By: Owen Clapp
Cultivate, Ignite, Share, Strengthen and Fellowship. These five words are bound in their relation to the focus of Program Day. It was a great day that brought delegates from lodges across the Order of the Arrow together to help them bring the valuable information they learned back home. Today’s modules, the learning lessons of which are summed up in this handy PDF, tie the lessons of the week to local program. There were lessons on onboarding, lodge leadership, communication, and service. All who attended gained experience on how to get themselves ready for the future every day, but on Program Day the connection to local lodge programs was emphasized to give a more personal feel.
The “Cultivating Our Future” module related to the ways that lodges can increase membership retention or onboarding. Member-friendly program was developed. Delegates gained an understanding of possible general and lodge specific solutions and brainstormed ways of resolving specific situations of unit elections, ordeal experience, and other processes covered by and working within the Guide to Inductions.
Following this module, “Igniting Our Culture” filled the focus of attendees from various lodges to look at the way lodge leadership is developed through the process of making their lodge unique and productive. Ideas were sparked on how to look at the history of a lodge and the way its future is headed and to understand how to develop a diverse identity from that. The mission of the Order of the Arrow was also incorporated into figuring out the way that lodges fit into the organization in its entirety.
“Sharing Our Stories” then took the stage of discussion as delegates worked under the guidance of their crew guides to develop more effective communication methods. Each group worked on understanding the role of their audience, the message and the medium in developing effective communications. Each delegate looked at the struggles with communication, in terms of production and recruitment, and how to find unique solutions to those same problems. Finally, various practices were listed and the pros and cons of each possibility flashed before the eyes and came to life in the voices of each attendee.
“Strengthening Our Bonds” took delegates back to the original meaning of one of the pivotal foundations of the Order – service. Selfless acts of kindness become a three part focus based on the questions of what, how and why. Those in attendance gained a better understanding of the importance of spending time serving based on the metaphor with apples. These apples represented the energy and time that we put into each part of life. The apple relating to service became a priority in the minds of the lodge delegates. Thus, the foundational value of service was revitalized and redefined for the delegates to reimagine how to serve in their lodges.
In the afternoon of Program Day, the Fellowship Festival connected the previously discussed values of communications, service, youth leadership and inductions into comprehensive games and interactive activities. This format helped the teachings of the program resonate in each of the delegates. There were plenty of fellowship opportunities available to all who participated, while still gaining great knowledge and insight.
Concluding the day, a crew debrief recounted the connection of the teachings of NEXT: A New Century with each delegate’s home lodge programs. Attendees in their crews reflected on what their lodge does in line with what they want to occur within their lodge in this new century. The culmination of the goal of NEXT – to shape the new century – came with Program Day. Today was the capstone for a new set of leaders prepared to personally take on another hundred years with enthusiasm and vigor.