The Order of the Arrow is a national brotherhood of Scout honor campers that originated in 1915 to strengthen troops and encourage outdoor experiences. It is based on brotherhood and cheerful service to fellowmen. The honor of becoming a member of the Order of the Arrow is one that a Scout cannot earn on his own. Troop members are nominated and elected to membership by fellow Scouts in their own troop. They must meet certain entry qualifications that are established by the Order of the Arrow.
The Order of the Arrow program in the Capitol Area Council is conducted through the Tonkawa Lodge under the authority of the Scout executive. The Tonkawa Lodge conducts youth led meetings, plans and carries out activities, organizes council service projects for Arrowmen, and develops summer camp promotion plans to help Scouts prepare and attend the council camp. The Order of the Arrow provides broad-based leadership opportunities that strengthen personal development for individual Scouts and maintain interest in the Scouting program.
Each troop may hold an election once a year under supervision of the Tonkawa Lodge. Scouts are eligible when they have completed 15 nights of camping, of which, 6 must be consecutive at a long term resident camp within the two years prior to the election. The number of Scouts a troop may nominate depends upon the number of eligible candidates. All registered members of the troop under the age of 21 may vote. Since OA members are always in the minority in any troop, the majority who are outside the Order control the election.
The election itself is conducted by the Order of the Arrow lodge committee. There is a very rigid set of balloting criteria that must be met and the process for determining the scouts elected for membership is defined by the Order of the Arrow. Following the election of Scouts (and one adult), the OA election team will inform the Scoutmaster who was selected.
It is Troop 8787’s policy to not inform the Scouts of their being chosen. They will be "tapped out" at a ceremony that is held at Boy Scout summer camp (or a District camp-o-ree). Parents are notified so that they may be present at the "tap out". Scouts elected to the Order of the Arrow have one year from the date of the election to take part in an OA "Ordeal".