Four boys achieve Order of the Arrow

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 06/10/97.

"I do hereby promise, on my honor as a Scout, that I will always and faithfully observe and preserve the traditions of the Order of the Arrow, Wimmachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui. I will always regard the ties of brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow as lasting, and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit, even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others."

With this oath, four Paynesville area Boy Scouts, Steve Gilk, Scott Ingalsbe, Andy Torborg, and Todd Stelling, were inducted into the Order of the Arrow.

The purpose of the Order has four main components. First, it is to recognize special Scouts and Scout leaders who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives, and inspire their fellow Scouts to do the same. Those in the Order are also expected to develop and maintain camping traditions and Scouting spirit, promote Scout camping, both year-round as well as the summer camp, and turn the Scout spirit of helpfulness into their life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

The Order of the Arrow is the one group of Boy Scouts that are elected by other Scouts who aren't members of the Order. Each candidate is elected for best exemplifying the Boy Scout Oath, Law, and Purpose.

"It was a goal for me," said Gilk, 15. "I also want to earn brotherhood. It seals my membership in the Order, and I can help out more." After being inducted into the Order of the Arrow for at least 10 months, brotherhood membership is sought by some Arrowmen who wish to reaffirm their belief in the purposes of the Order, by making even more of an effort and commitment to serve his Scouting troop.

To seal their place in the Order, Gilk, Ingalsbe, Torborg, and Stelling were expected to do more than just make an oath. The boys also had to go through what they referred to as the "Ordeal." Rather than enduring some sort of burden, as the word implies, these young men considered the rite as an honor. "It developed leadership," said Torborg, who is 13 years of age. "There wasn't as much goofing around."

Through teaching the ways and ideas of the Delaware tribe of Native American Indians, the Ordeal was a time for each candidate to experience a time of soul searching and high resolve, as well as all the richness of brotherhood. During the Ordeal, which was held at a Scouting camp, the four Scouts fulfilled four main tests: eat little, pledge silence, work hard and gladly, and sleep alone under the stars.

The purpose of eating little was to learn through self-denial to put the spirit's higher purpose over personal desires, and the intent of their pledge of silence was to hear the direction and urging of their hearts, although, at certain times, the leaders were slightly more lenient on this particular test, Stelling, 12, mentioned with a smile.

To fulfill the test of arduous labor, each Scout learned the importance of working hard and gladly. By seeking to serve, they were faithful to the ideals and purpose of the Order of the Arrow. Finally, to experience what it takes to be a leader, each candidate slept, by himself, beneath the stars to "face the isolation that a leader often faces." "I was mostly thinking how cold it was," Torborg mentioned with a chuckle, although Gilk felt "it was a perfect night for sleeping."

Gilk, whose older brother, James, was previously inducted into the Order of the Arrow, considered the Ordeal to be a great learning experience. "I wouldn't have been as committed," he said. "I take responsibilities more seriously, now." Stelling added, "it taught me more patience."

With membership in the Order of the Arrow, the four newest Paynesville Arrowmen will continue their dedication to the higher purpose and ideals of Scouting. Even though the four of them have achieved the special honor, they have no intention of easing up. As Ingalsbe, 14, commented, "I plan to be involved as an adult."

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