It was the Feb. 1, 2019, changes to Boy Scouts of America membership rules that opened the door for youth females to become eligible for nomination and election into the Order of the Arrow.
The first female class from Sequoyah Council BSA includes: Alexandra Byers, Jacqueline Byers, Samantha Liebe and Angelina Ward. All four are members of Venture Crew 387, chartered by Colonial Heights United Methodist Church.
The Order of the Arrow was established in 1915 and is considered the National Honor Society of Scouting. Scouts are nominated by fellow youth members of their units and must receive majority vote in order to be called out to attend a weekend ordeal. During the weekend of cheerful service and self-reflection, they learn the attributes of the organization and what is expected going forward.
To qualify for nomination, a registered scout must be younger than 21 years of age and have at least 15 nights of camping which must include one, but no more than one, long-term overnight camp of at least five consecutive nights. If a longer overnight trip is used, only five of the nights count toward the Scout’s 15 total nights needed. The camping must be approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, the scout must have achieved at a minimum the rank of First Class in Scouts BSA, Discovery in Venturing, and Ordinary Rank in Sea Scouting, and have the approval of the Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Sea Scout Skipper. The scout must prove leadership and loyalty to fellow scouters.
Elections are held once a year, and candidates can choose to attend either of two induction weekends. Because they attended the first induction weekend of the year, these four Venture Scouts became the first female youth in Sequoyah Council BSA to take the oath of brotherhood and earn the right to wear the Order of the Arrow sash.