Why this patch is more important than most realize.

Posted on May 23rd, 2011 in BSA Info,Hobby Trends,NOACs,OA by ramore

The other night on eBay this lot sold:  1946 FELT NATIONAL CONVENTION PATCH-CHANUTE FIELD, ILL

Over the past week I have been answering e-mails with Bruce Shelley, ISCA OA editor, and Dr. Ron Aldridge, author of the two volume book “OA at National Events”. This is the second known specimen to surface in the 60+ years since the event. The participant’s badge was a pin-back button. There was no patch. As Ron pointed out to Bruce:

The first one was found by Dennis Sydlowski in the Richard Marshall collection, sold or traded to Breithaupt, and pictured in the Arapaho book.  It is now a part of the Las Vegas International Scout Museum collection.  When I published my set of books, I was leaning toward the prototype theory as only one was known at that time.  The second one was given to Dennis Sydlowski’s council by R.L. Van Horn.  One came from Michigan and one came from Indiana – this patch might well be a patch made by a council in the mid-west for wear by their contingent members.
In all the years I have researched these early patches, I have seen no evidence that this patch was made or ordered by National.  But then this was one National Meeting before the BSA took over the OA.
So the ebay auction is the second one to surface but that’s not why its important. What’s important is who had it and who gets the money. TSPA became aware of this patch at the Indy TOR in talking with Dave Ramp and Dennis Sydloski. The patch was on display in the council office of Anthony Wayne Area Council. Dennis and Dave asked what the council should do. With out a hesitation I said, “Sell it!”. This was not a significant piece of local council history. The council is not in a position to maintain and preserve it. It has significant value to the hobby so the council should realize the value. Put it into endowment to be sure that Scouting is around in the future.

Bottom-line: Councils are better off to have money in their endowment than non-local patches on display.

How many lodge items for this NOAC?

Posted on August 2nd, 2009 in NOACs,OA by ramore

I don’t know what the record is for the number of lodge items issued for a NOAC but we could shatter it. I polled many senior collectors and the consensus number is 1,500 new items or about 5 per lodge (this is counting 2-piece sets as two). Even folks who thought their lodge was not a patch whore started counting the number of pieces and came up with 5 or 7 items. The typical mass-producers were at 10 or more items. Take that against approximately 300 lodges, with some lodges not being represented, and 1,500 seems to be the target.

We’ve taken over the management and publication of the OA Blue Book so we’re heading home from pre-NOAC to see that the system can handle all of these new additions. What an undertaking.

Michigan State for 2012 NOAC?

Posted on August 2nd, 2009 in BSA Info,NOACs by ramore

Late Update 8/5/09: The OA Committee confirmed at the end of NOAC that the next NOAC is 2012 at MSU. MSU could provide up to 17,000 dorm rooms. The Committee is looking for an attendance of around 9,000 for this NOAC. MSU is also a candidate for the 2015 100th anniverasary NOAC where attendance could be 15,000.

Looks like Michigan State (MSU) is the likely site for the next National Order of the Arrow Conference. The original plans had been to go back to Iowa State but ISU is re-doing a number of dorms, including demolition of existing dorms, such that they could only host 4,200 participants. Clearly not enough.

In re-opening the site selection we heard that Penn State also has a proposal in for consideration. Some of the problems though with PSU is getting there is not easy. It would be a different venue which can be interesting but, having been on the staff side of these events, ease of logistics trumps a LOT of other considerations.

MSU appears to be getting quite aggressive in their bidding. They have a team visiting this conference. They toured the pre-NOAC TOR. The TOR was such a success that they are looking at central facilities on campus. The original thought had been a field house that was two miles away from the main residential halls but now they are trying to find alternatives, and have some, that are right in the heart of where we would have the NOAC.

It appears that MSU, which were ambivalent hosts for the 2006 NOAC, got a strong message from the local community of how great it was to have the Scouts in town. Also, there is new leadership at the university that has gotten more entreprenurial and inviting. Basically they are bending over backwards from what I hear to try and get the conference.

Some might wonder why these mid-west universities. Its because of their size. These campuses typically have 35,000 – 45,000 students and were built on wide open spaces. While I am located near the University of MIchigan it just does not have the extra dorm space nor the required facilities close in to the dorms to make it an easy site.

Unfortunately we’ll be back to a 3 year gap in conferences so as to not land on a jamboree year. There’s talk of another National Indian Seminar to be held in Asheville, NC for one of the intervening years.

The decision on MSU is not final. It probably won’t be made until the December planning conference given that there’s still plenty of lead time. We shall see.

Camp Sunnen 1957 Staff from Cahokia Mound

Posted on April 1st, 2009 in Camps,NOACs,OA by ramore

We’ve been helping a Scouter re-create his original merit badge sash. He recently shared some information about his Scouting history including a wonderful camp staff photo from Camp Sunnen of Cahokia Mound Council headquartered in Madison County, IL. Camp staff photos are fun but what really caught my eye was all of the staff being OA members. I’ve had numerous conversations with Paul Myers, Terry Grove and others that finding early, particularly non-NOAC/conclave, photos of OA members is not easy. Now, 1957 is not ‘early’ but its now 52 years ago as well.Here’s what Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member James Turner Harris provided to us (click on the picture for a larger image):


Boy Scouts of America, Cahokia Mound Council, Madison Co., Ill. – Camp Sunnen, Shirley, Mo. (on Mo. Rte. # 8) between Postosi, Mo. and Steeleville, Mo. located on Sunnen Lake owned by Sunnen Products, St. Louis, Mo.Post By: Larry Ryan
1957 Staff Photo Back To TopIn the picture:
Clay Breihan   Ed Rickert   Jim Vierling   Walt Schramm   Ony Pashea   Tim Bennett   Larry Ryan   Les Bickel   Bill Savage   Jim Harris   Frank Long   Dick Cassens   Webb Lewis   Lowell Schaefer   Tom Renz   Rich ColemanTop Row, left to right:Clay Breihan, Ed Rickert, Jim Vierling, Walt Schramm, Ony Pashea, Tom “Frenchie” Dubocheau, Don Davidson, Tim Bennett, Larry Ryan, Les Bickel

Front Row, left to right:

Bill Savage, Jim Harris, Frank Long, Dick Cassens, Webb Lewis, Lowell Schaefer, Tom Renz, Rich Coleman

Jim, a delegate to the 1956 National Order of the Arrow Conference, shared some pictures on the Cahokia 126 lodge delegation:


This is a photo of the group from the Cahokia Mound Council #126 that went to Bloomington, Ind. in 1956.

Left to right:

Jim Chism – Granite City, Ill.

Jim Harris – Granite City, Ill.

Mickey Strange – Madison, Ill.

Carl Temple – Granite City, Ill.

Ed Rickert – Granite City, Ill.

Dick Dawkins – Collinsville, Ill.

Rollin Henn – Granite City, Ill. (to my knowledge 1st Vigil in our conf.)

Tom Temple – Granite City, Ill.


Ronney Loos – Marine, Ill.

Walt Schramm – Edwardsville, Ill. (OA Lodge Chief)

Notice that we are all wearing the flap OA patches. As I remember, we got them not too long before we went to Bloomington. We were probably the first scouts in #126 to wear the flap patches. Also notice, that on my uniform you see the Camp Sunnen patch. The scan of my OA flap patch is the same uniform as in this photo and still has the original flap patch and also the Camp Sunnen patch on it but with a few more years added to the count.

I did not notice originally when I sent the photo but the neckerchief I am wearing .. white .. is the one that I had E. Urner Goodman sign with an ink pen while I was at the conclave. On that neckerchief was my original Cahokia #126 round, white OA patch with the chief head on it. I wish I had the neckerchief of course but I wish I had at least a photo of it. Anyway it sort of dates the switch over from the round to the flap .. circa just before the 41st OA conclave as I remember.

I remember that Dr. E. Urner Goodman was there and I was lucky enough to see him. I remember that I had a white neckerchief with the “old” round, white Cahokia OA patch on it and I got him to sign it in ink .. no sharpies (lol) back in 1956. It ran a bit and I put it away for safe keeping but it must have disappeared when I was still living at home back in the early 60s. I just remember that he seemed old and was sort of small and thin .. I think.

I know we stayed on campus at Ind. U. The only other thing that I can remember is walking to the “downtown area” by the campus and of course we had out uniforms on .. and some locals wanted to start a fight until they realized they were vastly outnumbered. I was sort of in the background and after that I headed back to the campus area .. .Ha Ha. Not a great warrior.

Unfortunately that is about it. I do have a plastic note book or pad or some thing from there that I kept and a patch and maybe some thing else but I would have to look.

I have told Roger Schestereit, Floyd Jordan in Granite City .. that we were give 5 of the “flap patches” to trade at Bloomington. I know that the flap patch that I have is from Bloomington and 1956 because I made sure my mother sewed on “the new flap patch” and took off the “old round white patch.” I wanted to be “cool and hip” I guess.

The reason I bring that up is that I have never seen the “golden” flap patch that is supposed to be the first and so rare. I do not ever remember seeing anything but the “yellow” one that I have and seemed to be the more common one. I do know that I got flap patches as soon as they were available so I am not sure how or when or why the golden one came into being.


James sent us pictures of the flaps he received just prior to the the NOAC in 1956. Here are the images and his comments. Click on the images to get a larger size.

Lodge 126 Cahokia flap circa 1956


This is the very first Cahokia #126 OA flap patch that I ever got. I wore this to the 41st Natl. OA Conclave in Bloomington, Ind. some time after 8/27/1956.

That date is the date of the photo showing me wearing the patch. At the time of the photo, I had attended Camp Sunnen as a camper in 1955 and I had just finished my first year as Asst. Sports Director for the camp in summer 1956.


126 Cahokia Lodge flap circa 1956, second image


I got this patch at the same time as the one that was in the photo that I just sent you on my summer uniform. With the summer uniform, it went to camp with me in 1957, 1958 and 1959 after that photo was taken and it got WASHED and not dry cleaned. I have no idea if mom ever dry cleaned this winter uniform but if she did clean it .. it would have been DRY CLEANED and not washed. I think you can tell by the condition of the patch. It is mint except it was sewed on to the uniform.

Like I said before, I was issued these two plus 5 to trade at Bloomington (after 8/27/1956) so I still have my TWO ORIGINAL FLAP PATCHES. I also have the original round white one but it is in my collection.

I hope I have helped out a bit in dating the patches. All I can say is that I know that the ones that I have sent in the photos were issued after summer camp in 1956 and before we went to the OA conclave and as I remember they are the original color patches and all of us who went to Bloomington got them and we should have been the first to receive them.

Hard to remember back 53 years ago though.


Nows it Jamboree 2013 – Near Washington, D.C.

Posted on February 12th, 2009 in Jamborees,NOACs by ramore

I heard in December that the next National Jamboree was set for 2013 but the location was still under review (Arkansas, West Virginia, and eastern mid-Atlantic states were in the final round). A press release is now out with the following confirming a site in the mid-Atlantic, likely Camp Goshen of National Capital Area Council. This puts us back to what would be the standard four-year rotation (i.e., we should have had a Jamboree this year and then again in 2013).  Although this requires a new site and thus a lot to do which made some some sense for the 2015 date, my guess is National wants the money they raise from the Jamboree and thus are pulling the date ahead. Unfortunately this also impacts the scheduling of National Order of the Arrow Conferences as a normal progression would have been 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015.

DALLAS, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ — As on outgrowth of an 18-month process aimed at establishing a permanent home for its iconic event, the national Scout jamboree, the Boy Scouts of America announced today that it will enter negotiations with sites in Virginia and West Virginia to explore the vision of a National Scouting Center. The National Scouting Center will comprise three major areas of focus: the permanent home for the national Scout jamboree, a new high-adventure base, and expanded opportunities for national leadership and outdoor skills training. The vision for a National Scouting Center evolved from an intensive, highly competitive site selection process that drew 80 proposals from 28 states.

The site selection process, referred to as Project Arrow, was overseen by a committee that narrowed submissions to three outstanding finalist proposals from Virginia, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Today, after serious and thorough consideration, the BSA’s National Executive Board took action to proceed with further investigation and negotiations with Virginia and West Virginia. Plans call for placement of the permanent home for the BSA’s national jamboree in Goshen, Rockbridge County, Virginia, and the new high-adventure base in Fayette and Raleigh counties, West Virginia.

“This new vision of a National Scouting Center represents an incredible opportunity for the BSA, our Scouts, and the nation. In its entirety, the center will offer a new American landmark-a multipurpose, year-round destination for Scouting activities that will become the epicenter for the best that Scouting has to offer,” said Jack D. Furst, chairman of the Project Arrow Committee and retired partner of the private equity firm HM Capital Partners. “It will be a dynamic place where people from all over this country and the world come together to share their common values, partake in America’s best leadership programs, and challenge themselves through rigorous outdoor activities.”

Furst noted that although an important step has been taken, there is still much work to be done. “We are moving from vision to reality, and there is still much process to go through.”

“Serving as the home for the Boy Scouts’ national Scout jamboree is a great honor for the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Patrick O. Gottschalk, Virginia secretary of commerce and trade. “We are committed to this process and know that we have a tremendous amount to offer in the long term to this time-honored celebration and the organizational goals of the Boy Scouts.”

Kelley Goes, cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, says her state is eager to continue progress with the BSA. “We appreciate the Boy Scouts’ recognition of what our land has to offer with its spectacular and diverse topography. There are opportunities to bring new adventure outlets to Scouts, and we look forward to continuing this discussion.”

Experiential learning activities, such as the ones offered at BSA high- adventure bases and the national jamboree, are a core element to fulfilling the BSA’s mission of serving America’s youth with character-building opportunities. Both the jamboree and high-adventure bases reflect the skills and values of Scouting — appreciation for the outdoors, physical fitness, environmental conservation, and understanding our national heritage.

Every four years, the BSA hosts a 10-day jamboree celebration that draws more than 240,000 Scouts, volunteers, vendors, and visitors. Annually, the BSA’s three existing high-adventure bases, Philmont, Northern Tier, and Florida Sea Base, serve more than 50,000 youth — with 20,000 more wait- listed. The new proposed adventure base would complement the existing three and help meet the demand for high-adventure activities with completely new programs not offered elsewhere.

Furst says the BSA extends its sincere thanks to the jamboree site finalist in Saline County, Arkansas. “We are so grateful to Governor Beebe and the officials of Arkansas for providing us such a compelling option, and showcasing their state’s great leadership. Their incredible site had many outstanding elements,” Furst said.

Among other criteria that were considered, potential jamboree sites were
*  Have spectacular natural beauty
*  Have water for recreational activities
*  Be at least 5,000 acres and available for donation, long-term lease
(100-plus years), or sale
*  Be within 25 miles of an interstate or a four-lane divided highway
*  Be within 150 miles of a commercial service airport with medium or
large hub status
*  Be in an area with adequate medical services
*  Be accessible year-round via standard modes of transportation

The Largest OA Patch Jacket Collection?

Posted on October 1st, 2007 in Camps,NOACs,OA by Roy

The title is probably mis-leading. This is not about OA lodge jacket patches but OA lodge patch jackets. Yes, there are such things. I recently added one to my collection which already may well be the largest in the country. Now I have four. :)

Here’s the newest addition. Its from Lodge 110 Michigamea with their rare 1969 NOAC contingent patch on it.


Others that are in this “world’s largest” collection is one from Katinonkwat Lodge 93 out of Ohio:


Lodge 139 Ah-tic from Pennsylvania:


And one from Ahtuquoag Lodge 540:


What is nice about the 110 and the 540 is that they are dated.


Finding out what is even out there is a problem. I had one from Seminole lodge 85 that I let go to a friend of mine who is from that lodge. Other than that, I’ve not seen many. What can you report as existing? My guess is most of these were for contingents or lodge leaders. Probably most were locally made at local sporting goods stores that could do chain stitch embroidery for varsity letter jackets. They generally appear to be from the 1960s. There must be some more after that although I am not interested in ones that are just a patch sewn on a jacket. They need to have some sort of ’embellishment’ to qualify.

As an addendum – this ‘collection’ isn’t just limited to OA jackets. Another interesting one is one from Camp Betz of Pokagon Trails Council in Indiana. I don’t know the year but its felt on felt. Probably from the late 1950s.

1950s era Camp Betz Indiana staff Jacket

Review of 2007 OA NCLS

Posted on August 29th, 2007 in BSA Info,NOACs,OA by Roy

Order of the Arrow 2008-2012 Strategic PlanI just got back from serving on staff for the National Order of the Arrow Conservation and Leadership Summit. Last year was a National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC). This normally would be an off-year but there will be three years between NOACs. The next one is not until 2009. The reason is to not have a NOAC on a National Jamboree year and to get on a cycle that puts the NOACs to hit the 100th anniversary of the OA in 2010.

The OA organized this event so as to provide something in between the NOACs. So, you have an event, what do you do for content? The purpose was the roll-out of the new OA strategic plan and to prepare for the Arrow Corps 5 program in 2008.

The last National Leadership Summit was in 1999. Having a summit gives another leadership opportunity for OA officers and advisors. That’s always good. But, there were problems with this one.

This was actually two parallel events. This makes sense from staffing and logistics but it was not clearly communicated to lodges. One event was the Leadership Summit. The other was the Conservation Summit. From talking with several contingents this was not really clear.

Nor was it clear that those participating in the Conservation Summit were expected to be crew leaders for next year’s program.

Because of confusion, or at least lack of clarifcation, of the purpose of the two events attendance was way under plan. The planned numbers I heard at the conference were 2,000 with a hoped for 2,500. Now, I am not sure who came up with the plan but last summer at NOAC we were hearing that the event was planned for five (5) people per lodge (both lead advisors, Lodge Chief and one or two Vice Chiefs). Take that number times 300 lodges and I thought the event was going to be 1,500 person event. That was much closer to the reality. I never did get final numbers but it seemed that 1,250 was more like the attendance. Of this, 400 were staff and National Committee members. From one source, I heard that the OA Committee was expecting 800 for the Conservation Summit but had less than 250. Not a very good showing from us for the National Forest Service.

My ‘back of envelope’ numbers would indicate that the OA took a significant financial loss on this event. Guestimating a revenue number of $600,000 – $700,000 actual is probably more like $400,000. That’s $200,000 under budget on revenue. With guarantees in place for meals and beds, they could not scale back the expense side fast enough nor large enough to close this gap. Ouch.

Legacy Interview – Conference Vice Chief Jared Davis

Posted on August 9th, 2007 in Legacy Interviews,NOACs,Podcasts by Roy

Jared’s another one of the empressive young men I worked with at the 2007 National OA Conservation and Leadership Summit (NCLS). Jared’s an Eagle Scout and Silver Award recipient. He also served as Conference Vice Chief at the 2004 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC). Jared’s from National Capital Area Council in Washington, D.C. and Amangamek Wipit Lodge 470.

I asked Jared to share some of his thoughts on the impact of Scouting on youth and what it was like to be in charge of a 100+ person staff serving over 7,000 NOAC attendees.

Truth in labeling

Posted on August 1st, 2006 in NOACs by dhoffard

I pointed out to many people today that we’re just delivering on what what we’ve been telling them for months. We’ve told people all along that they were invited to No AC. And MSU delivered.

Hot and heavy at NOAC

Posted on July 29th, 2006 in NOACs by dhoffard

Both the temperatures and the trading scene were hot and heavy the first day of NOAC.

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