At the intersection of South Harrison Road and Kalamazoo Street, I knew I had reached my destination.
It wasn’t a street sign or GPS device that told me I had arrived. It was Arrowmen in every direction I looked.
Within the first few minutes here, I saw hundreds of Scouts and Scouters strolling the sidewalks of Michigan State University in East Lansing. They traveled in groups of two, four, six or more. Almost every single one was smiling. Some wore moose antlers.
After the third Arrowman smiled and said hello to me (a complete stranger, mind you), two things became clear: I’ve officially arrived at the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference. And, with apologies to Disneyland, this is the happiest place on earth.
NOAC, the national gathering of Arrowmen, celebrates all things related to the Order of the Arrow. The OA, in case you didn’t know, is Scouting’s national honor society.
But the 2015 NOAC offers more cause for celebration than your typical NOAC because it’s the 100th anniversary of the founding of the OA.
It’s clear I’m not the only one wanting to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Attendance here has set a NOAC record. Some 15,000 Arrowmen showed up — more than double the number from 2012. I’m told the beautiful Michigan State campus was selected in part because it’s large enough to house so many people in its dorms.
I can’t wait to get out and see all that NOAC has to offer. Training sessions, sports competitions, arena shows, patch trading, crazy outdoor games, fellowship and lots of fun are in store.
I’ll cover as much as I can right here on Bryan on Scouting. This is my first NOAC, so I’ll blog from the perspective of someone who’s new to this. Your comments and advice are welcome!
Also, be sure to check out the official home of NOAC online. That’s where you can read stories, watch some of the live shows (including the one happening tonight!) and listen to NOAC Radio (103.5 FM).
See all my NOAC 2015 coverage here.