Thousands of Arrowmen from around the country will meet at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, next year for the 2022 National Order of the Arrow Conference. If you want to be one of those attendees, now is the time to sign up.
Registration opened this week for the flagship national Order of the Arrow event, which returns after the 2020 event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual event called Momentum Launch was held instead.
“After months of cancellations, NOAC is the national event we all need,” Order of the Arrow National Chief Derek Porter says. “Now, the OA is coming back in full force. When we gather at UT next summer, it will be proof that our Scouting family can get through challenging times and come out stronger on the other side.”
Typically, the event draws about 8,000 Order of the Arrow members from every state. The 2015 conference, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the BSA’s honor society, saw nearly twice that number. Organizers are expecting at least 6,000 attendees for 2022 conference, slated for July 25-30.
Since 1948, the modern NOAC has been held roughly every two years at a major university campus. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has hosted the conference in 1977, 1992 and 2000. Being at a university gives youth an opportunity to experience a college campus in a safe Scouting environment. Delegates will stay in the dorms for the week and will eat in the dining halls.
The conference features arena shows, national awards, competitions, training classes and a conference festival. Plus, there’ll be time for everyone’s favorite pastime: patch trading. You can get a more in-depth idea of the daily fun by reading Bryan Wendell’s coverage of the 2015 conference.
“NOAC is the pinnacle of OA events,” National Vice Chief Greg Brown says. “Seeing thousands of Arrowmen from all across the country gather together for the conference not only makes for an incredible week but also provides a renewed sense of purpose to guide our organization for the months and years to come.”
How to sign up
You can attend NOAC via a number of different options: as a delegate, individual, staff member or virtual delegate.
Most attendees sign up as delegates. These Arrowmen register and attend with their local Order of the Arrow lodge. In 2018, the virtual delegate option was introduced; this option will be expanded for 2022. New for 2022 will be the individual option for attendees who are 21 years old or older who do not wish to attend with their local lodge.
NOAC fees are based on which option you sign up for. Conference fees cover housing, programming and food. Staff and individual attendees are responsible for coordinating their own transportation while delegates’ transportation fees are at the discretion of their lodge contingent leadership.
Any registered member of the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the Arrow as of the conference start date can attend with the review and approval of your council Scout executive or their designee. All attendees will need to provide BSA Annual Health and Medical Record forms A, B and C. Adults also are required to have up-to-date BSA Youth Protection certification.
Delegates will register directly with their lodge leadership. All other attendees can register individually at registration.oa-bsa.org. For answers to FAQ, check out oa-bsa.org/program/events/noac.