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  • "The Honor Society of Scouting"

    I have often heard people refer to the Order of the Arrow as "The Honor Society of Scouting," and I have seen the BSA market it that way. But I have a couple of questions:

    1) What does that mean, exactly?

    2) Does it really live up to that billing? If so, how?

  • #2
    2) My opinion, NO. It does not account for Venturing in any way, shape, or form. CAVEAT: Boy Scouts, who are brothers, may continue their membership if they step up to Venturing.

    - Venturers cannot be elected to candidacy, ergo: Female Venturers are ineligible for youth membership in the Order.

    Need I say more?


    • #3
      John, John, John.....OA is a Boy Scout program, not a Venturing program. Nothing stops Venturing from developing their own honor program.


      The Order of the Arrow (OA) is Scouting's National Honor Society. The fourfold purpose of the OA is:

      To recognize those campers Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives, and by such recognition cause other campers to conduct themselves in such manner as to warrant recognition.

      To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit.

      To promote Scout camping, which reaches its greatest effectiveness as a part of the unit's camping program, both year-round and in the summer camp, as directed by the camping committee of the council.

      To crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.


      • #4
        Ok, I'll bite. Since the OA is clearly a "Boy-Scout-only" program and Venturing youth need to find a similar organization for themselves, why then change from the "society of honor campers" to the higher-sounding "Scouting's National Honor Society" when we clearly don't mean it? Isn't that just hollow slogan-eering?(This message has been edited by sherminator505)


        • #5
          Could it have been a case of inferring to much to often and when one writes OA is the Honor Society of Scouting, what one actually means is the OA is the Camping Honor Society of The Boy Scout Program

          Cub Scouts, Venturers (not in Boy Scouts)and Explorers (not in Boy Scouts) are not eligible so to say Scouting is wrong, but once you OA, the Boy Scout and Camping is assumed, right?


          • #6
            What do we refer to when we say "Scouting?"(This message has been edited by sherminator505)


            • #7
              When I refer to Scouting, I mean Boy Scouting...the original program. When I refer to Cubs, I use Cub Scouting. When I refer to Venturing, I use Venturing, not Venture Scouting. They are both programs of the BSA and are similar in some ways, but totally different in others. A Venturing program does not even have to involve the outdoors. A church youth group can be a Crew as can a school thespian club.

              How do those fit into the fourfold purpose of the OA?


              • #8
                The slogan is representative of the confusion surrounding Venturing's half-fish, half-fowl status. Until Irving bites the bullet and actually makes a decision to integrate girls and boys in the same program, it'll remain that way.

                It's also a tacit watering-down of the slogan of the Order I joined as a youth - the "society of honor campers" that sherminator mentioned. Camping is central to the OA's mission. An "honor society" is generic and leaves open the possibility of members who don't camp. We have enough of that already in the rest of this program.


                • #9
                  Sorry, guys. Reposting to preserve the sequence...

                  You might think I'm reading too much into it, but what I believe is happening here is a corruption of the language.

                  Consider the old description - "society of honor campers." Now, there was an apt description of what the Order was and is. The honor wasn't in the society, it was in the camper. And even though the word "honor" was used, it was used with a dignity and humility befitting of the Order.

                  Compare that with what we have today - "Scouting's National Honor Society." Now, that's lofty and majestic. It suggests that the Order's members are the best of the best, and it claims to be representative of Scouting as a whole.

                  Now do you see where I'm coming from?


                  • #10
                    The Order of the Arrow used to be a camper's honor socirty. The OA changed that in 1998 and became the BSA's "National Honor Society" to better reflect the broader scope of the OA (not just camping, but service to others as well).

                    I believe that 1998 was also when Exploring was split into Exploring as we now know it and Venturing. Prior to that time, Explorer Scouts were eligable for election into the Order of the Arrow. Why that wasn't continued with Venturing is unclear. To say it's because girls would be eligible then ignores the fact that Exploring was co-ed long before 1998, and girl's weren't eligible then.

                    Frankly, I question why OA, which is now clearly available only to Boy Scouts, would still have "youth" members from age 18 to 20, when folks of that age are not youth in the Boy Scouts. Defining those ages as "youth" when Explorer Scouts were eligible made sense since 18-20 year old Explorer Scouts were also "youth".

                    I see no reason not to allow Venturing back in to the fold, just as Exploring used to be.


                    • #11
                      Once upon a time, William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt wrote "Outing is three-fourths of Scouting" *

                      Notice he did not say "Boy Scouting," "Sea Scouting," "Senior Scouting" as Exploring/Venturing was called when he first wrote it, or "Cub Scouting." He wrote "SCOUTING" (caps for emphasis).

                      So who ever "rebranded" the OA in 1996 or thereabouts, clearly was messed up. We should not be called "Scouting National Honor Society" b/c members of only 2 of Scouting's 5 programs, Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts and their leaders, can be inducted into the OA. Sea Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Venturers clearly cannot be inducted, although the ties of brotherhood are lasting, and anyone who has underwent the Ordeal can be a member irregardless of which program they are registered in.

                      *p. 206 of the current BSHB is a misquote. Outing is not 2/3ds of scouting. 6/8 = 3/4, just do the math.


                      • #12

                        While Explorer posts and Sea Scout ships did have elections at one time, it was discontinued by 1993 when I got really invovled in the OA. I think Ships and Posts lost the ability to hold elections sometime in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Where's EMB when we need him, as he's da expert on this matter.


                        • #13
                          "I see no reason not to allow Venturing back in to the fold, just as Exploring used to be."

                          There is a perceived reason, actually, and you hit on it. Girls. And to keep them out, we keep all Venturing youth out. A male in Venturing who has earned the Silver Award, has completed the Order's camping requirement, and exemplifies the true spirit of the Order cannot be elected to the Order. Go figure. But that really isn't the point of my question.

                          As an organization, the BSA continues to pursue marketing efforts that end up doing the organization real harm. Billing the Order as "Scouting's National Honor Society" is one. Promoting the "Trail to Eagle" as a focus of Scouting while presenting First Class as something that can be rushed through in a year is another.

                          We get so wrapped up in opportunities for merchandising and advertising that we lose sight of what we are truly here to do. And it bothers me a great deal.


                          • #14
                            With the evergrowing number of FEMALE boy scout leaders now in the OA and many becoming Vigil members I think this whole discussion is really moot. If Mazzucca has his way the boy scouts will indeed become coed, as it is in much of the world already, during his tenure as CSE.


                            • #15
                              Back in the good/bad old days, when Explorers could be elected into the OA (my election to the OA was through my Explorer Post, not my (the sister) Boy Scout Troop), there was still another requirement that had to be met by all youths - and it's still the same requirement today:

                              Must have earned the BSA rank of First Class (or higher - a redundancy that isn't neccessary).

                              If you were an Explorer, and had earned Exploring's highest award, without having earned the First Class rank (which meant you had to be a Boy Scout at one time), you were not eligable for election into the OA. In other words, girls were not eligible since they could never earn First Class.

                              If we extend eligibility to Venturers, girls will still not be eligable - because they could never earn First Class.