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OA ordeal.....what should happen next?

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This thread was spun from another thread.As a parent of an OA scout who completed his ordeal last summer, what should be happening now? Not being OA myself, i don't know what's supposed to happen next, or what should be happening now. Should he be going to meetings, getting phone calls, newsletters, what? I know OA is a brotherhood, there is a work weekend and, i know OA does alot of service, that's it.


Unfortunately our "older" OA members ditched the troop once they became OA, hardly ever see them. I've heard this is a common occurance in our area.


So back to my question, if my son did his ordeal at summer camp, what happens next?

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Ordeals are not usually held in conjunction with summer camp (maybe at the same location), so I think we need a little better description of what your boy's status is. The process is pretty straightforward: get elected, called out, complete the ordeal, pay dues get the book the sash and flap, and start participating in the chapter's activities. Has he just been called out at summer camp or actually completed his ordeal? If completed he should have been invited to attend regular monthly OA chapter meetings where he will find out about the other OA activities. Our chapter has a fun picnic dinner, complete with games and drumming-dancing to welcome all the new members in September.(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)(This message has been edited by KA6BSA)

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In my neck of the woods, most ordeals are completed at summer camp.


What should he be doing?



There is usually a fall & winter ceremonial. Some chapters hold "Beaver Day" & some have annual dinners. Service is the key. Help out where one can. Attend the work weekends, pay your dues & be an all around good Scout!


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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As i stated, he "completed his ordeal last summer". Yes, it's done at summercamp. He probably was invited back at summercamp. Out of site, out of mind. I can't remind him, nothing was received in writing. :(


Don't get me wrong.... it's his fault too for not pursuing it. But he's so busy with the Troop and school work, i'm thinking he doesn't want to add another thing to his schedule. Sometimes it takes more than one blanket invite to a newbie OA mem., especially if he doesn't know much about the orgn.


Remember what it was like to be 15? I don't think i would be to excited about going to a meeting by myself where i knew maybe 1 or 2 people who would rather be with their other friends. A phone call, a letter, something from the lodge may encourage him to go to a meeting. But he has received nothing, no acknowledgement whatsoever, not even a calendar of events (if one even exists). This may explain Eamonns original question of "Where they go?". He may or may not ever go to a meeting, sad but true.



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evmori, Would you recommend i facilitate things and get him to go to a meeting? He's one of those kids that doesn't like the unknown, but once he's there he's dedicated! He's worked Daycamp for the last 3 years (for 2 weeks no pay :) ), staffed WOW, Webelos Weekend 1, Klondike and other district events. He's not one to take the initiative, but ask him and he's there. I guess i'm just hoping he'll want to do it on his own without me saying anything. And i don't know if i'm helping him by not saying anything, given his personality.

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He should do his best to exemplify the Scout Oath and Law. He should promote scout camping and seek to preserve the camping traditions of his unit. He should seek to preserve a cheerful spirit, even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities. He should be an honor camper. He may do this through his troop or through his troop and local OA chapter or lodge. That decision will determine whether he will seek to seal his membership in the Order and become a Brotherhood member. That decision should be up to him.

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Where is your Troop's "OA Representative"? This is a relatively new leadership position, and if your troop doesn't have one, they obviously need one, and he should be mentoring new members and getting them active. The purpose is to promote OA at the unit level. OA is also a "boy led" organization.


Have your son go to the National OA web site http://www.oa-bsa.org/ and click on the "Jumpstart" box at the bottom. This is a new initiative for just the purpose you are describing...to get new members engaged early. Also, the OA chapter meetings are held once a month and should be on your council calendar. If you are not an arrowman, you can help get him there.

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An Arrowman's first responsibility is to his unit. That should be the point of his scouting focus. He should be promoting camping, encouraging good camping skills, and preserving local camping traditions. He should be actively involved in unit level service work. He should be seeking ways to be of service to his fellow scouts and the community. If these are the only things he has time for, he can be a perfectly good Arrowman doing just that.


Now you mentioned he hasn't gotten anything from the chapter or lodge. That is a very bad sign. Most lodge's put out at least a quarterly newsletter to all members, and some chapters also produce regular newsletters. Most likely your son's contact information did not get to the right person at the Lodge, or it was misplaced. That means you won't hear from them until they hear from you, so to speak.


So the first step is to establish contact with the Lodge. You can find out who to contact by asking your Troop OA Representative, your unit leader, an known active Arrowman, or by contacting the council service center if no one locally knows who to contact. Probably the best point of contact would be the Lodge Chief or Lodge Adviser, since they are familiar with the organization of the local Lodge, and know what events are happening next. You may want to turn the project over to your son once you get the ball roiling. After all, a 15 year old First Class (or above) Scout should be able to handle a few phone calls. I would find out three things; 1- how do I start getting the Lodge/chapter newsletter? 2- when is the next Lodge event? 3- when is the next chapter meeting?


Once that information is in hand, I think the next steps are obvious. Sign up for the newsletter, go to the chapter meeting, and go to the event.


After a line of communication has been opened with the Lodge, information should begin to flow about chapter, lodge, and other events. (Though there will probably be the occasional lapse in communication.) What is done with this information is up to your son. He can either become involved in the OA, or not. I would certainly encourage him to do so.


The OA, like most everything else, will give back based on what you put in. No one ever made new friends, had an awesome time at conclave, got the satisfaction of helping candidates complete their Ordeal, or gained a deeper understanding of the Order while serving on a ceremony team, until they showed up.


If I hadn't ever gone to that first chapter meeting with a group of people I didn't really know, I don't know if I ever would have become involved the way I did. If the SM of another troop in my town didn't happen to be a gung-ho OA member, I may not have had anyone reach out to me as a new Arrowman. When I was asked the month after my Ordeal if I wanted to go to the Chapter meeting (had to miss a Troop meeting for it, I think) I made what was a truly life changing decision. I said yes. I went, I met new people, I got lost in some discussion of chapter business, but I had a good time. Then I went back the next time, and the time after that, and then the next lodge event. Next thing I was reserving a spot for something called NOAC and having a blast at Lodge fellowship. Then there was that first Lodge winter banquet at the Ponderosa. And then there was...


Basically OA saved me as a Scout. I was getting board with the troop and what it had to offer. I was at a point where I could have easily turned away from Scouting and toward many of the other "opportunities" of life. Instead I became heavily involved in OA. I stayed involved in Scouting. I did just about everything I could. My Scouting record now includes a trip to the Jamboree, Philmont, 2 NOACs, several Section Conclaves, more Lodge events than I can count, the greatest opportunities for developing leadership skills I have ever had, the greatest leadership challenges I have faced, many hours of service work, and other things too numerous to mention. I have met many great people and made good friends. My uniform is now occasionally graced by a bit of red, white, and blue ribbon with a silver bird hanging from it, and at other times a white sash with arrow, bars, and a triangle in red thread. If it hadn't been for OA, I don't know that any of that would have happened. If I hadn't decided to go to some meeting I knew nothing about, with some people I didn't know, to a place I had never been before, I don't know if any of that would have happened.


So the answers are:

promote Scout camping

work to serve others

be the best Scout and unit member possible

contact the local lodge

get the newsletter

go to chapter meetings (you may be able to find some new friends to ride with)

volunteer to help out with a committee (every Arrowman should be a member of at least one committee, it says so right in the handbook in fact)

go to lodge events and have fun and help out

become the Troop's OA Representative


Beyond that who knows what comes next. Maybe ceremony teams, maybe deciding not to go back, or maybe a path that leads toward becoming National Chief. I certainly can't say where the path will lead. I can say, without any doubt, it won't lead you anywhere if you never take the fist step.


Sorry if this went a bit long and wandered a bit. I just had to try to get the message across that OA offers as much or as little as you want. It isn't everything to all people, but it is something to many people. Oh, and sorry about the change in tone and subject. I think I switched from telling you what your son should do to addressing your son directly somewhere in there, don't know quite why.(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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Check out the council's web site to see what information is there on your council's lodge. Is your lodge big enough to have chapter's?


Ditto to what everyone else has said. At this stage of the year, there probable is a spring conclave or fellowship weekend to help the camps get ready.


Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you to everyone! After Tues. Roundtable meeting (OA also holds their meeting at the same location). I spoke to the Chief of my situation.


Four OA members from our troop (2 are the same age as my son) show up to these OA meetings but NOT troop meetings . I know he thinks highly of these 4 boys, so i proceeded with caution. I asked him how 4 boys from the troop can be so active in OA, yet they don't encourage involvement from new members within their own troop. He stated he wished i had come to him earlier that night, because one of the boys was "boasting" about a recent call out at our troop. The chief said that would have been a great time to ask him (the boastful scout) where the 3 members from last year were?


One thing that explains alot is.... The first two weeks at summercamp, those who did their ordeal were not recognized, or got lost in the shuffle because someone was sick for 2 weeks. Me thinks some cross-training needs to be done at council! I wanted to ask why nothing was done if they knew this happened, couldn't they touch base with all the units that went the first two weeks? seems simple enough.... but there was no follow thru. At least i got the ball rolling for the 3 in our troop.


I guess i'm a little disappointed in the division in the Troop over this, and the lack of support from the existing OA members to the new OA members.


Thanks again for all the great info! :)




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I am glad to hear the ball is now rolling.


I must say, there are quite few... anomalies in the way things are working in your area.


Ordeals at summer camp are very rare, most places hold call outs during camp.


Call out during troop meetings is also quite unusual. Usually troops only get a unit election and a camp promotion visit.


However, there is nothing wrong with this. It is just a bit uncommon based on my experience.


The case of a problem at camp is not so unusual. I know while I was lodge chief the camp program caused a few problems for us, mostly because none of the core group of active Arrowmen were on staff. I ended up having to essentially deputize the chapter adviser for the area of the camp to figure out what could be done, since he knew Arrowmen in the area and was going to be at the camp during its first week. By no means was that one of my shining moments.


OA is, after all, a youth run organization. Those youth have limits on their time and talents. The chapter chief you talked to is likely unaware that those two fellow Arrowmen are not going to troop meetings. He is also probably near to oblivious of those three new members that never showed up. The average chapter probably has dozens of members that are never seen at OA meetings or events. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be attempts made to reach out. It sounds like those 4 OA members from your son's troop aren't doing a very good job of promoting the Order (due to their not encouraging the new members, and due to their not attending troop meetings). It is also possible that they assume if your son was interested he would have pursued the matter with them.


(You mentioned it seems common in your area for older Scouts to no longer be involved with the troop after joining OA. I must say that is a very severe problem. Certainly you would expect officers and the like to occasionally need to skip a troop meeting for some OA related business, but for the average member to have their primary Scouting involvement be through the OA , is very troubling. Someone (that chapter chief perhaps, or some other officer) needs to stress the importance of supporting the home unit to these wayward Arrowmen.)


In any case, I hope that now that contact has been made that thing will work out well. The first step is often the most difficult, hopefully that is true here. Good luck on all this and thanks for the update.

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