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  • Other inclusiveness in Scouing

    Watching the debate on homosexuals and Scouting is the same arguments by primarily the same posters. According to the CDC, homosexuals are less than 4% of the population. So let's discuss a far larger group in Scouting who are not treated equally. This would be female Venturers, Venturing Advisors and Venturing Associate Advisors and the OA. Our Crew's Advisor is a very professionally accomplished lady who is Powderhorn trained and an excellent Crew Advisor. She is involved on several levels in Scouting. At a recent training event, she asked me about becoming a member of the OA but she cannot and neither can any of our girls. Because of this, I no longer wear any OA patches, etc.
    My preference would be to leave the OA as is an develop an honor organization that is coed for Venturing. What do you think?

  • #2
    I agree, if OA is open to male Venturers as new members, it should also be open to females. On the other hand, if the OA is a "Boy Scout" program, it should only be open to Boy Scouts, who would then register as adults when they turn 18. I never did understand why OA considered "youth" to include scouts up to age 21...probably to accomodate the Explorer Scout/Exploring program before it became co-ed in 1970. Since the OA is based on Native American traditions, would the females be content with the historical role of females in an Indian tribe when re-enacting or performing ceremonies? Just food for thought.


    • #3
      Maybe this is another reason to back away from the frequently-lampooned and shallow use of Native American lore as the basis for a scouting honor society. (I know this will upset Eagle92, but in truth a lot of folks in a lot of places just do this really poorly anyway.)


      • #4
        Well, conceptually, Venturing has nothing to do with OA. So it's not really an inclusiveness item.

        I think the "fix" for this would be to admit girls to Scouting in all aspects, and then there would be no particular issue with the OA.

        I do think it would be a bit odd if girls could join the OA, but that boys can join the OA at an earlier age. That wouldn't seem quite right either.


        • #5
          It seems to me this issue has been discussed in this forum before. I am kind of surprised that over the years of the Venturing program, nobody has formed a "society of honor campers" geared to the needs of that coed program, including a system of symbols and rituals (if any) that is different from the Native American focus of the OA. I have no idea what such a system would look like, but it is really beside the point. The real point of the OA is not dancing and Native American ritual, it is fellowship, promotion of outdoor activities and the giving of service to fellow Scouts and others, particularly at camping facilities. Those ideals apply equally to Venturers (male and female) and could easily be the basis of a new organization.

          Now, what I think is a more interesting (and more difficult) question is, should female Venturers be eligible to earn Eagle, and how would that be arranged, since only the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle may be earned (by males) within the Venturing program? I suppose you could also allow female Venturers to earn T-2-1 but that again introduces an inequality as well as logistical issues, as you would then have females and males working at different levels on different things in the same program, not to mention the awkwardness of a 14-15 year old working on requirements geared to 10-11 year olds. Though I am sure that somewhere there are Boy Scouts who join at age 14 or 15 or older and go through the T-2-1 requirements.


          • #6
            Yeah. Never realized that. Female adult leaders in Boy Scouts can be selected for OA. I never thought about the Venturing implications.

            All I can say is that change is come'in. Slow. Years away maybe. But change is inevitable.(This message has been edited by fred8033)


            • #7
              So here is a much larger group of people that are not being included and the tenor of the discourse is a fraction of that for less than 4% of the population. Why the double standard?


              • #8
                I thought you had to be elected through a troop to be OA


                • #9
                  "tenor of the discourse is a fraction of"
                  - a fascinating turn of phrase here; raises the question of how to divide a tenor and how to express the resultant fraction... 1/8 tenor maybe? Or is it maybe something closer to bass, or is it soprano?

                  Nevertheless, you bring up a worthy point... that business about the less than 4%. Too hear the tenor of the discourse on that less than 4% you'd think it was closer to 400%.
                  Maybe the tenor of this discourse, rather than sounding like just a tenor, sounds like a huge choir because it's a lot of Cultural Marxists doing the singing:

                  (This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)


                  • #10
                    Not getting into the whole "should they be allowed" debate, just making an observation...

                    Only 4%... What was the percentage of the African-American population in the 1960's... It is not about percentages, it is about PEOPLE!

                    As to women in the OA, my understanding is males involved in venturing may continue OA participation (just like they may continue Boy Scout Advancement) in the Crew, but they may not be voted into the OA. It is a Boy Scout program, NOT a Venturing program. If I was looking for parity in anything, it would be Eagle Scout, not OA membership.

                    Now that I have opened that can of worms -- DEBATE!!!



                    • #11
                      Lots of ladies in the OA in my lodge, some even Vigil. As far as I know they did all come initially from the Boy Scout side but some are currently in Venturing.

                      Nothing discriminatory about it, it's just a Boy Scout thing.


                      • #12

                        Yep I know of lodges that do the Native American affairs lousy. And yes I've even cringed a time or two.

                        As to how folks get into the OA here are the ways of the top of my head.

                        1) As a youth elected by member of a troop/team, and prior to the 1980s (sorry do not know the exact year) Explorer Post. Do not know if Sea Scout Ships held OA elections when Explorer Posts were allowed.

                        1A) ASMs between the ages of 18 and 20 are considered youth for OA purposes, can be elected if they meet the requirements, AND can vote in unit elections.

                        2) Adult leader 21+ with a troop/team selected by the unit committee and approved by the lodge.

                        3) District leaders meeting requirements (have met 1 CS leader a who was a candidate who never was with a troop due to district work).

                        4) Professional Scouter automatically is eligible.

                        In regards to the last one. One council I was a volunteer in had 3 brand new DEs, and they were told they had to go to the Ordeal and become OA members. 2 backed out Friday nite and left when given the chance, while one remained. Monday morning all three were called into the SE's office, where the one Arrowman was congratulated and dismissed. Other two were fired.


                        • #13
                          vol_scouter, what is the double standard you refer to? Any registered BOY SCOUT or registered BOY SCOUT leader is eligable for election/selection in the OA if you meet the minimum standards.

                          Since venturers and OBTW Cub Scouts are not Boy Scouts what seems to be the problem.


                          • #14
                            The issue is that someone can be in a Venturing Crew and a Boy Scout Troop and be elected to OA membership. So a female Crew member or any Advisor not a member of a troop cannot be elected to membership. One can say that it is OK because they are members of a troop. However, look those young girls in the eye and explain to them why they are excluded from membership. Explain to them why adults in troops make disparaging comments about them and exclude them too. Explain why those adults subscribe to the Scout Oath and Law but see nothing wrong in making unkind remarks that they do not belong. These youth are the same age. This discussion shows that there is more concern about a small minority than girls and women already in the program. BTW, the percentage of African-Americans in 1960 was 10.5 and was 12.3 in 2000. The point is that there is more concern over homosexual issues than in treating girls and women in our organization in an inclusive manner.


                            • #15
                              Wasn't the Corps of Discovery supposed to play this role in some councils for Venturers?