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  • Can a SM ban OA elections?

    Without going into a blow by blow history of the last three years, where OA elections were "next year, then if the PLC votes for them, then next year again, now the SM has decided no elections this year or ever on his watch. seems the Order is "a popularity contest, something that will take the older scouts away from the troop, a clique, all the old excuses ( sigh) I have tried to convince him there fears are unfounded, asked him to talk with the chapter adviser ( who is more than happy to meet with him ) offered to work with the elected scouts to insure they place the troop first. to no avail. Some of the older scouts don't care, some are downright irked, and some are so angry I'm afraid they will just quit or start some sort of low level rebellion. I just don't understand how a SM who refuses to do his job (deliver the scouting program to the scouts) can expect any junior leader to do his. The CC is new and thinks the SM is his "boss" and has no intention of rocking the boat. I really feel for some of the oldest scouts, 16 or 17 years old, if they change troops now they won't be in a POR long enough to advance, for them is now a case of OA or Eagle. Dammed hard call to make.
    any advice?

  • #2
    PS. I think a rebellion would be somewhat justified in this case,not wise but justified. On one hand some of the best PLs we have would get fired, ( I guess the SM can do that?) on the other hand I believe the scouts to be in the right. and do we not want them to stand up for what they believe in?

    Comment


    • #3
      POR does not have to be in Same Troop, it can carry over to New Troop

      Comment


      • #4
        While I would not say SM is correct in his decision as I defer to the youth leadership to make the decisions, I would also not say the SM fears are unfounded either. In my experience, and likely the SM, there are many cases where the OA is a popularity contest and the arrowmen do not live up to nor fulfill the purpose of the OA. This is not the SM, nor the boys fault as it is the fault of the individual odge who does not do a good job of promoting and ensuring the purpose of the OA is being met. The same is true at the troop level if a troop is not fulfilling the mission of the BSA. Many discussions on here already about Eagle mills and non-camping troops already. if it happens at the troop level, of course it happens at other levels. Thus the SM fears are not unfounded. They may be inaccurate for a specific lodge, but they do have a foundation in reality. I would invite the SM to visit with boys from the lodge and learn how they are fulfilling the mission of the OA in their own respective troops. Perhaps these boys would be willing to present to and help your troop with their own elections to ensure it isn't a popularity content and also so that the candidate understands the honor and the expectations of the order.

        Comment


        • #5
          All lodges are not created equal, My sons chapter stinks, so he attends another chapter and attends the lodge level events.

          Is the Lodge just slave labor for the councils camps???? Is there any program to speak of.???? While it is the Brotherhood of cheerful service, Many councils abuse this. This may be the case.

          Has anyone actually sat down and asked the SM why? Not try to change his mind but just why???


          As an SM I have a hard time sending my guys to set up and tear down camps and work the for profit council events.


          But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members.
          Last edited by Basementdweller; 10-13-2013, 09:38 AM.

          Comment


          • JoeBob
            JoeBob commented
            Editing a comment
            "OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members."
            Yep.

          • Miami_Chief
            Miami_Chief commented
            Editing a comment
            "But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members."

            This sums up about 95% of all problems I ran into as a youth officer and now as an adviser.

          • SR540Beaver
            SR540Beaver commented
            Editing a comment
            "But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members."

            Sad but true. While there is plenty of blame to go around, part of that problem is because SM's won't support the program. It's no different than the uniform. Show me adult leaders who won't wear the uniform correctly and I'll show you a troop full of boys who won't either. Show me adult leaders who are fair weahter campers and I'll show you a troop full of boys who won't go out in the cold or rain. It's a two edged sword. The Lodge needs to provide a program that makes boys want to participate, but if their adult leaders don't support it, neither will they.

        • #6
          448,

          This subject comes up occasionally. There's no written rule addressing this. With 40 years as a Scoutmaster with two different troops but the same council/lodge, I felt comfortable in leading this effort of an annual OA Election. Paperwork needs Scoutmaster's signature. The last requirement for a Scout to stand in an OA Election, is the Scoutmaster's approval. This allowed me to talk with current youth OA members about each upcoming election. I even talk to the potential nominees, as some turned the opportunity down that year. We never missed one, however, we did have an election (under the old rules) where none of the nominees had enough votes. We had a great Tap-Out Ceremony on a camping trip down by a lake, where the Team tapped no one. The OA Scouts wanted to make a point. They did. I still value the OA. For us, it's not free labor. Evidently our lodge has a "balanced" experience. Scoutmaster's should weed out the sash and dash Scouts. It looks bad for the Troop.

          sst3rd

          Comment


          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't think he is talking about SM picking and choosing boys..

            But the SM saying no to the OA period.

        • #7
          thanks for the responses guys, I need some help to stay balanced here. One of the scouts who would be up for election is my son #4. Sons #1 and 2 spent some time on the ceremonies tram, as I was the coach all the bonnets, pipes, bows etc were stored at my house for years. so he has wanted to be a member since he was 5 or so. and it really burns me to have some one who has never been in the OA deny him this. based on what some SMs at summer camp told him (his words) The camp was in a different council by the way.
          BD, I sadly agree that for most the Order is only a flap and sash. But some of us foolish idealists took/ take the obligation seriously. Perhaps because I had to recite it over 100 times a year at rehearsals all through my teenage years. I want to let the new 10% get their shot at it.
          The lodge is just huge has about 22 chapters. Most of 'em are in VA, as are the summer camps. So very few of us MD chapters send many scouts to pack tents for free. Mostly the OA serves as camporee staff, helps new troops out, local stuff.
          I once saw them serve as parking crew at a scout's funeral, a lighting strike at Philmont
          and yeah I talked with him, I talked (and listened) for an hour he gave the reasons listed in the op and finished up with these words to my son " If you want to be in the OA, you will have to join another troop"
          D-Tape I offered to set up a meeting such as you suggested, SM indicated he had zero interest and would not attend. Rarely have I met such a closed mind.
          Funny thing is I like the guy, I think he is doing what he thinks is best for his troop. but there's the rub between us, he thinks its HIS troop, I insist its the scouts troop, and if they want it let them have at it
          Oldscout

          Comment


          • #8
            thanks for the responses guys, I need some help to stay balanced here. One of the scouts who would be up for election is my son #4. Sons #1 and 2 spent some time on the ceremonies tram, as I was the coach all the bonnets, pipes, bows etc were stored at my house for years. so he has wanted to be a member since he was 5 or so. and it really burns me to have some one who has never been in the OA deny him this. based on what some SMs at summer camp told him (his words) The camp was in a different council by the way.
            BD, I sadly agree that for most the Order is only a flap and sash. But some of us foolish idealists took/ take the obligation seriously. Perhaps because I had to recite it over 100 times a year at rehearsals all through my teenage years. I want to let the new 10% get their shot at it.
            The lodge is just huge has about 22 chapters. Most of 'em are in VA, as are the summer camps. So very few of us MD chapters send many scouts to pack tents for free. Mostly the OA serves as camporee staff, helps new troops out, local stuff.
            I once saw them serve as parking crew at a scout's funeral, a lighting strike at Philmont
            and yeah I talked with him, I talked (and listened) for an hour he gave the reasons listed in the op and finished up with these words to my son " If you want to be in the OA, you will have to join another troop"
            D-Tape I offered to set up a meeting such as you suggested, SM indicated he had zero interest and would not attend. Rarely have I met such a closed mind.
            Funny thing is I like the guy, I think he is doing what he thinks is best for his troop. but there's the rub between us, he thinks its HIS troop, I insist its the scouts troop, and if they want it let them have at it
            Oldscout

            Comment


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              Sounds like son #4 needs to decide if he should transfer to another troop so he has a chance to qualify for O/A, or stick with this troop and take a pass on lodge life.

              It is unfortunate when adults perpetrate this kind of bias. And it must be tough on you because it sounds like you were trying to keep up a family tradition. But, now it's in your son's (and maybe his friend's) hands.

              If he sticks with the troop, he can mention at every SMC and BOR that this is his one regret about this troop. He may decide that this wont be his mantra forever. Or, he may decide to be a persistent yet respectful agent of change.

          • #9
            BD,

            Hey, I was just trying to give 448 a little background. Don't bite my head off. You wonder why some folks don't participate here. In short, there are no rules to MAKE the Scoutmaster execute an OA Election. The Scoutmaster answers to the Committee Chairperson, Charter Organization Representative, and Institutional Head. They can ORDER him to do it. And when he still says NO, he quits or gets fired. How's that?

            So 448, find another Troop.

            sst3rd

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Wow mr. sensitive.....I didn't attack you......

          • #10
            Just curious; what would this SM do if the PLC invited an election team to an event other than a troop meeting? Gotta have 50% attend and requirement #4, SM certification of Scout Spirit could be waived or delegated to an ASM. Summer camp free time? Camporee?

            If the boys really want an OA election, Indians can be sneaky. It is the BOYS troop, right? Maybe elect the SM, too.

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Your assuming that the SM gives the PLC that much freedom.

              I imaging a fellow like that would immediately remove the offending lad.

            • Oldscout448
              Oldscout448 commented
              Editing a comment
              elect the SM?!?! I would just love to see the look on his face. Doubt he would go on the ordeal though

          • #11
            If the CC won't step in your only choice is the chartered org, who may not have any idea what's going on (or care to) either.

            If the PLC got the troop to present a completely unified front, would the SM still stand in the way?

            Comment


            • JoeBob
              JoeBob commented
              Editing a comment
              To forbid an OA election is a policy decision, something that is well within the committee's purview. This would be the same as banning out-of-council summer camps, or in-council summer camps, or participation in district training or events.
              Can an SM forbid earning Hiking or Camping merit badges, because they place a boy in the woods?

              The OA is part of BSA. An honor camping society that renders service to the district. This SM needs to brush up on his Scouter's Spirit, because he;s certainly NOT setting a good community example for his men.

            • Brewmeister
              Brewmeister commented
              Editing a comment
              The issue as I see it is that this is not the SM's troop, it is the boys' troop, and the boys want the chance to participate in OA. The scoutmaster is not acting in the expressed desires and interests of the boys and is therefore not acting properly in his capacity as SM.

            • DuctTape
              DuctTape commented
              Editing a comment
              The SM should be deferring to the boys, to that I completely agree. However, the idea of going to the committee to over rule it appears to be a slippery slope. I disagree it is a BSA policy decision, unless someone can point to the BSA regs which require the SM to hold the OA election. What is the purpose of the SM signature on the blue card, or the SM signature on the OA election? It is BSA policy the decision is to be left to the SM. As I said, if the decisions he is making do not fit what the charteing organization desires, they can find a new SM.

          • #12
            I would leave the Troop and find another. Who knows whatelse is afoot within the Troop.

            Comment


            • Hueymungus
              Hueymungus commented
              Editing a comment
              The only way to fully make the Adults within the Troop to stand-up and take notice is vote with your feet. All the emailing, talking to the committee and other stuff won't do much since it more than likely will stay the same.

              When the Scouts start leaving for other Troops, the SM should get the idea. The CC/COR/Treasurer will start to ask questions since they have to transfer Scout ISA's to other Troops.

            • JoeBob
              JoeBob commented
              Editing a comment
              The problem with leaving for another troop for an OA election is that they probably won't get elected in a new troop where no one knows them. By the time that they're in a new troop long enough to get elected, their service window has dramatically shortened or they have aged out.

              SM's are not demigods, we just play one in the movies. This SM needs to be enlightened or circumvented..

            • Oldscout448
              Oldscout448 commented
              Editing a comment
              JoeBob true, but a slim chance is still better than no chance.

          • #13
            Funny thing is, we have a similar issue in our troop, but it isn't the SM, it's the BOYS! They don't want any part of OA. The adults do NOT speak ill of the OA either, but the boys won't openly tell us in BORs why they don't want to go to the ordeal when they are elected. A few years ago, at a Pack event, I chatted with some of the Lodge officers who wondered why elected boys from our Troop don't attend the ordeals, or otherwise show any interest in the OA. Eventually the SM told me that the some of the boys, once elected and inducted, would attend chapter and lodge meetings and basically be ignored; would sign up for committees and never be called, etc. It's the BOYS in our troop who don't want the OA, which is what I told the Lodge folks. Naturally, I got "yes sir"ed to death. The boys talk to each other, and there is an overall ill will toward the Order! The OA Lodge has a serious Public Relations problem with our scouts and THEY need to fix it!! They've made no attempt to do so in the past few years. None. So, the SM goes through the charade of letting them hold elections each time (when they bother to show up), no boys attend Ordeals, and the Lodge is apparently happy with that. Fine and dandy. They have their signed papers as another notch in their belts for "Quality Lodge" or whatever. Did I mention that one of our scouts is also the Lodge Chief? The past two OA Representatives appointed by the SPL have done nothing to promote the OA because the boys don't want to hear it. I do feel that the thirty minutes of Troop time could be better spent, though.

            P.S. The scout in our troop who is the Lodge Chief? We rarely ever see him. It's been that way for about 2 years.
            Last edited by FrankScout; 10-15-2013, 03:30 PM.

            Comment


            • Twocubdad
              Twocubdad commented
              Editing a comment
              Sounds like my experience. After spending all morning collecting food, I drove my first two Ordeal members to help the chapter sort food at the collection site. On our way home I cheerfully asked if they had met anyone. No, they said, no one really talked to them, but some idiot in a war bonnet kept yelling at them. I spent two years driving two different Troop OA reps to chapter meetings. They kept volunteering for stuff and never got called. One spoke with every vice chief and advisor trying to volunteer to help out in a support role with the ceremony team. There was always someone else he needed to talk to. Lost of pressure to serve on the election team and as a Langolier (whatever) for ordeals, though. Never actually saw anyone do a service project outside the Ordeal labor camps. Lot of strutting around summer camp making sure everyone knew the Lodge was really in charge of camp.

              Currently, I don't have anyone interested in serving as Troop OA rep or advisor and I'm danged well not doing it again. Consequently, we missed elections this year. No one seemed to notice.

            • EagleJCS
              EagleJCS commented
              Editing a comment
              When I was inducted into the local lodge as a scout, I put my name on the list for several areas in the lodge requesting help. Never got a call or a letter (this was in the pre-internet days) to follow up. Most of the lodge officers and active members were from one or two districts in the council, just not the district my troop was in. (This was before the concept of chapters was introduced).

              Fast forward 15 years, and a council and lodge merger, and the same was still true. After becoming an adult leader, I decided to try volunteering with the OA lodge again (thinking that maybe with the merger, things would be more open), and sought to seal my Brotherhood. Imagine my surprise when there were still only a couple of districts – one of them the same as years before - providing most of the lodge leadership (youth and adults). Apparently since I was an unknown in the lodge, I was once again not asked for my assistance for helping with the lodge or the chapter, even though I was active on my district’s training team. I guess you could say I have since become one of the ‘sash and dash’, choosing to provide my service at the unit level.

              In the 1990's, one of our scouts actually became Lodge Chief. A couple of years later, we had a Troop OA Rep, then no one entered the OA for several years. When I was SM (10 years ago), I tried to get the lodge to do unit elections, but couldn't get anyone to follow up my attempts at contact. I finally had to contact the Field Director at the council office to get the lodge unit election coordinator to respond. We finally got elections a couple of years ago - 5 years after my initial attempt. I try to encourage the Scouts in my unit to consider having elections again, but they don't see any reason to.
              Last edited by EagleJCS; 02-16-2014, 11:39 PM.

          • #14
            Interesting read, and I would like to know how this will play out.
            I had a similar issue with a friend who was the SM. He didn't understand the OA, and after a lot of poking from me (and others) he finally allowed an election. Several boys were elected, however most of them didn't attend the induction. The SM honestly was interested, however wasn't able to make it. (medical reasons) So... after all of the work, really only 1 boy was able to join OA. SM changed...and new SM said "Not worth our time...look how many didn't show interest last time." Wasn't really a fair statement, but I could understand his point of view.
            I hate to say it, but I'd start looking for a new troop. Make a very loud and honest appeal at the next committee meeting, and if they vote it down... walk. (I'd have your new troop already picked out, and probably want to warn them of the possible mass emigration heading their way)
            One point: You mention the 10%....which was the rule for elections several years back. Just so you know, and someone please confirm this: The 10% rule isn't used anymore. Now, if a boy has enough votes, they can attend Induction. From what I understand, this didn't open it up much...but it did help with some of the troops only having 1 or 2 boys get elected each year.

            Comment


            • Oldscout448
              Oldscout448 commented
              Editing a comment
              ah, I understand the confusion. My mention of the 10% referenced those scouts who do much more than attend the ordeal got a lodge flap, a sash and are nevermore seen at any lodge/chapter event. unlike the other 90%.
              Frankly I had forgotten the old percent election rule. I think that has been done away with for some years now

          • #15
            Update: Had troop meeting last night, Son went into the room, I stayed in the hallway. was pretty clear the SM and CC were not going to budge, and if I stayed I would be seem to be giving my support to their position. Figured it was best if I just moved on. I had told my son he was old enough to make his own decision, and he seemed ok with that. CC came out and asked me if I could sit on a tenderfoot BOR. told him no ( that was a first for me ) since I was leaving I didn't think I should. two of the ASMs overheard this and asked me why. Figured I owed them an answer, we had hiked more than a few miles together. Asked them to step outside, and we talked for 5-10 minutes. they went back in. I drove off. Came back to pick up son an hour or so later. He wanted to talk to the SM so I went and stood by the car. I couldn't hear all that was said, but at the end SM got pretty loud, something like this: A decision has been made! and I don't like you and your father talking to other people about it! A few replys went through my head at this point but somehow I said nothing. He jumped in his car and drove off. I guess my bridges just got burned.

            Comment


            • Hueymungus
              Hueymungus commented
              Editing a comment
              Interesting that the SM has that reaction and comments. Guess your son just got the Communications MB...

            • JoeBob
              JoeBob commented
              Editing a comment
              Old448 - I'm sorry that didn't turn out better for your son. Don't you think he'll be better off with a better SM who can defend his positions with reason?
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