Dec 29, 2010

Where might you meet a fellow Arrowman?

In early 1976 the OA National Bulletin reported that co-founder of the Order of the Arrow Dr. E. Urner Goodman and his wife were struck by a car while visiting in Sarasota, FL. Dr. Goodman received numerous cuts and bruises, but both were recovering nicely at home in Penney Farms, FL.

The considerate leaders of Chanco Lodge sent a get well note to Dr. Goodman, wishing him a speedy recovery. The ever-thoughtful Dr. Goodman responded with a thank you message which was published in the June, 1976 edition of the Chanco Courier and is pictured above. Can you imagine the excitement of the surgeon when he discovered that his patient was the famous founder of the Order of the Arrow?

Dec 28, 2010

Wahunsenakah 2010 Summer Service patch

The metal flap issued at the Wahunsenakah Summer Service weekend distracted me from posting about the activity patch issued for that event. I realized this when I consulted my friend William Weeks in East Texas about the unique varieties of ducks featured on Wahunsenakah Lodge's five 2010 activity patches.

William says the duck on this patch is an American black duck.

Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from

Merry Christmas and best wishes for warm, safe, and peaceful holidays from

The patch above is from the first Christmas banquet I attended as a Kecoughtan arrowman. As I recall the patch was designed by Lodge Chief Andy Hess. There was a mug for the event, too. Although I didn't know it at the time, this was the very first Kecoughtan Christmas banquet patch. The only other items issued for a Christmas banquet prior to this were a neckerchief slide for the banquet in 1967 and a coffee mug in 1969.

Check out the article I wrote about the banquet and the awesome pictures by Gary McSmith in the March, 1974 edition of the Kecoughtan Kryer. Andy is wearing the patch above in one of the pictures, and you can even spot a picture of me with much more hair than I have now!

My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to help document the history, emblems, and traditions of Kecoughtan, Chanco, and Wahunsenakah Lodges and the Order of the Arrow in Virginia.

Dec 22, 2010

1972 Area III-C Pow Wow Booklet

Kecoughtan Lodge hosted their first Area Pow Wow in 1972, the year that the Lodge was celebrating their 20th anniversary. For decades I have always thought that the numeral "20" in the Pow Wow patch design represented this.

Recently Ben Vincent provided me with a PDF copy of the 1972 Area III-C Pow Wow booklet. Among other insights, I learned that the "20" on the patch actually represents the 20th Area III-C Pow Wow.

One of my favorite parts of the booklet is this part of the greeting letter signed by Alan Spaulding, the youth coordinator of the Pow Wow, Walter Deal, the adult advisor, Sam Fairchild, 463 Chief, and Bailey Tudder, the Lodge Advisor:
"It is truly a privilege for the Brothers of Kecoughtan to serve as hosts for the 1972 Pow Wow. Arrowmen from all parts of the Peninsula have spent many hours in service to prepare for this weekend. If it is a success, then those dedicated Arrowmen deserve much credit. If there is some aspect that does not appear to be a success, then assume it to be a new experience."
Another favorite part the booklet for me is the illustrated front and back cover that pictures an oak tree with the Pow Wow emblem superimposed. Hidden in the leaves is the name of the illustrator: Dave Tudder, youngest son of the Lodge Advisor. I am sorry to report that Dave passed away a few years ago according to his brother John, so I was unable to share my appreciation for his efforts with him.

Take a few moments to read the booklet and enjoy a trip back to Peninsula Scout Reservation in 1972 when Kecoughtan Lodge was deservedly proud of being a National Standard Lodge.

Dec 9, 2010

Tracing Virginia OA Area and Section history

Recently I decided to undertake a complete audit and rewrite of the pages I have on my site devoted to the emblems and memorabilia issued at the events held by the regional Area and Sections that Virginia OA Lodges have belonged to. These pages have always been a challenge to complete because there is no comprehensive reference like the OA Blue Book to rely on. Plus, events that happened decades ago are difficult to research because the documents they were chronicled in (newsletters and lodge meeting notes) aren't available online or in the public library.

Sadly, this is a project I wish I had started many years ago. An African proverb says "When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground." The deaths of Si Simons and John Hannabass in 2008 took two of Virginia's greatest Arrowmen, each with over half a century of cheerful service. I can't delay my efforts to excavate and preserve the history of the Order of the Arrow in Virginia since so much of that history is unwritten and stored only in memories.

I am extremely grateful that I already have eager and helpful assistance from several others who share my deep interest and dedication to this subject. Step 1 is to catalog all of the events like Pow Wows, Conclaves, Indian Seminars, and Training Conferences with their dates, locations, and host lodge. Step 2 is to determine every pocket patch, neckerchief, Vigil totem, jacket patch, etc. issued for each event, and by the Area and Section.

While this effort began as an attempt to create a comprehensive emblem reference guide I will be the first to admit that "scope creep" has already taken over.  I've decided that a dry catalog of issues isn't enough to convey the rich tradition and heritage built throughout the nearly six decades of service by Virginia Arrowmen for their councils, camps, and communities.  So I will try to include pictures, stories, anecdotes, and newsletter accounts of the events so that the Arrowmen of 2011 and later will have an opportunity to learn about and appreciate those who came before and gave so much.

I'll be logging my progress on this site. If you'd like to help, just let me know! I'd be grateful for any assistance you can provide. You can be certain your efforts will receive proper attribution as well as my eternal thanks.

Wahunsenakah issues Holiday Banquet patch

On December 4 Wahunsenakah Lodge 333 held their annual Christmas Banquet, described in a prior post about a cloth version of the 2010 BSA 100th Anniversary flap that was sold there.

No to be overlooked is the fifth and final patch in the 2010 series of activity emblems for Wahunsenakah Lodge. The three inch round emblem with pocket loop follows the style of prior issues from this year with ghosted lettering that emphasizes the attractive design of a predominantly black and white duck on a monochromatic background that evokes a winter atmosphere.

I was so fascinated by the unique duck on this patch I spent some time on the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl ID page trying to identify the species. Since I couldn't match it perhaps an expert can help me out by posting the answer in the comments.

You can view this and all of the Wahunsenakah event emblems on the Lodge 333 Activity Emblems page.

Thanks to Larry Johnson for the patch and for advising me the designer of the 2010 Wahunsenakah activity patches is Alan Booth.

Dec 7, 2010

Cloth version of Wahunsenakah metal flap issued

On December 4 Wahunsenakah Lodge 333 held their 15th annual Christmas Banquet. The event was held at Chestnut United Methodist Church in Newport News and featured State Senator John Miller as guest speaker along with a performance by the Lodge dance team, a video review of the year, recognition of all past Chiefs and Advisors, special award presentations, and introduction of the 2010 Vigil Honor candidates (see program for details).

A new lodge flap patch with an interesting history was available for sale at the Banquet. Earlier this year the Lodge issued a metal flap designed by Lodge Insignia Design Committee Adviser Dr. Barry Green to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the BSA.

When the original order arrived from the manufacturer the design was correct but the media was not. The flaps were cloth patches, not metal. The emblems were reordered, and the Lodge decided to sell the 300 cloth versions at the Christmas Banquet. According to Wahunsenakah Lodge member Dewitt Holland each Arrowman was allowed to purchase one prior to dinner, and at the end of the evening program the remainder were sold, with none remaining afterwards.

I would like to applaud the Lodge for making these items available to the Lodge members attending the banquet and making sure each attendee had an opportunity to purchase one. In far too many cases where error items are returned to the manufacturer they somehow find their way onto the market and become high priced rarities providing big profits to a select few while the Lodge realizes zero financial gain.

Not to mention that it's a beautiful design that renders exceptionally well in thread!

Dec 3, 2010

The 1995 Year of Service OA patch

Not long ago I got to wondering about a particular activity patch in my collection and decided to spend some time researching its origins. It came to my collection as part of a group of Kecoughtan event patches I acquired. It's not rare or valuable by any stretch, but I learned it holds a very special significance not only for lodges 463, 483, and 333, but represents a unique beginning that even Arrowmen of today will appreciate.

1995 was a year between NOAC events. The National OA committee implemented a program called the Year of Service and encouraged every lodge to perform a service project approved by their Scout Executive to earn special recognition. A special patch was available for Arrowmen participating in the service project.

The April-June 1995 edition of the OA National Bulletin featured an article  encouraging Lodges to participate in the program, with details and a picture of the patch.

The National OA Committee also encouraged Lodges to apply for matching grants to help fund their service projects. A front page story in the January-March 1995 edition of the OA National Bulletin advised that 152 lodges submitted requests. While $25K was originally set aside to fund the approved projects, the Committee selected 19 Lodges to receive a total of $58,111 in matching grants for their projects. The only Virginia lodge to receive matching funds was Shenandoah 258, which was granted $4K to assist with building a handicapped campsite.

As part of the Year of Service Kecoughtan and Chanco Lodges shared a joint service project on the weekend of Nov. 4, 1995. In the September 1995 Chanco Courier Lodge Chief John Belmonte  invited Arrowmen from his Lodge to attend the joint service project to be held with Kecoughtan Lodge to rebuild the chapel at Camp Chickahominy.

The October, 1995 Kecoughtan Kryer also encouraged members to attend, cautioning that only 60 patches would be available for the project participants.

The April 1996 edition of the Duck Calls newsletter reports the project was completed March 1-3, 1996 at the Winter Ordeal of the new Wahunsenakah Lodge that was formed by the merger of Kecoughtan 463 and Chanco 483 on January 1, 1996.

According to Duck Calls a highlight of the weekend was snow and an attendance of over 200 brothers. Former Chanco member Dewitt Holland remembers that he served on the kitchen staff and all the boys were moved into the dining hall for the night in anticipation of the arriving winter storm. Seeking quiet, he elected to sleep outside and awoke under a tent sagging under two inches of snow.

The patch is not listed in the activity emblems catalog for either lodge in collecting resources like the Blue Book, but represents a significant service event as Arrowmen from southeastern Virginia began their project as members of Chanco and Kecoughtan Lodges and completed it as brothers in the new Wahunsenakah Lodge 333.

The National Significance

As part of the Year of Service the National Committee also launched the Philmont OA Trail Crew project. 270 Arrowmen from across the country were selected to spend 14 days at Philmont during the summer helping construct a new trail.

This new initiative was an important seed for future high-profile service efforts by the OA, first at other BSA national high adventure areas and later on public land throughout the US. The ambitious ArrowCorps5 in 2008 was the largest service project conducted by the BSA since World War II, involving over 3,600 Arrowmen in 5 national forests across the country. Today the seed planted back in 1995 continues to grow as the National Committee plans SummitCorps for summer, 2011 at the New River Gorge National River Area in West Virginia.

The lesson I learned after completing my research: don't judge a patch by the monetary value you find on a price list or its nondescript generic design. The fun in patch collecting is learning and appreciating the unique background behind the emblem.