Some of the best memories you receive from your experience in the Order of the Arrow are those of visiting other lodges. This past weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Itibapishe Iti Hollo Lodge for their annual Fall Ordeal. The drive up from Greenville was amazing, even when I passed through Charlotte – if you can believe that! When I arrived to the gates of Camp Barnhardt, I started to feel goosebumps on my arms as I remembered all of the fond memories from Dixie 2012. Man, that was a great Dixie!
I parked the car around 10:00 AM and immediately found our future brothers hard at work spreading mulch under Kitchkinet’s vigilant gaze. It did not take long at all to see familiar faces! I had befriended Itibap’s Chief, Thomas, back at the spring National Leadership Seminar in North Carolina when I served on the staff and he was a participant. It was great to see that he was putting those skills to great use in his responsibilities as Chief. Thomas took me on a tour around camp and it was really a trip down memory lane. We visited Campsite 7 from Dixie 2012 where AKK stayed for the weekend. I stood in the dance arbor where I wore my Grass regalia for the first time and first befriended Taylor Everard, who also competed in Grass Dance for Unali’yi at that Dixie. Neither of us could have imagined we would have been Section Officers only a few years later! Thomas and I both carry a passion for ceremonies and I pointed out the fond memories from ceremony competition at that Dixie. Just by the ceremonies competitions area is Itibapishe Iti Hollo’s Lodge Building. Inside here, we gathered with everyone for a quick and delicious lunch meal – Cheerwine, burgers, bratwurst…mmm, I can still taste it!
Following the lunch break, we headed off to the brand new ceremonial grounds. I had no idea Itibap was breaking in the new Ceremonies Circle so it was a real treat to be there with them on the historic day! Even through the relentless heat, the Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies were executed extremely well. To make it even more impactful, the new grounds are set against a beautiful lake and mountain backdrop. Absolutely indescribable! I also thought it was awesome how the Brotherhood ceremony was unintentionally lined up perfectly at the timing of the sunset over the water – a majestic symbol of how these brothers have completed their Ordeal induction process!
One thing my friend Thomas emphasized was that he did not want the new Ordeal members to leave without feeling at home. What’d they do, you ask? They held a mini-fellowship! We were welcomed back from the ceremonies to a steak feast and later, everyone dived into the swimming pool. Unfortunately, I had to leave early so I would have some rest for church the next morning. Without a shadow of a doubt, this trip will be one to remember. I look forward to going back sometime soon and seeing all of my Itibap brothers at Camp Barstow for Dixie 2017! To check out the video from the trip, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry31aeJdw6g