At the OA Summer Induction #2 at Camp Naish this June, the Ordeals and Elangomats had anything but fun in the sun! I did my first Elangomat to support my dad, John B., who was going through his ordeal. When I first agreed to do this, it seem like a fun idea because I’d get to tell my dad what to do. But as the camp-out neared and I realized I was going to have to go through ordeal all over again, I thought, “What have I done?” But it was too late to turn back!
Once all of the Ordeals and Elangomats got checked in, we proceeded to the campfire arena. Many other people were there, too, as it was Family Day at Naish’s summer camp. The Staff was doing skits before the Ordeals got called out to start their long and toilsome ordeal.
After we were led out of the arena, we Elangomats escorted the Ordeals to the ceremonial ring deep in the forest, where they were put on silence. Then we led the Ordeals to a clearing in the woods to sleep. All we were told to bring was night gear, a tarp, a sleeping bag and a pad. Then we had to “sleep under the stars”, with the bugs threatening to bite us every second while we were sweaty and sticky, trying vainly to get some sleep. I honestly didn’t get a minute of sleep that miserable night, and my dad said he got only about two hours. Yep, conditions are pretty bad if my dad can’t sleep!
The group was roused at 5:30 AM and led back to our campsites or vehicles to get the appropriate clothing and tools needed for the next step of our ordeal: the workday. It was a hot and muggy day with lots of bugs out. The Ordeals and Elangomats had to start a 2-part workday. The first part of the day we ate a scant breakfast and then had to renovate one of the camp’s trails. We heaved loads of what our guide called “chat” and “pea gravel” onto contours of the trail that had been worn away by the forces of nature (mostly rain). We did this for about five hours and then we went to eat a scant lunch.
We quickly finished our meager lunch, and then we thankfully got a little rest time. But soon enough, our guide came back and we had to hike about two to three miles to start the next part of our workday: weed-whacking. For those who don’t know what this is, you basically get a stick with a metal blade attached to the top of it, and you slam the blade into the weeds with all your might until they are pulled out of the ground. This was not an easy task, and we did it for 3 hours! After what seemed like an eternity, our workday finally came to an end and we were sent off to get ready for the Ordeal Ceremony.
We ate a scant dinner before the Ordeal Ceremony, and then we were led to the ceremony sight and it began. Quicker than you’d have thought, the ceremony ended and the Ordeals were given there own sashes and OA coups. After all the hardships of the ordeal, it was worth it in the end.
Jacob B. Youth Webmaste