From the beginning of the Order of the Arrow in 1915, all members have been equal. There are no ranks. As an Ordeal member you are entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership in the Order. Yet, so important is the induction sequence that the Order strengthened it by creating Brotherhood membership. It is an opportunity for members to evaluate their past service to Scouting (camping and unit involvement) and to the lodge since their Ordeal induction. Brotherhood membership is sought by Arrowmen seeking to reaffirm their belief in the high purposes of the Order. Before becoming a Brotherhood member, each Arrowman makes a special effort to serve the troop and to learn about the Order. Each Brotherhood member commits to even more service to Scouting through the Order.
Completing your Ordeal set you on the next part of your “long and toilsome journey,” applying what you learned in your Ordeal to your life. When you have learned about the ideals of the Order and made them a part of your life, you may become a Brotherhood member. Brotherhood membership marks the completion of your induction into the Order of the Arrow.
Except for making the necessary arrangements for Brotherhood ceremonies, it is not necessary for Brotherhood members to meet as a separate group. Social and service activities are not held for Brotherhood members apart from other members of the lodge.
The Ordeal, with its tests and ceremonies, presents many ideas and ideals. During the months that follow, you think about your Ordeal. Practicing the principles taught in the Ordeal deepens your understanding of them. Each new experience strengthens your commitment to the Order’s principles and purposes. Finally, you are able to accept the additional obligations and insights of the Brotherhood.
Your primary obligation as an Ordeal member is to serve your troop, and only after you have satisfied that you are doing this are you ready for more. The Brotherhood obligation includes a pledge to support the work of the Order. As an Ordeal member, you are invited and encouraged to serve in lodge activities, but you have no obligation to do so. As you approach Brotherhood membership, you should develop a definite idea of how you can serve the Order.
Your Ordeal consisted primarily of physical impressions. The Brotherhood ceremony is one of deeper and quieter mental impressions.
After 10 months of service and fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order. Completion of this ceremony signifies full membership in the OA.
Opportunities for becoming a Brotherhood member are available at the Spring Ordeal, Summer Ordeal, and Fall Ordeal. Other opportunities may be created from time to time, and will be announced on the lodge web site and through social media.
For more information on sealing your membership in the Order of the Arrow by becoming a Brotherhood member, refer to your OA handbook, visit the Jump Start for Arrowmen site, or ask your Chapter Chief or Adviser.