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Vote by peers the only way in?

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  • Vote by peers the only way in?

    Is the only way into the OA being booted in by the scouts in your troop? I only ask because my son was denied last year, yet attends every troop meeting (unless really sick), cleans up & helps the younger scouts, helps on eagle projects when asked, attends eagle ceremonies and is assistant patrol leader. His biggest problem is he doesn't attend the same school as 95% of the troop so a lot of the kids don't know him well from that well. Scoutmaster said he doesn't understand why - other than they pick kids they know well. Son was very depressed last year after elections (he was the only one on the ballot not elected in). Can the adults recommend a candidate?

  • #2
    They can make a recommendation . . . to the scouts.


    • #3
      I think your son needs to learn how to politic better. How long has he been in the troop?


      • #4
        Does he attend campouts? In addition to how long he has been in the troop, what is his rank?

        Has he asked his patrol leader or senior patrol leader why or what he should work on?


        • #5
          We have several boys in the troop from different school districts. They got voted in when the time was right. (Some took several elections.) If he's camping with these boys a lot, they will learn his character well enough. Then it becomes a matter of if their character being noble enough and him being guileless.

          I really do prefer elections to be held during camp. Because, biases from school-chums can quickly drift to the background.


          • #6
            He has been in the troop for 4 years. Life scout and has only missed 2 camp outs and 1 week of summer camp with the troop. One Campout because he had a confirmation retreat, the other was in exam week for him and he didn't go to summer camp with the troop because of Jambo last summer - he did with some other kids from the troop to a specialty camp week after Jambo though. Part of his problem is he is shy and very academic,and only has one eagle required badge left to complete and will have it done by the end of summer. He does them all year round and enjoys it. His older cousins are all members and he wanted to follow in their footsteps. He did tell us, he wasn't sure why the others don't vote for him - SM says anytime he is asked by another scout or an adult for assistance he does it without grumbling. I was just wondering how it works.


            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              The problem is not with your kid, he's doing it right. It's the other kids and their propensity to vote by favoritism rather than merit that's the problem. The system may be flawed, but there are a ton of things in the real world that are flawed in the same way. Your boy is learning this at an early age and it will pay off in the long run.

              Good things come to those who wait.


            • perdidochas
              perdidochas commented
              Editing a comment
              It's politics. If he's helping out the younger scouts, when it's close to election time, he needs to ask them for their votes.

            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              Perd's suggestion might sound like bad form, but it's not. He could ask a few of the boys, especially those who are respected arrowmen, "Do you think I've improved enough over last year to be voted in?" If he's not getting resounding "yes"s, then he can decide to withdraw his name from the ballot.

          • #7
            Thanks for your advice. I can't see him running around asking for advice on how to get elected. His first year in scouts he did 2 weeks of summer camp and the older kids rode him for earning a lot of badges. Particularly swimming, he used to be on a swim team so this wasn't hard for him. We didn't care he earned a lot since he had fun and enjoyed it. His cousin was at camp with him and pushed him to earn a lot, rather than loafing around. He also advance in rank fast because he goes to the meetings and works hard. He just made life and there are boys in the troop 2 school years older that just made star. But they don't always participate in every event too. Since his school doesn't have a swim team he has a lot of time for scouts


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              I've seen this before. He'll eventually grow on the boys.

          • #8
            In order to be eligible to be voted into the OA, a Scout must meet various requirements, and be approved by his Scoutmaster.

            Eligible Scouts are voted into OA by all of the Scouts (under 21 years of age) in their own units (both members, and non-members of OA).

            In order to have an election 50% of the unit's registered, active, members under 21 have to be present.

            In order to be elected into OA a Scout's name has to appear on 50% of the ballots that are turned in. Scouts can vote for all eligible Scouts, only some, none at all (turn in a blank ballot), or abstain from voting (not turn in a ballot at all).

            So, if there are 12 active, registered Scouts in your son's Troop, at least 6 have to be there at election time. If all 6 turn in a ballot, your son's name has to be on at least 3 of them. If 11 ballots are turned in your son's name has to appear on at least 6 of them.

            Your son has been a member of the Troop for 4 years, attends every Troop meeting, every week, and has only missed 2 weekend campouts, and 1 week of summer camp.

            Yet the boys in the Troop still do not know him?

            He needs to learn to be more pro-active, and offer his help, instead of waiting to be asked.

            He needs to work on his interpersonal skills, and start actually connecting with the other Scouts.

            He needs to make friends.


            • #9
              I don't think a boy has to be friends with everyone in the troop. Running around "making friends" is tantamount to campaigning and is how the popular boys get elected. That's not everyone's style or desire. I would think it a bit more valuable to be elected based on merit. If the only people getting into OA, then it's a group of schmoozers and maybe that's not the kind of group one wishes to be part of. Merit, on the other hand produces a quality OA chapter of dedicated worker/leaders, the goal of the OA in the first place.

              It is mentioned that this boy has shown up for 99% of all activities. While attendance counts for something, it's not the most valuable measurement and often doesn't take into consideration more important factors.

              It's kinda like wearing the POR patch. You got it, big deal, or in this case, you showed up, big deal. Once you have the patch or show up, what's next. This is how merit is measured. Is the boy making himself helpful to others in the troop? Taking on that helping kind of leadership sells big time when it comes to elections. Who's the guy who always seems to be there ready to go when someone needs help? One does not need an official leadership designation to fit this bill. PL is stumped because the scout designated on the duty roster to clean up after the meal is nowhere in camp. But this other scout steps in and cheerfully takes over that job. Will the PL remember that come election time? Yep if it is an on-going thing. Do they need to be friends? Nope! Not at all.



              • perdidochas
                perdidochas commented
                Editing a comment
                if the boy is as helpful as his mom thinks, then he needs to work on those interpersonal skills and make friends. Personally, I think she may have an exaggerated view of his helpfulness, and the other scouts don't see it.

            • #10
              There are lots of good answers here, but I think I can clarify things a bit:

              Yes, the only way for a youth member of BSA to be inducted into the Order of the Arrow is by being elected by his peers, in his troop. This is a carefully designed, well thought out mechanism, with a purpose.

              The OA was started to put forward outstanding scouts as role models to their peers, and this remains an important part of the order. The idea is to motivate scouts to become more like those scouts who are honored by being inducted into the AO. By having the scouts in each troop decide who best exemplifies the virtues of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and unselfish service, the principles of the OA, scouts both become aware of the standards they most aspire too, and the progress of each scout toward these goals. As some of your troop members are lodge members, likely they temper this judgment, when voting, with the expectation that the scout in question will, or will not, take the obligations of the order, and the commitments that go with those, seriously.

              The Order of the Arrow does recognize scouts for who they have became, and what they have done, and scouts are elected on this premise. However, troop members who are also OA members, know scouts are not only elected for what they have done, but also for what they will be expected to do. Many scouts see nothing more then a cool patch and sash, and opportunities to have fun and socialize; and although inducted, never truly become members of the Order of the Arrow. In short, a desire to be elected into the Order of the Arrow drives scouts to be better scouts, better men, and holds them to a ridged standard. The scouts actions are judged by his fellows, to determine if he meets this standard, and will continue to grow well beyond these expectations.

              Your son should speak with senior scouts in his troop, and ask in what ways he can better himself, how he grow to meet this lofty standard. With all due respect, the best place for you in this is on the sideline. Share these insights with your son, and let him handle things.


              • perdidochas
                perdidochas commented
                Editing a comment
                My sons are both OA members (Brotherhood). Before OA, they were pretty mellow about electing OA members. Now, they are pretty hardcore, and actually voted against most of the candidates this year. All the boys got in, but not from my sons' votes. Their main criteria was how hard they work at campouts.

            • #11
              Well could it be he is to helpful? You know a "kiss up", either way it is all political he can always try the "If you don't vote for me I won't vote for you" or even better he should get the younger scouts to like him then he can use their support, and maybe even become a leader.


              • #12
                As far as my leadership training goes, I have a short and sweet training program.

                If you become PL, the training is "Take care of your boys."
                If you become APL, the training is "Take care of your boys and your PL."
                SPL = "Take care of your PL's."
                ASPL = "Take care your PL's and your SPL."

                When they ask, "How do I do that?", the answer for all of them is, keep asking, "What can I do to help?"

                End of lesson.

                As SM, that's the only question I ever ask my boys, after I tell them I'm not going to do it for them.

                The only time boys get into "trouble" is when they aren't doing this.



                • #13
                  Shakin my head here.....

                  Just as I said in the other thread a mom pushing her cub scout to the front of the line.

                  You using the excuse of schools, my boys come from 4 different middle schools and two different high your argument isn't valid

                  If he was the only one on the ballot and still not elected you have to ask why? I have had a solo scout not get 100% of the vote but still have enough to get in....

                  Remove the mom glasses an look at your son honestly...........He has really made some boys angry to not elect him when he is the only choice. Or could he be a wimp, slacker, no skill, book smart no practical skills, brown nose, bully or Low Drag high speed Eagle sort. Bottom line is I think your view of your son is jaded.

                  No idea how the election was held, did OA reps come in and hold the election or did the troop leadership. How was it presented???? National Honor Society for scouting???? Maybe his peers don't view him as a high quality of scout.

                  As Scoutmaster, before I recommend a lad for election I will hold an SMC with him and ask him if he is interested and if he is going to commit more than a Sash and Dash to the OA. The OA is about more than just a lodge Flap.

                  Your not gonna listen, but you really need to butt out of the troop. you have no business meddling in position of responsibility or troop OA elections.


                  • #14
                    Originally posted by The Blancmange View Post
                    They can make a recommendation . . . to the scouts.

                    but they really shouldn't.


                    • #15
                      The most important thing (and hardest for us to remember as Scout Parents) is that the GOAL of Scouting isn't to amass recognition, that's a method. The goal is boys growing into self sufficient, self reliant men. As parents, we are always torn between our desire for the best for our children and our need to help them grow to make their own decisions.

                      As one gets older, the responsibilities get harder, and more lasting.

                      So if you meddle in the OA elections with the SM, you MAY get your son into the OA, which will get him some bling and an opportunity to do some OA activities, but you'll deny him the opportunity to earn his way in.

                      That's not to say you shouldn't help, but you should help YOUR son do it on his own. That will mean more to him than anything else.

                      Self advocacy does NOT come natural to many people, but it's an important life skill. Helping your son learn this is more important than an OA election. If he can't promote himself to win an OA election without you, what's going to happen at College/University when he needs to self advocate for leadership opportunities. What's going to happen in his career.

                      If self promotion is uncomfortable, you can learn it for OA Elections, which are VERY low stakes, learn it for summer internships (where it affects first jobs), higher stakes, learn it when it comes to jobs/promotions, with MUCH higher stakes. At some point he'll need to learn to promote himself. He can learn it at 14 when the issue involved is OA membership, or he can learn it at 35 when his career has suffered for 15 years because he won't self promote, when would you rather your son learn this.

                      College Decisions (100k+ decision), First homes (200k+ decisions), Career Track (1M + decisions), Spousal Selection (nearly infinite decisions) all have serious consequences. Scouting prepares you for life if your first decision is "Camp Out Menu" instead of "which college to I attend." It doesn't prepare you for life if you rack up awards that your parents pushed you through.