2015 National OA Conference Capacity - Final Council Contingent Allocations for the 2015 National Conference

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

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

Almost two years ago, when the national Order of the Arrow committee began planning for the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC), most members believed that recruiting 10,000 Arrowmen for NOAC was an ambitious goal – a 25% increase over the largest conference held in its history. Although next year is the Order's 100th Anniversary and we anticipated additional interest from Arrowmen, no one expected more than 17,000 Arrowmen to register for the conference, more than doubling the Order's normal conference attendance. As a result of this unprecedented interest, we will not be able to fill all lodge contingent requests and have had to cap total NOAC attendance at 15,000 contingent members and staff. Major factors limiting conference attendance include: 1) the university has exhausted its available beds; 2) the university has reached its available food service capacity; and 3) there are limited training and event facilities. The Breslin Center, where we hold the arena shows, can only seat 14,900 people.

After reviewing a number of options and listening to both volunteer and professional Scouters, the consensus is to focus on getting every youth Arrowmen currently registered to the 2015 NOAC. Additional room has been secured so that every youth member can attend the conference, who were initially registered or on the waitlist through October 10, 2014. However, this is only accomplished by reducing the number of adults that were requested by each council contingent. A youth to adult ratio of 3:1 will be put in place to calculate the number of youth and adults allotted for each lodge. Council contingent allotments will be emailed to contingent leaders and Scout Executives starting November 7, 2014, with additional instructions on how to secure the spots.

Red Sash. Capping the conference attendance was not a part of the original registration plan; accordingly, it is not easy for the national OA committee to tell our adult members that they cannot come as participants to NOAC. To help ease that disappointment and for giving their spot to a youth, the OA would like to thank those adults by allowing them to purchase the 2015 NOAC souvenir red sash. Details on how to purchase the sash will be messaged to contingent leadership before the end of this year. The sash will be available to only those adults that were registered for NOAC through October 10, 2014. Proceeds from the sale of the sash to non-participating adult Arrowmen will be split evenly with the lodge and the OA nationally.

Centennial Challenge. Many lodges have inquired about their status as a member of the Chief's Circle or the 100 Plus Club. Lodges that worked hard at recruiting participants, as part of the Chief's Circle or 100 Plus Club programs, will be recognized for that effort, whether they were “allowed” to reach their target or not.

February Installment Payment. We do believe that additional spots will come available in the next three to five months as councils are billed their first installment of $200 per participant in February 2015. The second and final installment of $175 per participant will be due in May 2015. As each council and lodge critically analyzes its reservations prior to the installment billing periods, spots will open and will be offered to other councils that have youth Arrowmen interested in attending the conference. As an incentive to ensure contingent allocations are as accurate as possible, councils releasing youth or adult reservations by January 16, 2015 will not forfeit their individual deposits. (The Order of the Arrow's message is clear that all councils/lodges are to prioritize youth desiring to attend the 2015 NOAC. If unforeseen situations occur as we near the start of the conference, the decision on how many youth and adults attend NOAC will be left with the lodge and council leadership. The only restriction is that the total number of conference participants allotted to the lodge cannot be exceeded.) Finally, Lodges should actively collect conference fees so that they are not adding unnecessary financial stress on their council, when they are billed for NOAC fees.

Moving forward, the Order of the Arrow still intends to plan and deliver a first class NOAC for 15,000 Arrowmen. With a conference more than doubling the normal size, we will have challenges to overcome, but we are confident that our conference leadership will deliver a quality product. We thank you for your continued leadership and all that you have done in planning and preparing for the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference.

If you have questions about your council contingent's allotment or the information contained in this message, please contact Clyde Mayer, National OA Director, at 972-580-2440 or email him at clyde.mayer@scouting.org.

Last revised on November 6, 2014