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Parents attending OA Ceremonies

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  • #46
    I'm with Dennis99. Parents should be free to attend if they wish. That doesn't apply to grandparents, siblings, friends and neighbors.


    I can't believe people are getting so wrapped around an axle over having people see the ceremony. If parents want to take the edge off their experience at a possible later date, that's their business.

    Frankly, it's not that big a deal in my opinion.

    Comment


    • #47
      But that's the thing, others do show up wanting to watch. It opens the floodgates

      Another challenge I can see is ceremony sites. My current lodge has very limited room in it's site, in fact the most # of candidates is about 40, and members wanting to watch have to fend for themselves for room. If everyone's parents show up to watch, the only area that will be appropriate will be the campfire ring at camp.

      Another part of the problem as I see it is parents not wanting to let go. Parents do not want their kids doing things on their own these days, treating them like children.

      I see it almost everyday with the number of parents calling my job asking how they need to go about setting up their child's job shadowing for the child's graduation project. I want to scream "HELLO THIS IS YOUR CHILD'S RESPONSIBILITY WHY ARE THEY NOT MAKIGN THE CALLS AND SETTING IT UP?!?!?!?!!?!? (caps are to express my thoughts with these parents, not screaming at members of this board).

      Heck I had one student, who after 2 months of trying to arrange a place for them shadow in, yes we have that many students and it took that long, get upset and made a scene in the area I was finally able to place them in because it was not the area she wanted. When I told her she did not indicate that specific area and that this was the best we could do, momma calls again asking why her daughter was not placed in XYZ area, since that is where she wanted. When I informed mother that XYZ area was not indicated, just a general field, and that XYZ area is not allowing job shadowing, she gets upset with me.

      I'm sorry for the rant, but it just seems as if no one wants to give their teenagers any responsibility and trust these days, they just want to do everything for their kids. I see it with these projects, I see it within BSA with the loss of patrol camping, no more homemade stoves, etc.

      Comment


      • #48
        "Another challenge I can see is ceremony sites. My current lodge has very limited room in it's site, in fact the most # of candidates is about 40, and members wanting to watch have to fend for themselves for room. If everyone's parents show up to watch, the only area that will be appropriate will be the campfire ring at camp.

        Another part of the problem as I see it is parents not wanting to let go. Parents do not want their kids doing things on their own these days, treating them like children."

        It sounds like your Lodge needs to find a new location for your ceremony! Parents are allowed and that's it. One of the troops in my area said that you had to be trained as a Scoutmaster to go camping as a parent period. I took my child and left because I only leave my child with people I trust and you have to earn that trust. I remember as a boy one unit had a ceremony where the leaders would brand the scouts with a coat hanger. I guess the parents should not have complained because their boys were becoming men. Right? It's the faults of others that this rule was put into effect and I agree with it. I never remember hearing about children being molested but now we make children aware of this danger because it's the right thing to do. I know I will have to let my son do things on his own but if it's something I don't know about then I will be attending so I know he will be safe. The OA, I went thru as a scout was abusive at the tap out when they tried to nail me to the ground with their taps. Does that still go on? I hope not because that does not add anything to the OA in my eyes. Should they keep doing it because its tradition? So you all may want to think a little before saying that it's wrong for parents to attend.

        Comment


        • #49
          I see people here saying that some people don't think parents ought to attend, or at least that parents should try to be unobtrusive if they do attend.

          I see no one saying that parents are not allowed to attend, or that the lodge actively turns them away and that that's acceptable.

          I admit it would have been nice to see my son get honored by induction into OA. I'm his parent and I'm proud of him. So I can sympathize with an uninformed parent who is used to most award ceremonies for their child being very public & very family-friendly. That parent may not have understood that bringing grandma, little brother, neighbor, the postman, and the family dog is not quite fitting for an OA ceremony, although it is just fine for pretty much every other scouting ceremony.

          A solution to this is to offer family some other venue (like a troop COH) in which to appropriately and publicly honor their son's membership. As is, I know my son was chosen by his troop to join OA, but the troop never mentions OA again after that. OA becomes invisible (outside of OA circles) as a result. So, no opportunity for the troop (or family) to honor the boys selected, except perhaps (wrongly so) at the actual OA ceremony.

          All that said, I kept my distance and didn't demand (wouldn't have dreamt of it) to see my son's OA ceremony.

          Comment


          • #50
            That is what the Call Out Ceremony is for: top publicly recognize those who have been selected to be in the OA. I know in my neck of the woods, we have parents, grandparents, etc show up at the camporee where the Call Out is done. Usually that is the giveaway on who is selected. Luckily our Call out is done in conjunction with the opening campfire.

            Now in reference to parent's trusting leaders, completely understand that and I agree. That's why I strongly encourage adults who are Arrowman to get back involved, and attend events they can make, esp if they have youth form their unit involved.

            It's also why I also think the OA needed more visibility, at least in my neck of the woods, a few years back b/c we had leaders who were Arrowmen, and the parents in their own units didn't even know it. Kinda sad when a past LC and section officer who is a Vigil is a SM, and none of the youth and parents you talk to even know he is a member of the OA, let alone what he did back in day. I also know of one protective parent whose son was elected. Knowing him, I knew he would have had some serious concerns, but when he came to our chapter's candidate welcoming meeting with his son which explained alot and met some of the leaders involved, he knew me personally, and had seen several of the others helping out at camporee. IT does make a difference.

            As for some of the garbage that has happened in the past, I cannot say that it doesn't still go on in some places. But I can tell you that in the 5 lodges I've been in, it isn't tolerated.

            If a visitor would sit back, be unobtrusive, I'd have no problem. But my fear is that it will turn into something like a HS or college graduation with people hollering, blasting air horns, etc during the ceremony.

            Comment


            • #51
              E92,

              Frankly, I think this is a matter to be looked at with careful youth leadership research of the Orders' program materials. A 4 way business meeting between the Chief, the Professional Adviser, the Lodge Adviser, and the Supreme Chief of the Fire is in order. Let the Chief make a recommendation; allow the SE (who is at the end of the day accountable to National and the community through his board) sign off on it.

              BTW, can someone cite me in OA program materials where parents must be allowed attendance? I know where they must be allowed access to information.

              Comment


              • #52
                From the current guide to safe scouting


                No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America
                does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its
                program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open
                to observation by parents and leaders.

                That just about sums it up.

                So, when my wife shows up for the ordeal ceremony, and is told to wait in the dining hall because the event is a mystery, the people broke their own rules. Looking at what E92 and others write, I can see there are numerous people who have decided that they know better than national with regards rules. Every post on this thread which seems to argue that there should be some discouragement of parents attending are flat out violating bsa rules. the question is then raised---what other bsa rules do you disregard.

                And, yes, I have contacted everyone locally, and am in the process of contacting national. Anybody who does not follow the BSA rules shouold not be allowed in a position where that person would be required to enforce the rules. So, for all of you who indicate that you do the ceremony your way, and not the bsa way by having it open, without question and without intimidation to stay away, should be barred from being an active leader in bsa.

                Comment


                • #53

                  (This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Dennis,

                    No disrespect, but where exactly did I say I would not allow parents to watch the ceremonies if I tried every single means to alleviate their concerns about the OA? I never said I would not allow parents at ceremonies.

                    What I did say, and have implied, is that I have serious reservations about having non members attend. I've seen first hand the disruption that having a family attend did cause. It is not something I liked because it did spoil it for the other new members, and I think the CS brother will lose some of the meaning when he goes through.

                    I did say I would do everything in my power to allay their concerns. And I have dealt with concerned parents before, to the point of having a 90+ miute phone conversation with one concerned mom. Heck I even told her to talk to her son's SM if she didn't beleive me as he is a Vigil member, and a past LC and section officer! The conversation was very detailed about the entire Induction process, and short of quoting from the actual ceremony, she knew everything that was invovled.

                    Now would I discourage a Scouter from seeing the ceremonies, yes because the ceremonies do have a meaning and purpose, and knowing about it advance will lessen the meaning and purpose for them when they do get nominated.

                    But as I have said, and said repeatedly, if the parents ultimately want to come, that is their right. I just hope they respect the other participants going through the ceremony.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      A knee-jerk "No parents allowed, sorry, it's a mystery" is clearly the wrong response.

                      A careful, explanatory conversation, emphasizing the mystery and camaraderie that develops from the Order's inductions process, is what's called for. 99.99 percent of parents will understand.

                      Bottom line: If the parents don't trust the unit's leaders or the Scouting hierarchy, it's probably time for them to find another program for their son. Abuse or misconduct can occur on a troop camping trip just as easily as it can at an OA event.

                      hendricks wrote: "I remember as a boy one unit had a ceremony where the leaders would brand the scouts with a coat hanger. I guess the parents should not have complained because their boys were becoming men. Right?"

                      Talk about hyperbole. No one has even remotely suggested that, and anyone who has should be stripped of their Scouting leadership posts.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        One thing to point out here, although we have explored the circumstance of a parent, or guardian, attending a ceremony, that does under any circumstance extend to siblings, uncles, friends, teacher, or anyone else. No CS little brother can ever be there under any circumstance.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Sorry, but having a 90 minute conversation to talk a parent out of observing the OA ceremony flatly contradicts the Scout policy of no secret ceremonies in my opinion.

                          If a parent wants to attend, they are entitled to do so ----period. NO Arguments.

                          That doesn't mean other siblings or relatives can attend, and it's entirely reasonable to have rules to avoid having the ceremony disrupted.


                          Again, I am AMAZED and APPALLED to see Scouters placing 'way too much importance on a ceremony in this thread. Frankly, if people can't keep a sense of proportion about such things they shouldn't be an OA leader in my opinion. It makes me wonder about what other bad policies are being followed.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Sorry, but having a 90 minute conversation to talk a parent out of observing the OA ceremony flatly contradicts the Scout policy of no secret ceremonies in my opinion.

                            Seattle,

                            If you're referring to my post a few above, nowhere did I say that a parent should be talked out of observing the ceremony. I said that having a frank conversation with a parent will more than likely alleviate their concerns.

                            Discussing the mystery concept in detail - why and how we use mystery, how we use ceremony to forge the bonds of brotherhood - will probably make them realize that their Scout can stand on his own two feet and shine in his moment in the sun without Mom and Dad there to applaud and snap photos for the family album.

                            It's not a question of dissuading them from attending. They have that right. It's a question of helping them understand more about the process and the practices, what their son will experience and what he will gain from it.

                            Personally, if my parents had been there to watch my ceremony, I'd have been mortified beyond belief and never gone back. I imagine most young Scouts would feel the same. Who wants to be known as That New Guy Whose Embarassing Parents Tagged Along?

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Actually the topic of her attending was never brought up.

                              She heard and read a lot of garbage on the internet about the OA, kind alike the branding stuff someone mentioned previously, hazing, etc etc. She couldn't understand how an organization like the BSA would allow the hazing and other garbage to occur and she refused to let her son do anything degrading to be in a "honor society."

                              So the conversation was about what is actually done at the Ordeal, how what she has read and heard about is 110% garbage, and my response to personal favorite question of hers, "Why doesn't Mr [previous SM] and Mr. [new SM] know anything about the OA?" To which I responded " I haven't met Mr. [new SM] so I don't know anything about him, but [Old SM] is a Vigil Honor member of the OA, was the lodge chief, or head youth for the entire council, and served as a section officer over 1/2 of the state. He knows more about the OA than I do, and can tell you the exact same thing I am telling you if you ask him."

                              Maybe your right, I am putting too much into the ceremony because I have been involved with the ceremony team as both a youth and an adult. But the ceremony is not the important thing, the expereince of the new members is the #1 concern. And as I have said I have seen some of the meaning and purpose diminished because it did become a family affair.

                              But as I have repeatedly mentioned, and it seems to be ignored, if the parents want to come to the ceremony, THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO (caps for emphasis, ok maybe a little shouting since I keep repeating myself ) I do not want the ceremonies ruined for other participants.

                              If folks are respectful and unobtrusive like they are not there, I have no problem with parents watching. It's when you folks begin interfering with the ceremony by constantly moving around to get a better view of their son, taking video, flash photography, etc and start ruining it for the new members that I have a problem.

                              EDITED: Short, it was my post they are referring to with a 90+ minute phone call.(This message has been edited by Eagle92)

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                I'm trying hard to figure out why some posters keep misunderstanding Eagle92. His position is clear. But his detractors position is not so clear.
                                To them I ask for some clarification. Maybe you just want a ceremony that looks and feels like a 5 yr-olds birthday party. Bring on the grandparents, aunts and uncles, dog and kitty-cat.
                                Remind them to bring the video cameras.
                                Should the Lodge provide ballons, cake, and clowns and ponies too?

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