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I would ask your friend if he's had an OA election team come to a Troop meeting, show the video, give the presentation, and hold an election. If so, he has an idea of what election means, and that OA is an honor camping society with cheerful service as one of it's foundations. If he knows that, and is still asking why he should belong, then he should probably decline if he gets elected...



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Does he want to learn more about himself and his ability to serve others?


Does he want to work with others in providing service?


Does he want to learn about and promote camping traditions?


Does he want to have a chance to get together with some of the best Scouts and Scouters in your entire council?


Does he want a chance to make new friends and have some fun doing new things?


Does he want to learn about and practice leadership outside the troop?


Does he want to learn how to make himself a better Scout?


If the answer to any of those question is yes, then he has a reason for being in the OA.


If the answer to all of the above is a "no", then he should probably not be in the OA.


OA is an honor society. Its purpose is to honor Scouts and Scouters who eximplify the Oath and Law in their daily lives, who are a friend to other Scouts, and who uphold camping traditions. It is for such people that OA exists. The OA isn't about slave labor for the Scout camp, it is about recognizing people who live up to the ideals of Scouting.


Now, OA also offers many opportunities for service. Sometimes these are fun, sometimes they are not so fun. One of the great things about OA is it helps teach the value of that part that isn't so much fun.


OA also gives youth additional chances to learn about and practice leadership.


Finally, it offers a chance for members to have a lot of fun. I really mean that. The Ordeal isn't supposed to be all fun and games. It is, after all, and ordeal. There is much more to experience besides the Ordeal. There are fellowships, Conclaves, and high adventure opportunities. These events are focused on promoting the concept of Brotherhood between Arrowmen and are fun. There is also the opportunity to make some new friends.



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Calmsi1ence, I want you to get involved with your lodge and come back in exactly one year and try to say the OA is "not a ton of fun"! Go to a fellowship weekend your lodge is having! Go to your Section Conclave! Go to the next NOAC and TELL ME THE OA IS NOT FUN! THE OA IS GREAT!!!!


See, the best thing about the OA is that while the majority of lodge functions are geared towards having fun, the service opportunities are also meant to be fun: through brotherhood and cheerfullness. This is what the OA teaches a scout to realize, and if you really grasp it, you will experience joys which many other people who aren't accustomed to the concepts of the OA never will.


The opportunities the OA provides for its members are unmatched. The OA offers its members a chance to spend two weeks at Northern Tier for $100, Philmont for $150, and Sea Base for $250! There are so many other opportunities for scouts in the OA: to make new friends, to provide service to scouting, to HAVE FUN!


To ask the question "why should one be in the OA" is just like asking "why should one live the scout oath and law in one's everyday life". The crux of the Ordeal membership of the OA is providing service to your unit: to be an exemplary scout, and a friend to all. The purpose of the OA is to strengthen the ideals of scouting.

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I don't really think I completely answered the question in my last post.


The OA's purpose is fourfold:


"To recognize those campers -- Scouts and Scouters -- who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives, and by such recognition cause other campers to conduct themselves in such manner as to warrant recognition.


To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit.


To promote Scout camping, which reaches its greatest effectiveness as a part of the unit's camping program, both year-round and in the summer camp, as directed by the camping committee of the council.


To crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others."



Does it need any further explanation than that?


The OA is there to INTENSIFY the scouting experience by instilling in the minds of scouts an in-depth undertstanding of the ideals of scouting. It's there to help not only the arrowmen, but also non-members to understand what scouting is all about.


Aside from all the sentimental, ceremonial, and FUN stuff, there's also the idea of the lodge being completely youth-run. This is an excellent leadership experience for all youth arrowmen who are a part of it. Then there is also leadership training sessions that the OA offers, on the lodge (LLD course and other lodge sessions), sectional (training sessions at the section conclaves), and regional (the National Leadership Seminar) levels.


All of this offers the unique opportunity for arrowmen both to share ideas and experiences with and to obtain advice/leadership-methods from other experienced arrowmen. Proud Eagle mentioned "a chance to get together with some of the best Scouts and Scouters in your entire council"...this is an OPPORTUNITY to learn from others' experience, and to share your experience with them. You can apply this newly acquired knowledge and experience to improving your troop program. As an ordeal member of the Order, that is your first and only obligation: to serve your unit.

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Why he should be in the OA?

Its not a ton of fun is it?

What great questions.

I wish more people would spent time asking them before they take their Ordeal.

If you don't mind I would take the second part first.

The OA is like a lot of other things, you only get out what you put in.

I have been a Brotherhood member of our Lodge for a very long time. I pay my dues and make the occasional weekend. For lots of different reasons I have never really got that involved.

My Son,really got involved he joined a committee and really got to know everyone in the Lodge, he has attended Conclaves,NOAC, all sorts of trainings, some close to home and some in other states. He has signed up for the OA Trail-crew at Philmont next summer. He is serving his second term as Vice Chief and plans to run for Chief later this year.

It goes without saying, he is getting a lot more out of his OA experience than I am, but he is putting a lot more time and effort in.

I think this is true about most things that we do.

Honor is a word that we use a lot in Scouting. I think when BP chose the word he was thinking about Knights and chivalry, but I of course have no real way of knowing that. When you look up the word honor it has lots of different meanings. To be elected by your peers to become a member of Scoutings Honor Society is a great honor in itself!

The brotherhood of cheerful service is an extension of the "Do a good turn daily" and the Scout Law.

OA membership once you have been elected is a individual thing. No one is going to mollycoddle or make you attend OA activities.It is up to the individual to decide how active he is going to be. I like to think that OA membership goes a long way to really show that the idea of brotherhood is alive and well in the BSA.


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I am sure you are searching for an answer from a current Scout's perspective. Since I am older, I can only share what I remember. I was elected into the O.A. at age 13 by my brother Scouts and completed my Ordeal that Fall. Then I completed the Brotherhood the following year. I attended a few Chapter meetings but nothing exceptional happened other than the ceremonies. I remember wanting to learn about Indians, their traditions and their dances. I was setting on the front row at a Chapter meeting during the month of November and I stood up and told everyone what I wanted to do. I told them I was going to do it by myself or with a group but I was starting.


The next week we had a small place to dance, two adults, five Scouts, a copy of Ben Hunt's book and a drum. The week after that, we had feathers, a few kits for other costume parts and a few more moves. We continually put together more costume and learned more dances. We danced at a B&G and later went to a Council Pow-Wow. We came back with more ideas on costume upgrades and knew more about how to dance properly. In between we attended a couple of Ordeals and completed several service projects and attended a couple of O.A. banquets. I met allot of Scouts throughout the region that had similar interests and we exchanged ideas.


I then began hoop dancing at home and later at our meetings that had grown to five adults and twenty Scouts. Each of the other Scouts chose their dances and we practiced regularly. We were asked to perform at many events. We also planned our Chapter's Tap-out where danced and did the ceremonial part. I was elected Chapter Chief (*it used to be called Clan Chief). We later danced against other Scouts with experience and varying ability. We continued to progress until we competed at the Council Pow-Wow and a few of us won in our areas. We traveled to a couple of adjacent states and performed. I can testify that we all enjoyed it


The Fall of my Senior year I was called out for the Vigil by my Brother Arrowmen. It was held at a now closed Scout camp. I loved the dancing and the ceremony and the words. I recall it all as if it was just a short time ago but it has been 38 years.




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