted from “A History to SE-8,” produced by Scott Bashore, Edward C. Hamilton, and Michael W. Cannaday in November 1984.

1921-1952: Region III & Area III-A

In 1921 the National Council of the B.S.A. divided the country into twelve service regions based upon the geographic boundaries of the Federal Reserve System. This placed the State of Virginia as the southernmost state in Region III. Service to local lodges, after the adoption of the Order of the Arrow as a national program in 1948, was provided by dividing the regions into service areas. By 1952 Area III-A consisted of thirty four councils and at least twenty-six lodges.

Area III-A held annual Powwows or training conferences and a partial listing of the sites and host lodges is as follows:

1948- Camp Horseshoe, Octoraro #22
1949- Treasure Island, Unami Lodge #1
1950- Camp Broad Creek, Nentico Lodge #12
1951- Camp Delmont, Delmont Lodge #43
1952- Camp Nisatin, Memeu Lodge #125

1952-1972: Area III-C

By 1952 the number of lodges and distance of travel made the area unmanageable and realignment was made. The following description is taken from an early history of the resulting Area III-C:

Out of the rain and mud at Camp Nisatin, the site of the 1952 Area III-A Powwow, came a fine and wonderful development. In spite of more than slight dew and cold, the Powwow was a tremendous success. Splendid fellowship and fine leadership, excellent forums, discussion groups, exhibits, and demonstrations, colorful ceremonies; all these were there. But, happily, the big event was the vote which placed the southernmost lodges into an Area of its own, III-C. Region 3 at that time had only two Arrow Areas, hence III-C…The first year, 1953, and our first Powwow at Camp Darden, Nentico Lodge No. 12 of Baltimore, Maryland was with us. In 1954 they had returned to III-A and Area III-C lost a good strong lodge.

The charter members of Area III-C were Nawakwa #3, Nepahwin #161, Shenandoah #258, Shenshawpotoo #276, Blue Heron #349 and Kecoughtan #463 who had been members of III-A and Powhatan #456 and Amangamek Wipit #470. Chanco #483 joined prior to the 1954 Powwow. The Area sponsored competition between the lodges in indian dancing, ceremonies, camp promotions, and displays, and newsletters. Area III-C was the first Area to use a press association to judge its newsletters and during the decade of the 1960′s it was cited as the outstanding Order of the Arrow Area in the country and the first National Standard Area when that competition was held on a national basis.

Originally the Area also conducted the calling out ceremonies for Brotherhood and Vigil Honor during the powwows. This practice was discontinued in the late 1950′s and reverted to the lodges. The lodges attended National O.A. Conferences and enjoyed fellowship and brotherhood in the arrow both inside and outside the Area. Elsewhere in this history is a listing of the sites and hosts of the Powwows, Area Chiefs, Leaders and Advisors and a description of the memorabilia from the Powwows.

Some highlights of the annual Powwows included the visit in 1965 from Dr. E. Urner Goodman, founder of the Order, to Camp Wilson. The name of the meeting was changed to training conference in 1966 and quickly changed back to Powwow at the Sunday morning business meeting that year. The 1969 Powwow at the Virginia State Fairgrounds in Richmond was the largest gathering of Arrowmen in the history of the state. The area also held meetings between the Powwows and these became known as Kitchen Kabinet due to the fact that they were often held in restaurants. The Area Newsletter was the III-C Chatter and was an effective communications tool.

1972-1982: SE-1

By 1972 the National Council once again developed a new regional realignment concept and Area III-C became part of Section 1 of the Southeast Region. Under the new concept the twelve former regions combined into six new regions and each region was divided into geographic sections. Sections were referred to by letter representing the abbreviation of the Region and number representing the regional division, hence Section SE-1 for Southeast Region and Management Area 1.

The original concept called for the lodges of 111-C to divide and merge with lodges of at least two other Areas and form new sections. After much discussion and pleading the Regional and National offices agreed to leave III-C intact and join its members with four other lodges into the new Section SE-1. Thus in 1973 the first SE-1 Conclave (formerly Powwow) was held with representatives of twelve lodges. From the nine lodges in old III-C, eight joined the new section as Powhatan #456 and Koo Ku Koo Hoo #161 (formerly Nepahwin #161) merged to form Tutelo #161 effective in 1973. The combined lodges formed the nations largest Section and the initial conclave was hosted by Shenshawpotoo Lodge #276 at Camp Rock Enon in 1973. The charter members were: Nawakwa #3, Nentico #12, Nentego #20, Tutelo #161, Shenandoah #258, Shenshawpotoo #276, Gunekitschiek #317, Blue Heron #349, Kecoughtan #463, Amangamek Wipit #470, Chanco #483 and Ahtoquog #540.

The first conclave was highlighted by the first section feast where each lodge prepared and served local delicacies to tempt the palate of their brothers. The event was a great success and became an annual happening at the conclaves. The conclaves also included volleyball competition and carving of totem poles for the host camp was instituted. The effort to instill unity of purpose paid off as each lodge achieved the recognition of National Standard. SE-1 became the first National Standard Section in the nation. This designation was earned continuously until the program qualifications were changed.

The section chartered a plane to attend the 1975 National Conference in California as a group and issued a contingent patch to that event. Patches, mugs and neckerchiefs bore the symbol of the new section and the conclaves and Council of Chiefs meetings all served to make the section strong and united.

Section SE-1 also became a pioneer in organizing and hosting its own Indian Seminars to be held between the conclaves and these events occurred as follows:
1975- Camp Chickahominy, Kecoughtan #463
1976- Fort Belvoir, Amangamek Wipit #470
1977- Camp Powhatan, Tutelo #161
1978- Little Creek Amph. Base, Blue Heron #349
1979- Fort Eustis, Kecoughtan #463

Elsewhere in this history is found a listing of the sites and hosts of the conclaves, the Section Chiefs, Advisors [sic] and Leaders and a description of the memorabilia.

1982-1993: SE-8

In 1982 the Regional and National Committees again examined the regional concept and management areas then in existence and decided that SE-1 was too large for effective management. This resulted in a realignment of five councils into Section NE-5 and their movement into the Northeast Region. This also created a new Section in the Southeast Region and Section SE-8 was born with its charter members being: Nawakwa #3, Tutelo #161, Shenandoah #258, Shenshawpotoo #276, Blue H eron #349, Kecoughtan #463
and Chanco #483.

The new section is geographically a scaled down version of old Area 111-C and the long association and mutual friendships existing between its member lodges have already contributed to the establishment of a successful program.

The first functions of the new Section were an Indian Seminar hosted by Tutelo Lodge #161 at Camp Powhatan and the 1983 Conclave hosted by Shenandoah #258 at Camp Shenandoah and the 1984 Conclave hosted by Shenshawpotoo #276 at Camp Rock Enon. The 1985 Conclave will be at Camp Siouan to be hosted by Chanco #483 and the 1986 Conclave will be at Camp Powhatan and hosted by Tutelo #161. The section has continued to carve a totem pole for each host camp, and this is to continue until each camp has received a pole. The feast has become a conclave highlight and volleyball and horseshoes competition have been instituted while maintaining a high level of training.

The 1984 conclave saw the Section host the National Chief Bob Wade as its guest for the weekend. Here then is the history of SE-8. A history full of brotherhood between
Arrowmen of five states and the District of Columbia and a history of excellence in service through the arrow. This history implies an obligation upon its inheritors. This obligation is to make the new section a worthy successor to the past and to build upon the work of the brothers of yesterday and lead Section SE-8 to the higher vision of tomorrow.

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