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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


540 topics in this forum

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  1. Why?

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  2. Changing the Order

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  3. OA "Password"

    • 69 replies
  4. OA Election Question

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    • 110% agree. My troop growing up never had "patrol advisers," or "patrol counselors." Instead  we had the ASPL, Leadership Corps (older Scouts who had served in leadership positions previously) and the SPL. When PL's had issues or needed advice, we went to them. When a Scout was given an assignment to do and he had questions, we went to them. We weren't perfect, but we had a heck of a good troop. Bill Hillcourt would have been proud. I've served in troops that assigned patrol counselors, and in troops that did not. I do not like the concept as it takes away growth opportunities from the older Scouts. Whereas in troop that utilize their older Scouts have better retention and involvement,  because they are not used to guide and mentor the younger Scouts, they tend to not be as active, be involved in the troop, and not really care about anything. Sadly I saw this especially in my last troop. Also the Scouts tend to rely on the adults to solve their problems instead of figuring it out for themselves. Best example of this was  a patrol making a menu. The patrol could not figure out a menu everyone could agree upon, and as time was running out, the patrol counselor ended up making the menu and duty roster for them. Further I have seen too many patrol counselors end up acting like den leaders and treating their Scouts as Webelos 3s. The last example does just that. Another example is the patrol counselor jumping in and taking over from the Patrol Leader instruction on KP to new Scouts. Whenever I had to be a patrol counselor, I stayed out of the way as much as possible, and asked leading questions on what they were doing and whether it was efficient or not. Sometimes they got it. Sometimes they didn't, and sometimes their was was actually better than mine.   I first encountered the patrol counselor or patrol adviser concept when I went through Brownsea 22, which has morphed over the years to NYLT today. My understanding is that the concept is more of a training position than an actual unit position. When you get Scouts and Scouters from multiple units, and use to doing things multiple ways, you sometimes need an outside source to resolve matters in the limited time of training. Even then, our Troop Guides, which at BA22 were youth who had already gone through the course, were the ones to guide and mentor. Only twice did a patrol counselor get involved with patrol matters, one behavioral and one first aid related.
    • Personal experience: I work in HR. I've done work for 2 Fortune 500 companies and a regional hospital network mostly hiring entry level or recent graduate positions. I've never interviewed a candidate because they were an Eagle Scout. If a candidate is qualified but has their Eagle, I'll talk to them, but if I do I don't typically ask about their Eagle unless they bring it up.  The process of earning Eagle makes a young man a better person, but the holding the award itself isn't a magic bullet. Being a Scout and the things I did in my troop while earning Eagle are things I'm proud of, but I did it for me, not for what other people think of me. Too many parents, encouraged by the BSA, think of Eagle as a college/job checklist item. As an HR professional, I value it roughly equivalent to a high school sports team captain, drum major, student body president or lead role in theatre. 
    • Forgot about that one... yep, that would be a nice add as well!
    • @Onslow, your job is to assist the SM (it's on the patch). Telling him everything that he's missing is likely going to cause him to tune you out. So, any progress that you make on that front will be in little nudges. Pick one of those things to work on. Offer to provide it for the SM. Recently, I focused on 1) giving the SPL his leaders handbook and sharing with him some useful web links  and 2) sitting in on weekly PLC meetings. (These are short meetings, mostly after action review.) Mostly, I'm a fly on the wall. BTW, I've found the ASM patrol advisor scheme to be a next to useless division of labor. It's better to train the SPL, APL, guides, and instructors on what to look for. When you have your own crew that can help, as VLSC overlaps with ILSC quite well.
    • The patrol method is covered in considerable detail in the Troop Leader Guidebook Vol. I.  Unfortunately, very few adult leaders read the Troop Leader Guidebook. The Troop I currently participate in recently has recently experienced a succession.  The former SM valued the youth led concept, but failed to facilitate the fruition of a youth led Troop because of the following processes were not practiced. No ILST training for 6 years No annual or semi annual planning conference with the PLC ever. No ASMs assigned as patrol advisors to hold youth leadership accountable, e.g., making sure DRs and menu plans are made, executed properly, and notes taken as to who ducked assigned tasks.  This causes headaches on the advancement side. The new SM seems to be intent on spoon feeding the youth content and completely dismantling any meaningful youth leadership opportunities.  This is partly due to the fact he has a scout son that is TF rank.  Parents/adult leaders of younger scouts tend to care very little about the needs of Scouts Star rank and up, and seem to be more fixated on their own child's advancement and experience over the needs of the unit, or the overarching goal, personal growth.  
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