An OA lodge helps the local Boy Scout council provide a quality Scouting program through recognition of Scouting spirit and performance, development of youth leadership and service, promotion of Scout camping and outdoor programs, and enhancement of membership tenure. Every Boy Scout council is encouraged to have an Order of the Arrow lodge. Each lodge operates under a charter granted by the National Council, BSA, and must apply annually for its renewal. The Boy Scouts of America will grant a charter to only one lodge per council.
An Order of the Arrow section consists of lodges within a geographic area of the region. Once every year, representatives of lodges in the section come together for a conclave to share in fellowship, skills, and training. In addition, the section creates a monitoring/mentoring relationship with its lodges, provides leadership development opportunities, fosters understanding and adherence to national OA policies and procedures, and coordinates OA administrative and program functions. A section is lead by three elected youth officers, the section chief, section vice chief, and section secretary, who are advised by an adult section adviser and professional section staff adviser.
Each year the approximately fifty elected section chiefs are invited to a national planning meeting in Dallas, TX. The section chiefs form the conference committee for a national Order of the Arrow event, such as the national Order of the Arrow conference, which is held under the guidance of the national Order of the Arrow committee.
The region chief is the youth leader elected annually by the section chiefs in his region. This election is held in conjunction with the annual national planning meeting. The region Order of the Arrow chairman is an adult adviser appointed by the region director. The professional adviser for the region is assigned by the region director.
The national chief and vice chief are Arrowmen elected to one-year terms by the section chiefs during the annual national planning meeting. They serve as members of the national Order of the Arrow committee, providing the opinion of youth Arrowmen on national OA policy. They also serve as the presiding officers for the national OA event. They are advised in their responsibilities by the national OA committee chairman and the Order of the Arrow team leader. The national OA committee chairman is appointed annually by the vice president/chairman of the national Outdoor Adventures Group. The professional adviser is the Order of the Arrow team leader, a national professional Scouter.