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  • Ordeal Ceremony Responsibilities

    Our Lodge has three "service" weekends each year; September, March, and June. These used to be called Ordeal Weekends, but someone complained about the forced labor part of the cheerful service. I was informed tonight from our Chapter Adviser, that Ordeal Ceremonies will no longer be presented by the Lodge Ceremony Team at these service weekends, and will be presented by the Chapter Ceremony Teams. Three of the six chapters in our lodge, don't have a ceremony team (which traditionally provides Arrow of Light and Call-Out Ceremonies). Last weekend, our LEC made this decision. I'm not sure how they expect this to happen. So, any other Lodge do this? And if so, how?

    Take care all,

  • #2
    Glad your Fortunate to Have Chapters...Not Every Lodge Does Mine Does not.
    Are your Chapters Split due to Locations or Due to Size?
    How is your Lodge Leadership Laid Out?
    Lodge and Chapter, Lodge Only or By Chapters Only?

    Service Weekends should be Separate from "Ordeal Weekends"..However it seems most Lodges combine them now days due to lack of participation and competition for time against every day life School, work, Relationships etc....

    A Few Questions..Will your Lodge Continue to Have a "Lodge Ceremonies Team"?
    What will it's Function Be?
    Who Selects the Membership on the 'Lodge Team" vs "Chapter Team".
    Is it done by Competition?
    By Vote?
    or By Solicitation open to Everyone?

    Could there be an Issue with Favoritism among the Teams and Who gets Selected for the "Lodge Team" or which Chapter's team gets gets selected to Conduct the Most Ceremonies...Could it be because Chapters were Complaining that a Certain Chapter Functioned as the "Lodge Team" the Most?

    Why is it that Only Three Chapters have Teams?
    Lack of Advisors?
    Lack of Interest by Youth?
    Is it Financial?
    Is it due to Membership Size?
    Is the Membership Equal in % of Membership in all chapters?

    We have 1 Camp so We have 1 Call Out Ceremony at our 1 Week of Summer Camp..
    How Many Camps Do you Have?
    If Multiple Camps, Do they Run Same Time?
    Are they Regionally aligned to the Chapters?

    Are these actually Service Weekends or Ordeal Weekends...If just a Service Weekend then there is No Need for a Ceremonies Team.
    If Ordeal Week Ends also..You need Fun activities for Members not participating in the "Ordeal" portion

    Several Things can be done with the Ceremonies Team..A Rotation Can be Done several Ways..Since you Have 3 Chapters you could assign a Chapter a Service/Ordeal Weekend. on a 3 Year Rotation...
    (Event 1=September, Event 2=March, and Event 3=June)
    Chapter 1/Event 1 Chapter 2/Event 2 Chapter/3...
    Chapter 2/Event 1, Chapter 3/Event 2, Chapter 1/Event 3,
    Chapter 3/Event 1, Chapter 1/Event 2, Chapter 2/Event 3

    Another Way to Split the Ceremonies Rotate them on a 3 Year Rotation
    Year 1 Chapter 1 Pre-Ordeal, Chapter 2 Ordeal, Chapter 3 Brotherhood.. Lodge Vigil
    Year 2 Chapter 2 Pre-Ordeal, Chapter 3 Ordeal, Chapter 1 Brotherhood..Lodge Vigil
    Year 3 Chapter 3 Pre Ordeal, Chapter 1 Ordeal, Chapter 2 Brotherhood..Lodge Vigil

    PS I Recommend Fellowships rotated in a similar Manner...If your Not aware Fellowships are just Fun Gatherings.Sadly Lodges forget the Fellowship Portion and just focus on the Free Labor events.. Each Chapter could host a Fellowship..Fun Away to Promote patches in your Lodge.. Each Fellowship gets a Unique Patch...And A Special Patch for attending all. Fellowships has a Fee to Cover patches and Meals. Host Chapters do the Cooking and Coordinates the events scheduling.

    Call Outs..If More than 1 Camp assign it Regionally.If Possible..Hopefully you have 3 Camps in your Council
    Depending on Your Ceremony ...Since Each Lodge May have its own ceremony and Leadership Style it hard to Give advise here. Do you Have a Single Lodge Chief and Chapter Vice Chiefs. Do you Use The 4 Ceremony Characters? AW, K. M, N
    Do You Have Dancing Or Just Call Them Out?
    If Dancing, Everyone Adults and Youth Should be as to Participate if in Regalia.
    Do you have more than 1 Drum and Singer Team?

    Arrow of Light, and Other Demonstrations would be best served By Regional Division also.

    Obviously if You Attend Competitions and Pow Wows Each Chapter Should Compete Separately..avoiding the Possible Favoritism Complaint


    • #3

      Wow. So many questions. Thanks. I'll try to answer some of them.

      I've been in this lodge for many years, so here's how we're organized. Our council= our lodge
      Each of our districts= each of our chapters
      We follow all OA rules, procedures, and protocols with the Lodge Executive Committee taking the lead.
      Our three service weekends are what were our Ordeals. The program is the same, service too the camp, with Ordeal and Brotherhood Ceremonies done Saturday night.

      The three active committees for the lodge, are the service, dance, and ceremony committees. Dance and Ceremony committees tend to be called teams. I know all of the advisers. They have open membership and actively have the members recruit all of the time.

      On the chapter level, all of our districts have an associated OA Chapter, Some are more active then others. However, on the chapter level, the two most active committees, are the election and ceremony committees, also usually called a team. Again, I know all of the advisers, and membership is open. Recruitment is continuous.

      As a chapter ceremony committee adviser, I was advised by a dad of my current ceremony committee chairperson (a Scout), that his son attended this past weekend, a normal quarterly Lodge Executive Committee meeting (LEC). A subject brought up, was the lodge ceremony team giving the Ordeal Ceremony responsibilities, to the Chapter Ceremony Teams. The reason given, was that Saturday night Ordeal Ceremonies took too much time. Of course, this has been this way for many years. Why the change? I don't know, but will find out. So, the lodge wants each chapter to have their own Ordeal Ceremony on Saturday night of each Service Weekend at the same time, instead of the one lodge Ordeal Ceremony in the lodge ceremony ring. I guess each meeting in their own separate specific campsite around our camp (we have only one). So, the lodge ceremony team would only be responsible for Friday night pre-ordeal ceremonies, brotherhood ceremonies, and vigil ceremonies (we have vigil once a year at our annual OA fellowship in October. Our fellowship weekend is for fun only).

      Sorry I've gone on for too long. I'll find out more as time goes forward.



      • #4
        sst3rd, I'm not clear on your role; are you an officer? Without knowing your role in this process, I'll give you a cautious answer.

        The OA program is like any other BSA program, in that the youth operate the program from vision to evaluation. The LEC likely has some plan here, it should be allowed to play out, for better or worse.

        Scouts grow from taking a concept or issue, making a plan to move it in a positive direction, leading the group with executing the plan, and evaluating the outcome. The OA program is no different from a crew, troop, or patrol in this sense. Support the LEC, follow the leaderships direction, participate in the feedback, and make the program better as you move forward.

        The key here is don't fear failure, or you'll never have the courage to do something new and different. This may be the best idea your lodge ever had, or the worst; see where this goes.


        • #5
          I see your the ceremony adviser. Remember your role is to coach through planning, support during execution, mentor the ceremony chairman, and coach during evaluation. It's important you don't question the decision at this point, support the youth an attempting to meet the directive. Remember once youth decisions are made, adults do not question them, until evaluation time. At evaluation you don't put an negative spin on the decision, you praise the vision, work put in, and leadership; assisting the youth officers to seek out better answers for the future.


          • #6


            Thanks for the response. I've advised the chapter ceremony team for many years. Experience has shown me that Scouts have less and less time for extra Scouting responsibilities. We are able to perform Arrow of Light Ceremonies for Packs usually during the February/March time frame (graduations and Blue and Golds), and perform Call-Out Ceremonies throughout the year at a Troop's request. It's worked for the 35 years I've been involved. I haven't been able to find out the details of what changed on the lodge level, but I will eventually. Your thoughts on execution, mentoring, and evaluation, are steps currently being used, by other names. Your mentioning "negative spin" and "better answers" don't work in this situation, as when a Scout is elected into the OA, there has always been an Ordeal Ceremony at the Service Weekend (formerly the Ordeal Weekend, and offered three times a year) on that Saturday night. It has always been the lodge's responsibility that this happens, having the lodge's ceremonial team perform the Ordeal ceremony.
            I did find out that the Lodge Ceremonial Team is writing the script by which each Chapter Ceremonial Team will perform the Ordeal Ceremony. So, they don't want the responsibility anymore, but can dictate how it's done? It keeps getting better.

            Take care,



            • #7
              Is there Not a Script Already..Written by National.?

              Having a Unique "Script" for Ceremonies is unnecessary and Also run a-fowl when and If You attend pow wows and conclaves. They all use the National Script.


              • #8
                I about jumped out of my shoes when I saw that your Lodge Ceremony Team was writing the ordeal script. That's a No-No.

                In reference to your original question, think of this as an opportunity for your chapter ceremony team! Help your youth recruit chapter members to take on this new responsibility! Until you have a rehersed team, invite a ceremony team from another chapter to preform at your Chapter Ordeal. As long as the ceremony Arrowmen are youth, it doesn't matter what chapter they are from.

                Also, worse case senario, Ceremonialists are permitted to read off of the (established, National) script. It isn't as impressive as having the lines memorized, but it will work in a pinch.


                • #9
                  Only Ceremony a Lodge is allowed to Write is Their "Call Out" ceremony.


                  • #10
                    Hitawtunhe and jpstodwftexas,

                    Thanks for the responses. I know of what you speak. As I stated earlier, I received this info from the dad of two Scouts that attended this LEC meeting. The younger brother is the current chapter ceremony chairman. The older brother happens to be the prior chapter ceremony chairman. So we can say I received this info second hand.

                    I've had e-mails and phone calls to the Chapter Adviser who also attended this Lodge Executive Committee meeting I spoke of earlier. Haven't had any responses as of yet. Our next chapter meeting is training for the ceremony and election committees anyway. We're getting ready for the upcoming AOL/Blue and Gold season. I'll see what the Chapter Adviser has to say. It may be all about nothing.

                    Take care,


                    • #11

                      Our chapter adviser e-mailed me, that having attended this recent Lodge Executive Committee meeting, he took away the following:
                      all OA members must be members of a lodge AND chapter committee. He seems to think the LEC thinks all of our current lodge committees are currently poorly attended, thus inactive, and need an infusion of sorts.

                      The youth chairman, of the OA Chapter Ceremony Committee that I advise, called me last night and said:
                      the Lodge Ceremony Team is asking all chapters to recruit for their lodge ceremony team (no deadline mentioned), as they will do the Ordeal Ceremonies at the three scheduled Service (Ordeal) Weekends for 2014. If their membership doesn't grow, they will dump the Ordeal Ceremony program responsibilities onto the chapter ceremony teams. He also mentioned that the national OA approved Ordeal Ceremony script would be used. When I mentioned to him about ceremony associated equipment needed, he said, that wasn't discussed.

                      So, I'm getting closer to what's going on. It doesn't change the fact that out of six chapters in our lodge, that only three have somewhat active ceremony teams. What happens if a team can't perform? Incoming Ordeal member gets no ceremony? I guess so. You can't MAKE these Scouts do this. Anyway, just my two cents.



                      • #12
                        Did I read that correctly? All OA members MUST serve on a Lodge committee? How is that going to work?


                        • #13
                          How Many Lodge Members do you Have? How Many Lodge Committees do you have? How do they think Forcing people to be on Committees will make them more active? Sounds like your more Likely to run off people from Activities.


                          • #14
                            Another update,

                            Had our monthly chapter meeting. It was planned by the Scouts for training in our two most active committees, elections and ceremonies. But because of the weather, snow and ice, we had low attendance and concentrated on the ceremonies committee only. But before that was to happen, a district guy gave a long winded speech on OA Journey To Excellence. This wasn't on the schedule, but the chapter adviser didn't intercede. Then we went through chapter business. So, that gave my youth leader about 30 minutes for training for upcoming Arrow of Light Ceremonies. Oh well.
                            At the end of the meeting, our chapter adviser talked to all of the members about the upcoming changes. This is appearing more and more specifically about our lodge only. The changes are to keep and increase membership. In reference to the lodge and chapter ceremony teams, I became even more confused. He said that the Lodge Executive Committee was discussing having the chapter ceremonial teams perform Ordeal ceremonies at the Service (formerly Ordeal) Weekends. But they want these chapter teams to be part of the lodge ceremony team. What? How is that supposed to work? Something about grouping everyone together, creating Ordeal Ceremony Teams from all of the chapters, ranking them in performance levels, and then assigning them to perform at multiple Ordeal Ceremonies at multiple sites throughout camp at the same time. They also want the Ordeal ceremonies to be done in the early afternoon (no darkness) and completed, so that the new OA members can enjoy supper and the entire evening of activities, as full OA members. This would allow them to participate fully, and feel accepted. This is supposed to keep them involved and interested. Anyway, he went on to say that nothing will happen until 2015.
                            My question is, if I'm to advise our chapter ceremonial team in performing the full Ordeal Ceremony by 2015, we would need to start NOW.

                            That's all for now. I don't expect any other information for a while. We have six chapters, and what I consider overall, an active lodge, so I'm not sure why we're making all of these changes. Oh yeah, that's right, to increase membership. I'm sure we have a lot of those sash and dash OA members, but we have a good bunch of dedicated OA Scouts as well. Did anyone ask the Scouts how to improve our chapters and lodge? Didn't think so.

                            Thanks for listening,