In 1973, Nentico Lodge decided to proceed with the implementation of a Chapter system. The decision to split into three chapters was not unanimous. Many youth and adults thought that this would have a negative effect on the lodge. Their reasoning was that it would cause factions in the lodge leadership. The concern was that there would be three mini-lodges, which would be detrimental to its program. The other reason was that they feared that there would not be enough active youth in the lodge to fill all of the positions. It was already difficult for the Lodge Officers to fill all of the lodge committees If chapters were added, then more positions would need to be filled. Chapters would ,then, need active chapter officers and committees.
First attempt at Chapters
In 1975, Nentico Lodge was made up of three chapters, Central, Northeast, and Southwest. However, as much of a change as this was, it was not unusual for the Order of the Arrow. In 1916, Unami Lodge One was firmly established as Treasure Island’s honor camper society. Nevertherless, the Philadelphia Council had another summer camp, Camp Biddle. During the Summer of 1916, Unalachtgo Lodge Two, was opened. Unalachtgo merged with Unami during the twenties, when the Grand Lodge decided that the Order should only have one lodge chartered per council. In the1935 By-Laws of the National Tribe of the Wimachtendienk (the new name for the Grand Lodge), there was a provision for a Lodge that functioned at more than one summer camp to break up into chapters. The chapter became the camp’s honor society. A new edition of the Order of the Arrow Handbook was issued in 1973. It dealt with chapter organization, describing the purpose of the Order of the Arrow and how this purpose could be implemented effectively using a chapter format. Our sister Lodge, Susquehannock XI in Harrisburg, had operated with chapters for years. In addition, in 1973 the council developed three service areas.
In 1974 the chapter organizational structure was approved. Chapters would have their own officers and committees, and would conduct all of the unit elections and camping promotions in their districts. They would also lead their own service weekends, and, eventually, would take over the execution of Ordeals (most of which were held during summer camp by Arrowmen on Camp Staff). A timeline to split the lodge into chapters was developed which would take three years to fully implement. Ultimately, this initiative never fully developed and the first attempt of forming chapters in the Nentico Lodge never reached the desired level of success.
Birth of Harford Chapter
In 1980, the chapter system was once again initiated. Membership was declining significantly, and after the fiftieth anniversary, lodge event attendance never loomed above a few hundred. However, at the time it was impossible to predict the negative effects service areas would bring upon the lodge. The new chapter system focused on smaller chapters that were more managable as pervious chapters covered too much territory to function effectively. Chapters eventually did restore desired membership levels ofthe lodge. In 1980, Nentico Lodge formed 12 chapters, one corresponding to each district. It was at this point the Harford Chapter was born.