Levels of Membership

In the Order of the Arrow there are three degrees of membership. We do not have ranks or elevations. All Arrowmen are equal, as we are brothers.

Ordeal

The first stage in the Order of the Arrow is Ordeal membership. This is the "joining stage", and should be only temporary. The second degree of membership is Brotherhood, "where an Arrowmen completes his induction, and seals his membership in the Order.

Brotherhood

Brotherhood membership does not provide a special degree of rank, status, or special honor (like that of the Vigil Honor). Instead, the Brotherhood is an opportunity for members to evaluate their past service to Scouting and to their lodge, and to reaffirm their belief in the high purposes of the Order. The ceremony is intended as a source of inspiration that motivates brothers to give even greater service to Scouting.  Any individual who has been an Ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow for at least 10 months and is a dues-paying member of the lodge, may seal his or her membership as a Brotherhood member at any Induction event within the lodge.

Vigil Honor

The Vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowmen 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. The Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to a lodge, council, or Scouting. Naturally, many Arrowmen desire the Vigil, but few are granted. It is not despicable to desire the Vigil, but the Vigil Honor cannot be achieved by conscious endeavor. It is awarded as a recognition of unselfish leadership in service.