2015 National OA Conference Capacity

To: Lodge Advisers, NOAC Contingent Leaders, OA Staff Advisers and Scout Executives

From: Ray Capp, National Chairman, Order of the Arrow

The enthusiasm, excitement, and anticipation for the Order of the Arrow’s Centennial event, the 2015 NOAC, is at record levels!

Our national conference management team is grateful for the leadership you have shown in securing space for your members to be a part of the celebration of the OA’s 100th anniversary; next August's NOAC will truly be an amazing launch to our "Centuries of Service" to Scouting!

Over the last several weeks, reservations from lodges for space at the conference have poured in at an unprecedented pace. In the first week alone, we received 3,000 reservations! It took only 30 days to surpass 8,000 reservations, thereby eclipsing the largest conference in history (2006). Moreover, as you may have learned, last week reservations topped 12,000 a total which equaled the number of beds that Michigan State University (MSU) had set aside for our conference. Reaching this mark forced us to begin a waitlist and to aggressively ‘manage for the mission’ to figure out how to accommodate as many Arrowmen as possible at the 2015 NOAC.

As you can imagine, this is a good problem to address, though it is not an easy one to solve. Substantial interest in NOAC is not simply a matter of beds; in addition to ensuring the health and safety of more than 12,000 participants and staff members, we need to ensure sufficient and appropriate levels of food service, quality and breadth of program opportunities, and capacity for the arena shows, among many other critical and mission-impactful issues. Our NOAC leadership team (volunteer members – just like you) has worked diligently to navigate the interplay between these many complex dynamics. We are committed to producing the best possible solutions to ensure that the magic of our 100th anniversary NOAC is delivered without compromise.

As a lodge adviser / lodge contingent leader/ Scout professional, you are our most critical partners in helping lead the OA forward through this challenge. We appreciate your help to keep your members informed, focused on the youth we serve, and patient as we work through this challenge together.

You can help by passing along this update, so that everyone has the facts as we know them, today. To be the best possible partner to you, we will commit to also keeping you informed as we make progress towards solutions. Vice Chairman of National Events, Mike Hoffman will publish further updates as we learn more and secure additional beds.

  • Current Status: Currently, NOAC is over-subscribed when including those on the waitlist. So, we are not able to announce, today, that everyone on the waitlist will be able to attend NOAC.
  • Increasing Capacity: Members of our leadership team will be onsite at MSU this Friday to continue negotiations with the university to secure additional beds. We are intending to secure at least 2,000 more (taking our total to just over 14,000).
  • Youth Preference: Our intent is to maximize the number of youth who attend NOAC. As you manage your lodge’s participation, please ensure that youth participation exceeds adult participation. Though this may not be popular with everyone, it is principled on our commitment to youth and their Scouting experience.
  • Reservation Adjustments: Every bed makes a difference. There are lodges, which at this time, are waitlisted. We want to ensure that youth from every lodge in the country are able to be a part of NOAC 2015. We ask each lodge to critically analyze its reservations. If you can give back a handful of spaces (even one makes a difference!) this will impact the opportunity for real boys from another lodge to participate. Your generosity and goodwill are what makes Scouting an amazing organization.
  • Managing Payments: In a breakfast of ham and eggs, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed. Lodges should actively collect conference fees so that they are not adding unnecessary financial stress upon their council when we charge the initial deposit or the next set of payments on February 1 and May 31. Scout Executives should work with the lodge to make sure the financial obligations will be met appropriately. Please be diligent in your financial accountabilities.
  • Recruitment and the Waitlist: We know that some of you are continuing to recruit to fill additional attendee slots. At this point we expect that we will be unable to meet the full demand on the wait list, even with the best efforts to expand bed space. If you have not added a request to the wait list, it is important you do so, as the waitlist will close on October 10th, 2014. Following the close of the wait list we will be better able to address the full scope of lodge needs.

We will provide you with an update in the next two weeks; and thank you for your continued partnership and support. All of us are volunteers working to have the best possible outcome available to the greatest number of people. Your flexibility, understanding, patience, and, ultimately, leadership are critical during this time. Thank you for all you do, for who you are, and for what you provide for the Scouts and Scouters in your local council.

Believe me, we all want you and your Arrowmen to come to NOAC 2015 as much as YOU do!

Last revised on October 6, 2014