Elangomat Manual by Dave Bennett

Introduction This training guide is meant to be a resource for anyone who wishes to be an Elangomat. There is more material here than any one person will probably use, but it does give an overview of what it means to be an Elangomat and how to go about fulfilling the role. This can't cover everything, but we hope that this will supply enough material and ideas so that when you encounter something not covered here you will be able to see your best response. The job of being an Elangomat is frequently under-rated and misunderstood, but it is truly one of the most important in the Order. We wish you success in your endeavors to measure up to this most important job. The Ten Induction Principles Principle 1 - Purpose: The purpose of the Induction is to encourage and inspire each candidate to develop firm individual dedication to the ideals of Brotherhood and Cheerful Service. Principle 2 - Eligibility: The right to earn Ordeal and Brotherhood membership is given only by the Scouts of a candidate's unit during an authorized Order of the Arrow unit election. Only the candidate himself can overrule their decision. Principle 3 - Candidate's Compliance: The candidate has the continuous choice of meeting the tests of the Ordeal, to the extent allowed by their responsibilities. Principle 4 - Members' Compliance: All members participating in the induction must respect and comply with the test of the Ordeal, to the extent allowed by their responsibilities. Principle 5 - Discretion: In cases where the strict application of the test and requirements of the Induction is not possible, the lodge may choose an alternative that will best preserve the spirit of the Induction, and the quality of the candidates' experience. Principle 6 - Importance of the Individual: All actions and procedures must recognize the worth, dignity, and separate identity of the individual and his present or potential ability to govern himself. Principle 7 - Generosity: The attitude of members toward the candidate must be one of acceptance, respect, understanding, sincerity, friendly encouragement, support, and trust. Principle 8 - Focus: Everything in the lodge-created environment must direct the candidate to the central mending of the induction, and not distract him from it. Principle 9 - Symbolic Progression: No symbol or symbolic procedure should be mentioned or used unless and until it is called for in the authorized ceremonies. Principle 10 - Active Membership: Lodge policy must recognize that one who understands the Obligation of the Order and is striving to fulfill it is an active member, and that his dedication in itself accomplishes the major service of the Lodge.

The Elangomat

What is an Elangomat? The question of just what is an Elangomat is an important one, for we can't be something we don't know or understand, and many would answer this question differently, because an Elangomat is many things. With that said, the most important thing we can say about an Elangomat is that he is a person who is fully willing to give of himself in order to bring others to a true realization of the purpose and spirit of the Order of the Arrow. He is one who will endure the hardships of the Ordeal again to help new members gain the deep and powerful experience which is possible from the Ordeal.

An Elangomat fulfills many function in the induction process, but his chief responsibility is revealed by his title "Elangomat," which means FRIEND. A good Elangomat develops a personal relationship with each of the members of his clan. But this relationship is not one of words, it is much deeper, for he shares in the hardships of the candidates, and their silence. The job of an Elangomat is not easy. He must function as a crew chief, friend, example to his candidates, counselor, mediator and policeman. The difficulty of his job is second only to the Ordeal Master, and not by very much.

The Elangomat must be a constant and continual example of the obligation. This is not always possible, but it is the goal and must be continually striven for. Being an Elangomat is a great sacrifice; but as with all true services, you gain as much or more than you give. This you will know if you take the challenge yourself. It is your choice. The Ordeal really is better the second time around

The Spirit of an Elangomat

Think to yourself and ask these questions: What do you think your Ordeal would have been like if you knew that all through your Ordeal, the night alone, the day of cheerful service, and the times of thoughtful contemplation, Allowat Sakima was watching you. Or what if Kichkinet had been watching? What if Kichkinet had not only been watching, but showing the way, showing you the arrow through true cheerful service? How would you have acted? How would you have felt? How hard would you have worked in that situation?

This is the idea and the Spirit of the Elangomat. Kichkinet cannot be with every candidate all day, but you, as his representative, can! You are his proxy, and preside over your clan the same as he would if he were there. But, you can only do this, and have the candidates believe it, if you believe in your role and are willing to make the sacrifice, willingly, for it. If you hold in your mind the spirit of your role, that you are the embodiment of the Order of the Arrow, your candidates will see it and react accordingly. If you can keep this spirit in your heart all throughout the Ordeal, through your Re-Ordeal experience, you can make the Ordeal for your candidates be the true, deep, powerful experience it was meant to be!

Duties and Responsibilities of the Elangomat

An Elangomat has many responsibilities. Here are the principle ones to keep in mind as you do your job.

To honestly try in all ways to bring candidates to a complete understanding of the purpose and the spirit of the Order of the Arrow. To Always take the initiative in performing service and accomplishing tasks. To be a continual example of the Spirit of the Order in both action and attitude. To be foremost in ensuring that the candidates are following in full the challenges of the Ordeal and to take appropriate action then these challenges are not being met. To encourage candidates in their understanding of the real purpose of the Ordeal which they are experiencing. To strive to bring to the candidates the ideals and instill within them the virtues of Brotherhood and cheerful service. To make the candidates feel that they are now part of the Order and to work with them following the Ordeal till they achieve Brotherhood.

The Elangomat in the Ordeal

Officers of the Ordeal

In addition to Elangomats and candidates, there are many other people involved with the Ordeal. Here we will briefly talk about the officers of the Ordeal and your interactions with them.

The Ordeal Master

The Ordeal Master is the one individual in charge of the entire Ordeal. In general, he is responsible for the success of the Ordeal. At the Ordeal he is the final authority on decisions regarding the Ordeal. He coordinates all of the different elements that make up the Ordeal and oversees all the different aspects of it. He may assist Elangomats with problems and work with clans on a problem solving basis, but he is over everything and therefore delegates the main work of the clans and Elangomats to the Head Elangomat.

The Head Elangomat

The Head Elangomat is the leader responsible for all the Elangomats and candidates in the Ordeal. He coordinates all the work of the clans and is concerned solely with the candidates and Elangomats. He assigns the different work projects to individual clans and coordinates member/clan efforts. He is also the key person in charge of ensuring that the Elangomats are performing their jobs as they should. If there are discipline problems in a clan that cannot be resolved by the clan Elangomat, the Head Elangomat is the person responsible for insuring that candidates comply with the Ordeal.

The Ceremonial Teams

The ceremonial teams are extremely important in any Ordeal. Their main points of contact with the candidates and Elangomats are the ceremonies themselves. The coordination between the ceremonial teams and the candidates is handled by the Ordeal Master. The ceremonial team should also make appearances during the day in regalia to take part in service with the candidates, as promised by Kichkinet in the Pre-Ordeal ceremony. Frequently, this is done by having team members carry water to the candidates while they work. They may also join in for a few minutes in the various work projects.


As Elangomats may be adult or youth members, there is sometime confusion as to where the advisors of the Ordeal fit in. All Elangomats, youth or adult, are directly responsible to the Head Elangomat, and the Ordeal Master. These are the people who have the responsibility for running the Ordeal. The advisors to the Ordeal Master and the Head Elangomat will also work with Elangomats as needed, but their job, as with all advisors, is to facilitate the functioning of the Head Elangomat and Ordeal Master in their jobs.

The Clan

The clan is just another name for an organization we use all the time in scouting. We usually call that organization a patrol or den. We use it because it works. It consists of a small group, 5-10 members and a leader. The leader in a clan is an Elangomat and is designated the Clan Chief. A clan can have more that one Elangomat assigned, but there must be one who is assigned as Clan Chief. It is desirable when possible to have two or more Elangomats assigned to one clan. There are several key properties which must be remembered when working with and using clans. A clan is bound together by a common name. At first this seems trivial, but on second look one can see how this acts as a powerful binding aspect. You become a member of Achte clan, not just a guy who worked on the canyon campsites or worked in Jonny Smith's group. The clan is like a patrol, it gives unity. Relationships begun at the Ordeal can continue afterwards through the proper use of the Clan.

A clan must be considered a single unit. It must not be split up and redistributed to suit a project, although multiple clans can participate on a single project if the autonomy of each clan is maintained.

The clan is ideally suited for the Elangomat and is headed by an Elangomat. As the Elangomat endures the Ordeal again with the candidates, clan bonds become even more firm and the feelings of brotherhood increase greatly.

Clans tend to be more efficient than other work parties because of their unity. The oneness in the group increases out put to the point where a clan can be expected to produce nearly twice as much output as a loose group of people of the same size. Ordeals should be planned along these lines and sufficient work provided so that at no time is the clan waiting around.

The Elangomat and Ceremonies

Elangomats are re-living the Ordeal with the candidates, but they are already members. This creates some difficulties at ceremonies. The basic idea is for Elangomats to participate in ceremonies as much as candidates with some slight modifications. In the Pre-Ordeal ceremony Elangomats should be lined up with the members of their clans and should participate without any differentiation.

The Ordeal ceremony presents some challenges. As in the Pre-Ordeal, Elangomats should line up at the head of their clans when they are brought to line up, but they should not be bound with the candidates when Kichkinet brings the rope. They should walk beside them from this point on, and when the candidates enter the circle, the Elangomats should split off and move to where the other members are gathered. At the finish of the ceremony the Elangomats should be first in congratulating their clan members and should lead them back to camp from the ceremony sight.

The Spirit of the Ordeal

The Tests of the Ordeal

Night Alone - The candidate spends a night alone as proof of his courage and self-reliance. It also gives him a chance to think over clearly the events taking place. Silence - The candidate keeps complete silence. This gives him the opportunity to pay stricter attention to his unspoken thoughts, searching out his past deficiencies and resolving on a life of fuller service in the future.

Toil - The candidate spends the daylight hours of his Ordeal in meaningful labor. This proves his willingness to serve his fellow man cheerfully.

Food - The candidate eats sparingly, thus proving his ability to subordinate the appetites of the body to the high purposes of the Spirit.

Taken together, the four elements of the Ordeal are a meaningful and inspiring experience for the candidate. They provide a total participation of mind and spirit. The Ordeal is not soon forgotten by the new member.

How to get the Spirit of the Arrow

Attitude can make or break any experience you have. If you expect the worst, you'll probably get it. It cannot be stressed enough that the members at Ordeals and especially Elangomats attitudes have a huge effect on the way they conduct themselves, and this in turn sets the attitude of the candidates they deal with towards not only the Ordeal, but the Order as a whole.

So . . . Attitude is a must. But, how does one go about setting the proper mood? This is a very different problem and each person must answer it for himself. There are as many different methods as there are people, but here are some that have worked for me or others: Items to set your mood before an activity:

Music - Many people are very quickly put into the proper frame of mind by appropriate music.

Reading - Reading the actual text for the Ordeal ceremony can be a very moving experience. There are also many good OA Spirit books.

Silent Contemplation - Thought about the task ahead, a mental rehearsal. Things to do during an activity:

Going over the Obligation

Purpose - Constantly reminding yourself of you purpose.

Think over past successes.

There are many ways to achieve spirit building and each person must find which way works best for him. One last note here: NEVER dampen someone else's attempts to build spirit (no matter how strange or corny it may seem).

The Ordeal Experience - What was it like?

One of the very best ways that you can help your candidates is to remember what it was like for you when you went through your Ordeal. For some of us this was not long ago, and the experience is still very fresh in our minds. For others, this was long ago and memories of our first Ordeal have dimmed with time and smeared together with other Ordeals through the years. But, for you to really be able to empathize and help your candidates you must remember what it was like that very first time.

Looking back on your Ordeal, compare what you remember with this picture. You were first elected and called out. This may have happened just prior to your Ordeal, or some weeks earlier. At any rate, the feelings at being called out are pride (for the honor given), and uncertainty. Unless you had many friends in the Order who had already briefed you, you really don't know what is going to happen. This feeling is compounded the first night of your Ordeal. You were brought together with other candidates and frequently there is little to do but fret and talk with other candidates as the members get things ready. You really have no idea what is in store. If your Ordeal was one organized with Elangomats you were then assigned a clan, and here a little clarity begins to emerge. As the Elangomat explains what will happen for the next few hours a little understanding begins, but there is still so much that you just don't understand. Then the Pre-Ordeal begins. You are marched with your sleeping gear through the night to the torches which light the night and you listen as these Indians give you your charge. Much of what they say isn't understood or clear, they talk so strangely. But, hopefully, you do understand that you are now officially on silence and that there won't be much to eat and that you will be sleeping alone and tomorrow you will be working.

Then you with your fellow candidates are led off into the night. Your sleeping gear becomes very hard to hold and it seems like it will take forever for you to get to where you will camp for the night. Then, suddenly, you have reached your spot. You have indicated to you where you are to sleep, and it isn't a spot you would have chosen for yourself, but you are there and you begin to set up. There may have been another candidate only ten or so feet away, or it may be a real distance you are separated, but it doesn't matter, it's late and you make the best of what there is and go to sleep, hopefully. There might be weather of other things to make the night more difficult.

The next morning you awaken early, maybe on your own, or maybe by a drum or being shaken by another candidate or Elangomat. No matter how far you think you were separated that evening, in the morning there seems to be more candidates and closer together than you remember. You are eventually lined up with the candidates in your clan and marched into camp where you get your breakfast, such as it is. It only makes you more hungry than you were before. Then you are set to work. You work all day. You do work that sometimes is meaningful, and many times is just tiring and tedious. You get breaks, and sort of lunch, and then more work. You are hot, sweaty, tired and bored and frustrated, and a hundred other things through the day. Not talking makes you carry on conversations inside your head, you wonder why you are bothering to go through it all. You either really like your Clan leader, or despise him by the end of the day. How you feel about the work is due largely to how he handles it. This work and thinking time is what you will remember more than anything else of your Ordeal. Then finally the work is over, and you maybe get something else to eat. And finally it is time for the big final ceremony. You are led to a point, bound together with rope, and led further. It seems like you'll never get to the site of the ceremony, and then you are there. Again, there is much said in the ceremony which goes right over your head. You are tired and just want it all to be over. They put a sash on you and whisper something in your ear you can't understand and then move on.

And suddenly it is over. The ceremony is finished and people are crowding around and shaking your hand in this new handshake. You are one of them, you are not a candidate, but a member now. You return from the ceremony site for a dinner which tastes all the sweeter for your not having eaten much at all during the day. And you can talk! It feels great, but the confusion remains. You still don't really know what the Order is all about. There are so many new terms: lodge, chapter, brotherhood, vigil, conclave, NOAC. It is all a swirl. Will you come back, will you allocate some of your precious time to be active with these people, these new brothers? It really all depends on what happened during the day. How did the members make you feel as you worked as a candidate? If they made you feel welcome and treated you well, you now have the beginnings for new friendships. If they treated you as non-persons, as someone who yet had to earn their respect, there is a good chance you won't be back. Why go with people who are just a bunch of jerks?

The work, what happens during the day, will most likely determine whether you, or any candidate-member stays. This is where you, now as Elangomat can make a huge difference.

Re-Living the Ordeal

The Ordeal experience can truly only happen once. There can never be the mystery, the complete newness ever again. But, if you undertake the challenges of the Ordeal a second time, many new and wonderful things can be learned. The Ordeal is an experience of the spirit and ideally, as we undertake it, we learn more about ourselves. I can think of no other place but in the Ordeal where the ideal of oneness and solitude are combined with fellowship and work in a like manner. It is, therefore, necessary as you prepare yourself for the second Ordeal to think about how you have changed since you undertook it the first time.

While working as an Elangomat, you are showing that you have fully embraced the spirit of the Arrow, and can give fully of yourself in service to others. Each Elangomat, in striving to provide the most meaningful experience for his charges, will find in the end, that by giving of himself he has gained more than he has given.

No one comes to the fire without adding to it.

No one has anything with them when they come.

What is added?

The Mechanics of being an Elangomat and running Clans


Not a whole lot really should need to be said about clans and how to run them. This is because they are just a special type of patrol. All of you have experienced how a patrol can and should work, and so you already know how to run a clan. You , the Elangomat Clan Chief, are the Patrol Leader. If there are other Elangomats or members assigned to the clan, they are your assistant patrol leaders, and the candidates are the regular members. All the tricks you may have learned to help a patrol function better will function in a clan as well.

Remember, once candidates are assigned to your clan, they are your responsibility. You are there to help them and to stick up for them. Don't let others take members assigned to your clan from you. If you are involved in a large project that employs more than one clan, don't forget that you are still in charge of your clan members.

A clan needs to have an identity. The name is a good starting point, but you must also find other ways to distinguish your clan. Set up signals and communication methods with your candidates before you are put on silence. A few minutes work here will greatly help to overcome potential problems. Get to know each member of your clan. You will have ample opportunity to see their real self as they work. They will also get to see you and your self.

Use humor and fun whenever possible. Cheerful Service means that you are having a good time while you serve. Anyone can work and hat it. It takes a truly resourceful person to have fun while working hard. Little things count big. Any little twist you can introduce will make your clan closer and run smoother.

Get help wherever you can. Use the Head Elangomat as much as possible. Let him be the "Bad Cop" of the Ordeal. Let him handle as much discipline as possible. Use other members to get things done your candidates can't. Other members can facilitate things which the tests of the Ordeal make hard for you to do. Take breaks as needed while you work, but make the distinction between break time and work time clear.

Elangomat Duties through the Ordeal

The biggest part of any Elangomat's job is the work during the day time, but the Elangomat figures into every part of the Ordeal. Here are the different duties that are yours in the different parts of the Ordeal.

Friday Night

This is the time when you organize your clan. You nee to get all your candidates together and get to know them, and help them to know you. This is a good time to give the candidates a broad overview of what they should expect in the next 24 hours. You don't want to go into too much detail, but you do want to let them know that at some point they will be put on silence, and what that means. They also need to know that they will be working for most of the next day. Find out if any of your clan members have any dietary or physical restrictions and make sure that the head Elangomat and Ordeal Master are aware of these as well. Find out if any members need to take medication or if there are allergies which might give you any trouble. This is also a good time to set up some hand signals or sounds to coordinate the clan once they are on silence. It is also good to have everyone learn the clan name so that they will know when your clan is called. Then, it will be time for the Pre-Ordeal Ceremony. You should be at the head of your clan as you move to the ceremony site. You should also be prepared as the only one in the group with a flashlight, first aid kit and water, in addition to your sleeping gear. When the time comes to test the bow, you do it with the candidates. You are in line with them through the whole ceremony. As you leave the ceremony site you will be completely in charge of your clan. The guides should drop off your clan as a whole, and you, as clan leader place your candidates so you will know where to find them in the morning, or sooner if something comes up. It is generally best if you position yourself in the middle of the areas where the candidates are set so that you can get to them easily.

Saturday During the Day

In the morning check on all candidates and make sure that when it is time to return to the main camp that all are accounted for and ready. On arriving with the candidates, make sure you eat their breakfast with them. They need to see you going through all the tests with them. During the day you will be assigned work by the Ordeal Master or Head Elangomat, make sure they do any verbal explaining in front of the candidates so that you won't have to speak yourself. Work hard during the day, and have as much fun as you can. Remember, they will be watching you and how you work and the attitude you have will have more impact on them than any other single aspect of the Ordeal.

Saturday Evening

When you have finished work and cleaned up, make sure everyone is appropriately attired for the final Ordeal ceremony (whatever is proper attire for your Lodge and climate). You should be wearing your sash and uniform, or possibly regalia. When it comes time for your candidates to go to the ceremony, line up with them, but not in the line itself. You are already bound in the Order and should stand next to them in line, but not be in it. The same is true when Kichkinet binds them with the rope. When you arrive at the ceremony site you should peel off from the line and stand with the other members, or stand behind the candidates. When the circle is widened, you should rejoin your clan members (now members not candidates) and be the first to congratulate them after the ceremony ends.

As new members you are the person they know best in the Order. You should take as much time as you can after the ceremony to cement the bonds which you have forged with these new members. You should also be looking to staying on as friend and guide for the next year or more.

Teaching by Showing

Gaining cooperation of what begins as a group of total strangers is not easy! But, you have the tests of the Ordeal on your side, and talking is supposedly non-existent. So it is your challenge to teach by showing, to teach by example.

The ideals of teaching by example are simple if you think for just a moment on the task at hand; but wait, is it really that simple? Did you think about the fact that the candidates are going to be watching your every move? Or did you hope they would only see you when you wanted them to see you? Have you realized that any breach of the tests of the Ordeal you make will automatically give good reason for any of theirs?

These are tough questions and as you work it is best to remind yourself of them. To really bring new candidates the ideals of service, cheerfulness, and Brotherhood, you, yourself, must live them and let them shine out through you so they can see them. It is not necessary to instruct with words. Your actions and non-verbal clues you give should be sufficient. Begin a project by yourself, but leave all the clues that you need help. If they have begun to see the Arrow, they will one-by-one join in until all are engaged. Any specific techniques they need can be gained by watching you. If for some reason, one member does not join in after a reasonable amount of time, an actual request may need to be made (non-verbally). If this still does not get action, punitive action may be necessary. Remember, if you set a good example of work, all will go well and work will become easier.


Discipline is a continual problem no matter how well planned or executed a program. There will always be those who do not wish to abide by the set rules. But, if you keep one thought in mind, discipline is not too difficult. "You cannot disqualify the candidate from the Ordeal. Only the candidate can disqualify himself." If your attitude follows these lines, you will seldom encounter problems which can't be solved.

If a candidate is in direct defiance of an order or is in any way not fulfilling the tests of the Ordeal, take him aside and inform him that if the activity continues, he is considered to be renouncing his candidacy. If this is sufficient, work can continue. If there are repeated actions or an attitude of non-compliance, the Head Elangomat should be informed so that the proper action can be taken. The key thing to remember is that if you want the candidates to work well, you must be the hardest worker in the group. If you work hard, the candidates will see and follow your lead and discipline will not be much of a problem. If you are lax, you will have no end of problems. If you have a problem candidate, let them know that the Head Elangomat will have to be informed. Let the Head Elangomat be your heavy. As he checks with your clan through the day, he should be the one who does any serious disciplining. It is better to come down hard and swiftly early on any breach. That sets the tone for the day. If you let things slide in the beginning it will be too late to correct later.

What NOT to Do

This section is to help you remember some simple items which will make your Elangomat experience better. The Ordeal is primarily a gut-level experience. Don't expect the candidates to understand more than a small portion of what they are exposed to. Focus on the emotional aspect, how do they feel about this experience. They will remember the feelings. Show the candidates the Arrow by your actions and leave it at that.

Always remember, you cannot disqualify a candidate. Only he can do that.

Never let anyone distract your candidate from their duties, No matter who it is! They have no right.

Never let your candidates see you acting incorrectly -- this is probably the most difficult item to do and is probably almost impossible to live in completeness. But remember, that their eyes are always on you and any action you make can justify them in theirs.

Never tempt candidates to break any of the tests. Arrange activities so that the candidates are not unnecessarily tried.

Never let work time go unfilled. Boredom is the enemy of the Spirit of the Ordeal.

Do not discuss the Spirit of the Arrow books which the candidates receive. They are designed to be pondered silently.

Don't talk -- The only exceptions are immediate physical danger, and when disciplining a clan member, and this should happen away from the main group.

Specific goals for each Elangomat

Here are some specific goals for each Elangomat. They are suggested to help keep your mind and actions in line throughout the Ordeal.

1. Strive to maintain proper discipline with the members of your clan.

2. Work to understand the basic personality of each candidate in your clan and slant your action so as to have maximum effect on each individual.

3. Work continually to maintain yourself as an example of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service.

4. Try with all your might to fulfill the Ordeal as it was intended to be, so that the candidates can see and follow your example.

5. Try to put forth and inspire the utmost effort in both yourself and your candidates in any work project you are assigned to, and to do the best work you are capable of doing.

6. Learn something new about the Ordeal, its tests and ceremonies that you didn't know or think of before.

The Importance of the Tests of the Ordeal

The tests of the Ordeal are its real heart. They embody all the precepts of the Order and have the greatest overall impression on the candidate. Long after he forgets exactly what was said in the ceremony, he will remember exactly what he did and what happened to him during that day. So, we must each treat every test as a very sacred thing and in such a way that any violation of the tests is very grievous and should not easily be overlooked. We must each respect the tests and not violate them ourselves.

The significance of each test is well explained in the manual for the Ordeal. But, remember that at an Ordeal, we must respect these tests to maintain the spirit for the candidates and for ourselves. Let us not forget!

The Elangomat Promise

I , do hereby promise on my honor as a member of the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service, to remain true to the ties of the Elangomat; to exemplify and endure the tests of the Ordeal, that those who are to join in our brotherhood may gain greater understanding of our purpose; to be a constant example of cheerful service, brotherhood and to strive with all my power to help them
see the Arrow.