Order of the Arrow

Building On a Strong Foundation

By Joe Wollet
Incoming Lodge Adviser

When I was asked a few months ago to become your next Lodge Adviser, I was simultaneously excited and humbled at the prospect.

You see, the Order of the Arrow and Cuyahoga Lodge 17 have been a big part of my life for 47 years.

I was called out and inducted into the OA at Beaumont in July 1969. I still remember the scant food, the night alone (I think it was alongside the filtration pond on the north side of camp) and the day of arduous labor.

For our service project, my fellow candidates and I spent a full day (morning and afternoon) digging out tree stumps by hand in Camp B (the original name for Broadbent). It was hard work for a 13-year-old under a hot July sun.

Fast forward 26 years. I was living in Mobile, AL, where my son had wrapped up his year as a Tiger Cub and was moving into a Wolf den.

Because of him, I got reengaged in Scouting and decided to go for Brotherhood. In 1995, I completed that goal as a member of Woa Cholena Lodge 322 at Camp Maubila near Jackson, AL.

Since then, my primary service has been to my “unit,” whether on a pack, troop, crew, district or council basis.

Two years ago, Lodge Adviser Don Young asked me to help out as Associate Adviser for Communication, a job I’ve enjoyed doing on a number of levels.

First and foremost, it helped me rediscover my passion for our Order, its core mission of cheerful service, and the way its values are expressed through the Obligation and the Admonition.

More importantly, though, it’s given me the opportunity to meet a great number of awesome youth members.

Whenever I hear someone say “these kids today…” my frame of reference is 180 degrees opposed to theirs. It’s “these kids today” who give me great hope for the future of our units, our council, our community, and our nation.

As I move into the adviser’s chair, I look forward to building onto the solid foundation established by Mr. Young and the many dedicated adult leaders who have served previously in this role.

Those who know me know I have a philosophy of small wins. It’s nice to have major victories once in a while, but most often, winning comes in small portions that add up over time.

My goals for our Lodge can be summed up as deepening the bench. I will continue working with our Top 5 youth members to develop their personal leadership skills, to instill in them an ethic of servant leadership, to help them meet their commitments to the Lodge, and to serve them as a mentor.

Through continuous improvement, we must help each other continue building and retaining membership, ramping up Brotherhood conversions, and increasing participation in Lodge events.

If you like the direction our Lodge takes, tell your friends and fellow Scouts or Scouters. If you don’t like the direction we’re taking, tell me.

Reach out to me any time you have a constructive idea or a need. Call or text me at (440) 846-8080. Email me at jwollet@gmail.com.