Marty Poller (Mitchell Slepian)
Marty Poller, the Allowelemuwi, the Valuable One By Mitchell Slepian, Eagle Scout, former Lodge Chief, Aquehongian Lodge # 112 June 3, 2016 I’ve written too many of these. Each one is tough. I first met Marty in the spring of 1984, when I was a 14-year-old ordeal candidate. I was in Pouch Scout Camp. I had my backpack on and went to the pre-ordeal ceremony. Those of you familiar with the Order of the Arrow ceremonies (or ceremehonys as Marty liked to say) know Scouts usually play the four Lenni Lenape roles. In my ceremony, there were three teens and an older guy with a graveley voice playing, Meteu, the medicine man. The next evening was my Ordeal ceremony. It had a similar cast of characters. In September of 1984, I went to my first Lodge meeting in the original Berlin Lodge, Pouch Scout Camp. Steele Arbeeny, ritual team chairman asked for those interested in joining the team to step outside. I did and was formally introduced the older guy from the ceremony. Of course that guy was Marty. He was wearing his vigil sash and famous Smokey the Bear hat. Little did I know he would become my “Scout dad.” He always said I was like a son. A few weeks later, I went to my first ritual team meeting. At the meeting, I chose to be Meteu. Little did I know that was a part I would play from 14-years-old to 27-years-old. I wonder if the 14-year-old kids being inducted saw me as the old guy? As I grew up in the Lodge, Marty became my trusted advisor. He played Meteu back when he was a kid. So he knew the part inside out. In fact, he knew all the parts inside out. He was a great teacher. He worked with each kid and made sure we got it right. We memorized our parts. Under Marty’s guidance, we would not read our parts. We practiced at someone’s house or at Pouch once a month until the Ordeal. He taught us the Brotherhood parts, too. Eventually, I became ritual team chairman. Marty was Lodge Advisor. Gary Motelson was the honors advisor and worked with the ritual team. But Marty still played a hand on role with us. The ceremonies were near and dear to his heart. Later on, I became lodge chief and Marty was in my corner, as honors advisor. He guided me through my two-year reign. He helped select my Vigil name, Alhaquot Aptonen, Stormy Speaker. As I grew into advisory roles in the Lodge, Marty was always there to guide me. I could go on for many more pages. But I’ve decided to write most of my memories from my humble beginnings in Aquehongian Lodge #112. Marty knew how to take us young Scouts and lead us along the trail. Marty’s Scout skills are second to none. A few days ago, I built a fire for Lag B’Omer. Marty taught us to light a fire from the top down. He would tell us to build a teepee on the top and to light the tepee and let the fire burn. All of the kids who help me build the fire yelled out, “build a teepee”.