NEXT Factor Group A Recap
By: Owen Clapp
Many eyes pointed eagerly at the stage of Alumni Hall of Indiana University yesterday, as four lodge chiefs presented for Round A of the NEXT Factor competition. The finalists hailed from Wapashuwi, Bob White, Blue Heron and Wauna La-Mon’Tay Lodges. The solutions that were presented were Digital Membership Cards, Engaging Cub Scouts, Details and Desserts and Ceremony Certifications, respectively. Each lodge chief went onstage with their region chief sponsor and enlightened the audience on the impact that their solutions have made. All the while, 2016 National Chief Hunter Jones moderated the game show-like competition, with each region chief following up each presentation with questions.
The lodge chief from Wapashuwi, Josh Johnston, started off in his video presentation discussing how, in 2014, their lodge leadership realised that there were 45 membership cards that were never printed, and 50 cards were printed but never distributed. After careful consideration, the youth of the lodge decided that sending digital membership cards through email and pdf files were the solution. This format proved effective in LodgeMaster integration, as units carried out unit elections and members paid their dues, regardless of whether the cards were physical or digital. “Each digital membership card improves our membership retention experience,” explained Johnston. The program guaranteed the receipt of membership cards by lodge members. With a wait time of only 24 to 36 hours after paying lodge dues, the format for card distribution is proving to be effective and efficient. According to Johnston, members think of it as a new, fun and innovative way to send out membership cards. The plan in place was able to re-energize the membership experience for lodge members.
Following Wapashuwi, Bob White Lodge Chief Jacob Neville came up and presented on his solution to improve the Cub Scout experience. “Cub Scouts are the future of the Order of the Arrow,” said Neville. The goal was to produce activities and events that would get the Cub Scouts involved in the program of our organization. These events would be hosted at lodge events and conclaves in order to build up the next generation of Arrowmen.
Next, Seth Greiling, lodge chief of Blue Heron Lodge, came forward and discussed their practice of Details and Desserts. Everyone was excited to “get the scoop,” as said by Jeff Sedlacek, current Southern Region Chief. After realizing that they were “losing candidates after election,” – due to a lack of understanding of the ordeal process, according to Greiling – this program was created. The lodge was looking to improve the election to induction rate and increase membership count from the event, and did, increasing it by 18 percent over time. Their efforts were successful in other ways as well, also increasing membership retention rates. “The program inspires candidates to not be hesitant,” Greling commented, “but to go through the ordeal and become a full member of the Order of the Arrow.” The program was able to get rid of misunderstandings and misgivings and encourage membership. Arrowmen that are coming into the program are becoming more excited since the program’s launch, and more are willing to get involved. This shows the power of building lodge and section leadership from this ground breaking event.
After Seth, Lodge Chief Adam LaFountian of Wauna La-Mon’tay Lodge took the stage to enlighten the audience on their lodge program of doing ceremony certifications. This solution was in place in order to make sure that there were quality ceremonies at each lodge event so that the candidates had a good experience. LaFountain was certain to highlight the importance of ceremonies to candidates. “Ceremonies inspire those candidates that are becoming new members,” he said. Along with a rise in the quality of ceremonies, membership retention grew at a similar rate. As Joe Garcia, Western Region Chief, said in describing why he chose this solution for the final competition, “ceremonies are the first impression of the Order of the Arrow.” This lasting part of the future of a member’s career in the Order is what inspired the initial planning and continued execution of this solution.
Finally, after an incredibly close vote conducted through Mentimeter, the audience found the champion of Round A. Hunter Jones thanked all of the participants, and a giant check was brought on stage and presented to Wapashuwi Lodge. The 500 dollars listed on the check will help with the implementation of digital membership cards.