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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


555 topics in this forum

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  1. Is this just wrong? 1 2

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  2. Conclave fees

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  3. NOAC lodge patches

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    • 35 replies
  4. Brotherhood Tokens

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  5. what does OA do? 1 2 3

    • 36 replies

    • Not saying these will be eliminated, but would think these are  Organizational structure about the unit (Districts, Councils, Areas, Regions).   Charter organizations Land - Council & High Adventure Bases Ranks - Eagle, Life, Start, etc. Blue Cards Paper books Scout shops Declaration of religious principles
    • The most obvious #1 "sacred cow" as you mentioned is Eagle Scout. It is synonymous in the public with Boy Scouts of America as evident by that term in literature and movies. Also there is a large active alumni group, NESA, and even larger number of Eagles who have supported the Scouts in the past. That support would be jeopardized.   Further, the BSA has turned it into a goal or "brand" and is the very reason why girls wanted to join the BSA. So it may be considered the "holy of holies," with no prejudice towards our Jewish brethren (why it is lowercase). So I think Eagle Scout is safe. Your reference to the OA is a very valid one. Some would consider it a sacred cow. On the plus side, the OA does a lot of work at the council level, to the point that some call the OA, the BSA's slave labor corps. And that does not include all the small events Arrowmen tend to run and organize. OA also does a lot of volunteer work at the national level with the HA work programs and jamboree service corps. A lot of labor costs are save via the OA. And historically Arrowman tend to be dedicated Scouters providing leadership throughout council programs and financial support through money AND gifts-in-kind, i.e.supplies given and equipment loaned. Plus it is "Scouting's National  Honor Society" or whatever it calls itself today. But if BSA is anticipating the lose of camps and HA bases, is the OA still needed? As an old school Arrowman, I would say NO, because camping, both promoting it and taking care of the properties, is a the core function of the OA, the heart if you will. In this politically correct world we live in, is OA's "cultural appropriation" a liability or an asset? LIABILITIES, because we do have lot of lodges doing things l wrong  AND we have a general population that refuses to have discussions and are unwilling to listen. After all the OA has helped preserve and promote Native American culture over  the years ( see my posts on that topic).While Camping and "Cheerful Service" are the heart of the OA, the spirit or soul of the OA was the Naive American symbolism. And that is slowly dying. Are the membership stats indicative of a successful program or failing program? While individual lodges may be succeeding, over all the OA is a failing program with the moss of membership and failure to retain members. So why maintain a program that will have no purpose (HA bases and camps), its traditions are a liability (AIA), and membership is shrinking?  I hate to say it, but I see the OA being sacrificed off the bat. And if it isn't, it will be a slow, painful, disheartening death. I think we are already there in my area. And I am not anti-OA. I am a former youth officer and chapter adviser. I have brought dead and dying chapter back to life twice in my career. So I have drank the OA Flavoraid, and probably would still if it wasn't for my sons. I knew problems were there, and predicted some of them when the election procedures changed. But I ignored them because I was living in the past, thinking of the OA of my youth. My sons's lack of interest, and the reasons for it, made me realize how serious the problem has become. And I don't think recent autoacceptance of SMs and reducing time to become a  Brotherhood member will resolve them.
    • I think one of the sacred cows will need to be the Chartering Organization concept as the "middle man" in the bureaucracy. Authority of Scouting units will need to be controlled by BSA and not outsourced to a CO. There could still be a relationship of some sort with these other organizations but final authority and control will need to lie with BSA.    edit: as far as recharter, the problem was an amalgamation of re-charter and membership. These are two separate items and need not exist together as paperwork. The Charter (if it continues) is an agreement between a CO and the BSA and does not include any membership info.    
    • Spinning off from the Major Changes Announced thread, was hoping we could focus on just one idea to come up. That of the 'sacred cows' , in other words, those things which have been unreasonably held to be off-limits for review or reform. Or as @sentinel947  offered, "an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above criticism".  Healthy reform requires us to be able to say everything is on the table, so we can really identify what is core and what is not. Which services are really necessary, and which are there simply 'because we have always done them that way'.  What long-held practice or idea needs to go? What needs to stay? Not just because of nostalgia, but as essential to what Scouting is?  I think one obvious sacred cow is recharter. It makes no sense with the technology we have, to revise our lists of volunteers and scouts once a year, rather than on a real-time rolling basis. Attached to that is the way we register adults - no reason to fill out the application more than once, even when you add positions, and no reason to require it to be on paper/pdf rather than directly online.  But I wonder about program - what about something like the Order of the Arrow? Is it a sacred cow or something important and essential? I've seen several posts about the drop in membership alongside the loosening of requirements. Perhaps the question is, does it still make sense in the way it is organized, perceived, and conducted? Could it evolve into this proposed volunteer corps for 18+ young adults, should it be more like the national honor society where it is just a kind of recognition instead of an active group, or should it combine with venturing to become the program for high school youth, or something else entirely?  Everything can be discussed. That's the whole point of saying 'no sacred cows'. But just allowing discussion does not mean we are taking them to the chopping block. We have to be able to discuss even Eagle Scout Award, even if we know there's no BSA without it. It can still be discussed.  So, what are the sacred cows?  
    • I hate to say it, but I think Sea Scouts, the second oldest program in the BSA ( since 1912) may be one of the "sacred cows" that will be sacrificed. Between cutting off program at 18 and doing away with area and regions, I got a real bad feeling about this. The only way I could see it being saved is if they allow the area volunteers these events. And as good a program as Sea Scouting is, I would hate to lose it. But someone either here or elsewhere, said that BSA could possible hand it over the the USCGA to run since it is their official youth program. Don't kill the messenger. I was an Ordinary Sea Scout. Sea Scouting kept active for a while after turning 18.
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