Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/nashuavalleycouncil/ on line 4

Nashua Valley Council, BSA • 1980 Lunenburg Rd. • Lancaster, MA 01523

Locate Us

Outdoor Program

Order of the Arrow Elections

Once each year (calendar year or “Scouting” year), a chartered Boy Scout Troop may hold a unit election to elect members of their troop to become members of the Order of the Arrow. Both youth and adult Scouts and Scouters can become members of the OA. New members aren’t elected only by the OA members in your troop; everyone in the troop votes (thereby insuring that Scouts are elected mostly by people who are not OA members). If you troop has no active OA members, that’s fine. A unit election team, trained in the latest OA election policies, will visit a regular troop meeting at your invitation to conduct the election for you.


Youth elections are held at a normal troop meeting, and take about 20 minutes to complete. In order for an election to be held, at least 50% of your youth members must be present (based on your current chartered troop membership) – if less than 50% are present, the election must be rescheduled. Only elections conducted by an official OA election team trained by Grand Monadnock Lodge will be considered valid. Members of your own troop cannot conduct an election for your troop.

The requirements for election for youth members (in the OA, a ‘youth’ is anyone under the age of 21; this differs from the BSA ‘youth’ which ends at the age of 18) are as follows:

  1. Must be under 21 years old at the time of election.
  2. Hold at least the First Class Scout rank (this includes Assistant Scoutmasters over the age of 18 but under the age of 21; they have to have earned First Class before their 18th birthday).
  3. In the past two years, have completed fifteen (15) days and nights of camping under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America. The fifteen days and nights of camping must include one long-term camp of six days and five nights, and the balance of the camping must be short-term (1, 2, or 3 night) camps.
  4. Have these requirements certified by the Scoutmaster, and be given a general endorsement of the candidate’s Scout Spirit by the Scoutmaster, BEFORE the election is conducted.

How to schedule a Unit Election / How the election is conducted for youth

  1. The Patrol Leader’s Council picks a date for the OA election. Dates should be picked far enough in advance to allow the election team to schedule the election. Elections are best held during a regular troop meeting, at a time where as close to 100% of the troop as possible can attend.
  2. The SM or SPL contacts the Lodge Vice-Chief for your district (contact information listed below). The election is scheduled through the Vice-Chief, who will personally conduct the election, or send a trained and authorized representative in his place. The SM or SPL should be prepared to give clear driving directions, meeting time and location, and what time they would like the election team to be there. The election team typically arrives 10 minutes before the election to set up and start the necessary procedure.
  3. The Scoutmaster prepares a list of eligible candidates for election based on the requirements above. Prior to the election, the Scoutmaster should notify and counsel those Scouts who he is not recommending for election. If possible, the Scoutmaster or Senior Patrol Leader could prepare preprinted ballots with all the names of the eligible candidates. If not, the election team will have blank ballots with them.
  4. About a week before the election, the Election Team will contact the Scoutmaster to verify the election, location, time, etc. Any questions or concerns should be resolved at this point.
  5. The election team arrives before the election is held. They will ask for the number of Scouts registered in the troop; the number of Scouts present at the meeting; and the names and ranks of all Scouts who are deemed eligible by the Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster certifies this information on the election form.
  6. The election team conducts the unit OA election. The names of the candidates are presented, and the election team explains the criteria for voting. Voting for candidates is done by secret ballot, and no interference or public revelation of an individual’s votes or the votes in total is tolerated. All youth, including Assistant Scoutmasters under the age of 21, may vote. Candidates may vote for themselves if they think that they are worthy.
  7. Candidates voting have three options.
    1. They cannot turn in a ballot, which is abstaining. This does not affect the final result.
    2. They can turn in a blank ballot, which is a vote for nobody. This counts against all candidates.
    3. They can vote for any number, including all, of the candidates eligible. This helps those who they vote for, and hurts those who they don’t vote for.
  8. Ballots are collected by the team and counted in private. In order to be elected, a candidate has to receive 50% of the ballots COLLECTED (abstentions don’t count against the final, but blank ballots do). The election team notes which scouts have been elected, and destroys the ballots (preferably off-site). If no one Scout has enough votes to be elected, the election team re-runs the election, with further explanations of the OA and offering to answer questions. If the result of the second ballot is that again no one is elected, that counts as the election for this year. As long as one youth is elected, the election is valid.
  9. The Scoutmaster is told the results of the election. It is his choice as to when the results are made known; immediately or at another time in the troop setting, or he can wait until the next available Order of the Arrow Call-out Ceremony. Note, however, that a candidate has one (1) year in which he may complete the Ordeal, which completes his membership into the OA.
  10. Completing the Ordeal, a weekend-long experience that tests a Scout’s dedication to the Scout Oath and Law, is the final step for membership in the Order of the Arrow. Grand Monadnock Lodge #309 has two Ordeals a year, one in the spring and one in the fall, so the candidate generally has two opportunities to complete the Ordeal. Please do not hold off on notifying a candidate unnecessarily so that he misses a chance to be inducted. Exceptions to the one-year rule may be granted by the Lodge for extenuating circumstances. If a Scout does not complete the Ordeal within one year and an exception is not granted, they would need to be re-elected.

How to nominate an adult for membership in the Order of the Arrow

As long as the unit successfully elects one youth member to the Order, the troop then may also nominate (not elect) adults for membership. Where youth membership is given by his peers as a recognition for service, adults are nominated and accepted if their membership will enrich the Order of the Arrow experience for the youth, or provide some service to the Lodge, the Camp, or the Council. Adult membership should not be given solely as a recognition or honor.

The requirements for for adult nominees (in the OA, an ‘adult’ is anyone 21 years of age or older; this differs from the BSA ‘adult’ which starts at the age of 18) are as follows:

    1. Must be a registered and active member of the Nashua Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America at the time of nomination.
    2. Must be at least 21 years old at the time of nomination. Both males and females are eligible
    3. In the past two years, have completed fifteen (15) days and nights of camping under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America. The fifteen days and nights of camping must include one long-term camp of six days and five nights, and the balance of the camping must be short-term (1, 2, or 3 night) camps.

Troops may nominate 1 adult for every 3 youth elected (rounding up). If the Scoutmaster is not a member of the Order of the Arrow, he/she may be nominated in addition to the "1 per 3" provided he/she meets the eligibility requirements and has been Scoutmaster for at least 12 months.

A separate Adult Nomination Form exists for adult Scouters. At the end of a successful election for youth, the Election Team will give the Troop Committee Chairman an adult nomination form. The nomination form is completed in full and mailed to the Lodge, care of the Council Service Center. The Adult Selection Committee (consisting of the Lodge Adviser, Lodge Staff Adviser, and Camping Committee Chairman, will review the form and make a decision on the adult’s nomination. Please remember that nomination does not ensure approval. If approved, the troop will be notified so that they can decide how they will inform the candidate. Adult candidates need to complete the Ordeal within one year, same as a youth member.

Scheduling a Unit Election:

Unit elections are normally held from January 1 through May 31. Elections are not held during Summer Camp. Your District Vice-Chief may grant exceptions. To schedule a unit election, please complete the election request form.  

A brief history of Grand Monadnock Lodge

Grand Monadnock Lodge #309 is the result of a growth from the first experimental Order of the Arrow program in north central Massachusetts, to a modern organization which is one of the great strengths of the council which it serves. When Lodge 309 was first formed, the country was at the end of World War II, which had followed on the heels of the Great Depression. Scout wore simple uniforms topped with overseas caps, and lodge flaps were rare. Camping, however, was as central to the Order's program then as it is today.

Grand Monadnock Lodge can trace its lineage back to three original Order of the Arrow lodges that began within a year of each other in the north central part of Massachusetts.

The first of these lodges, Tsutsuid Lodge #309, was chartered on July 10, 1945, by 12 Scouts and Scouters from the Wachusett Council, based in Leominster, MA. The name of the lodge was taken from the abundant New England chipmunks that inhabited the council area. The lodge conducted many service projects and ceremonials in the council's camp, Camp Wanocksett, in Jaffery, NH. Lodge 309 quickly became active in attending Section Conclaves and National Order of the Arrow Conferences.

As Tsutsuid Lodge #309 was born, and began to prosper and grow, a similar program was developing in Leominster's "Twin City" of Fitchburg, MA. On September 7, 1945, Elliot Managam, Scout Executive of the Fitchburg Area Council (and a Chippewa Indian), founded Watatic Lodge #319. Named after a local mountain, the lodge adopted as its totem a black panther at first, and then later, a thunderbird and war shield. Watatic Lodge was known for installing other local lodges and teaching them the Order's ceremonies. This lodge first used Camp Lowe, in Rindge, NH, as it's camp, and then later supported Camp Split Rock in Ashburnham, MA.

As the Order began to prosper in the Twin Cities of north central Massachusetts, slightly to the west the Order gained another foothold in the Monadnock Council, Gardner, MA, which on February 16, 1946, chartered Nikiwigi Lodge #329, at the council's Camp Collier. Tsutsuid Lodge #309 conducted the Ordeal for the first members of this new lodge, all of whom were members of the "Nikiwigi Tribe," which was an early honor camper society. Nikiwigi soon became active and held their own Ordeal on June 21, 1946; and throughout that summer at Camp Collier, elections were held and membership swelled.

Sometime after 1946, Lodge 329 entered a period of inactivity, which ended in 1959. With apparently no remaining active members, Watatic Lodge helped to re-install Nikiwigi Lodge; and in the following years, the two lodges were closely linked. By 1963, Nikiwigi, once again strong, was holding their own ceremonies at Camp Collier.

In 1965, as the Wachusett Council of Leominster and the Fitchburg Area Council were merged into Nashua Valley Council, so were their respective OA lodges. Under the leadership of Managam, the new lodge was to be called Quanopin, after a famous local Indian, and had as its totem Tackqiuwock -- meaning The Twins, in reference to the two strong lodges that gave birth to the new 309. Stronger than before, Quanopin Lodge #309 soon became a leader among its Section (first NE-1A and then NE-1B), as well as gaining national recognition, both for excellent Native American dancing and singing, as well as having one of their arrowmen, David Erb, become National Chief. One of the highlights of the lodge's history was when they acted as the service lodge for the 1993 NE-1B Conclave, which was not only considered among the best ever by members of the section, but had the unique distinction of being one of the few Order of the Arrow events covered by Scouting magazine.

Quanopin Lodge #309 and Nikiwigi Lodge #329 existed together as brothers, with friendly competition, through the 70s and 80s, until the Nashua Valley Council and Monadnock Council were merged in 1993. With the new Nashua Valley Council came a new lodge, Grand Monadnock Lodge #309, named after the world-famous mountain that overlooks the council's Camp Wanocksett in Jaffery, NH. Again, the merger process yielded a stronger lodge than before, and Lodge 309 continues to be a leader among Section NE-1B.

Throughout the years, GML #309 has had key roles in the section, assisting in conclave shows, training, and publications, and has had numerous youth occupy Section offices. Noted Arrowmen Steve Hoff, James Primeau, Chris Hoff, and Marc Smith have served on numerous NOAC staffs in key roles in shows or training; Branden Morris, a 4-term Section Chief for NE-1B served as the 1996 NOAC Vice-Chief for training, and was awarded the Order's National Distinguished Service Award in 1996; and Andy Collins, a 2-term Section Chief for NE-1B Served as the 2006 NOAC Vice-Chief for the Web Site. Grand Monadnock Lodge was the first recipient of the coveted Lodge Spirit and Activity Award ("The Golden Shovel") at the 1997 Section NE-1B Conclave, and plans on holding that distinction for years to come. In 2000, it was once again time for Section NE-1B to be the guests of Lodge #309 (this time as GML, not Quanopin), and 250 Arrowmen from across New England came to Camp Wanocksett again, for what was again considered one of the best NE-1B Conclaves. In January 2001, due to the election of Section Chief Pat Boyd to Northeast Region Chief, Dan Burgoyne, past two-term chief of GML, was elected to the office of Section Chief for NE-1B, presiding over the 2001 Section Conclave. In January 2005, due to the election of Section Chief Dan O'Rourke to Northeast Region Chief, Andy Collins, past vice-chief and webmaster of GML, was elected to the office of Section Chief for NE-1B, presiding over the 2005 Section Conclave, once again being held at Camp Wanocksett.

Today, and looking ahead to the future, GML Lodge #309 continues to be active not only in the section, but also in building upon Lodge 309's rich legacy of service to the council and camp programs of Nashua Valley Council. The lodge continues to be active in camping service and promotion.

Lodge Chiefs of Grand Monadnock Lodge #309

James Keavney, 1993-1994
Joe Ganley, 1994-1995
Chris Herring, 1995-1996
Kris Cullen, 1996-1997
Dan Burgoyne, 1997-1998
Dan Burgoyne, 1998-1999
Chris Burgoyne, 1999-2000
Jeff Bailey, 2000-2001
Bill Marsh, 2001-2002
Matt O'Malley, 2002-2003
Brendan Hurley, 2003-2004
Jim Fancy, 2004-2005
Michael Morin, 2005-2006
Chris Abisla, 2006-2007
Andrew Coleman, 2007-2008
Andrew Coleman, 2008-2009
Josh Champagne, 2009-2010
Josh Champagne, 2010-2011
Ken Goewey, 2011-2012
Chris Cole, 2012-2013
Zach Rellstab, 2013-2014
Nick Valiton, 2014-2015
RJ Murray, 2015-Present

Lodge Advisers of Grand Monadnock Lodge #309

Marc Smith, 1993-2000
Branden Morris, 2000-2008
Matthew Ciampaglia 2008-2015
Jim Ganley, 2015-Present

NE-1B Section Chiefs from Grand Monadnock Lodge # 309

Branden Morris, Jan. 1993 - June 1996
Dan Burgoyne, Jan. 2001 - June 2001
Andy Collins, Jan. 2005 - June 2006