History of the Order of the Arrow

In May of 1915, a young man named E. Urner Goodman was selected to serve as summer camp director of Treasure Island Scout camp in the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Another young man, Carroll A. Edson, was appointed as an assistant director. Both men were 24 years old at the time.

During preparation for his roll at camp, Goodman came across a camp that had created a society to honor scouts and perpetuate the traditions and ideals of the camp.  Goodman and Edson agreed that they would create a similar society to honor and recognize those Scouts who exemplified the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.  Because of the rich Native American history and tradition in the area, it was natural for the two men to base this honor society on the legends and traditions of the Delaware Indians.

On July 16th 1915 the first Arrowmen were inducted and Unami Lodge, the first Lodge of the Order of the Arrow, was born.  By 1917 news of the organization had spread to Scout camps across the country and inquiries began.  From 1915 to 1921 during World War I the growth of the program was slow, with scouts busy with the war effort.

In October of 1921 the first national convention was held and membership in the Order grew rapidly.  At the second national convention in 1922 it was announced that the Order of the Arrow (OA) would become an official program experiment of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

  In June of 1934 the Order of the Arrow program was approved by the national council, and in May of 1948 the OA was officially integrated into the Scouting movement.  In 1998 the Order was officially recognized as the honor society of Scouting, and In 2015 the Order of the Arrow celebrated its 100th anniversary.  It has been estimated that over the last century over 3 million of Scouting's finest have been inducted into the OA, and there are currently over 270,000 active members.

Order of the Arrow Founders Carroll A Edson and E Urner Goodman

written by Jason Woodbury
information taken from the Official Order of the Arrow handbook