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.

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