Western Region – Order of the Arrow

About Section W-4S

Section W-4S’s geographical area covers Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Imperial Counties and the eastern part of Los Angeles County. The three lodges from Section W-4B (Cahuilla, Tiwahe, and Wiatava) and Ta Tanka Lodge from Section W-4A formed Section W-4S in 2008 when the Western Region reorganized areas. In 2012, Long Beach Area Council chartered its first Lodge and thereafter the Lodge became known as Puvunga and was organized into W4S. To align with the area assignment of its council, Tiwahe Lodge was reassigned to W6W in 2012.

Our Annual Events & Duties

Once every year, representatives of lodges in the section come together for a conclave to share in fellowship, skills, and training. All of the elected section chiefs form the conference committee for a national Order of the Arrow event, which is held under the guidance of the national Order of the Arrow Committee. Our year is based from "Conclave-to-Conclave" or "October-to-October". The three section officers (chief, vice chief, and secretary) are elected by voting members in each lodge. Once the event is over, planning for the next conclave is already in the making.

Each fall, the section officers attend a conference with other section officers from around the Western Region, BSA. The section plans a retreat with the lodges to plan out the details for the next conclave. In December, the section chief has the distinction of attending the National Planning Meeting in Dallas, TX, where national events such as the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) and OA operations at the National Jamboree are planned. But the most exciting event at this meeting is the election of our national and region officers.

The Role of Our Section

The New Role of the Section was introduced at the Order of the Arrow’s 1999 National Leadership Summit, as a part of the Order’s Strategic Plan. Through a relationship with the lodges, each section will work to help the lodges in the section. Lodge Visitations will occur where an "Assistance Team" from the section will meet with the lodge’s key youth and adult leadership. They will go over where a lodge stands with all of their programs and efforts, and see if there are some tips or ideas they can provide to help make the lodge more successful.

Traditionally, the section in the Order of the Arrow has existed for one specific purpose: to put on a section conclave. These section conclaves are great opportunities for growth and exchange among Arrowmen. A couple of year’s ago, when the section program was evaluated in preparation for putting together our Order’s Strategic Plan it was observed that the section could do a lot more for lodges.

So, it was put forth in the Order of the Arrow Strategic Plan for 1998-2002:
"We will redefine and enhance the role of the section to include a monitoring / mentoring relationship with lodges, designed to guide lodges toward greater service to councils."

It was decided that sections would continue to do all that they had previously done, but that they would also begin to work much more closely with the lodges to try to help them improve and become more integral parts of their councils.

Here are now three major parts to the role of the Section in the Order of the Arrow:

  • To put on a Section Conclave.
  • To make "Lodge Assistance Visits".
  • To use the Council of Chiefs meetings as an opportunity for monitoring and mentoring lodges.

The Section Conclave

Section Conclaves in the Order of the Arrow will continue to exist just as they always have up until now. They have proven to be experiences that helped Arrowmen grow, exchange ideas, and have a lot of fun. That won’t be changed.

Lodge Assistance Visits

Lodge Assistance Visits are one of the major changes that are coming to the section. At least once every three years, a group from the section will meet with each lodge’s key youth and adult leadership. The group making these visits is called the "Section Assistance Team" and is led by the Section Vice Chief. Prior to the visit, the lodge will fill out a Self-Evaluation for and send it into the section. The Section Assistance Team will use that self-evaluation, the lodge’s previous Quality Lodge Petition, the length of time since the last visitation, the possible recommendation of the region, as well as the possible request of the lodge, as criteria for which of the section’s lodges to visit in any given year.

The visit meeting itself is led by the lodge chief as the lodge’s program and support to the council are reviewed by everyone there. The Section Assistance Team, made up of youth and adult Arrowmen with proven leadership ability in the lodge or section, make suggestions and try to share ideas on how certain aspects might be improved. There is no specific follow-up on lodges after a visit. The Section Assistance Team is only there to make suggestions and try to help. The lodge is on its own to decide what they think might be helpful or what needs to be done.

Improved Council of Chiefs Meetings

Traditionally, meetings for the Section Council of Chiefs have been for the sole purpose of conclave planning. Of course, as the role of the section broadens, so does the importance of these leadership meetings. With so many talented Arrowmen gathered in one place, the opportunities for monitoring and mentoring are unmatched.

At each Council of Chiefs meeting, the section leadership will make presentations and arrange roundtable discussions concerning issues facing the Order or its lodges. All of this is designed to help lodges improve their programs and collect feedback that can be communicated to the Order’s national leadership. Every lodge has a vital role in helping to choose the future direction of the Order.

The Section Officer’s Jobs

The existing duties of the section officers will not be changed by the new role of the section. However, the Section Chief and Section Vice Chief will each have some additional responsibilities. Only the officer’s new duties are listed here. (For more information on the duties of section officers, see the "Field Operations Guide"):

Section Chief

  • Guide the section vice chief in appointing members of the Assistance Team.
  • Promote the Quality Lodge program as a standard of performance and ensure recognition of lodge leaders and lodges achieving this standard.
  • Be responsible, through the Council of Chiefs, for the presentation of program plans, ideas, and materials via effective meeting presentations.
  • Involve members of the Council of Chiefs in training and roundtable (forum) discussions.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of Council of Chiefs meetings, and seek input from all Council of Chiefs members.

Section Vice Chief

  • Appoint, under the guidance of the section chief and adviser, members of the assistance team.
  • Be responsible for the monitoring / mentoring service function of the Section.
  • Chair the meetings of the Assistance Team.
  • Provide sufficient training opportunities so that every member of the Assistance Team may receive training shortly after being appointed.
  • Keep the Section Chief and Adviser apprised of the status of lodges.

Section Secretary

  • Assists the section chief in communicating with members of the council of chiefs and advisers.
  • Provides written or email notification of all council of chiefs meeting at least 15 days in advance.
  • Records the minutes of all meetings of the council of chiefs, and the conclave business meeting. Distributes copies of all minutes to council of chiefs members within 15 days following each meeting.
  • Maintains an up-to-date roster of names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of the council of chiefs members. The distribution of the roster, and all changes, shall be to: members of the council of chiefs, region chief, region chairman, region staff adviser, area director, and the director of the Order of the Arrow.

The Lodge’s Job

The Lodge’s job in the role of the section will now include a few new things:

  • Each lodge will be asked to fill out a lodge self-evaluation form and submit it to the Section Assistance Team.
  • Each lodge will meet with the Section Assistance Team at least once every three years to evaluate and talk about their lodge’s programs and exchange ideas.
  • Each lodge will actively participate in the expanded Section Council of Chiefs meetings, including the special presentations and roundtable discussions.