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Boy Scouts and Notre Dame

Notre Dame Students enjoy a variety of extra-curricular activities. Boy Scouts is a wonderful organization and encourages our students to be accountable and independent. Here’s a note from their Scout Master, Ben Burns.

Last weekend, four current students and two alumni of Notre Dame School of Dallas were elected to the Order of the Arrow. The Order of the Arrow (or OA) is the honor society for Boy Scouts. To be eligible, the scout must be 1st Class rank or higher, attend a 6 night camp-out and camp a minimum number of nights over a 2 year period.

After being qualified the scouts must be voted into the OA by their fellow scouts. So the other scouts in your troop must feel you are worthy of this honor.

After being voted in, the scout must attend an ordeal to receive their arrow sash and officially be in the OA. When I say ordeal, this is not easy for anyone and our scouts took NO accommodations. They did everything everyone else did. The ordeal is comprised of 4 trials that are used as a spiritual cleansing in the manner used by Native Americans. The first trial consists of the scouts participating in a Native American ceremony and agreeing to the trials, and then carrying their own gear to their campsite and sleeping alone under the stars. No tents allowed.

The 2nd trial is silence, no speaking for 24 hours. The third trial involves fasting, eating no food except a very scant amount given them for 24 hours. All they had for breakfast and lunch was a half dozen crackers, a small cup of juice and an apple. Finally, the 4th trial is labor. They are required to work for 8 hours performing a service project. In this case it was removing undergrowth from trees at Camp Wisdom. And remember they are doing this with no talking, and very little food.

After their 24 hour period ends, we hold a second Native American ceremony where the scouts are awarded their arrow sashes. I was so impressed with the effort of every scout there: Tim Burns, Michael Grimes, Nicholas Ensminger, Daniel Wade, Jasper Gulley and Manny Castellanos. Not a single complaint, not a single refusal to work, no talking, no problem sleeping under the stars, they faced each trial and dominated it.

I had at least a dozen adult leaders and scouts approach me or the boys and tell them how pleasantly surprised and proud they were at what our boys were able to accomplish.

Our troop continues to impress me on what these young men are able to do.

Ben Burns
Scoutmaster Troop 263

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