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OA eligibility requirements

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I functioned as an OA chapter advisor for two years, so I think my knowledge is pretty accurate.


I presume that you are talking about youth eligibility. There is no minimum requirement for membership in a unit. A scout must be first class and meet the nights camping requirement. Six of those nights must be in a "long term" camp operated under the auspices of BSA. This usually means summer camp. However, for any 24 month period, only one session at summer camp can be counted. In other words, if a scout goes to a regular summer camp two years in a row, only one of those sessions is counted. The balance of the nights camping must be met in "short term" events, which are undefined. In our troop we have always counted any non-summer camp nights to meet the total. The practical effect of the way nights camping are accumulated is that it becomes very difficult for any youth to qualify in less than two years, unless he belongs to a very active unit and participates in every camping event.


I have never seen any criteria spelled out for scoutmaster approval. I have heard that some troops arbitrarily impose a requirement of two years membership. There is nothing in the OA requirements that prohibits this, but as an OA advisor I discouraged it when I was asked. If the troop wants to raise the bar for eligibility, there is little the OA or anybody else can do about it, because the information about eligibility is compiled at the unit level. When a scoutmaster has sent me a list of eligibles prior to an election, I accepted it as accurate and approved by the scoutmaster. I trust scoutmasters and all scouters until somebody demonstrates they are unworthy of trust. If a scoutmaster believes that a particular scout may be too young to appreciate and understand what the OA is all about, and therefore leaves such a scout off the list, I would have no problem with that judgment.

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