On the first day of NOAC 2015, smiling for the camera and for history

The photographer balances on a ladder as he shouts instructions to more than 60 perfectly posed Arrowmen. Each one wears a tan Scout uniform shirt, green shorts and a pristine white OA sash.

“I need you to be as loud as possible,” the photographer says. “I need screaming, and I need hollering.”

Instantly, the Arrowmen morph their nice smiles into wacky poses. They scream. Loudly.

But it turns out the Ini-To Lodge of the Flint River Council in Georgia has plenty to shout about without prompting. Lodge Chief Clayton Carte tells me this is the largest contingent Ini-To Lodge has ever sent to NOAC.

In fact, this year’s group of 68 including staff is more than double the previous high — just like the attendance for the conference itself (at a record 15,000 this year).

Carte and his fellow Ini-To Arrowmen took the two-day trip from central Georgia by charter bus. They stopped to visit the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, on their way.

I asked Clayton what he was most looking forward to at NOAC 2015. I expected him to talk about the legendary arena shows, the world-class training or the epic sports competitions. Instead, he gave an answer that was true to the spirit of service synonymous with the Order of the Arrow.

“These guys get to have an awesome time,” he said, gesturing to his fellow Arrowmen. “Only six of us have attended before, so that’s really what I’m most excited about.”

Putting others before himself. That’s the OA way.

A time to be silly

By the way, here’s that silly photo:

NOAC-photo-2

NOAC 2015

See all my NOAC 2015 coverage right here.

About Bryan Wendell 2893 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.