As Beavah has noted more than once, welcome to BSA program materials. Consistency in the editorial content is not always their high point.
BTW, in addition to your other ones, go and take the current YP training online. Parents observing the Ordeal is a specifically covered scenario, and the Chapter Adviser is denoted to be wrong for discouraging them... invoking the secret society rule. (I'm not saying I agree with the training... in fact I do not, but it's there).
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- Sep 2004
The problem is NOT the conflicting program material because we all know what the REAL rule is: Parents may attend. The bottom line is being prepared to handle the situation if it arises and a verbal explanation is not accepted. A Council approved flyer (reflecting council policy)for parents is going to be more effective.
- May 2009
Something that hasn't been mentioned here is that there is a difference between a parent wanting to attend because they have a genuine concern about the conduct of the ceremony / religious implications of it / their son's health / etc. vs a parent wanting to attend because they regard it as just somewhere they would normally attend analogous to graduation, courts of honor, etc.
I would venture to say in 99.9% of cases, the situation is the latter. Any legitimate concern about the ceremony should be raised in advance of the event, not by simply showing up the night of the Ordeal ceremony. In the only cases I have encountered of a non-member parent coming to a ceremony, it was not because they had any questions at all, but rather because they received bad advice from a Scoutmaster or other leader and were told "you should try to be there early so you can see Johnny's ceremony".
Taking off on BigDave's post - so, suppose you have a parent whose son is about to go through his ordeal weekend. Parent doesn't know a whole lot about BSA, let alone about OA. Parent wants to know "besides driving Junior to the camp and leaving him at the gate, and picking him up from the gate at the end of the weekend, what am I supposed to be doing?" No real anxieties here, just parent wanting to know what's expected of them.
What do you tell them?
1. Nothing, that's it - just drive, open the car door, and drop off/pick up Junior.
2. You should go to a celebratory after-ceremony/breakfast/whatever (not the actual Ordeal ceremony) on Sunday to show support and let Junior have his moment of admiration
3. You should be at the Ordeal Ceremony because you're his parent.
4. Something else?
- Feb 2008
No. 1. What's expected of a parent who's not involved in Scouting is nothing. Let their son stand on his own two feet and learn and enjoy the experience. He'll get a lot more out of it that way.
I agree, #1 is the answer. If parent IS involved in scouting, but not in the OA, still #1 b/c knowing about the ceremony before hand will ruin it if the adult get nominated.
Now if the parent is in OA, #2, #3, and #4 are in order. #4 taking him to the nearest Buffet
- Aug 2006
As a Scoutmaster I talk to the parents of canidates so that they understand what their sons are going to do. I explain that the Order of the Arrow is not a secret organization and that the have a right to know.
As ceremony team advisor I have had to answer the questions of parents that have shown up for ceremonies. I have also suggested that if they are registered Scouters that they do not attend the ceremony because the symbolisum will have more meaning to them I they become a canidate. I can not recall that any parent that was a registerd Scouter has attend the ceremon after I have talked with them but at the same time the non-registered parent has attend the ceremony.
As to siblings, especially younger siblings, they are not the ones that have the right to know.
- Jun 2004
It may be in the rulebook but parents attending the ordeal or the ordeal ceremony really takes away from the special significance of what is happening no matter how you slice it. The next valid argument mentioned here is what if a parent has some sort of hissy fit about what is happening and totally disrupts the spirit of the experience and ruins it for all the other boys? The boy of that parent would be so embarrassed he would probably leave scouting never to return.
IMHO National has continued to "wussify" the OA experience, along with the boy scout program, to the point where instead of turning these boys into men and leaders we are creating a culture of mommas boys. No wonder so many teenage boys today view scouting as a bunch of geeks and nerds and have no interest in joining. Look if parents want to come to an OA weekend have a special reception after the vigil and ceremony are over and they can congratulate them there.(This message has been edited by BadenP)
- Feb 2011
I received several requests to address this response, posted in several OA threads. I recognize that there is no way, in this day of the internet, to keep secrets or mysteries from other people if they really want to find them out. In keeping with the Scout Law, I have removed references from this forum that publicly reveal things about the OA. staff member (This message has been edited by a staff member.)
- Jul 2002
Inquiring parents are best dealt with not from a "rules" perspective but from common sense - no matter how much they lack.
Boys at this age are - especially if they are worthy of the OA - seek independence from mommy and daddy. Let them have it. My oldest son went through his Ordeal before me. The next year, he went through brotherhood and me my Ordeal. It brought him much joy and pride that he was one up on his dad & scoutmaster and that was great for me. Parents should have their fears of any hazing allayed (there should not be any) and let them know that it is very important to the Scouts to not have mom or dad present (unless already in the order).
frankly, some of you are so out of it that it is no wonder that the OA has problems determining what is right and wrong.
If a parent wants to attend, the parent attends. PERIOD.
It is not up for discussion.
It should not be discouraged. The secrecy can be explained, and the parent can be requested to keep it a secret. But, the parent should not be encouraged, or placed in a position where they are made to feel unwelcome.
Most everybody here says no secret society, but, you talk contrary to that statement.
I don't care what you think the rule should be. The rule says parents attend. Stow the rest of the bs about how they should not. It is scouters like those who want to modify the rule that will get BSA and the OA into trouble.
Op talked of an ugly experience in turning A PARENT AWAY. It is still happening, and the ugly experiences are caused not by OA, but by members who choose not to follow the rules, which in turn implicates the OA, which leads to the "cult" "mason" etc. references.
In reference to having parents attend an Ordeal, I must respectfully disagree in that I do think that everything, and I do mean everything, should be done to alleviate their fears, and having them attend only as a last resort that they insist upon.
The only, stress only, time I would prefer not to share information with a parent, and this is my preference, would be if the parent is active in Scouting and would be eligible for nomination themself. But again while I would prefer not to share that info, I will if need be b/c parents have everyright to know.
Why would I discourage having parent's attend?
1) It DOES take away from the ceremony from everyone else. My lodge did allow this to happen one time, and there were some complaints, both from old and new members.
2) Sometimes parents go a little too far. In the situation above, not only did mom and dad show up, but also grandparents and little Cub Scout brother. Yep they turned it into a family affair, and it was obvious that they were there, again taking away from the other new members' expereince. In addition to bringing everyone to the ceremony, they also started to videotape and photograph the ceremony. Luckily we did stop them from that as it is not appropriate.
3) Sometimes there is a difference between concern about the OA, and wanting to watch your son's Ceremony. Again I kinda got involved in a domestic dispute between a Vigil dad, and troop committee/ crew AA Mom over son's ceremony. She wanted to watch, and I told her that it really would spoil it for her if she saw what happened before she gets nominated. And she is on the eligible list.
As I've said elsewhere, the 1965 OAHB said the materials were available for inspection on request, and **any** question asked was to be answered completely, to interested parties.