Adaptations at NOAC 2023

Ethan Syster posted a report on the National Order of the Arrow web site describing this year’s National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC): The following excerpt from his report describes NOAC’s diversity and inclusion activities this year.

New this year was the Admonition Team’s presence at NOAC. The Admonition Team, whose mission is supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellbeing, supported multiple programs at the Conference, including affinity spaces for Scouts of Color, Women in Scouting, ArrowPride, and Scouts with Disabilities. Additionally, the Admonition Team held training and lunch-and-learns to help lodge leaders better understand how to support and welcome members from different backgrounds. All Admonition Team programs were exceptionally well attended and many national leaders of both the OA and the BSA stopped by to support these efforts as part of the organization’s wider goals of ensuring Scouting and the OA are available to everyone. 

Tent intended for a quiet, safe space

Elanor Philips and her team staffed the Scouts with Disabilities space. Here are her observations:

Lots of OA participants came by our room for fellowship and to showcase where they were from. Some came to learn about Special Needs Scouting while others used our room to have a quiet and calm place to be.

This area provided a calm supportive sensory culture where everyone felt a sense of belonging. The area was designed to include different zones, such as an active zone, a calming zone, and an interactive zone so different needs could be addressed. The Scouts with Disabilities space was an area for Scouts and Scouters who were in need of some down time and/or regrouping time when experiencing sensory overload and after deescalating they could rejoin and enjoy the NOAC activities. There were trained volunteers available to answer questions and share information.

The photograph shows a special tent set up in the Scouts with Disabilities room. Our troop sets up an extra tent like this on campouts to provide a safe room. When a Scouts needs to deescalate they can go in the tent and no one will bother them. The tent contains sensory items to help the Scout deescalate and get back to themselves.