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Rooster7

OA may be a nice organization, but...

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The OA has a rite of passage which the organization encourages Scouts to be keep secret (the Ordeal). They do this in the interest of keeping the ceremony exciting. While the purpose may be noble, it is contrary to BSA policy. No matter how harmless the ceremony, once we condone secrecy within Scouting (regardless of the purpose), it opens the door for predators to use it for their own purposes. Is this a national problem, or is it something that the individual chapters may be guilty of doing? BSA should put a stop to it before OA chapters find themselves in the headlines for reasons that make us all cringe.

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Rooster7

The OA doesn't hold these events secret. They are even published. However, it has always appealed to the curiosity of the scout going into the OA, if he knows little about what he is going to experience. Most scouts have heard through others the basics. I went through ordeal a few years ago as an adult and there was nothing untoward about it. As a matter of fact, the ceremonies were very meaningful to me. I have since received my Brotherhood and that was even more meaningful. I always say to a scout nominated for OA if he asks, that I can tell him about it but he will have more fun if I don't.

I do have a question about the Mic-O-Say program where members are sworn to secrecy about ceremonies. Is this program sanctioned by BSA? I didn't know it existed until the other day when it came up in the "So What Camp" thread. There is nothing in all the BSA literature that I have read and not mentioned in the handbook under opportunities for older scouts.

When I went to the BSA website, I didn't find a way to contact National office, except through local council, so that's what I did. I haven't heard back yet. Maybe Bob White will know who to email at National.

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Mic-O-Say is quite popular in our area. Many older boys spend as much time in Mic-O-Say activities as they do in OA. I'm sure someone will subsequently post more information than I will (and probably correct me in the process) but my understanding is that Mic-O-Say developed as an alternative to OA. At some point along the way, in the 70's or 80's if my memory is correct, BSA officially associated with OA to the official exclusion of Mic-O-Say. Mic-O-Say's growth slowed thereafter, leaving it a local or regional program. I am not in Mic-O-Say, but an adult I met at my Brotherhood Honor weekend told me that the emphasis in Mic-O-Say is more on personal growth and development, whereas in OA the emphasis is more on service. My $0.02.

 

Stressbaby

 

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It's not the ceremonies that bother me...Or at least not the ceremonies that OA folks intend to conduct.

 

Here's where the danger is - if he asks, that I can tell him about it but he will have more fun if I don't.

 

Okay, so say a boy, for the sake of excitement and fun, tells the OA Scouts and the adults involved that he doesn't want to know. Now, along comes a pedophile. In the middle of the night, he wakes up "Jimmy" and tells me "Yeah, as part of the Ordeal, you have to come with me and (you fill in the blank). This is exactly how these perverts acquire their victims, by deception. Then they rely on intimidation and embarrassment to keep the kid from talking about it. By encouraging this attitude (let's keep it secret for the sake of fun and excitement), OA is creating the perfect environment for your friendly neighborhood sicko.

 

I think it's best (safer) if the boys know up front exactly what the ceremony entails. We shouldn't give the boys the option of not knowing. There's too much to risk. And BSA, of all organizations, should know better.

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Rooster,

You have a point but I don't think there is much of a chance of what you are saying to happen. 1st, adults inducted in the OA must be nominated by the Troop then approved by the local chapter. I don't know how much of a backround check they do but I do know at least in my area they do check anything they aren't sure of or have questions about. For a pedophile to get into the OA as an adult is not as easy as you think. I actually think it would be easier for a pedophile to become an adult leader in a Troop!

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I wanted to clarrify some of the information posted on the Tribe of Mic-O-Say in this thread. I have been a warrior in the tribe for 4 years and helped build a daughter program in our local council two years ago. I have also been in the OA for ten years, am a Brotherhood member and former lodge officer. Just to make sure you know I have a firm grasp of both programs.

 

The Tribe of Mic-O-Say was founded in the 1920's in Pony Express Council by legendary Scout Executive H. Roe Bartle. To make a long story short, he had some connections with a Native American from the northern planes who gave him the name Lone Bear. He then started the summercamp program at Camp Geiger in St. Joseph, MO. Bartle ran the program for a few years before taking the Scout Executive position in Kansas City, Heart of America Council. Bartle again started the tribe up in the council camp that was later renamed H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, MO. Bartle himself served as the Chief of the Tribe for many years after that and eventually retired from Scouting to become KC mayor.

 

Today the Tribe is still operating at Camp Geiger and Bartle Scout Reservation each summer. It is a summercamp program and has no ceremonies or activities that occur during the rest of the year. The original poster is correct that it is geared more towards personal development and not as an outdoor camping society, like O.A. I have witnessed dedication equal to, if not greater in members of Mic-O-Say than I have in any Arrowmen.

 

National BSA has attempted on several occassions to take Mic-O-Say natioal. I have even heard the rumor they approached H. Roe Bartle first about the program and was turned down, so they went with O.A. The Tribe draws more older Scouts back than any troop in our area and I am told made Bartle one of the premier Scouting camps in the country. I am a little biased, but then it is a great program that I have seen change many young men, myself included.

 

Light Crow

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Welcome, light crow. I am an adult Runer in the Tribe tapped as a youth in 68 and currently active in the St. Joe area. Thanks for the brief history. MOS is not a secret orgainzation its ceremonies and activities are open to parents who might be concerned or have questions.

 

The boys and adults who are tapped or called to join the Tribe are asked to keep the traditions and ceremonies to themselves to heighten the experience of the scouts who wish to join. Watching 3rd year scouts who are elegable to join during the week prior to them being called is exciting to watch, as they realize that their behavior and actions way heavily on their chances. As a youth Runner and currently an adult Runner I have been very closely involved in how new members are treated and supervised. We are trained in safety and all facets of youth protection.

 

Total disclosure of everyting is all areas in order to prevent 'bad' people from taking advantage is in my mind relinquishing the responsibility of leaders to ensure a good, and safe scouting experience. Some things are better when they are a mystery and lead to an experience that is unforgettable throughout the lives of young scouts.

 

Preperation and vigilance are the keys to the prevention of unscrupulous (sp) people taking advantage. Having trouble finding the words....don't throw out the baby with the bath water just in case the water is too hot.

 

 

Soap box getting tired.

YIS

 

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Ed, just to clarify your statement that the Troop nominates adult OA candidates. It is my understanding that the Troop Committee (not SM or SAs) may nominate adult candidates if and only if the youth elect a youth candidate.

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For a pedophile to get into the OA as an adult is not as easy as you think. I actually think it would be easier for a pedophile to become an adult leader in a Troop!

 

I hear what you're saying, but...

 

Pedophiles can have scouting careers. That is to say, not all of these guys plan out in advance where, when, and how. They're opportunistic. These men could enjoy scouting for years and have every appearance of respectability. They may well be satisfying their sickness in some other manner or in some other area of their life. However, if you give them an opportunity such as this, and they happen to be in the OA, then I think many would exploit the situation. Do you think OA has a better screening process for their candidates then the Catholic Church has for their priests? That wasn't a shot a Catholics...I'm just making a point. These guys exist and there are more of them than we like to believe.

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The only problems I have with OA at the moment is 1) the youth elected aspect and 2) activities replacing the troop activities in importance.

 

1) We have a boy in our troop who attends all the activities, has advanced regularly, and has a number of badges beyond. He is a little slower than the rest of the boys but not enough to be considered mentally challenged....the boys don't like him well and he could never be considered popular. As a result I don't think the poor kid will ever be elected and I have seen less qualified/more popular boys elected. Some do the ordeal, some don't get around to it. Most never attend OA after. I think this kid wants to join, I know he always looks disappointed. Really don't like the poopularity contest OA uses.

 

2) Not in our troop, but in some the older boys are more active and more interested in OA. I hate to see it replace troop activities in their minds.

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1) We have a boy in our troop who attends all the activities, has advanced regularly, and has a number of badges beyond.

 

Maybe no one feels that he is someone that they want to ride the river with.

 

Maybe he should do some lobbying among the voting members of the troop.

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yarrow:

 

When's the last time OA has come in to your troop to make a presentation? OA is not supposed to be a popularity contest.

 

Our OA local chapter (actually the entire lodge) is pushing presentations and home elections rather than holding elections at camp. This seems to have improved the process significantly. The other thing I did for this year was print up a ballot of all the boys who were eligible with the voting instructions. It helped a lot.

 

As far as OA replacing troop activities -- we're always hearing troop comes first. Hasn't been a problem with our lodge.

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Ah, the joys of a National Program administered by volunteers. The OA in my area does little but talk about the grand plans they have. I have been with my son's troop for 6 years and havent seen an OA rep from outside the troop once. We have elections administerd by our troop OA rep. It appears to be nothing but a popularity contest. It may be different in other places.

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We hold elections every year. I realize that OA is not supposed to be a popularity contest, but the reality is that it sometimes is. I like the at home elections. Less peer pressure. Is that in keeping with the process/ is is allowed? Does each boy submit qualifications on the ballot sheet?

 

New boys have difficultly in balloting as they know less boys in a troop as large as ours (70+). I know the first year my boy voted he said he cast for the boys that crossed him over because he could remember their names.

 

Our OA election official explained the process and yet last year we didn't have anyone elected out of 70. We then revoted after the SM explained that the boys that were standing were all supposed to be qualified and then we ended up with one. My boy is quite young and so not really qualified yet, but the boy I spoke of is. From where I am standing it looks every bit a popularity contest.

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