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Properly wearing the OA sash on the uniform

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  • Properly wearing the OA sash on the uniform

    The uniforming guide says the OA sash should only be worn over the right shoulder. From the guide it states: worn over right shoulder, under epaulet of tan shirt. (OA sash is never worn on belt or with merit badge sash.)

    Interestingly, I see boys and adults in our district wear the OA sash hanging off their belt for COHs or other special events. Im an OA member and Ive politely told some that was not appropriate. The response I get is no response or they dont believe me. Im the only OA member that will not hang it off my belt at COHs. I leave the sash at home and save it for OA functions where I can wear it over the shoulder. The lodge flap is sufficient to tell others that Im a member of the OA.

    Do OA members in your council or district do the same? Does tradition buck the uniforming guide?

  • #2
    Yes, I do see this at official functions. When boys want to wear both their merit badge sash and their OA sash, it is common to see it worn at the belt. I do think tradition bucks the uniforming guide.

    I actually think this looks pretty reasonable as a uniform. I'm not sure what the rationale is for prohibiting it. I've never been enough of a uniform policeman to tell anyone it's against regulation.


    • #3
      I don't have it in front of me but I believe you can find the rationale in the OA Handbook which spells out that the OA Sash is to be worn only at OA functions, or, if worn to other functions, when serving as a member of the OA. It is not meant to be worn at Troop meetings, including the COH, it is not meant to be worn at Summer Camp (unless it's worn to an OA function like a call-out ceremony), it is not meant to be worn on a campout, or Scout Sunday, or community flag raising or- well, anything that isn't an OA function or where you aren't representing the OA.

      When to wear it? OA Ordeal/Brotherhood/Work Weekends, OA Banquet, Chapter Meetings, Lodge Meetings, OA Ceremonies, OA Elections (the election team should be wearing their sashes and I wouldn't find fault if the OA members in the unit wore their sashes for that meeting), Webelos Cross-over Ceremonies (if the OA is doing the ceremony - with one caveat, the ceremony folks from the OA should be wearing the sashes, the receiving unit's SPL & SM, and the sending units CM & WDL (if members) should not since they aren't actually representing the OA), and anytime one is representing the OA. For instance, your Troop's OA Representative (if you have one), may do a camp promotion at a COH (what? You mean you've never thought of having your OA Representative do the camp promotion at a COH? Why, that's one of the things the OA does!) and he should wear the sash while doing so - but none of the other OA members of the Troop should be wearing their sashes, and since they have no reason to be wearing the sash, why do they have it with them?

      I'm not a big fan of the sash being worn over the belt, but I'll admit I've done it, as have a lot of folks I know, when attending a function wearing a couple of different hats - I would tend to give a lot of leeway to a member wearing the sash over the belt until they performed in their OA role then putting it back over the belt when done with that role.

      Wearing it over a merit badge sash? Well, that's just plain bad fashion sense.


      • #4
        What CalicoPenn says.

        Frankly, a lot of this wearing the sash when it really isn't proper makes it seem showoffy. Example: all the scouts wearing it at a COH, etc.

        The OA flap patch AND OA ribbon dangle are your 'day to day' items on your uniform to show your OA membership. The OA sash should ONLY be brought out, as noted by CP, when you're representing the Order.

        Sometimes people go overboard on this. For instance, the OA will be at our Scout Show doing some service. Great. Does that mean that EVERY OA member should wear his (or her) sash at the Scout Show. Well, unless you are part of the OA group at the Show, NO. Just common sense.


        • #5
          Strangely enough, when we had Scouts come back from NOAC, they have taken to wearing the OA sash on their belts.

          I think I'm the only OA Brotherhood member in the Troop who took the Troop OA rep aside and showed him the statement in the OA handbook about Sash wear.

          He still went with the flow.


          • #6
            I may have mentioned once along time ago, when our Council had scout shows, the Lodge did their annual officer elections throughout the weekend, and a lot of folks wore their sashes because it had now become, in addition to the scout show, an offical OA event for the lodge. Since the scout show was always held in April, it gave a lot of chapter and lodge officers a chance to talk to folks wearing Ordeal sashes about taking the next step to Brotherhood.


            • #7
              Wearing the sash over the belt was a tradition in councils where I've been over a long period of time. I'm not sure when the prohibition came along, but I don't see any problem with wearing the sash over the belt.

              Show offy? Yeah, but the Scout uniform is designed to show off the insignia of awards the kids have earned. Can it be overdone? Yes, but usually that's the adults.


              • #8
                Two things come to mind. Disagreements with the insignia guide are normally due to interpretation. How can "not to be worn on the belt" be misinterpreted?
                If we're ignoring the insignia guide, do we feel the same way about a merit badge sash? How about both (maybe one on each side)?


                • #9
                  Blue jeans seems to be the norm around here. Same difference. Everyone has their own idea of what "uniform" means and it usually doesn't really mean "uniform" at all.



                  • #10
                    Things may have changed but when I received my first sash many a year ago it was not only placed over my shoulder but instruction was given during the ceremony as to how to wear it properly.

                    The best way to rectify this problem is at the Lodge level. If the Lodge leadership feels this is an issue the Lodges can easily send out a message in there news letter educating (or reeducating), there membership on the proper wear of there sash. If the lodge does not see this as a big issue there is nothing you can do about it.


                    • #11
                      Even worse are the guys who wear their merit badge sash tucked over their belt so they can wear the OA sash over their shoulder. Of course you don't want to "waste" any merit badges, so you'll see guys with the MB sash hanging down past their knees so that all the badges show.

                      I attribute it to poor upbringing -- Scouting-wise, that is.


                      • #12
                        Fellow Arrowmen,

                        I've served in a few councils and lodges; Im just a regular Arrowman doing work with my sons and Arrowmen from my Chapter. Looking at how the OA sash is worn, there is a broad interpretation sometimes.

                        I have arrived at OA work weekend with my T-shirt and Sash, for the Lodge Advisor to bring the handbook over to me, and show me the sash is worn only with official BSA field uniform or Indian regalia. Out of 100 plus Arrowmen, I was the only one wearing my sash with a T-shirt.

                        Other occasions, I've arrived to the OA recognition banquet with my nice-ironed scout uniform wearing a real dirty sash (since I've worked clearing brush and growth from many campsites, carrying canvas tents, etc.). Only to see, my fellow Arrowmen wearing immaculate and bright white sashes. Then yet at another lodge, I wear a white and gleaming new sash, only to find everyone is proud of their dirty and well seasoned sash (demonstrating how much work they have performed for the council). Looked like Im a social Scouter, standing in the midst of a 100 hard working, long suffering, and dedicated Scouters.

                        Maybe its just me, I can't win. (ha-ha)

                        I see youth and adult Arrowmen at district or unit events (not hosted by the OA Lodge or Chapter) wearing their sash. I didn't even know some were Arrowmen and never see them at OA events. Most of them don't know about annual renewal lodge dues or chapter/lodge meetings/events. But they are sure proud to show off their sash.

                        eh, that's good. They were recognized by their fellow Scouters and completed their Ordeal. I'll let them have their moment of glory and pride. Why chase them down and tell them about what the manual says about wearing the OA sash. Id have to tell them to strip and re-sew a few patches, while Im at it.

                        In a few travels, I've seen various interpretations. Jeffrey H asked, "Does tradition buck the uniforming guide?" I don't know if I would say it that way. I have heard, "the professional and volunteer Scouters that author BSA literature are much smarter than us!!". Then I've also heard colleagues say, "What were those professionals and volunteers thinking when they wrote the book??!"

                        There seems to be two references for the proper wearing of the OA sash on the uniform. One is handed to Scouts/Adults when they complete their Ordeal. Now, I've learned to just go with the flow; rather than being a OA Uniform Police.

                        Scouting Forever and Venture On!
                        Crew21 Adv


                        • #13
                          Other occasions, I've arrived to the OA recognition banquet with my nice-ironed scout uniform wearing a real dirty sash (since I've worked clearing brush and growth from many campsites, carrying canvas tents, etc.). Only to see, my fellow Arrowmen wearing immaculate and bright white sashes. Then yet at another lodge, I wear a white and gleaming new sash, only to find everyone is proud of their dirty and well seasoned sash (demonstrating how much work they have performed for the council).

                          As Chilantakoba Lodge #397 use to say, ' A clean sash is the sign of a lazy Arrowman."


                          • #14
                            If its not a genuine OA event, leave the sash at home.

                            There's a Scouter who I always see around here wearing his OA sash and his SB and ten pins on his shirt, but for some reason he can't wear scout pants. It takes all kinds.


                            • #15
                              When I was Scoutmaster, I looked for ways both to promote the Order of the Arrow and to give Arrowmen the opportunity to carry out one of the purposes of the OA: "Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scouts experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp." And so every Court of Honor was declared an OA activity for all of the Arrowmen in the troop, as they were to do something at the CoH related to the promotion of camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship. Thus OA sashes were expected to be worn.

                              Dan Kurtenbach
                              Fairfax, VA