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What is my role in the OA?

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  • What is my role in the OA?

    When I was 17 years old I became an Ordeal member of the OA. A year later I tuned 18, got my Eagle, went onto college, found out how easy it was talk to girls and discovered a professional passion. I think I maintained my OA membership for another couple years but dropped out of scouting once I went to college (although I did join APO and was a chapter president for a semester). Now that my son is in Cub Scouts and I am the new cubmaster, I have joined the local OA chapter. They just sent me a fancy new flap but I don't really understand what my role is or how I get to Brotherhood, or even if an adult can. I'm happy to pay the dues and do what I can to help, but I remember the OA as pretty much a teenager-run organization. Yes, I could ask the Lodge what I can do but I'd rather ask here first, where I'll feel less stupid....


  • #2
    No need to feel stupid. You are among friends...and Brother Arrowmen! The primary role of an adult in OA is to serve as an advisor to the Youth leaders. Every youth leader should have an adult advisor assigned, even committee chairmen (such as Ordeal, Fellowship, Christmas Banquet, Conclave, Elections, etc). The OA Chapter Advisor is not the leader of the Chapter...he is the advisor to the Chapter Chief. Other functions of adults are to facilitate the activities where an adult is required, such as driving, two-deep leadership, operating power tools and heavy equipment at camp work days and Ordeals, etc. If your chapter and Lodge are very active, you may see many Scouters who show up, walk around with a coffee cup and socialize in the back of the room because it's another way to get out of the house. They really serve no purpose. Some are there just because they are taxi drivers for the youth to get them to the meetings. SOme just pay dues and wear the flap. Some just wear the flap. It is what you make of it. Yes, Brotherhood is expected, even of adults. At the next meeting, ask when the next "Brotherhood Walk" is scheduled...usually it's done at Ordeals and Fellowships.

    PS: Welcome to the forums and welcome back to the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service!(This message has been edited by papadaddy)

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    • #3
      Our youth leaders remind us that our primary function is to stay out of the way.

      My primary purpose, while I was a Scoutmaster, was to publicize the OA, approve scouts for elections and hold said elections.

      Oh yeah, since OA meetings were the same time and place as roundtable, I was a taxi service as well occasionally.

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      • #4
        Talk with your Chapter Adviser or Lodge Adviser about where they need help. As a Lodge Adviser, I can tell you that at any time I have the need for some motivated and dedicated adults to advise the young men. The best thing that you can do is to promote the OA and it's programs. Encourage the young leaders to get involved with Chapter and Lodge functions. You're limited being in a Cub Pack though in that respect. You could always explain to the Cubmaster that the OA can do some pretty cool ceremonies for Arrow of Light awards and Crossovers.

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        • #5
          Since you've now registered with the lodge, you're probably now on list of Ordeal members eligible for Brotherhood -- and will likely be chased down by your local chapter, because Brotherhood conversions are a "quality" factor. But you can just ask your Unit Commissioner or District Executive to give your contact information to the Chapter Adviser or Associate Adviser and have them get in touch.

          Dan Kurtenbach
          Fairfax, VA

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          • #6
            The OA has guidelines for adult membership selection (selection of adults to become members of the OA who were not already members of the OA as youth). Of the 4 qualifications, three are relevant here (the fourth is the camping requirements):

            1) Selection of the adult is based on the ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purposes and is not for recognition of service.

            2) The individual will be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities that fulfill the purpose of the Order.

            3) The adults leader's membership will provide a positive example for the growth and development of youth members of the lodge.

            I've always read this as the adult is able to provide service to the lodge and it's youth members, which is quite a bit different from the admonition to the youth membership that service in the OA means service to one's unit first and foremost.

            The OA doesn't really do a good job of explaining what happens when a member transitions from youth member to adult member but I think we can look to the adult membership qualifications for what it should entail. Your role, as an adult member of the lodge, is to provide service to the lodge and it's youth members in whatever manner you can. That doesn't necessarily mean diving right in and getting fully involved in the OA by being an advisor to a chapter or committee (indeed, I'd recommend against this unless you have a good grasp of how the OA works). If you can attend a work day, I'm sure that would be most welcome (if you do intend to go on to Brotherhood, it's likely you'll attend at least one).

            So what, as a Cubmaster, can you offer? I think you're already doing it. One of the ways adults provide service to the lodge is by providing a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge. I consider the most important aspect of the OA to be its emphasis on service to others - and that's exactly what you, as Cubmaster, are doing - you've come back to Scouting and are providing an example of giving back to the community and Scouting by doing the job of and wearing the most important adult leadership patch on your left sleeve - Cubmaster (Scoutmaster and Adviser are included in that description of most important job).

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