Chiefly Speaking - January 2017

Chiefly Speaking – January 2017

Written by Justin St. Louis, Section Chief

As Stevie Wonder once stated, "We all have the ability. The difference is what we do with it." This philosophy is one that Stevie truly embodied. Considering that he was blind from birth, he cheerfully overcame adversity and it proved him well seeing that he eventually became one of the world’s most famous musicians.

No one is born with a handbook on the things they are expected to accomplish in life, its part of the journey to discover what that is. We all have a purpose, a reason, a future; we have to learn to use it wisely to make an impact. We have the ability to shake the world with our ideas, concepts, and most importantly – our actions. The people who make the biggest changes in the world are the ones who believe that they can.

One prime example of this idea was Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple. He changed the world because that’s what he set out to do. Every day, Jobs would wake up ready to take on the day with innovation, new ideas, and strong leadership. He started something bigger than himself, bigger than his team - he shook the world. Now, Jobs is often quoted in everyday life when speaking about innovation and change, but that is done for a reason. He was the epitome of what it means to think differently, and that came to fruition through Apple.

More than a century ago, there was a camp director with an idea; an idea to recognize those Scouts who truly represented Scouting values and to use them to inspire others to do the same.

This small group that began on an island on the Delaware River ignited a spark and started a movement which has grown exponentially since.

Today, you find yourselves finds ourselves in a similar position. Even though you’re not inventing the Order of the Arrow from scratch, this year is your chance to do it better than anyone else. You can truly use this unique opportunity to create a model lodge, to be a shining example for the rest of the nation.

To innovate, to change, to do new things, to inspire; this is your chance to be the best Order of the Arrow lodge in the country, and you can seize that opportunity right now.

The unique thing about Apple is that their aim as a company is not to completely redevelop their signature products on a regular basis, but rather to constantly to refine and improve them. Your lodge has this very same opportunity.

Whether it’s rethinking your communications plan, increasing your level of unit outreach, or creating a unique and distinctive event; you can truly refine your signature product as a lodge.

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the Order of the Arrow. It's going to take vision, dedication, and time - but I'm certain that if you all buy into this idea and take ownership of it - only the sky is the limit.

Terms such as innovation and change are becoming common buzzwords in the Order of the Arrow. Sometimes you can’t help but think what they really mean and why they are important?

One of my favorite sayings is that “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

The unfortunate truth about our organization is that the Boy Scouts of America has not grown in membership since 1968. In a world where stories of crime, injustice, and inequality flood the media; Scouting is more important today than ever before.

As Arrowmen, we serve as the “A Team” of Scouting. We have the opportunity and the skills to serve as catalysts for change; as leaders to reverse this downward spiral. Throughout Section NE-1 this year, your leadership has selected “Embrace Tomorrow” as the theme of the inaugural New England Fellowship which will be hosted at Hidden Valley Scout Reservation.

It has become evidently clear that the status quo is no longer acceptable if we want Scouting to exist for future generations. It is of great importance that something must done to remedy the situation. That remedy can come as a result of changing our mentality.

But that Order of the Arrow is not a spectator sport, this change requires action. If we commit to innovating, thinking differently, and never accepting good enough, then we will together create the future and Embrace Tomorrow by Challenging the Status Quo.

You’re work today is for the scout who will walk through the gates of camp to complete his Ordeal induction, not just in the summer of 2017, but in the summer of 2025. We don’t know who he is, or what his name is, but the program he will get the opportunity to be a part of will be determined by you, today.

So I ask you: what will your lodge be remembered for? Will you be the lodge that strives for excellence in all you do, or settles for “good enough”? Will you embrace the high ideals of the Order of the Arrow or be satisfied with the status quo? You must choose.

If you are resolved to master every challenge faithfully, if you accept the full responsibility of challenging the status quo, then it is time to Embrace Tomorrow, together.

With eyes to the sky,

Justin St. Louis
2016-2017 NE-1 Section Chief