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As a Scout, my SM wore his OA sash and went to the Summer Camp OA ceremony. I was intrigued. I began to ask him questions about the OA. He later helped us start an Indian dance group. We made costumes and danced during one COH.


As I got older, there were a few interested adults in the OA. I was not sure what the OA was or what we were doing. Some of the adults talked to me. I appreciated it even though I didn't understand how important it was. They made me feel comfortable and involved.


As I got older and learned to drive, the adults were not as important for transportation. But something else happened, I wanted to expand my interest in Indian dancing and didn't know how. Some interested adults stepped forward.


They arranged a meeting place, began to help with resources, drums, costumes, and later teepees. They were always in the background and always helping. I will forever be grateful to them for their time and efforts.


The adults didn't run our program but they were essential in every aspect right down to just wearing the OA sash like my SM did during that first Summer Camp.




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I would not approve (if I was on my lodge's adult selection committee [a group that consists of the adviser, staff adviser, and SE in our case]) an adult that will only be able to set an example. They should already set an example of what I Scout should be. They should already encourage troop members to be active in Scouting events, including OA. Now if they can help drive kids to one OA event each year, then that is a real contribution. If they can teach people how to to Indian beadwork one Monday night each month, then that is a real contribution. Adults should only be brought into the OA if doing so will benefit the Scouting community in some way. If all they are going to do is what they are already doing, then that is of no advantage.


Youth are a completely seperate issue, so I won't address that here. The same also holds for adults that were inducted as youth.


Now for the Vigil Honor...

If someone is actively seeking it, that is reason enough, by itself, to withold it in my opinion. If they actively seek it, then later mature to the point of having a better understanding of the spirit of cheerful service, then they may be ready. The Vigil should not be given purely as a reward or award. It should certainly not be given to some old fart who no longer can contribute simply because he needs another life time achievement award. (I was on a selection committee that did this. I was too young at the time to really appreciate what we were doing, and our chairman didn't bother to explain it very well.) This year I ensured the mistakes of the past weren't repeated. The Vigil Honor must be given based at least as much upon what you expect someone to do in the future as what they have already done. If all they are doing is seeking a new title, you have no reason to think they will continue in service after they recieve it. The problem is getting the youth members of the committee to understand these things. Though this can be done if the adviser works with the chairman in advance and the chairman then sets an appropriate tone and clearly states the purpose of the Vigil Honor and the criteria to be used for selection.

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Perhaps I don't understand the Vigil "honor". What I have observed are:


A new DE is assigned the job of OA staff advisor, and within 2 years she is wearing a Vigil sash.


Scouters with 30+ years of quiet service to their units who are still "Brotherhood", although they make sure that they deliver a good program and that their scouts get to every chapter meeting, camporee, Ordeal, Fall Fellowship, summer camp, etc.


Which is the more worthy contribution to Scouting? Is this even a criteria for Vigil? Or is it a selection based on visibility and familiarity?

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OAHB, 89/89, pages 120-123.


Once per year, the Lodge Chief appoints a VH nominating committee (*about 5 to 10) composed of youth (*who can be VH) who are approved by the Lodge Advisor and Scout Executive. Then an adult Advisor Consultant is selected by the Lodge Chief and the Staff Advisor.


Open discussion is the preferred method to make the selection. The approval is based on general consensus. If a vote is taken, only VH committee members age 21 and under are eligible. The selection is then sent to the National Committee for approval.


1. The selection is made from a list of Brotherhood members who are actively registered with the lodge and the BSA and HAVE BEEN BROTHERHOOD FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS.


2. A person is nominated according to the Quota system. It is 1:50 based upon total lodge membership.


3. The selection is based on distinguished service relative to age.


4. 50% of the nominations should be for candidates younger than age 21.


5. Professional Scouters do not count against the quota for total nominations but is counted for the total number of adults selected. These adults must meet the 2 years service as a Brotherhood member requirement.


...the National office then reviews the petitions for VH.


That is the procedure, hopefully everyone followed it.



(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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before our current vigil selection commitee chair(might be wrong term)started monitoring our selections there was a good deal of politics influencing selections and often times there were adults selected just because they held certain positions.

Now anytime a reason for chosing a person strays,we get to hear this paragraph from the OA handbook.

"The vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition

reserved for those arrowmem who,by reason of [exceptional service,personal effort and unselfish interest,have made distinquished contributions beyond their position or office to

one or more of the following:their lodge,the Order of the Arrow,Scouting or their Scout camp.]Under no circumstances should tenure in Scouting or the Order of the Arrow be considered as reason enough for Vigil Honor recomendation"

Strong emphasis placed on bracketed part.

during the day of selection we hear these words at least a dozen times,it's traditional that a tally is taken of times this comes up,we have it deeply ingrained.

Some of the older youth are real good at spotting the points of disscusion that will generate the chant and will give Larry a pained look before he begins the litany.

the rules stated by FB are folowed.

Our Lodges bylaws set the structure of selection committee.

We have 25 Chapters split into 3 service areas. Chapters and service areas have chiefs and advisors.Lodge has chief and 4

different focus Vice chiefs each with advisors.This is our lodge executive council as well as our Vigil selection commitee.

As with all lodge votes there must be a quorum of voting youth.We do not allow Vigil eligable members to be present.

They can send an approved proxy, So Board is mostly Vigil

with some ordeal and less than 2year Brotherhood members.

The adult selection is very difficult,As Fuzzy said there can be no more adults selected than youth,and we always have quite a few more adult nomination forms to consider than youth.

Our lodge can select 50 vigil members,this year we had 40 last year 26.There were not a lot of Vigil eligable youth to be


there have been years though when we've had a bumper crop of

eligable and deserving youth.we do not even consider adults

until the youth selection is done.It is possible that we would have no space for an adult,eccept for proffesionals who do not count on the quota.I don't know of that happening but the percentage has been heavy toward the youth side before.

The political make up in the OA is different from Lodge to Lodge depending on the people involved.Sometimes people are chosen for the wrong reasons.

This has occurred in our Lodge's past,but our current makeup works well for selecting people who reflect the spirit of the Honor.The only one selected from my chapter this year is a scoutmaster who has no elaborate titles in his resume.He is very low profile.But he is at every service project.If you work

beside him and keep up, you have worked your butt off.

When his troop goes to summer camp he finds a service project that will take up the week and involve anyone who finds themselves with nothing to do.This man is the heart of service and is a fine example of what Vigil is.I felt more pleasure in his selection than my own.

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Same reference:


Select the Indian name and its English equivalent for the candidate...from the Lenni Lenape language.



Although the name is honorary, it is symbolic in nature, it is functional, and it belongs to that person as a suitable representation of the distinguished work accomplished.


It is not a matter of "getting" another award. It has more to do with who you are. When the VH committee struggles to find a name, then it is reasonable to assume that the person has little to reference. That is a principle that should be known by all.




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One note on names, I believe names in other native dialects are now allowed. The key is that a credible source must be used for the translations, and the name must be respectful.


As for visibility of service, this is always an issue. It is sort of like a tree falling in the forest without anyone to hear it. This is especially true since the nominating committee must be made up of youth. Therefore they are not very likely to know about some SM who has dedicated years to Scouting but hasn't been seen at an OA event during their lifetimes. To help correct this problem, most lodges will allow a nomination form to be sent to the committee detailing the service of the individual in question. In this way those who perform their service in a quiet or behind the scenes manner can be more easily considered by the youth who may not have ever noticed them.


As for using the lodge's executive committee as the Vigil Honor nomination committee, I would not personally favor that approach. For one there are far too many ways for such a process to become political, when the committee members are all holders of elected offices. Another issue would be maintaining the confidentiality of the proceedings whith such a large group. However, if this method works for your lodge, and your lodge chief, lodge adviser, and Scout executive approve, then I suppose it is just as good as any other system. The only real advantage I can see to such a system is the relatively equal geographic distribution.

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Proud Eagle,


I guess you are responding to my post. If you are, then what I posted was from the Order of the Arrow Handbook. There is not another method prescribed that I know of in the literature. There are not choices given on how to elect a person other than a few guidelines that have some variance within each item.


"As for using the lodge's executive committee as the Vigil Honor nomination committee, I would not personally favor that approach. For one there are far too many ways for such a process to become political, when the committee members are all holders of elected offices." Proud Eagle


The lodge's executive committee is not asked to also be the selection committee.


OAHB, 89/89, pages 120-123.


Once per year, the Lodge Chief appoints a VH nominating committee (*about 5 to 10) composed of youth (*who can be VH) who are approved by the Lodge Advisor and Scout Executive. Then an adult Advisor Consultant is selected by the Lodge Chief and the Staff Advisor.


It does not mention the Lodge Executive Committee.


As for political action or politics, I have always known the OA to be the hotbed of political action on all levels. I am not sure that one can arrange for it not to happen.




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It appears that maybe Fuzzy has chosen to ignore me.

Actually the way our set up is with the chapter chiefs and lodge officers being the selection committee has not created any political issues.These are the active youth in our lodge

and with 25 or 26 (they've been merging some districts) chapters represented.There is a better chance that an obscure

scout or scouter would have some one on the committee who knows them.

Any scout or scouter in the Council, OA or not can submit a nomination.The committee hears the reading of the reasons for reccomendation.Then if someone knows the person they can speak on their behalf or sometimes against.And as I said in earlier

post we strictly follow the criteria for selection I quoted from handbook.If a person brings up rank ,office or tenure they are stopped and the selection criteria is made clear.They

can still give the persons rank and offices.But everyone needs to know that there needs to be something beyond that.

It's true that these are elected officers doing the voting

but how is it less political if a small group is selected by the top leaders?

Most of us have no idea who has had a a form sent in.

The members of our executive board are scatterd over a very large area and variety of chapter program styles.

Our system was set up the way it is because the earlier system

could be too easily manipulated by Adults in high offices.

The youth officers are constanly changing from year to year,it

would be very difficult for this group to do much in the way of

political manipulations.

It's true that nothing is perfect and you can find flaws in any method.

The most common avenue for abuse is that if only one person on

board knows nominee,that person's selection rides on the oratory skills of the speaker.Advisors and youth can speak.

This is one reason for the repetition of the criteria,it takes the edge off of an adult who is listing off a long list of titles and offices to awe the voters.(useually an adult speaking about an adult).

I've been present at 5 selection sessions and what I've seen

has strengthened my faith in the integrity of our youth leaders.Much of what I've heard in critisism has hinged on a

lack of integrity on the part of our brothers.It is sad for me to think that this is a common problem.

True it is present but my experiance has shown it to be an exception not a rule.

If FB's experiance has been as stated then there is something seriously wrong with the OA were he is seeing it.

Yours in Brotherhood,

Quilawelensitchewagan Wojauwe

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I am not sure you directed a statement or a question in my direction until your last post.


If you meant for me to respond to your previous posts by making a judgment on how you conduct business, I am not sure that would count for much.


Since I have not posted how business is done in the lodges I have been associated with, I am not sure your assessment about something being seriously wrong has validity.


If you are referring to my personal observation about politics being part of the process, then you have already agreed with that part from your own post.


The original question had to do with a D.E, being elected to the Vigil after two years of service. My posts were directed at assisting with that answer.


I am glad that you are satisfied with the way business is run in your lodge. It sounds like you do not have the kind of problem that was originally posted.


Is there another issue that I have missed? If so, I apologize for the oversight.




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My apologies I read more into this line than I should have

" As for political action or politics, I have always known the OA to be the hotbed of political action on all levels. I am not sure that one can arrange for it not to happen. "

It also seemed like you'd ignored my post since you responded to Proud Eagle as if his comment on EBoard being selection committee had to do with you when it was to me.

In my long winded way I was trying to express how our method

discouraged the DE getting Vigil automatically just for being

a DE.

I got caught up in things and should of gone back and reread

your post before putting in mention of it.

Again my apologies.



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Thanks for you kind response. Picking up and answering a post is tricky, especially if it is not prefaced with the person's name. I am guilty of doing it. I must admit when a post is lengthy, I may read too fast and not comprehend the total content. Guilty again.


Politics, as I see it, is difficult to reduce or eliminate but you may have found an answer to curb the problem. I did return and reread yours.


Also scoutldr,


What happened or how do you interpret from what has been said in regard to your situation with the DE?




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This probably should be a different thread.It was brought up here though.

Often times we will get a great English name suggested for a new Vigil but the translation to Lenni Lenape causes some problems and we try to find something close.Sometimes I think

the spirit of the nominators suggested name.I hope Proud Eagle's statement the we can use other native lanquages is true,We'll check on it maybe it will broaden our choices some.

As for respectfull.I was initially not happy with my name when it was given.My son and my first chapter chief when I became Advisor were the ones who chose my name and once they explained their thinking,I was good with it.

Quilawelensitchewagan Wojauwe loosly translates as Distressed

Leader,there were several shorter ways of saying it but Robbin

and Travis found the longest name that would fit line on nametag.They explained that when I came into my Advisor role I had great expectations of what a chapter with so many members

could accomplish.It had never occurred to me that there would be such a small percentage of those who were willing to help.

Thus my disstress.I was told that if that situation were to change,I would still be disstressed, when I tried to pronounce my name.To others my name may not seem respectfull but knowing

that it was chosen by the ones who had shared my challenges and shared my dreams and helped us get closer,I wear it with pride.



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OOPs! I didn't edit very well.

"Sometimes I think the spirit of the nominators suggested name." should be

Sometimes I think the spirit of the nominators suggested name is not captured in the alternative .

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I would recommend the secondary definition of Anguished Chief, same words. It implies the deeper emotion of a high aim missed from one that is generally on the mark. This does not indicate that you were Nundajelensin or Schwilawe and that you are not Tawonnalogewagan.












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