2015 National OA Conference Capacity - October 26 Update

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

From: Mike Hoffman, Vice Chairman – National Events, Order of the Arrow

The last few weeks have been very eventful as your leadership team has grappled with capacity issues regarding the National Order of the Arrow Conference. As promised, we wanted to take a minute and update you on where we stand with housing accommodations and registration for NOAC 2015.

Since the closure of the waitlist, our team began searching for, evaluating and securing more bed space to increase our capacity above the initial 12,000. We actually traveled to MSU to resolve these issues onsite.

Here is what we have to report today:

More Beds: We have secured more spots for conference attendees. Our total available beds now exceed 14,300. Some of these additional beds have been acquired by contracting with off-campus facilities. These off-campus beds will be used by staff and NOT members of a lodge contingent.

Waitlist: Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate the more than 17,000 requests we’ve had from registered guests/staff and waitlist requests. There are four key limiting factors: the number of beds available from the university, the school’s food service capacity, limited training and event facility space and the seating capacity of the Breslin Center, where we can seat an estimated 14,900 people for arena shows. (Breslin is estimated because we have not finished the stage configuration and determined available floor seating).

Lodge Contingents: We expect to have information to every lodge on the number of spots that will be authorized starting November 7th. We will be prioritizing youth over adults attending the conference in this process.

NOAC Staff: The NOAC management team has established a maximum total staff size to allow as many contingent members to attend as possible. In lieu of an expanded staff, we will be asking capable adults who are attending with contingents to help the staff deliver certain areas of the program. We expect this request for help to be limited.

We appreciate the hundreds of suggestions we have received, and we continue to follow up on many leads. We will not be offering an option for participants to stay off-campus because we believe this erodes the conference experience. Due to university rules, we are unable to house individuals in tents on campus.

You can help by continuing to follow up on requests we made in our memo from a few weeks ago.

Double Check Reservations: We ask each lodge to critically analyze its reservations. If you can give back a handful of spaces when the final allocations are delivered starting November 7th, please notify NOAC management immediately. Remember, every spot makes a difference! Your help in identifying unused spots will allow a youth Arrowmen from another lodge to attend NOAC. Your generosity and good will are what makes Scouting an amazing organization.

Managing Payments: Lodges should actively collect conference fees so that they are not adding unnecessary financial stress on their council when we charge the initial deposit or the next set of payments on February 1st and May 31st. Scout Executives should work with lodges to make sure the financial obligations will be met appropriately. Please be diligent in your financial accountabilities.

The NOAC management team and I are grateful for the leadership you have shown. 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 to Scouts and Scouters in your local council.

Last revised on October 26, 2014