Me personally wear the sash right or not at all. Even when I agreed with almost all the youth Arrowmen in one lodge that protested the rule forbidding honor borders by wearing their sashes inside out, I still woudl rather them not wear it at all. And whent he LA said fix 'em or take them off...well alot of folks were not wearing sashes.
As for when something is an OA event or not, please keep up to date with the lodge and chapter. I had a bunch of folks when I was CA saying I could not turn XYZ district event into an OA event, so the sashes needed to come off. I said they were right inthat I couldn't declare it an official OA event, but the youth could and did at the last chapter meeting. Part of the sash wearing on our part came from the lack of "publicity" and knowledge on the OA.
Kinda sad when a parent has no idea about the OA except for what they read on the internet, and demands to know if their former SM, who happens to be a Vigil and past lodge and section officer, knew anything about the OA and condoned the practices she read on the internet about the OA. So after that 1.5-2 hour converstaion, I asked the youth to consider wearing the sash more, and they said yes.
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Interestingly, another one of the four purposes of the OA is to: "Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition."
Maybe the folks trying to limit sash wear aren't talking to the folks who want to use "honor society" membership as a means to encourage high personal standards of conduct.
The guide says do not wear the sash on the belt. That's clear to me and I will choose to follow that guideline. Just like I follow the guide to determine where to place insignia on the shirt, I will follow it regarding the placement of the OA sash.
"Maybe the folks trying to limit sash wear aren't talking to the folks who want to use "honor society" membership as a means to encourage high personal standards of conduct."
We encourage high personal standards of conduct by OUR conduct, not the wearing of something.
There is a right time and a wrong time to wear certain things. Just as medals are to be saved for special occasions, the wearing the OA sash should be 'saved' for when its truly appropriate.
Well, the OA states that one of its purposes is to encourage high personal standards of conduct through _recognition_, that is, membership in Scouting's honor society:
" . . . through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition."
For that to work, Scouts have to know about the Order of the Arrow and perceive it as prestigious and desirable. That means _marketing_. The OA sash is a highly visible, instantly identifiable, and highly distinctive symbol of OA membership. It marks the wearers as something special. Much more so than pocket flaps or dangles, which are just more doodads on a uniform shirt already loaded down with doodads.
That is, the sash is an excellent marketing tool for helping carry out the above-quoted purpose of the OA. But if the effect of OA sash-wear policy is that the sash is rarely seen by any Scouts other than other Arrowmen, then OA is squandering a marketing asset.
Even worse, a new Arrowman completes his Ordeal. He is rightly proud of his accomplishment, and proud and grateful that his fellow Scouts chose him. But when he goes to his first troop meeting after the Ordeal, he can't talk about his Ordeal experiences, and he can't even wear his sash. It sure doesn't feel like an honor.
In doing a little research, I've found that over time the OA has changed their stance on when to wear the sash. Prior to the mid 1980s, it appeared that the sash was worn only at OA events. Then it was OK to wear it to recognize Arrowmen, and the sash could even be worn with the dress uniform (that would have been fun at council banquets while I was a DE if i did that ).
I asked my chapter to make more events "official" OA events because we had a visibility problem: very few folks outside the active members knew who the Arrowmen were and what we did. Folks just saw us running the concession stand, doing ceremonies, and that's it. Didn't know about the money from concessions going back into camp, or how we worked at the camp, etc.
This became very obvious to me when I had a very long conversation with one candidate's mom. I spent almost 2 hours talking to her about the OA, about how the stuff she and her son read on the internet is bullkicky, how the OA doesn't get in the way of earning Eagle but enhances the Scouting experience etc. She didn't beleive me at all and finally ask, Does Mr. XYZ (the recently former SM) and Mr. ABC (the new SM) know anything about the OA and condone the behavior of its members? I had to tell her while I don't know Mr. ABC as he is new, Mr. XYZ is not only a member of the OA, but was a past lodge and section officer and knows more about the OA than I do, especially in regards to the local lodge since he's grown up in it over the past 40+ years.
Telling her to talk to Mr. XYZ still didn't help as I don't think she believed me still.
So to show who the members are, we started wearifn sashes more often. And this was esp. important b/c our new members do not get flaps after completing their Ordeal, they have to do 7 hours of work AS A MEMBER (emphasis) before buying a flap ( and don't ask I hate the policy and have tried to get it ammended and it won't happen, esp since national did away with honor borders. We almost got the by-law ammended when the national policy came out and everyone was ticked).
I find myself in full agreement with dkurt's post, if we want to promote the OA among the scouts why not let them wear their sash outside of OA events. Lets face it in many councils the OA lodge is barely hanging on for dear life, yet the powers that be still want to keep a veil of secrecy over it. Do we want to recognize the OA as an Honor Society and really promote it or do we want to keep it as some sort of secret fraternal organization, I think too many adults in the OA prefer the latter.
- Jun 2002
The best way to promote the OA is not in having OA members just wear their sashes at other events.
Its by having the OA DOING stuff at those other events, and wearing the sash while they do it.
Have them be staff at camporees and cub scout events and the like. Have them have a nice exhibit/activity at the Scout Show.
The point I was trying to make was that only those DOING stuff as an arrowman should be wearing the sash, not everyone.
If I had a dime for the things that need "all the help they can get."
Our lodge seems to be doing quite well for itself. They have a full page in our council's newsletter, while other districts, including Venturing, have had articles about their program intentionally rejected. (There is a reference in the middle of the rag to the web page URL for district calendars.) Still, I think their success is mostly due to the enthusiasm of the youth members.
Anyway, our boys do not wear OA sashes at troop CoH's. That's what lodge flaps are for. If there is a portion of a meeting devoted to lodge business, they can put their sashes on at the time.
When they are not wearing it, might they "carry" it on their belt for convenience? That way, it is available for those district/unit meetings in which a portion is lodge business. Otherwise it is neatly folded and at the ready on their person. Does the guide offer any other way to keep the sash when not being worn?
I am glad your lodge is alive and active, but as far as the wearing of the sash I think you are way off base. The flap looks like just another patch on the uniform while the sash is a standout item that is CLEARLY seen and is identifiable, not to mention great PR for the lodge, especially those struggling. As a DE my SE made me the staff OA Advisor, the lodge at the time had only 4 active members, all lodge officers, no adult advisors, and all from just one district,in other words the lodge had died and had been that way for years. After six months of working with some very talented youth and adults who wanted the lodge resurrected we had them visit every troop in the council and got elections going for the first time in years. The Ordeal was amazing with over 75 candidates from ALL the districts participating, new officers were selected from each of the four districts. The local paper covered the story and the photo of over 100 youth and adults in their OA sashes said it all.
That lodge survived and grew for years to come to over 200 very active members. At every district and council event you could always spot the OA members because of their sashes and people would ask them what that sash represented, no one ever asked them about the flap.
You need a better lodge flap!!!
Don't get me wrong, I think the OA should have business at every roundtable. At the very least, the chief should be asking scouters if things are going well with elections, ordeals, signing up for conclaves, etc ... Make sure scouters ask their boys what they like about the program. Lodge reps should knock on the door of every troop that doesn't show up at roundtable. They should host a cracker barrel or social hour at camporees where every arrowman wears their sash. If they are serving as arrowmen, wear the sash. Dirty it up a little.
Then, when they regroup with their unit or patrol, the sash gets stowed for the rest of the weekend. Just like at summer camp, the boys only wear them for call-out night (which happens to be our visitor night).
I'm not going to stop a boy from stowing his sash on his belt at a troop CoH, but if he has it on his shoulder I'm going to expect some O/A business to be conducted.
That's the way we roll, and nearly every boy in our troop wants to be elected (the younger FC scouts sometimes ask to wait a year). Some boys are quite active. Their enthusiasm with or without the sash is a top sell.
The problem with the OA like the Boy Scout program are too many "anal retentive" adults trying to dictate on a local and national level what is "proper" concerning the OA and sash wear. IMO, if a scout is proud of being an OA member let him wear his sash at other events as well. The flap argument is a straw one at best. If you follow that logic then why not wear just a BSA patch instead of a uniform, because nothing would be recognizable or identifiable to the BSA. The OA sash is the easily recognizable symbol of the OA, like it or not, not the flap, especially to other scouts and the public. It is time for the adult OA members to back off and let the boys decide when to wear the sash for themselves. Again, the OA is not a secret paternal organization so stop trying to model it after one.
It is time for the adult OA members to back off and let the boys decide when to wear the sash for themselves.
They already do this right now, at least in my District. There is alot more freedom to wear the sash at more functions than there has been in the past. Personally, I don't really care when the sash is worn. The uniform and insignia guide says nothing about when to wear it, only how it should be worn with the uniform.
- Apr 2008
Keep the sash for just OA stuff. It can come across as pretentious otherwise. . . and make others wonder, "hey, there's an OA function here."