Excitement fills the air as a first year camper takes his place at his first campfire at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation. After a lively campfire, his older friends shuffle out of the campfire amphitheater and the lights dim. The steady, strong beat of a drum slowly begins to echo over the lake. Suddenly, several torch bearers dressed in full regalia lead the summer chieftain into the circle. After a brief orientation, the new campers are led away to a special program before a cheerfully blazing fire. Filled with awe, the new camper leaves the ceremony with a lasting impression of summer camp and the Order of the Arrow.
Does this program sound too good to be true? It shouldn’t, because this program is just one facet of Kittatinny Lodge V’s impressive summer Order of the Arrow program that is presented weekly at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation during the summer camp season.
The summer program in Kittatinny Lodge is led by the Summer Chieftain, a special paid member of the camp staff that is selected by the lodge to represent and run the summer program. The summer chieftain and his assistants lead a very busy schedule. Their work begins before camp even starts. They must secure and train volunteers to fill all parts for three ceremonies that are performed during the week. They must also find volunteers to build and tear down bonfires for all ceremonies. Finally, the Summer Chieftain must find support staff to help with drumming, costuming, and other details. In short, the Summer Chieftain is the equivalent of a Ceremonies Committee Chairman plus additional responsibilities for an entire summer.
A typical week of camp begins with the new camper ceremony on Sunday night. This ceremony provides a visible and impressive introduction to camp and the Order for all first year campers at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation. In this ceremony, they are presented with green neckerchiefs that can be stamped as part of the Kittatinny Award Program.
On Wednesday, a call out ceremony is held in which new Ordeal and Brotherhood members are recognized in front of their fellow campers. They are presented with a piece of hemlock as a token of their achievement. After the ceremony, all Arrowmen are invited to a special cracker barrel at the Kittatinny Room.
Finally, on Friday, as part of the closing campfire, ceremonialists present the story of the Order of the Arrow and recognize new Ordeal and Brotherhood members again in front of their families. After the campfire, Native American dancing is held around a blazing fire as Scouts leave the campfire.
Throughout the week, the Summer Chieftain and his assistants also present OA Visitations to troops in camp. A troop schedules an OA Visitation. This consists of a team of several Arrowman, usually from the camp staff, who visit a troop’s campsite, tell about, and promote the Order of the Arrow. Often, part of the team dresses in regalia, as this is one of the most obvious aspects of the Order. The team answers any questions that troop members may have about the Order of the Arrow.
One of the final parts of Kittatinny’s summer program is the OA Participation Award and the Kittatinny Award. The OA Participation Award encourages all troops to take part in the OA events offered at camp and requires them to complete several requirements including an OA Visitation and an OA Service Project. The Kittatinny Award, also an integral part of the summer program, encourages all campers to take advantage of the many opportunities for advancement, service and fun at summer camp. Each time a Scout fulfills a requirement, a signature can be obtained on a sheet. At the end of the week, the Scout earns stamps on his green neckerchief from the new camper ceremony for each signature he collects for his activities. If the Scout earns enough stamps on his neckerchief, he gets a complimentary Kittatinny Award patch from the lodge for his neckerchief.
It become apparent that Kittatinny Lodge V’s summer program is a visible and important part of the summer camp program at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation. Without the program, summer camp would lose much of its luster and excitement for visiting Scouts and Scouters. If you have any questions about Kittatinny’s exemplary summer program, please contact the Hawk Mountain Council for more information.