Vigil Honor Selection

This Article was originally written by an Arrowman in Utah who felt that his lodge was not upholding the high standards of the Vigil Honor. While it may go overboard in some areas, its basic premise as to the criteria to be used in Vigil Honor selection are worthy of consideration. Some of the things mentioned are peculiar to that lodge, but can still be used as examples, and relates back to similar events in any lodge.

Many people who are not Vigils, but are members of the Order of the Arrow, each year look at those who have been chosen for the Vigil Honor and say to themselves, "Why in the world did they give it to him?! He's not even a lodge officer. I know a lot of people more deserving than him." In fact, a lot of Vigil members question those who have been selected for the Honor. But what are the criteria for choosing those for whom the vigil is due? Is the position of office, most work or even tenure a fair way of judging Arrowman for Vigil? Let's consider some examples, and then draw some conclusions.

Member A has been a member of the OA for at least 5 years now, and has served in several offices and committees. He has shown up for more work weekends than even the Lodge Chief, but he does not have his Vigil. One day he came to me and said he had something to discuss with me. We sat down and talked. After some time he finally came to the point and said "What do I have to do to get my Vigil? I've been doing things for the chapter and the lodge for years, and somehow I thought that since you and my other friends in the lodge have their Vigils I though I would get mine. I've been in the OA for longer than many of the present Vigil members. I've been more involved with the OA than some of those who have just received their Vigils. When will my time come?"

It was obvious that there was something wrong with member A's thinking when he asked the first question. This members reasoning seems pretty valid. It seems he has all the qualifications to be a potential Vigil, but why wasn't he selected? Here is what the OA Handbook states as some important criteria for selecting Vigil Honor Members.

"It is a mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowman who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort, and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position or office, to one or more of the following: their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp."

Now that we've read the paragraph from the OA Handbook, let's take another look at Member A. How do his qualifications stand up against the criteria above? Member A asked what he had to do to get his Vigil. From this question it seemed he was looking for a way to earn his Vigil. You don't earn your Vigil. From this question, we can see that he was looking for the high mark of distinction. Instead of being recognized for his exceptional service, he wanted to be recognized for getting his Vigil. He did not realize that the Vigil Honor was bestowed for service above and beyond your immediate responsibilities. Member A is a good man, but if he was truly worthy of the honor he would have been satisfied and rewarded by seeing the OA progress through his service.

Lets take a look at member B. He receive his Vigil several years ago. He had never been a lodge officer, not even a committee chairman. That same year the lodge chief did not get his Vigil. Sound Funny? Not when you analyze ulterior motives and things beyond the immediate call of duty. Member B was very busy with school and other affairs, but he resigned from community offices, and took a blow to his popularity in school by spending time with the scouting program and developing troop leaders and camp staffs. He spent less time with extra curricular activities, his social life was set back, but he did not care, he saw the greater beauty in service and put his reputation on the line for it. Member C could have gone on to Harvard, but stayed around an extra year to help Scouting out an extra year. Member D started more long-range programs in the OA than just about anyone. The fact about it is that none of these programs can be accomplished in the one year while he was in office. He is not concerned if he get the credit or not, he just started the programs, and got the OA on its feet. These members symbolize the Vigil Honor.

Its all a matter of dedication and ulterior motive of the individual that determine his qualification for the Vigil Honor. Arrowman need not make gigantic sacrifices of time, money, or their whole social life, but the willingness to sacrifice should be there. It is the quiet, sometimes unsuspecting and "weird" person that get the Vigil, because he has, in his own silent and efficient way, given the sacrifice necessary to do an exceptional job beyond his immediate responsibilities.

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