Zach Grinvalsky, an Eagle Scout from the Tidewater Council, has been elected by his peers to serve as the 2023 Order of the Arrow national chief.
He and new national vice chief Grant Kim, an Eagle Scout from the Last Frontier Council, are part of a leadership team for the OA, the BSA’s national honor society. Both will serve one-year terms as the OA’s top youth leaders along with two regional youth chiefs.
Section chiefs elected these officers at last year’s national planning meeting. They will serve lodges across the country, providing them with resources. The national chief and national vice chief will also sit on the national Order of the Arrow committee and will represent the youth voice on the volunteer-led group.
They’ll also preside over national OA events. The most notable event this year will be Operation Arrow, the OA’s service-based opportunity at the national Jamboree. The Jamboree is slated for July 19-28 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. There, Arrowmen can serve on the Jamboree staff either on the OA Service Corps or at a new outpost program called Summit Apex.
What is the Order of the Arrow?
The Order of the Arrow, founded in 1915, recognizes Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law. This recognition encourages others to live these ideals, too.
The OA includes members in Scouts BSA troops, Venturing crews and Sea Scout ships. Youth members are elected by their peers. To be eligible, they must meet camping and rank requirements. Both boys and girls can be elected. Adults can also be nominated to an area lodge.
There are three levels of membership within the OA: Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil. After fulfilling certain requirements, including service, a member can be recognized to the next level of honor. An updated requirement this year: Elected candidates will have 18 months from the date of their election to complete their Ordeal induction ceremony. This requirement was previously 24 months due to the temporary COVID-19 membership eligibility policy.
This year’s officers
2023 National Chief Zach Grinvalsky
From: Virginia Beach, Va. (Tidewater Council)
Scouting background: Scout since 2011, Eagle Scout
OA background: Vigil Honor member from the Blue Heron Lodge, James E. West Fellow, Founder’s Award recipient, lodge chief, section chief
Education: Attends Tidewater Community College, studying business administration and management
Favorite hobbies: Watching movies, swimming, reading, hiking and spending time with friends.
Random fact: He wants to write a best-selling book one day.
Quotable: “2023 is a year like no other for the Order of the Arrow. This year is our chance to propel our spirit into the new era of Scouting we find ourselves in today. I can’t wait to meet all the incredible Arrowmen that make up the Order we all call home.”
2023 National Vice Chief Grant Kim
From: Edmond, Okla. (Last Frontier Council)
Scouting background: Scout since 2014, Eagle Scout
OA background: Vigil honor member from Ma-nu lodge, Founder’s Award recipient, chapter chief, section chief
Education: Attends the University of Central Oklahoma, majoring in insurance and risk management and finance.
Favorite hobbies: Hanging out with friends and listening to music.
Random fact: He’s a great vocalist and an avid music enthusiast.
Quotable: “This year, I am looking forward to meeting Scouts from all around the nation. I am excited to work with the Operation Arrow planning committee as we are coming together to create an all-brand new event to bring to Scouters at the Jamboree.”
2023 Eastern Region Chief Matthew Carlson
From: South Brunswick, N.J. (Monmouth Council)
Scouting background: Scout since 2010, Arrow of Light, Eagle Scout
OA background: Vigil honor member of Na Tsi Hi Lodge 71, Founder’s Award recipient, Eastern Region NLS staff member, lodge chief, section chief
Education: Attends Middlesex College, studying engineering science and physics.
Favorite hobbies: Climbing, hiking, going on road trips with his friends and volunteering at a local First Aid Squad.
Random fact: In middle school, he was on the wrestling team and one of the lead roles in the school musical.
Quotable: “In 2023, I am looking forward to meeting Arrowmen from across the Eastern Region, while also working with the other national officers and section chiefs to put on an incredible program in 2023 that will inspire Scouts to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.”
2023 Gateway Region Chief Michael Whitford
From: Albuquerque, N.M. (Great Southwest Council)
Scouting background: Scout since 2010, Eagle Scout
OA background: Vigil honor member from the Yah-Tah-Hey-Si-Kess Lodge, Founders’ Award recipient, Gateway Region Order of the Arrow high-adventure coordinator, Section Chief
Education: Attends the University of New Mexico, studying business administration
Favorite hobbies: Being involved in two Venturing crews and Delta Sigma Pi, playing sports and spending time with friends.
Random fact: The Yah-Tah-Hey-Si-Kess lodge is the lodge for the Great Southwest Council. That council serves Scouts in northern New Mexico, which is where Philmont Scout Ranch is located.
Quotable: “I’m incredibly excited to meet new Arrowmen at NLS/DYLC and conclaves across the Gateway Region as well as see thousands of Scouts from all around the country experience Summit Apex at the Jamboree.”
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