2016, A year like no other. Being Lodge Chief of the best lodge in the entire nation is a big deal and I am happy to say that I was the chief in the 101st year of the Order of the Arrow! As Lodge Chief, you never really know what you are going to encounter. There are always going to be problems that you must face, but there are also going to be times that are incredibly rewarding! Lodge Chief is a difficult job, and not many people truly understand what goes into it, but what really makes a good chief and a good year are the people that work with him!

2016 Lodge Officers (from left): Vice Chief of Communications – Nicholas Anderson, Vice Chief of Program – Stephen Nuttall, Lodge Chief – Gray Barnhill, Vice Chief of Administration – Drew Bain, Vice Chief of Finance – Tyler Brezina

I could not have asked for a better group of Vice Chiefs to work with! I could lean on them anytime I needed and they always picked me back up. I could rely on them to complete any task that was asked of them and I didn’t have to worry about the jobs they needed to complete because I knew they would get it done no matter what! Without these guys I would have never made it through the year! I am happy and proud to call them my friends!

This picture perfectly explains how we worked together. I was crazy and spontaneous, Stephen would be like, “okay…. haha,” Nick would be rolling his eyes at whatever may be happening, then Drew and Tyler would just laugh and smile because they were confused of what I was doing.

Being Chiefly is something that is learned while in this job and it is something that sticks with you no matter what. What is being Chiefly? Being Chiefly is the act of serving others in the best way possible to give the best experience to those around you. It is a way to help and lead. I enjoy being in front of people, but there was a lot that I learned over the past year! The small things that everyone sees that “just happen” do NOT “just happen.” These items are things that adult advisers and the youth leaders have to think about. The small details are important. It is a part of being chiefly. The small details that make people smile are the things that are the most important when running events.

2016 has been awesome! Occoneechee Lodge 104 grew and made history! The lodge events in the year of 2016 have been the biggest ever! Our biggest event had over 800 people! Many people make assumptions of reasons why this was, but I think the biggest reason we can attribute this growth to is Spirit. There are always times to be serious, but the times of fun and spirit are what make people come back for more. This year we had a theme of “Olympics” at Conclave. It was not something that won us the spirit cup, but it was something that all of our members had fun with. Also, at each event, chapters had different themes to make the events just a little more special. We had Pokèmon, Toga, Halloween, Tropical Paradise, and the event before Conclave, each chapter had a different country! These countries included France, Australia, Mexico, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and so many others. There was a ton of screaming, a ton of yelling, Golden Arrow Games, Olympic Rings, Repeat After Me songs, skits, Cupid Shufflin’, but mainly just pure fun in what the Order of the Arrow has to offer!

Passing the Bonnet at the end of the year was truly bittersweet. I wanted to pass the bonnet to the next chief because they deserve it and will do a great job, but it honestly was hard to let go! being a leader of such a big lodge is a great accomplishment and I am glad that I have been one of the select few that have been able to complete this job! Being a leader is not an easy task, but it is something that I felt I had to do and I am really excited I had the chance to! I am also really glad that I was able to work with Kevin Blackwood as my adviser because he has been a great adviser to me since the beginning of my Order of the Arrow experience. He taught me a lot and I am of course still learning! This year will go down in history and I would truly like to thank all of those that helped me reach this pinnacle part of my life!

The outgoing 2016 Lodge Chief (me) and the now 2017 Lodge Chief, Stephen Nuttall!

At the banquet tonight, I was also incredibly honored to have received the Founder’s Award for service to the Order. I was completely surprised and had no idea that it was coming. The love that I have for my lodge is huge and I am thankful that they allow me to stick around and do all that I can to give back to the Scouting Program what it has given to me!


Picture taken at Fall Fellowship of Past, Present, and Future Chiefs of Occoneechee Lodge!


Thanks for all of the support from everyone throughout my term, thanks to all of those that worked with my crazy and sporadic mind while I was running around this year! We’re Number 1(04)!




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