Membership Day Recap
By: Kyle Hoffmann
After a day of engaging training sessions, delegates are prepared to overcome the challenges of membership in our home lodges when we return from NEXT.
At the MAZE, delegates identified membership challenges and possible solutions to them. When delegates first entered the maze, they heard an urgent message from our national chief and vice chief on the struggles with retention that we are facing nationwide. As they progressed, they encountered the problems, realizations and truths about the Order in succession as they went through the first three rooms. Delegates were also asked questions along the way such as “What is the new Ordeal member’s perception of the Order?” so as to put themselves in the shoes of those new members who may sash-and-dash. By exploring questions like these from a different perspective, delegates were able to better keep in mind that understanding those we serve is a prerequisite to solving membership challenges.
As they entered the final room, delegates were introduced to resources that will help them strengthen their lodge membership. Flyers and posters designed to provide information about the Order of the Arrow were available on tables for delegates to pick up. Also among these resources were Link and SURGE, tools that will assist lodges in both growing and retaining their numbers of active members.
Link, a year-round training program, was unveiled, and will involve sections assisting lodges to improve on their Journey to Excellence scorecards. It will help place sections in a role that will focus more on supporting lodges than ever before. This support will be accomplished by encouraging lodge progress in Journey to Excellence as they seek to achieve gold. With Link, sections will now place more emphasis on assisting lodges in the areas of JTE where they have low performance. Link will also get lodges to continue nurturing productivity in areas of high performance. SURGE, on the other hand, is a tool that helps lodges conduct unit elections. It will show Scout troops and Varsity teams how the Order of the Arrow can enhance their troop programs and will help dispel poor preconceptions about the Order that units may have.
Now that we have found our problems and how to fix them, it is up to us to decide if we will step up and make a change. Will you have the initiative to bring back home and implement these newfound ways to improve your lodge? Or will those ideas be acknowledged but never acted upon at home? You were chosen to attend NEXT because you are a change agent in your home lodge. It is up to you to go forth and make that change.