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  • Scout wants to be in OA, SM does not

    A scout wants to be in OA, but the SM does not want the troop to hold OA election since only one scout is interested. How would you scout handle this? The scout can not transfer to a nearby troop because the other troops feels the same way in OA.

  • #2
    The SM is dead wrong by denying the scout the opportunity to be elected. He's probably got a bad impression of OA and it's trickled down to the other scouts. He should be promoting the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service to the boys to stir interest amongst all of them who are eligible.

    A frank discussion over a cup of coffeee with the SM may do it, as it's not his place to block this opportunity. As a last resort, maybe the CC, Unit Commisioner, or Lodge Advisor can talk some sense into him.


    • #3
      Actually, if a SM has principled objections to OA and doesn't want it as part of his program, that's a good reason.

      Perhaps he's read some of the threads on this board where OA leaders explain how they circumvent the right of parents to observe OA ceremonies.

      But not holding an election because only one boy is interested doesn't sound like a very good reason.


      • #4
        We let the boys decide on this. I see a SM not using the Boy Lead method...

        I can't see not allowing the troop to hold elections..


        • #5
          Actually, the SM has to "approve" the scouts that appear on the ballot before the election is held. Perhaps he does not "approve" of the one scout who is interested, so there is no need for an election.


          • #6

            I think the real concern should be, where is the OA team who should be coming out to the troops and promoting the lodge? This could be yet another case of a lodge that is struggling or not making any effort due to plain laziness. Look, the OA in my council has always come to the roundtable to promote the lodge months before their troop visits and to get the okay from the SM's. As a result they always get a warm welcome and total cooperation from ALL the SM's.

            In this case the SM should not refuse to hold an election in his troop, and maybe get the OA to come out to promote it and the lodge. From rd's OP however it sounds like the problem is with the lodge since the other troops do not support it either.


            • #7
              RD, communication is key. Even then, it is a tough row to hoe. I'm in my second year as a Chapter Adviser, but I was involved long before that because my son was active in Chapter leadership and ceremonies. Our previous CA did an outstanding job of keeping the ceremony team alive, but that was about it. There was little communication and no Chapter meetings. In fact, out of 25 troops in the district, our active OA members came from the troop that our old CA and myself serve. I was determined to change that and diversify the Chapter to include scouts from troops throughout the district. We hold elections at the ned of the year for the coming year. In 2009, 9 troops out of 25 let us hold an election. In 2010, 16 out of 25 let us come. That was accomplished thru a lot of hard work and communication. We established an email distribution list, a website and a facebook page in addition to visiting the troops. Even then, we have resistant SM's.

              Here are the reasons I hear from SM's. OA is a cult. Our boys just aren't interested in OA. We don't have time for that. I don't have time for that. We really don't know what the OA is or does.

              Those are the things we try to combat, but even with good communication, we have SM's who will have no part of it. I always urge the SM to be the adult nominated from their troop if they are not in OA so they can understand the program and promote it inside the troop to the boys. Much like wearing a uniform, if they see leadership setting the example, thet are more apt to entertain the idea. What I most often get is that they are too busy and overwhelmed as an SM to add OA into their life. I had one SM just smirk at me when I talked to him about an election and he said, "we don't do that". He never would give reason. I suspect it is because his troop is a home school troop made up of boys who took their kids out of other troops so they didn't have to rub elbows with the common kids and that feeling extends to OA since they couldn't control the environment. Then you have the SM's who say, we'll quiz the boys and see if there is any interest. No, OA is a BSA program. Electing a boy to OA is honoring him. Why would you be opposed to that? Let the election team come explain the OA to them, hold an election and then it is up to the boy to decide to do his Ordeal or not. If you just ask them out of the blue, it is like asking them if they want to join the Clown Club. If they don't know what the Clown Club is, they probably won't be "interested".

              Bottom line, communication and education is key and even then, you will have SM's who enjoy being master of "their" domain and want to keep the OA out.

              It's sad really, because the OA can enhance a boy's scouting career and his effectiveness at the troop level tremendously.


              • #8
                SR540, this is a really good point...

                "Bottom line, communication and education is key and even then, you will have SM's who enjoy being master of "their" domain and want to keep the OA out."

                SMs like that normally don't send their scouts to NYLT either.



                • #9
                  SR540Beaver has some good advice that's particularly useful when a Troop has never participated and no one knows anything about the OA.

                  But we have a situation here where a Scout has expressed interest in the OA and so he must know something about it and a Scoutmaster is refusing to allow this part of the program in to the Troop.

                  Sure, maybe the first thing a Chapter Adviser can do is have a friendly cup of coffee with the SM and find out what's going on. But unless that Scoutmaster tells you that it is the policy of the Chartered Organization not to participate in the OA (and there have been some that do not allow OA in their units), then you may need to go to the CC, the COR and/or the IH, bring them some literature, get them on board, and ask them to intervene on their Scout's behalf with the Scoutmaster. When it comes to the OA and the program, the SM's negative personal feelings about the OA should not be allowed to deny programming opportunities to the Scouts.


                  • #10
                    Well said SR!

                    When I returned to the lodge and became chapter advisor there was definitely a negative light on the OA in our District. One unit at a time, one event at a time, one Scoutmaster at a time, we had to work on re-establishing the lodge in the District as a positive part of it. It wasnt easy. We rounded up Arrowmen to help out with popcorn distribution, staffing the Klondike, and so forth to increase visibility in the District that we were doing good things and not playing games of the past. We spent a lot of time polishing the election teams presentation at units during the election night. We would harp on the summer camp director to get updated materials so we could promote local camping; show videos from NOAC, Jamboree, then later ArrowCorps. Struggled for literature concerning ALTC and Conclaves. It became fun for the guys as they got to show off their technical prowess with computers and sound.
                    But it was an uphill battle as we had to work hard to change attitudes, show we were listening, show we were trying to do better. And yes, I even invited out SMs on Ordeal Weekends to watch what we do and how an actual Ordeal progresses. At times a couple of us felt like we were selling our souls with promises we hoped would come through.

                    We had a prior lodge advisor that was a real hardliner on adult nominations and only accepted a few each year. What he didnt realize was that over time he was cutting his nose off. We had OA candidates and members that couldnt get to events as there were no adults from their units driving. To ask a parent to drive an hour one way to drop off Johhny on a Friday night, then turn around and go home was a tall order for any adult. And then repeat it again on Sunday morning to pick them up. We worked on carpools to lighten that load. At one point I had about 10 young Arrowmen in my troop alone and I was the only adult member, so getting many of them to events was almost impossible. So I pleaded with each unit to submit adult nominations (and was constantly challenged with the constant why? They never approve any of them responses). Then I had to go to the advisor to plead the case for increasing selections. At ordeals we made sure we spent time with the adult clan and bent over backwards after the ceremonies to make them feel welcome and explain how we did things in the lodge. Slowly over time we had more buy in from more leaders, which slowly brought in more new Arrowmen.

                    It took a long to time to change. But going on 5 years of Quality Lodge now, high participation at many local, regional, and national events, placing and winning ceremonial competitions, etc shows that when a group of adults decide they are going to change the attitudes by changing the reality of what goes on in the lodge, positive things can happen. Its too bad this seems to be a prevailing attitude in the District, but does that mean past practices should prevent a new Scout from being elected and experience the OA? Ive known many Scouts that stuck around only because of the OA.

                    That Scout deserves for someone to go to bat for him to get his chance at being elected. Hopefully the OP will.


                    • #11
                      Calico: "But we have a situation here where a Scout has expressed interest in the OA and so he must know something about it and a Scoutmaster is refusing to allow this part of the program in to the Troop."

                      Which has never made sense to me. Allowing a boy to be in OA has zero effect on the troop program. Well, other than we harp on the Arrowmen that their first responsibility is to their unit and that they live up to the obligation and set an example......but that affects the troop positively, not negatively. What do they have to lose?


                      • #12
                        The worry they will loose influence over the boy.. my troop has been like that for years. but not just with the boys, but also adults. Now we have forced the last bump in the road who was all about that out of the unit..


                        • #13
                          One comment has me confused... when you say "the other troops feels the same way in OA," what do you mean?(This message has been edited by sherminator505)


                          • #14
                            CalicoPenn, "But unless that Scoutmaster tells you that it is the policy of the Chartered Organization not to participate in the OA (and there have been some that do not allow OA in their units)"

                            While I have seen Scoutmasters opposed to participation in the OA because they fear the OA will take the boys away from the troop.

                            This is the first where I have heard of a Chartered Organization having a policy against participation.


                            • #15

                              It is fairly rare but there are some church sponsors that are opposed to fraternal and masonic-like clubs and consider the OA to be on par with them so they just don't allow it.

                              Edited to add: I am not trying to open a debate on whether the OA is fraternal or masonic like. If someone wants to spin off and start such a thread, by all means, feel free - but it doesn't really matter if we think it is or is not - what matters is if the CO thinks it is, and if the CO does, and decides it's not to be part of their Boy Scout program, and National doesn't have a problem with that, then we owe it to those CO's to respect their beliefs and move on.(This message has been edited by calicopenn)