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Order of the Arrow

Discussions for OA Members and those interested in Scouting's Honor Society. Also includes a private sub-forum for OA Members only.


  1. Western Region

    Sections, Lodges and local discussions

  2. NOAC

    Been to NOAC? Heading there? Chat about the Order's bi-annual gathering

  3. Central Region

    Sections, Lodges and local discussions

  4. Northeast Region

    Sections, Lodges and local discussions

  5. Southern Region

    Sections, Lodges and local discussion


551 topics in this forum

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  1. OA Grace

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  2. Why?

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  3. Scoutmaster O/A Sash

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  4. so few left

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  5. Lodge Flag

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  6. Noise At Noac

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    • To be completely honest, I was all set to sign up for Woodbadge, right up until I saw my first 15-20 minute long beading ceremony.  Watching that, with the song and the fixation of the people involved was enough to make me question my decision.  By the time I'd seen my 3rd ceremony (at kid's events no less) and seen the gleeful critter obsession and "I drank the koolaid" attitude of the people involved I was certain I wouldn't voluntarily spend my own time or money on it.  Mostly because I don't think I could be around that behavior for 2-3 days straight without contemplating violence.
    • How does using 24 months make it simpler though? (Do we mean the same thing?)  Because using 24 months instead of 2 years it means that if someone just turned 12 on the Friday of a camp-out, they are limited to tenting with someone no older than 13 because anyone who is 14 would have to be more than 24 months older (unless they have the same birthday). Whereas if you use "2 years" you can just say, "If you are 12, you can't tent with anyone older than 14" and you don't have to worry about specific dates.
    • OMG yes. I like wood bodge and will recommend it if asked, or if its a logical next step (ie at the end of either job specific or baloo) but not after every single presentation regardless of topic.
    • This is a good practice. We implemented that this year, but with a two-year 'live' period. 
    • After nearly ten years as an adult Scouter, over a twenty-year period, I finally got to do Woodbadge last summer. At Gilwell itself, which was part of the appeal to doing it then.  The value of Woodbadge is that it is a leadership development course. It is ideal, I think, for    a) Scouters who are relatively new but have completed the other basic training sessions - so maybe around 2-3 years of tenure. The next logical step after IOLS or BALOO.     b) Scouters who are returning to scouting after a hiatus for whatever reason (this was my case), a way to jump back in and get reconnected, reoriented.    c) Anyone who has not had serious leadership training through the military, their religious institution, or executive management in business.  It modeled the patrol method, gave a birds-eye view of scouting, and allowed for some concentrated networking and team building - and some of the dynamics thereof. It demonstrated a number of topics and tools to use for leadership development of the Scouts, which is the point. The tickets helped me focus concrete actions to improve service in my district, very practical.  It was valuable to me as someone who, despite having been an Eagle Scout and a scouter, had been away from Scouting for nearly a decade (due to location/availability), as a way to reconnect and reorient, and see what has changed, and to meet people face to face in a Council that covers two and a half continents. But the general leadership content was mostly nothing new - and in fact that I have taught many times in many organizations. It was still worth it though.  Challenges or disadvantages? I think it is overhyped at times. It could be a mountaintop experience for someone who has never been to a leadership training seminar or retreat before, or who is not in a leadership position for work. I remember thinking in my 20s to put it off until I had more experience because people made such a big deal about it - but now having done it i think that would have been the ideal time to do it. Having done JLT/NYLT as a youth, this is just the adult version. The problem here is not Woodbadge itself, but the way it is sometimes presented to those who have not been.  There is also the tendency, in some places more than others, towards cliquishness or a kind of group within the group. I remember at a Council training day, some guy got up and started singing Back to Gilwell - which meant next to nothing to me at the time. More and more scouters joined for their critters, gleefully and almost like kids again. It was a bit surreal. By the time they finished, 90% of the people in the room were up there, leaving the rest of us feeling a bit dazed and confused. Only then did anyone explain what that was all about. If I had not already decided to do Woodbadge that year, that experience would have turned me off the whole thing. Not the way to promote something, in Scouting, in my mind - "here, feeling left out? Good! Here's what you should do to join the inner circle!".  I also do not understand the obsession some people have with critters. It was my patrol for that week. OK. The people were great. There's really nothing about being part of Bobwhite patrol during that one week that I need to carry on about after it is done. Maybe it would be different if I had been an Eagle or a Bear or something, but... meh. The people I spent the week with were good people, inspiring, and I'm happy to connect with them on occasion. I cannot even remember what patrols I was in as a Scout over the period of several years, why would I carry on about what patrol I was in as a Scouter, for one week?  I think the new curriculum is meant to address these last couple issues somewhat, and that is a good thing.  Overall, it is still worth doing, if you can.  
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