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OA's Involvement in Council Events

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I'd like to ask everyone how good is your lodge's involvement in your council programs...district/council camporees, summer camp, etc. Does the lodge plan and run (on its own, with little help from the council or district) its own events involving the council, such as camporees and other events, or is its level of involvement simply a matter of assisting the council in its endeavors? How well is the lodge's presence known at the council's summer camp?


I'm just looking for ideas to better improve my council-lodge relations...

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Play that Twilight Zone theme again.

After many years of seeming (At least to me.)to be the OA is the group that does everything for the Council Summer camp site. We have a Lodge Advisor who has embraced training and from the little that I have read, mainly from the OA web sites. His ideas seem to fall in line with where National sees the future direction of the Order.

Thanks in part to Dim Wits like myself, the Lodge isn't involved in any of the things that you mention. I take a lot of the blame for not keeping up with the information available and having a preset idea/ mindset, that everything that they do revolved around camp. Please don't think for a minute that I am putting them down for that. The cheerful service that the Lodge does for the camp is not only appreciated but vital to it's ongoing success's.

The Lodge does a Representative on the Council Camping Committee. Many of those who staff Summer Camp are OA members. As are many of those who help at and organize district Camporees.However they are not seen as OA members as they are not wearing that hat at the time.I know that sounds double dutch!! But just as I am a member of the Lodge I don't see what I do as me representing the Lodge or the OA, I see it as me doing stuff for the District or Council.

I have been looking over the OA Scoutreach mentoring program and have contacted the Lodge Advisor to get that set up and off the ground.

At present we do not have anyone on the District Committee that represents the Lodge, I think having people who wear that hat could without too much problem fit into some of the District Committees. Without too much thought the Camping and Activities come to mind, but expanding that I see that Membership and maybe Advancement is doable and would fit in with the stuff that I have read. - I still need to read a lot more.

The Twilight Zone? At Lunch today I sat with four Scout Exes. And two Field Directors. Needless to say we were ready to solve all the problems in the world. We discussed the things that they had looked at last week at their conference.I mentioned the new Scout Reach soccer program, which is in this months Scouting Magazine. While this article talks about Spanish speaking Kids. I think that we can change it a little and make it work in our Council and work with the OA to bring home the goods. That being more youth.

I live in a very small town of less then 5,000. I have been a soccer coach and our local Soccer Club has over 350 kids that play during the two seasons.Some of these are little girls and a good number are already in Cub Scouting. Still there are a lot that could be brought in. Many of the Scouts and Crew members have been playing Soccer since they were little. OJ, my son played. The oldest age group that the Club plays is under 13. He kept playing and is now the captain for his school team.

I again need to read up on all of this and hope to work with the Lodge, the Council and the Soccer club to see if we can make this work. While the details are just not there yet!! The idea is a good one - Even if some of it is mine.

Once we /me can start thinking of the Lodge as being more of a resource for the District, not just the improve and get ready for camp squad.Where it could go? I'm not sure but I do think it can only be a good thing.

I see that I haven't answered many of your questions.

The Lodge is very visible at Summer Camp, mainly because of the Tap Out ceremony. This is very impressive and is the high light of parents night. There is a Summer Camp chief at the camp and a member of the Lodge does visit every campsite and remind Ordeal members to come to the OA weekends and seal their membership.

Most of the activities that are done other then the four weekends a year, have been training events for Lodge officers. OJ went to NLS and loved it, even if the trip to Alpine NJ. was a bit much for just a weekend.

The Lodge does aid the Council, with donations or by buying stuff. I needed tables and chairs for the Wood Badge course last year, they paid $2,500 to buy them. They also offered a full scholarship for a OA member to attend.

The dance team, which once was great and then wasn't is now making a come back!! When I was a CM I invited them to dance a the pack Blue and Gold.For the National Jamboree the Lodge makes a Jamboree Flap, and gives at no cost each participant a dozen. Last time they also sold them to the participants at cost.



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To my knowledge, our OA lodge does next to nothing.


Two years ago I was chairman of a district Cub event that was overrun with Scouts. Registration doubled the prior year's numbers and our plans. About two weeks out I asked the OA chapter if they could send some guys to help or at least come for a couple hours early and help park cars. Was told that since we weren't on the OA calendar that it couldn't happen. Their calendar is planned a year in advance.


Several years ago our Pack invited the dance team to perform at a pack meeting. They cancelled with only a couple days notice. We rescheduled them a couple months later. This time they didn't cancel but only one guy showed up. He wouldn't dance but just put his costume on a table as a display.


This spring my older son's troop scheduled it's OA election and arranged for an election team to conduct it. When they failed to show up, the troop's OA Rep conducted the election himself. Big Stink follows. Seems it's against the rules to conduct the election in your own troop. A couple months later we had a redo election with the same two boys being elected -- again.


No, I'm not terribly impressed with the local brotherhood.

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first:Twocubdad,It is not against the rules for a troop to run it's own election.The form does have to be signed by the

chapter advisor,this way he can confirm the eligability of those elected.It is preferred that the elections be run by people from outside of unit,but sometimes it doesn't work out.


1: Our Lodge is fairly large around 2000 members with 20 chapters

which gives us a good pool of resources to draw from.

We have 6 ordeals one at each of our boyscout summer camps

and at 2 Cub camps.we bring 100 to 200 members and candidates

to each of these and get a great deal of work done.

2:Each year the Lodge adopts a camp and plans and impliments a major project financed and manned by Lodge members.The past couple of years we've torn out old rotting benches,graded,dug post holes,welded brackets etc. to build new firebowls at several of our camps.In the past we've built activity shelters at cub day camps.We spend 5 to 10 weekends during the winter to do these projects.

3:We also donate money to the council camps.

4:Most of our Summer Camp Staff are active OA members and they

work with camp rangers to set up brotherhood conversion projects each week of Summer camp.


My chapter is the largest in lodge we have around 300 on the books(10% who participate)We try to give service to the District.

1:In the fall we reserve the Cub day camp in our area to conduct a merit badge workshop for all units in our district.

This year we are doing the Pioneering Merit badge with a side workshop to help troops prepare for pioneering competition that occurs at our Spring Camporee.

2.We supply ceremonies teams for WEBELOS crossovers and arrow of light ceremonies.We pride our selves on not turning any one

down,sometimes we have to scramble to make it happen and will

have to do one short handed.Have a good group of boys and support adults and can pull it off so the cubs are in awe and have no idea that it wasn't quite what we useually do.We did over 40 crossovers last year.We develope our schedule around the packs Blue and Golds.

3:Those of us who are not doing ceremonies are busy contacting and setting up unit elections for the 60 units that we serve.January and February are very busy for us.

4:The chapter plans and staffs our district's Spring Camporee Program.We work with the troops to organise games,Campfire etc.

We start planning right after we finish when we are going over the comments from participants.WE do not exclude non-members

from staff.We use our Fall programs as a training ground for the youth who will be running Camporee.It's a big deal we had around 900 participants last Spring.


It's sad to see some of the refferences I see in these forums

about bad experiances with OA.When I came into the position of

chapter Advisor I saw eliteism and aloofness and sought to change it.I make myself availiable to the leaders and scouts in

district.I have leaders coming to me talking of the problems they are haveing and the successes as well.I do my best to be helpfull.

The OA is not something above the rest of scouting.We are here to serve and it grieves me to hear that there are many who have forgotten this.




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"The chapter plans and staffs our district's Spring Camporee Program.We work with the troops to organise games,Campfire etc.

We start planning right after we finish when we are going over the comments from participants.WE do not exclude non-members from staff. We use our Fall programs as a training ground for the youth who will be running Camporee. It's a big deal we had around 900 participants last Spring."


Thanks wojauwe, you've just appeased my motif for starting this post...I was thinking about proposing that my chapter plan and run a district camporee. The district camporees are already very POORLY run, and I've come to the conclusion that the many youth involved in the OA could probably do a much better job than the few adult volunteers involved in planning and running the camporees.

My lodge has been looking for a good way to make itself known around the council; to the scouts--both to inactive members [of the OA] and to non-members alike. Our chapter program isn't very well developed, even though our chapter chiefs are extremely active and very committed members of our lodge. One of the most impressive things about the OA to me is that it's entirely youth-run.

I feel that if this camporee idea works, it will impress many other scouts, and doing so, raise awareness of the lodge among "OA-deprived" units, and have a tremendous impact on the development of the chapter--in getting more members active and in carrying out the mission of the lodge: to serve the council and scouting.


My lodge is relatively young and we haven't yet instituted an OA program at our council summer camp (though it is on our to-do list)...

The OA members do help out with council events such as camporees, but it's strictly on an assistance level, and never really officially as a lodge.



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9muckraker7.I've pasted the outline to a class that my son and I taught at last years Conclave and will be revisiting this year.Sorry the formatting didn't paste real well,but I hope this can help you get started.Try small things first.








1: Give members a sense of involvement

2: Develop leadership skills

3: Create bond with units

4: Service to District and units

5: Fun





1: For district and units:

A: merit badge clinics

B: staff and help plan District Camporee or WEBELOS Woods.

C: JLT training.

D: Do training sessions at District Roundtables.

E: Coordinate multi unit campout, Hike etc.

( good for units that may not have the resources alone to

make a special trip happen)


2: Fun (note A: is usually a component of all fun activities)

A: pizza party, Ice Cream party (substitute any party food you like)

B: bowling

C: chapter campout

D: regalia building party

E: visit a climbing wall

F: bike trip (or canoe, raft, hike, whatever fits your member's desire and resources)




1.Members choose an event.

A: Ideally you try to decide your calendar for coming year at end of year.

B: We would like to encourage you strongly to try putting events on

your calendar that work with the units in your district. One of our

biggest problems is the mindset of Scoutmasters who see the OA as an elitist group who are taking their leaders away from them. It's important

that we do things that help to strengthen the units and that it's known that the OA is there to augment their program not take from it.

C: definitely do some fun stuff to help develop chapter fellowship

Please incorporate as much fun into your chapter meetings as possible.

Recruit your events committees and have the planning happen outside

of chapter meetings .If you don't do this your whole chapter meeting

will be business and you will drive away all but the few hard core

members. (this was a hard-learned lesson).


2: Define scope.

A: Size of target participant group . (is this a chapter ice cream party that can be held at a chapter meeting or is this a District event with 1000

potential participants ?)

B: Focus of group ( OA ceremony's team or all the WEBELOS

and Boy Scouts in the District) is this a small group with a tight

focus or is this a large group with broad range of interests?

C: Identify goal of event . From having fun with chapter to teaching a

Merit badge.


3: What do you need, to make your program event work?

(This is where defining your scope comes into play)

A: Facilities: What are the physical needs?

Location : meet at the pizza place or bowling alley.

or reserve a State park to camp 1000 people .

B: Program: order pizza and eat and party or set up activities suitable to Keep 1000 scouts and scouters busy for a day.

C: Promotion: got to get people there . As simple as a few phone calls

and email week before pizza party to Compass Point article, letters

to scoutmasters and WEBELOS leaders 6 months before event

with registration forms and presentation at roundtable to promote

District wide camporee.

D: Staff : You need a chair for the event and an advisor.

What's the scope? Do you need a couple of people to make phone calls

and someone to commit to bringing food and someone to plan games?

If this has the large scope of say a District Camporee, you will want to create sub chairs.

a: Facilities : Site: Food: patches: Sanitation.

b: Program: Youth Games Activities: Adult Games Activities: (want

keep those pesky adults out of the way)

c: Shows: Campfire ,openings and closings ,

d: Promotion/registration:





There are some planning details that we should talk about. It's important that you identify all the details you can early in the planning . Be prepared for all of the possible situations you can plan for.

You don't want to be trying to cover for poor planning when the real surprises hit.

At the early stages when you are working with your event chairs and your

planning committee, identify the tasks that need to be done. Try to break

program into jobs that will be easily handled by the staff you recruit for them.

If when recruiting staff you can go to person and give them a clear description of the job you would like him to do, the chance of success

improves greatly.

There are some people who will sign up as staff no matter what, but

some have fear of the unknown and don't want to agree to sign up, for

something that may not fit. Those people may be very willing if you came to them and said " could you call the people on this list and tell them we

are having an ice cream party at this months chapter meeting ?".

The more events you do the better you will get to know your members

strengths and likes. Once that you achieve this level of familiarity you can

target the right people for the right task.







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Oh here's the introduction to that class.






The goal of this class is to give you a few ideas on the kinds of programs

you can plan as a chapter. We will give some of the points that you would

want to consider in the planning process.

Each chapter has it's own strengths and challenges. Your program will

have to take these in to consideration when choosing what best suits your


Chapter program and Chapter Improvement are one and the same. If

you have an active program you have an improving chapter. Word of mouth

is probably the strongest recruiting tool you have. A boy going back to his

unit excited about a chapter event he was part of, has more value than all

the promotional emails, phone calls and newsletters put together.

It's also important that scouts see things being done by the OA ,so they know that the OA is not just an award they won. They need to know that they belong to an organization that has fun and does great things.

We will not be able to go into great detail in the short time of this class

but we hope that you will find some useful information.


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Thanks. I'll be sure to put that outline to good use.


This raises another question: how many chapter meetings per year on average does your chapter have? The lodge executive committee has hypothesized that one of the main reasons why our chapter programs do not work as well as we'd like them to is because of the small number of meetings the chapters have per year. We had about 3 chapter meetings within the last year, and this year we plan to have 6, which I personally think is not enough. The chapter programs really do not get a chance to develop when they only have 3 meetings in a year with low attendance, then soon after the year ends the chapter leadership is changed (new chapter cheifs are elected or reelected). Pretty much the meetings were just a means of telling those in attendance, who were already involved with the lodge (and likely to have known anyway), about upcoming lodge events.

The attendance at the chapter meetings are already extremely low (for my chapter, which boasts about 350 members, a maximum of 40 people [many of whom were vigil honor scouts already greatly involved with the lodge] would attend a meeting). This low attendance rate is largely due to the fact that the chapter meetings aren't very well publicized...They're mentioned in the lodge newsletter a month or two before the meetings, and people do not make note of it...


You were right in saying that word of mouth is probably better at publicizing something than so many newsletters and flyers, and I'd like to make that my goal in assisting the chapter: to give a member of the chapter something to rave about to other members after a chapter meeting, and doing so, get other arrowmen to become involved with the chapter and lodge.(This message has been edited by 9muckraker7)

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We have monthly chapter meetings in conjunction with Roundtable.We do the opening flag ceremony for the adult roundtable then go to our meeting room.July and August we do not useually have an organised meeting.(most of our active youth are on camp staff).

We have an email list with about 60% of our members on it,that we use to pass on chapter and lodge news.

We have seperate ceremonies meetings twice a month starting in

Sept.up to the Spring ordeal season.

Lodge leaders are elected in April and chapters must elect their leadership within the next month.(was added to Lodge rules 2 years ago)They are not installed until end of current program year but work with current leaders to learn their job and to start planning the next years program.

PLC type,chapter leaders meetings are done to plan meeting agendas.Sometimes these are just on line things.The boys set up chat rooms to do this.

Also most major event planning is done in committees and are seperate of Chapter meetings.Commitees report at chapter meetings.It's very difficult to do any actual planning in a 40 person meeting(wow!!I'm amazed you have such large chapter turnout and still have no program).

If you do move to having more frequent meetings you may not have as consistant a quantity of participants.

Whats most important is that you create a structure.Quantity of meetings and participants is irrelevent,if you do not have a planned organization.

Our system fluctuates in implementation from year to year with the coming and going of diferent quality of leaders,but with our structure we are able to maintain a level of program continuity.

As to getting new blood in program.

Our lodge has initiated a program we call the big brother program.Active members in chapter adopt candidates as their little brothers.They call these candidates to insure that they make it to their ordeal and continue to talk to them throughout the year inviting them to chapter meetings and keeping them informed of upcoming OA activities.They continue to mentor them up to Britherhood eligability and encourage them to obtain Brotherhood.

This is a modification of the extended Elangomat program,which had not been working very well.

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I think what you are proposing is great.


Back in the day, those were the kinds of things our OA chapter did. We were in a small district which usually had a spring and fall camporee. The chapter didn't really run them, but we were certainly the service corps (read grunt labor). We parked cars, handled check-in, built the lodge fires for the campfires, sold milk for each meal, and depending on the program ran some of the stations.


We probably only had 10-12 active guys in the chapter and tended to be the older guys who had been-there-done-that as far as the camporees went. Helping run things kept us interested when we otherwise wouldn't have been interested in the camporees.


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I said that a MAXIMUM of 40 people would attend a meeting, that's including the 15-20 adults who come just to socialize over coffee. Other than the 5-10 really active arrowmen who attend (most of them already have a position on the lodge executive committee), there's usually only about 5 or 6 uninvolved youth members who show up to the meetings. Sometimes there have been meetings when very few showed up and we were forced to call off the meeting. Now, if we'd planned on having only 3 meetings in the year, then cancelling one meeting would mean that we'd only have 2 meetings, when often very few people would show up.


On the other hand, this upcoming year looks really promising for chapter development in my lodge. Our lodge chief and chapter chiefs are very ambitious in going about making chapter development their top priority. This upcoming year there will be more chapter meetings, and there's been a plethora of ideas and suggestions from different people in our lodge on how to improve upon, or in this case, establish, the chapter program. The purpose of this thread was to get an idea of how other lodges may go about running their chapter programs. Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas posted here; I'll be sure to put them to good use.

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This is the download page for our lodge's programs and forms.

One of these is the CAP book (Chapter Assistance Program)This was started 3 years ago and is an on going program.This year at our section Conclave the first class will be on every ones schedule,chapters will take class as group.It's an extension of the Lodge assistance program which is section level workshop aimed at helping Lodges develope healthy program.

We will outline CAP and try to get chapters engaged in useing it and adding to it.The idea is that it should grow as we use it.

My son was one of the prime forces in develping the CAP program.The class that I gave you outline for sprang from this


Feel free to use what ever is helpfull to you.

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