Catamount Lodge - Order of the Arrow
Catamount Lodge – Order of the Arrow, is chartered to the Heart of New England Council, Boy Scouts of America #230. Catamount, a word used in the Middle English meaning “cat of the mountain”, refers to the eastern cougar.
The eastern cougar once roamed the northeast US and Canada as a fierce and solitary predator. Known for its speed and agility, the catamount could run upwards of 50 mph and was adept at climbing. Through the 1800s, Catamounts were hunted out of fear for human and livestock safety. An over-harvesting of northeast forests during the 1800s, and the overhunting of white-tailed deer, the catamount’s primary prey, contributed to the catamount’s decline.
While the last known sightings of catamount are believed to be from Maine in 1938 and New Brunswick in 1932, many believe catamount still roam the mountains and underdeveloped parts of the northeast. Possible sightings have been reported since the early 1900s, but there is no conclusive evidence that the catamount survives. Because of this, the catamount has earned the nickname “the ghost cat”. In early 2018, the eastern cougar was officially declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On October 20, 2018, the catamount was reborn! Once again the ghost cat roams the mountains and hills of central Massachusetts, watching over the Scouting program. Its spirit is a guide – one of fast moving and agile cheerful service to others.
About the OA
MissionThe mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.
PurposeAs Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:
- Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
- Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
- Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
- Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.
Ordeal Induction Information
Congratulations! You have been elected as a candidate for membership into the Order of the Arrow!
In most organizations, those who are already a part of the group select new members. However, in the OA, your peers, many of whom are not OA members, selected you. They saw a quality inside of you that you might not be aware of, and they have faith in you and how you live the Scout Oath and Law.
About Ordeal Weekends
This is just the first step in a journey that will last a lifetime. Your next step is to attend what is called an Ordeal, the induction experience for the Order of the Arrow. At the Ordeal weekend, you will have a chance to prove your courage and self-reliance; listen to your inner thoughts; serve your fellow human cheerfully; and prove your ability to live the Scout Oath and Law.
The Order is shrouded in mystery. We closely safeguard our ceremonies and traditions. This does not mean that you cannot talk to your parents about what happens. In fact, we encourage it, as it will help you to gain a better understanding. We do, however, ask that you not discuss it with your friends who might become members themselves one day. You would ruin the experience for them.
You will have a number of chances to complete your Ordeal. The lodge holds Induction Weekends in the spring and fall of each year. You must attend one of these weekends within 24 months (2 years) of being notified of your election. Otherwise, you will need to be re-elected, or need to get an extension.
For more information about the Order of the Arrow, the Ordeal experience, what to bring, and more, please read our Information Flyer.
Upcoming Ordeal Induction Opportunities
An unlimited number of Ordeal Candidates can complete their Ordeal by participating from home in this unique one of a kind event. We will also be hosting a small in-person Ordeal in Acton limited to 25 people. Pre-registration is required and closes at noon the Thursday before the event.
Why did we choose Acton? Ordeal candidates were polled last week and overwhelmingly a number of candidates from the Acton/Littleton/Harvard/Groton area expressed interest in a closer to home Ordeal. Feedback from parents at the Ordeals held in September and October was that driving over an hour to a camp and back home twice in one day was a lot of driving. The I495/Rt.2 area was the best fit after considering both the survey and feedback from parents.
To celebrate your induction and welcome you to the Order of the Arrow, we would like to invite you to join a special webinar after your induction (Saturday evening) hosted by the National Order of the Arrow called Momentum: Spark. During Momentum: Spark, you will be joined by Arrowmen across the country for four hours of virtual activities and fellowship, immediately after completing your induction. You can look forward to games, competitions, and trivia, as well as messages from some of the National OA leadership, and access to an archive of content from Momentum Launch, the Order’s largest ever national event, access to a community platform to meet Order of the Arrow members from across the country, and a special event patch.
The Ordeal experience has been reviewed to comply with all state public health restrictions with the safety of everyone in mind. The Ordeal will take place in a hybrid format both at home and in Acton. Participation will begin at 8pm on Friday evening at home and will transition to in-person at the work site at 8:30am on Saturday. Pick up will be at 4pm, however the event will continue virtually online Saturday evening. For detailed information about how Catamount Lodge is modifying traditional plans for an Ordeal weekend, please read our Know Before You Go flyer.
Annual Lodge Dues & Flaps
Your membership in Catamount Lodge is highly valued. Paying your dues maintains your membership in the Order of the Arrow, helps provide financial and material support for our council’s camps and properties, and funds the lodge’s annual operating budget. Dues also keep you updated with happenings in our lodge through mailings, maintains our communications channels, and provides training for the lodge’s executive board at the National Leadership Seminar (NLS) and Lodge Leadership Development (LLD) seminar. To be an active member of Catamount Lodge you must be a CURRENTLY REGISTERED member of the BSA.
You can pay your dues in one of three ways:
- Pay online with a credit or debit card (prefered)
- Pay in person at an upcoming event.
- Complete the paper dues form, and mail it with a check for $18 to Catamount Lodge ℅ Heart of New England Council 1980 Lunenburg Rd. Lancaster, MA 01523. Make checks payable to “Heart of New England, BSA”.
The Order of the Arrow (OA) is Scouting’s national honor society. It exists to recognize those Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and who set an example for others to follow; to support and promote camping and camping traditions within Scouting; and to encourage Scouts to live a life dedicated to cheerful service to others.
Each year, units have an opportunity to elect youth from their unit to become members of the Order of the Arrow. It is time to schedule your unit’s election for this year.
Catamount Lodge conducts unit elections between January 1 and May 31.
- Only elections scheduled through the lodge and conducted by a lodge-appointed election team will be considered valid.
- In order to conduct an election at least 50% of the registered youth in the unit must be present.
- Catamount Lodge does not conduct OA elections during summer camp.
There are approximately 100 units in Heart of New England Council that we need to visit. Elections are conducted by youth members of the lodge and often require advanced planning for transportation. In order to ensure we are able to accommodate your requested dates, please submit your election requests as soon as possible.
We will not be able to accommodate requests for elections during summer camp.
If your unit has no eligible youth this year, please complete the election request form and indicate that you have no one eligible. This will help us ensure that all units have had the opportunity for an election.
Unit elections are permitted in Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout units. The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are as follows:
- 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.
If you have any questions about the election process or the Order of the Arrow, please contact: elections@OACatamount.org