Colonneh Lodge Ordeals

Scouts who were elected into the Order of the Arrow (OA) by their unit must complete an Ordeal within one year, in order to become a member of Colonneh Lodge. If a candidate does not attend an Ordeal within one year, then the candidate has to be re-elected by their unit. A candidate can only complete their Ordeal in Colonneh Lodge. Note that some are two days, and some are three days.

A notice regarding induction (Ordeal) extensions can be found here. Currently, candidates that were elected after February 1, 2019, have 24 months from the date of election to complete their Ordeal.

ordeal sash

Purpose of the Order of the Arrow

The purpose of the Order of the Arrow, Boy Scouts of America’s National Honor Society, is to:

  • Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives, and through that recognition, cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
  • Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
  • Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit, and ability to advance the activities of their units, our brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
  • Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

Ordeal Registration

The registration fee includes the cost of the Ordeal, current year lodge dues, lodge flap (patch), OA sash, OA handbook, meals and Brotherhood sash (eligible to receive six months after completing Ordeal).

The latest state, county, and Center for Disease Control and Maintenance (CDC) requirements on the day of the event will be followed. Participants will be notified before the event of the specific requirements. All participants must follow any procedures recommended by the council's Enterprise Risk Management Committee such as completing a pre-event screening form, temperature checks, wearing a mask (unless for medical reasons), limiting group sizes that remain together during the event, frequent hand washing, and/or social distancing. See the council's COVID-19 "At-Risk" Participant Statement. Participants who are sick or displaying any COVID-19 symptoms should not attend.

(click on date to register)
Location Registration
Check-in Check-out Staff
October 24, 2020 (registration is closed)
(plus October 23rd virtual meeting - see receipt for links)
Camp Strake 10/19/20 8:00 am 5:30 pm Register
December 11-12, 2020 Camp Strake        

What to bring

Candidates will need to arrive at the Ordeal in their field uniform (Scout uniform) with the following equipment and prepared to spend the first night under the stars:
  • Eat a hearty dinner before arriving
  • Annual Health and Medical Form (parts A, B, C;  "Are You Going to Camp?”). Part C includes a pre-participation physical that needs to be signed by a physician within the last year.
  • Pre-event screening form, bring a copy
  • Read COVID at-risk statement (participants must follow all safety precautions)
  • Mask
  • Field uniform (Scout uniform)
  • Work Clothes: jeans, long sleeve shirt, boots, work gloves, hat, etc.
  • Sleeping bag, ground cloth and foam pad: for sleeping under the stars on Friday night.
  • Backpack to carry gear (except for tent)
  • Tent: only for three-day Ordeals
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Flashlight
  • Rain gear
  • Water bottle: Candidates need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water will be supplied at all work locations.
  • Personal hygiene items: soap, towel, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
  • Cell phones: One of the challenges of the Ordeal is to participate in contemplative silence. Cell phones, if carried, need to be turned off for the event. 
Health and Safety: Work clothes, consisting of long sleeve shirts, long pants, boots, gloves and a hat, are required for participation in the service projects. Service projects will include brush clearing and camp clean-up (and may include painting).
Poison Ivy: Several locations have poison ivy or thorns. Candidates should wash their hands frequently.
Meals: Candidates should eat a hearty meal before arriving at the Ordeal. A meal will not be served Friday night. Candidates should not bring food unless it is part of a medically prescribed diet detailed on the medical form. Special foods and medications will be turned over to the Ordeal adviser for distribution. Please notify the Ordeal staff about required medication, medical conditions and dietary restrictions before the Ordeal.

Lodge Communications

The lodge website is the best source of information about upcoming lodge events.

Arrowmen and their parents are encouraged to like our lodge Facebook page to keep up with the latest lodge information.

The lodge sends out periodic newsletters. Sign up for the eRaven Newsletters. The lodge also sends emails to the email addresses in our lodge database called Lodgemaster.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why all the secrecy around the OA activities?
The Order of the Arrow recognizes that an aura of mystery not only stimulates interest in the OA but also helps new members feel proud of an accomplishment that is not achieved by every Scout. Most candidates receive fewer benefits if they know about the induction in advance. Knowledge of the ordeal events lowers expectancy and dulls the edge of experience. In other words, you hurt candidates by telling them about the "ordeal." After the ordeal is completed, parents should feel free to discuss the experiences their Scout had at the Ordeal. The Order of the Arrow is happy to share any pertinent information about our activities with parents who are not members.

The OA is not a secret society and does not support hazing in any form. BSA has officially stated: "The induction is not a hazing or an initiation ceremony. The Order is not a secret Scout organization, and its ceremonies are open to any parent, Scout leader, or religious leader. There is an element of mystery in the ceremonies for the sake of its effect on the candidates. For this reason, ceremonies are not put on in public. The ceremonies...are not objectionable to any religious group."

Can parents or non-OA members attend ceremonies?
Parents and non-OA siblings are strongly discouraged from attending OA ceremonies. The concern is that the future experiences of participants, who may one day have an opportunity to join the lodge, will be spoiled.
What happens during the Ordeal?
The Ordeal starts with an inspiring ceremony, where the candidate is presented with four activities to help him understand the obligations of a member of the Order of the Arrow: brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service. Once the four activities are completed, the member takes an obligation of service and becomes an Ordeal member in the OA. Note that nothing in the Ordeal is considered hazing; the Ordeal activities are intended to promote self-discovery and inspiration while providing service to our Scout camps. All ceremonies are reviewed regularly by Scouting and religious leaders. The experience of the Ordeal is to challenge the candidate to understand an obligation of life-long, cheerful service.
How do Scouts benefit from the OA?
Over 3,000 Arrowmen in Colonneh Lodge give more than 40,000 hours of service to their units, districts, council and communities every year. The Order of the Arrow program provides additional opportunities for a Scout to develop leadership talents and motivational skills; improve speaking, planning, and motivational skills; fellowship with older Scouts; and achieve a deeper understanding about cheerfully and unselfishly giving of himself in the service of his fellow Scouts.
What is expected of a new OA member?
OA members are expected to stay active in their unit, set an example by living the Scout Oath and Law, promote camping and provide service to Scouting and the community. In addition, OA members should attend chapter meetings and lodge events, pay annual dues and provide service.
How do new OA members get involved?
Besides the personal experience of being part of an honor society, Arrowmen can sharpen their leadership skills, work with others to solve problems and brainstorm with others to help make the organization as strong as it can be. Getting involved is easy. OA programs provide a variety of innovative leadership opportunities, and fun events not found anywhere else in Scouting. New Arrowmen should first find out when and where their chapter meets in their district.

Arrowmen can serve as an Elangomat or “friend” at ordeals, to make new candidates feel welcome. Serving as an Elangomat is a wonderful leadership experience, as well as an opportunity to make new friends. Serving as an Elangomat can also help youth achieve the Leadership in Service Award, as well as the Service Clan Sash.

Scouts can help their unit and earn credit for rank advancement leadership by becoming a unit OA representative. The unit OA representative serves as a link between the lodge or chapter and the unit. In the unit, the unit OA representative makes sure that fellow Arrowmen know about upcoming OA events. In addition, the unit OA representative takes information back to the chapter and lodge on how the OA can help the unit. The OA unit representative is a very important role to the OA. It is a way to serve the lodge and unit at the same time, and fulfill a leadership requirement for advancement towards Eagle Scout.

Chapter ceremony teams conduct inspirational pre-Ordeal, Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies. In addition, ceremony teams have many exciting opportunities to participate in competitions at lodge, section and national level events. Joining a ceremonial team is a rewarding experience. Colonneh Lodge’s Native American program promotes cultural education through song, authentic dance, crafts, and more. Individual dancing and drumming competitions occur at many lodge, section, and national events.

The OA was founded upon camping traditions. Every chapter has a camp promotions team to improve interest in our local camps and promote the excitement of camping and adventure. Serving on summer camp staff at one of the Sam Houston Area Council camps is an outstanding opportunity to serve Scouting.

Every year there are lots of awesome opportunities for Arrowmen to participate in lodge and section events:

Fall Pow Wow is Colonneh Lodge’s premier event held in the fall. It is a combination of Native American activities such as ceremony and dance classes, crafts, competitions, pow wows, sports, exciting games, shows, expos and more.

Arrowman Bash is a one-day event full of fun and service and lodge elections, held at a council camp each spring. The day starts with Arrowmen giving back to camp in cheerful service. The afternoon includes fun events, exciting activities, ceremony competitions, dance competitions, crafts, singing, drumming, regalia building, and a few surprises too!!!!

Lodge Leadership Development is a dynamic training event held each January. Arrowmen learn more about the OA and Colonneh Lodge and how to become better leaders. Youth and adult training classes include leadership development, event planning, tools needed to improve chapters, and communication skills, to name a few. This important training is open to all Arrowmen.

OA Banquet is a night of celebration, to recognize award winners and celebrate the past year’s accomplishments. Arrowmen gather to look back at all of the fun that was had over the past year.


Ordeal Registration Questions

Ordeal Chair and Adviser

Lodge Vice Chief and Adviser of Inductions