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There was an early web site for the Corps of Discovery which privided a historical background.  This site was probably last updated in 2000 and is now no longer available.

The Messengers of Peace Global Network is the tool which allows Scouts to share their service projects (and get ideas), tell their stories and work together to build peace in their communities.  Through greater access to ideas, training and support, these connections will strengthen all of Scouting.

Constructive thoughts, documents and web sites will be posted on this page as they are identified.  Normal discussion will continued to exist on the Yahoo Groups CorpsOfDiscovery web site.


Latest update - 11/7/16

Asking permision to start a Corps of Discovery

Ron Murphy asks:  "Is it customary to go to the SE and "ask" permission?
I was thinking about using/starting the COD in my District, instead of a VOA.  What do you think about that?"

Joe Garrett provides a helpful response:

    You do not need anyone's permission to start a Corps of Discovery.  Simply start inducting members with a charge to go out and provide service to Venturing, Scouting, and community.  Some outposts require some level of service activity before formal induction, but that is a local call.  The idea is just to highlight the importance of service.

    I would not use CoD in place of VOA.  They are different organizations with completely different goals.  I could see where all active members of VOA would be eligible for membership in CoD by virtue of service to Venturing, but the converse is not true.  We have been pretty clear that we do not want these two concepts to ever compete with each other for mindshare within the Scouting community.

Ready to make a Difference?

All over the world, Scouts are running projects that help people.  They solve conflicts in school by preventing bullying, lead peer education programs, help the poor and the hungry, create solutions to environmental problems, and run countless other service projects.  Messengers of Peace is the initiative that brings all of this work together.

Every Scout who runs a service project is a Messenger of Peace.  Together, we create a network of Messengers of Peace all over the world.  Do you want to learn more about being a Messenger of Peace?  Visit www.scout.org.

What the heck is that flap?

Louie Hoffmann states, "Let's throw something out on the table and beat it up until it makes sense.  OA members probably do not appreciate CoD members wearing any kind of a pocket flap that too closely resembles an OA flap.  On closer look, we have Native Americans, forest and stream on the CoD flap and that is usually OA flap territory.  The initial question directed at any CoD member from any OA member (odds are it will be an adult OA member) not aware of the significance of the CoD flap is "what the heck is that?".  Our response should be......???  (10 words or less!)."

Joe Garrett provides a helpful response:

    Order of the Arrow is an Honor Society whose purpose is to promote camping in Boy Scouting.  It's theme is based in American Indian culture, and its ceremonies involved dressing up as natives.
    Corps of Discovery is a Service Society whose purpose is to provide service to Venturing, Scouting, and our communities.  It's theme Servant Leadership and is based on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  The moment depicted on the current pocket flap is when Sacagawea recognized her brother, Cameawhait upon her return to Western Montana.  She had been kidnapped by a rival tribe as a young girl and was returning to her home territory for the first time, and as a member of the Corps of Discovery.  The reason this moment is so important is because the Corps was in danger of failing at that moment, as they needed horses and directions in order to cross the Bitterroot Mountains into Idaho and Eastern Washington State before winter.
    The first pocket flap was a depiction of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark at the white bluffs of the Missouri Breaks at the moment they (thought they) could see the Continental Divide.  It turned out they were seeing the Bearpaw Mountains and were a week or so away from the Rockies.
    The next pocket flap, which has not been designed, might show the leaders of the Corps voting on whether to spend the winter on the Washington State side of the Columbia River or to cross over to Oregon to winter near the present site of Astoria.  Everyone in the Corps got a vote, including Sacagawea and York, Clark's slave.  This was almost certainly the first time in American history that a woman and a black man got to vote in a major decision.  The Corps voted to move to the southern shore of the Columbia and wintered at Fort Clatsop, a small log compound which they built themselves.
    Now, for the ten words:  Corps of Discovery is a Service Society based on one of the greatest adventures in American history (17 words).  Order of the Arrow is an Honor Society based loosely on American Indian culture.

Corps of Discovery Chapters?

Louie Hoffmann, Crew 405, asked, "What are the pros and cons of starting a 'chapter' of CoD members to aid in it's growth and ultimately the growth of Venturing?"

Joe Garrett suggested, "If you want to have an 'organization' around the Corps of Discovery, maybe that should be the Venturing Officers Association, rather than yet another monthly meeting.  The CoD and the VOA both have similar aims.  The VOA, though, is an organization, while, in my view at least, the CoD is more of a 'society' (meaning few meetings, no dues, and no elections)."

National Recognition?

Louie Hoffmann, Crew 405, asked, "How do we get National to officially recognize the Corps of Discovery?"

Michael Brown provides a historical perspective:

    I recommend people educate themselves on the history of the various scout honor societies that arouse in the early years, out of which the OA became the official one.
    In ALL cases, the various groups got local approval (i.e.  council).  They provided themselves in many council.  Only those that had done so were given experimental status along with the OA.  (There were about a half dozen so designated).  This was done after several years of slow grow of these programs.  And after several years of experimentation, the OA was given official status.
    If you want the same for the CoD, you need to do the same.  PROVE its worth.  Get it approved in many councils.  SHOW it has a value.  And it will have a better chance of becoming an official program.  If people are sitting on their *sses waiting for official approval, it won't happen.

A Comments on "Why aren't female youth allowed in the Order of the Arrow?"

John Ruff made a comment in the blog (blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/07/18/female-youth-order-of-the-arrow) that I thought was worth sharing:

    The OA mission actually says:  "The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults."
    Since Venturing is a part of the BSA, the argument starts to fall into an interpretation, done by folks that I refer to as the "Protectors of Scouting".  These are folks who although they mean well are removed many times from the thoughts and feelings of the youth and are more interested in protecting a history that they themselves experienced or that their sons went through.  So they interpret the Boy Scouts as a literal of one part of the BSA organization.  If they see the flaw in their logic, then they fall back on the fact that to enter the OA a scout must achieve amongst other things the rank of First Class, which obviously Venturing Girls cannot do.
    The other logic is that if the Girl Scouts want an organization they should form one.  A fine argument, except the girls in my Crew, aren't cookie selling Girl Scouts, they are camping, rock climbing, white water rafting and scuba diving Venturing Crew members.  So we put the question to our Crew, their answer was that if an OA member wanted to continue his membership, he could certainly do so, but that the Crew would not participate as a group.  They actually told the OA Council Rep, "If you take one of us, you take all of us.  Otherwise we don't go." He was stunned, the Venturing Advisors (we have more than one) and I were very proud.
    Rather than continue to push this rope, we looked at what the OA would really bring to the Crew.  The answer was Service.  We looked and found the beginnings of the idea of the Corps of Discovery.  That became our Crew's service.  While the OA focuses their efforts back on the BSA, cleaning camps etc, we focus on opportunities in our community.  We've worked for our parent organization with the remodel of the older section of the church, and a local group that created a special park for special needs kids.  We are visible in our community, not just the BSA.
    My message to all of you Venturing Advisors is to quit pushing the rope.  Make the OA want you worse than you want it.  They struggle in our area to keep the scouts engaged! Eventually there will be a breaking point.  Get with other Crews in your area and form a Corp or Discovery post.  Google it, there is a lot of information on the web and many fine people working on organizing it, with little or no support from the BSA.  Venturers don't need the OA to be of service, one day the OA will want and need the talented leaders that we have in the young women of our Crews and one day these young women will raise the next generation of scouts (boys and girls).  Thus will begin or continue the evolution.
    The OA will change eventually, but it will be through evolution rather than a revolution.  As today's scouts become tomorrow's leaders, the "protectors" will fade away and so will their hollow arguments.  Darwin proved that evolution is inevitable and those that don't evolve become extinct, unfortunately for today's generation of Venture Crews it will take more time than they have in Scouts.  Change always happens and there are many in Scouting that want to fight it, they just don't realize that in the long run it is they that are "pushing the rope".