So what is Conclave? The short answer is: A lot of fun!
It’s a weekend where ten lodges which form a “section” – our section is SR-6 [Southern Region-6] get together at a scout camp once a year and compete against each other and train with each other to become develop as Arrowmen and as leaders. There are ceremony competitions, Quest games, campfires and shows, Order of the Arrow training, administrative competitions, and tons of other fun!
One of the coolest parts is that you get to meet brothers from other lodges across Tennessee and surrounding states and learn how their program is different from Talidandaganu’s. Ideas are exchanged, they’re brought home, and they transform the lodge to become even better.
What Should I Bring?
The Conclave website may have specific information about what to bring, wear, etc., and each Conclave is different. Generally you’ll want to bring the following:
- Bring your own tent (or share with a buddy), but sometimes the host lodge will provide tents and cots.
- You’ll definitely want your full “Class A” field uniform (with OA sash!), but don’t worry about food – that’s taken care of!
- Bring any ceremonial items you might have: costumes, props, or just ideas.
- Bring some extra cash for the trading post to pick up a Conclave patch or mug.
- Bring a notepad to write down neat ideas and email addresses of friends you meet.
- Bring running shoes and a “Class B” activity uniform for the Quest Games, which also change each year.
- Definitely bring an up-to-date medical form!
- Grab a Frisbee and football for extra entertainment.
- And of course, bring traditional camping gear like a raincoat/poncho, a flashlight, toiletries, and sleeping bag.
Tell Me Again, What is Conclave?
The Field Operations Guide gives us a longer explanation of what Conclave is:
Next to a jamboree and a national Order of the Arrow conference, a section conclave is probably the largest inter-council event in the Boy Scouts of America. What happens at a national Order of the Arrow conference and a section conclave can make a big difference in the effectiveness of lodge and chapter programs of the Order of the Arrow and in the dedication of an individual Arrowman to his first responsibility–his unit.
The conclave program should increase the knowledge and understanding of the delegates in all aspects of Order of the Arrow program. Arrowmen should be inspired to set and commit themselves to higher goals of performance for themselves and their lodges, and should be provided the training necessary to achieve these goals.
Inspiration is the key ingredient of the conclave. The conclave should kick off with a welcome from the service council and a short opening ceremony. It is equally important that the conclave close with an inspirational challenge that will create a lasting impression on every Arrowman who attends. Youth leaders, such as the national chief, national vice chief, or region chief, might be invited to give an inspirational message during the conclave.
Training is the most beneficial aspect of the conclave. It is one of the main reasons lodges come together as a section. Conclave trainers must be top-notch; guest trainers from other areas can help bring new ideas. Displays from various state and federal agencies, local colleges, wildlife experts, and camping merchandisers always draw a crowd.
A special period is often set aside at the section conclave for workshops or skill sessions. [For example:] Campfire planning, Camping promotion, Lodge newsletters and web pages, American Indian dancing, Making American Indian attire, American Indian drumming and singing, Headdress construction, Beadwork, American Indian games, Ceremony team properties, Lodge record keeping, [and] Video production.
Several lodges may participate in various demonstrations that will be of value or interest to those attending the conclave. These might include: Unit election team in action; Camping promotions; A well-planned campfire; Scouting or American Indian pageants; American Indian dancing; Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil Honor ceremonies performed by well prepared and rehearsed teams showing techniques of outfitting, staging, and speech inflection of memorized parts; Call-out ceremonies featuring local camp traditions; [and] Meeting management.
Okay, You’ve Talked Me Into It – How Do I Go?
Well,….we’re glad you asked!
- Head over to the Conclave website.
- You’ll need to get registered.
- Then, put the dates on your calendar, make sure you can get a ride to the Conclave (talk to the Lodge Adviser if you need help with that), and
- Take lots and lots of pictures (email them to the web guys who might put them up on the website!)… and if you can they wouldn’t mind having a few sentences about your experience at Conclave. They’ll even give you “quote credit for it!”