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On August 27, 2016, the SR-9 Council of Chiefs unanimously approved to rename the section conclave to the Heartland Gathering. This decision was made to highlight the section’s premier event and to give a unique name to one of the largest section-level events in the nation.
While brainstorming ideas for the new event name, the section officers looked at what connects Georgia and Alabama together. We considered Native American tribes and agriculture crops, but the one idea which peeked our interests is we are the center of the south. Our two states form the geographic and economic center of the Southern Region. The concept of being centrally located directly relates to the section tagline, Serving the Southern Heartland, which has been in use since the section was formed. As a result, the use of the word “Heartland” was an easy choice.
The inaugural gathering will take place from April 21-23, 2017 at Camp Lumpkin in LaGrange, Georgia. Mark your calendars for the event and contact your lodge for registration information. The giveaways for those who register by January 31, 2017 will be a pair of Ray – Ban sunglasses or one of five Heartland Gathering patch sets. The prizes are not just for youth. Adults over the age of twenty-one will be entered for two of the patch sets.
Section SR-9 is very excited about this new change and hope all Arrowmen will join with us in embracing our new event. Feel free to reach out to any section officer if you have questions or would like more information concerning the 2017 Heartland Gathering.
This past month Section SR-9 lodges held three events. Check out the event articles and photos below from Alibamu, Ini-To, and Withlacoochee Lodges.
Alibamu Lodge Pilgrimage Ordeal
by Will Reeder
Alibamu had a fun filled Ordeal August 19-21. There was plenty of time for brotherhood and fellowship in addition to plenty of time for service. We made progress on our new sand volleyball court that is scheduled to be completed this fall. After inducting several new members and sealing other members in the ties of Brotherhood on Saturday, we ended the evening with a cracker barrel and a corn hole tournament. After many attempted to take the title of champion, it was brother Lucas Lynn and former SR-9 Secretary, Matt Harris, who ended with the coveted title! After a short rest Saturday night, we finished up a great weekend with a devotional and a lodge meeting. We would like to recognize and thank our section chief Patrick Mapp and Coosa Lodge’s Vice-Chief of Fellowship Daniel Beitel for attending our Ordeal! It really meant a lot to us. We had a great time and we are looking forward to what lies ahead for Alibamu and the rest of SR-9.
Ini-To Lodge Summer Ordeal
by Daniel Kirkland
The Ini-To Lodge Summer Ordeal was a huge success. We had fifteen new members inducted and fourteen seal their brotherhood. The project was very meaningful to our camp. Camp Thunder now has a wonderful entrance complete with rock paths, mulch, and bushes. After the ordeal ceremony the new inductees participated in capture the flag with other members of the lodge. Other members patch traded in the dining hall. New member orientation took place before vespers on Sunday morning. New member orientation and vespers were conducted by Will Harper. We are excited for our upcoming Fall Fellowship.
Withlacoochee Lodge Summer Fellowship
by Saul Crumpton
We recently wrapped up our Summer Fellowship event. It was a grand time, with many activities such as service, leadership development, and fellowship. Arrowmen had the opportunity to participate in small service projects like building a new GaGa pit for the camp. They were able to utilize the new pit to get to know one another better, as well as develop their knowledge of ceremony performance and putting on unit elections thanks to our LLD presenters. The cherry on top for the event was the guest visitors we had from Waguli Lodge that put on a few informational seminars to help bolster our efforts in developing a lodge drum and dance team. Special thanks to Dallas Adams and Chris DeHart for traveling down and helping us out.
National Leadership Seminar
by Austin Dowd
We have a fantastic opportunity for members of Section SR-9 to meet new brothers and learn one-of-a-kind leadership skills at an upcoming NLS course inside our geographic area. NLS stands for National Leadership Seminar and is hosted by experienced Order of the Arrow members from all over the country including current national officers. It is a great weekend full of sessions to help form the next leaders of our Order. The NLS course is November 11-13 in Talladega, Alabama. For those unfamiliar with Talladega, it is halfway between Birmingham and Atlanta along Interstate 20. This will be the first NLS Course inside SR-9 since 2009 and the next course this close will not be until spring of 2018. NLS is encouraged for all lodge and chapter leadership to attend and help better their local program.
Section SR-9 is offering a grant program for youth members to attend. We will cover half of the cost for thirty Arrowmen, but hurry because spots are being claimed quickly. In addition, your lodge may have scholarship funds available. Notify your Lodge Adviser that you are interested in attending, and he can assist you in receiving the Section SR-9 Grant.
The registration deadline is October 28 but do not delay because spots fill quickly. Go to http://southern.oa-bsa.org/nls for more information and to register.