By: Greg Bulger
Sure, NEXT is a flashy name and all, but really – why did we come here? Why was this conference organized? National Chief Hunter Jones explains that “the main question we want everyone here to think about is, ‘Where are we going to go from here?’” The Order has spent a lot of time, as an organization, celebrating its 100th anniversary, but the time has come for it to look forward, beginning with you, the lodge leadership here at NEXT.
The whole idea of looking at the next step forward for the Order of the Arrow began at The Advance, a key leadership planning conference in the summer of 2014. From there, the movement continued at the centennial NOAC, and will continue to grow here through the questions that delegates are asked and the discussions that they have. “We want to help everyone realize that the Order of the Arrow is an evolving organization,” Jones said, “and we need to constantly look forward to where we want to go next.” In recent years, Jones explained, there has been a trend of declining membership. In the Order’s strategic plan, one of the goals includes trying to find out why this trend is occurring and how to fix it.
The hope for this conference is to get lodge leadership thinking about overarching questions like those posed above and to discuss ideas and strategies with delegates from other lodges. Lodges are not here just to discuss membership, either; every aspect of the program is on the table. Jones emphasized that for changes to have lasting impact, there needs to be a commitment from the lodges. “At the end of the day,” Jones says, “we can revise national, regional, and even section policies all we want, but the real changes need to happen with our lodges.” Thus, this conference presents the unique opportunity to solicit feedback from lodges and to provide lodge leaders with the resources that they need to change their lodges for the better.
The Order of the Arrow needs to be able to adapt to changing times and interests, and your lodges have chosen YOU to serve as a change agent. Will you step up to the challenge?