The Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can present its members for service to the Lodge and Council. It dates to the year 1915, when its founder, E. Urner Goodman, became the first Vigil Honor member. Since then, thousands of members have been given this honor.
It is a high mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowmen who have given exceptional service, helping others beyond the call of duty, involving personal effort and unselfish interest to one or more of the following: their Lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. Under no circumstances should tenure in Scouting or the Order of the Arrow be considered as reason enough for a Vigil Honor recommendation.
Alertness to the needs of others is the mark of the Vigil Honor. This calls for an unusual awareness of the possibilities within each situation.
Vigil Honor members have an honorable tradition to uphold. They must at all times conduct themselves in accordance with the ideals of Scouting, the Order of the Arrow, and the Vigil Honor. Membership cannot be won by a person’s conscious endeavor. It comes as a recognition of his unselfish service. This fact should be given careful consideration in the selection of candidates for membership. The Vigil Honor has successfully fulfilled a very definite and satisfactory service to the Order of the Arrow, to Scouting, and to individual members. Its continued success depends on the care with which future members are selected and on the maintenance by its members of the high ideals of service to others for which the Vigil Honor has always been known.
Requirements for Consideration:
Any member of the Order registered in Scouting and in good standing in a regularly chartered Lodge is eligible for recommendation to the national committee for evaluation to the Vigil Honor, provided that, at the time of their recommendation, they have been a Brotherhood member for a minimum of two years. Because the Order of the Arrow is primarily a young men’s organization, it is suggested, in recommending candidates for the Vigil Honor, that preference be given to Scouts rather than adult volunteers or professional Scouters. Members of the Order can be inducted into the Vigil Honor only with the written approval of the National Order of the Arrow Committee.
All eligible candidates that meet the above requirements should have a letter of recommendation sent to the Lodge Secretary before the June Ordeal of the year that the recommendation wishes to be made.
A Vigil Election Committee, composed of a desired representative from each Chapter (the Chapter representative cannot be eligible for the Vigil Honor) and appointed by the current Lodge Chief, review the recommendations that have been received at the June Ordeal. All Vigil members are allowed to attend this meeting but only the committee is allowed to vote. After the recommendations have been read by the Lodge Advisor, the committee votes on each recommended candidate. A candidate must receive at least one more than half of the committee’s votes to receive the Vigil Honor. The Lodge is allowed to select one Vigil Honor member for every 50 members of the Lodge. The Vigil Honor can be given in any number, according to the Lodge membership stated above, but at least half of the honorees must be youth members.