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Indian Summer is a Unique Summer

Today, nearly 700 Arrowmen from across the country converged on the Ridgecrest Conference Center for the Order of the Arrow Indian Summer. This unique program will provide Arrowmen with the best training available in ceremonies, inductions management, and Native American culture available.

Conference participants have each chosen one "learning track:" Native American Events, Ceremonies or Inductions Management. Each of these tracks will be strongly tied to the American Indian, from whom the Order derives its custom. In this conference, we will aim to trace our roots and learn more about that which bore the Order of the Arrow.

In Native American events, participants will deepen their knowledge of the American Indian. Arrowmen will learn about culture, games, crafts, customs, and traditions. These participants will also receive first-hand experience conducting a pow-wow in the two that will be held this week. Check back on Monday for photos and stories from the first pow-wow.

The best ceremonial training ever offered by the Order of the Arrow will no doubt awe those attending the conference for Ceremonies. Ceremonialists will learn about the Ten Inductions Principles, symbolism, and costuming. In addition to ceremony specific training, there will also be acting training, focusing on use of props, line memorization and how to "get into character."

Those who choose Inductions Management will attend seminars instructing them in every aspect of inductions administration. Participants will be guided from the Unit Election all the way through Brotherhood conversion, with classroom sessions augmented by afternoon "best methods" discussions.

Throughout the conference, non-learning specific activities will be available. There will be several evening gatherings, pow-wows, and Native American games for all participants to enjoy.

This conference is being supported by nearly 230 staff, led by National Chief Nick Digirolamo and National Vice Chief Rich Moore with Lead Adviser Ron Bell. The youth program vice chiefs are Bobby Johnson (Inductions and Ceremonial Events), Nick Williams (Activities and Recreation), Brian Love (Support Services), and Jim Ross (American Indian Activities). At the opening staff show, National Chief Nick Digirolamo gave these closing words, "Tomorrow we'll begin to impact the lives of thousands of Arrowmen across the country, starting with the 700 participants here. Make it count!"

This event, while unique, has been preceded by similar Native American and Ceremonial conferences. The last conference was held in 1995 at Philmont, with a focus on Order of the Arrow ceremonies. The Philmont event, as well as its predecessor in 1987, laid the groundwork for greater ceremonial emphasis in the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) program: an initiative that culminated with the creation of the Inductions and Ceremonial Events (ICE) committee at NOAC.

Planning for Indian Summer began over a year ago, before the 2002 NOAC. Preparation accelerated, however, after the 2002 National OA Planning Meeting, where Section Chiefs worked together to develop the Indian Summer program. Since then, Arrowmen from every corner of the country have been busy ensuring this week is the best Order of the Arrow program this year.

Revised 08/02/2003.

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