By Elisha Valladares-Cormier (from the National Website)
Mike Hoffman has been a member of the Order of the Arrow for 38 years and has been a leader at every level of the organization, from chapter chief all the way up to serving as the National Vice Chief in 1985. Now, add one more job to that – National Chairman of the Order of the Arrow. Hoffman took over the position from former Chairman, Ray Capp, on June 1.
Hoffman, a member of Wipala Wiki Lodge, was originally inducted into Awase Lodge in the Wisconsin-based Bay-Lakes Council in 1978. Upon joining, he immediately became enthralled with the Order, reading the entire handbook on the trip home from his Ordeal. “I was connected, inspired and ready to continue on the journey,” Mike said about his first impression of the Order.
Although he was unable to become heavily involved within the first year due to the almost hour long drive each way to chapter meetings, he remained excited to be part of the organization. In 1979, his family moved to Arizona, where Hoffman’s father founded the company that Mike now works at as President and CEO. Upon getting there, Mike joined Wipala Wiki and, thanks to a generous adult leader who helped get him to events, began to become heavily involved at the chapter level, eventually becoming chapter chief.
This first experience in leadership spawned off serving in more leadership positions. After serving a term as lodge vice chief of communications and then as lodge vice chief of events, he was elected lodge chief before being elected to two terms as section chief for what was then Section W-4C. It was after his reelection to section chief that he was elected by his fellow section chiefs to become the National Vice Chief at the 1984 National Planning Meeting. At the time, Hoffman was a sophomore in college. “It was both a humbling and exciting experience,” he said. “The ability to meet and connect with Arrowmen across the country and the ability to represent the Order of the Arrow and the Boy Scouts of America is just wonderful.”
At the end of his term, Hoffman took the advice of the national chairman and director who told him that while he had done a great job, it was time for him to move on and finish college, get a job and start a family. And so from 1986 to 1992, he did just that. Hoffman graduated from Arizona State University in 1987 before joining the company his father founded. But he continued to attend national events and in 1992 began reimmersing himself into the organization, becoming a member of the National Order of the Arrow Committee in 1995. He served there as Vice Chairman of Training and in 2006 became the Vice Chair of National Events, becoming involved in every facet of the 2015 centennial celebration. He was serving in that capacity when his appointment to become national chairman was announced.
As chairman, Hoffman has five main goals that he wants to accomplish during his tenure. “First and foremost, we must continue and increase the development of tools and strategies for units, chapters and lodges,” he said. “Secondly, [we] must continue to think about how we can stay at the forefront of technology as a tool to support all levels of the organization. Third, we must remember that our responsibility is to support Scouting in local councils. We must also remain financially strong and finally, we must pay attention to what creates better Arrowmen and how we can assist the individual while they are Arrowmen.”
“One of the most fulfilling experiences of my life”, is how Hoffman describes the Order of the Arrow in one sentence. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be in the chairmanship,” Hoffman said, “and very excited to have the opportunity to guide these exceptional national officers in providing a great program for Arrowmen across the country.”