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OA Election "Speech"

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I'll admit it, I was not too happy with the boys who were elected last year in our troop. Six boys were eligible and the one who I thought was most deserving (never missed an outing, never missed a troop meeting, first class in first year, etc.) received the least amount of votes and other boys - who barely met the camping requirement - were voted in. Yes, I know the SM can "disqualify" boys before the election but I rarely do so - respecting the wisdom of the boys who vote.


I've also noted that the OA boys from outside the troop who proctor the election seem to know the rules but just go through the motions when giving an explanation to the troop about the election. I'm preparing a speech/discussion about the OA to give to the troop outlining what I see as the "right stuff" for membership. I'm not going to mention any of the boys by name. Do any of you have any good suggestions for content? Obviously, what I mentioned last year did not work too well.


For the record, I'm not to worried about the troop electing boys who may not deserve membership (in my eyes) but am more worried about not electing Scouts who may be worthy in my eyes.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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Not necessarily. The OA Troop Representative Support Pak (www.oa-bsa.org/programs/ttr/oatrpaktoc.htm) states the following:


If the unit leader is an Arrowman, he may explain to the group the purpose of the Order of the Arrow and the basis upon which candidates should be selected, and describe the method of election.


I dont see a problem with the SPL and/or OA Troop Rep doing it as long as Scouts fully understand the voting rules and what membership in the Order means.


Ive had similar concerns with the presentations given to my troop and I plan to thoroughly prepare the boys myself before the night of the elections. Ill let the lodge team do the briefing, but Im going to be prepared to step in and augment if necessary.


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In my opinion, this 'speech' deserves a word from the Scoutmaster as well. Consider doing a couple of Scoutmaster Minutes on OA leading up to election day.


Framework of message - quotes are OA, rest are my ramblings:


"The Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society."


As an honor society, it is meant to recognize and honor those scouts in our troop that best demonstrate the ideals found in the Scout Promise and Law. Look around...who among you are the most trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrify, brave, clean and reverent. I am sure you see these qualities in the faces of several of your fellow scouts. Those are the very scouts that deserve your consideration for OA recognition. As members of our troop, it is your privilege and responsibility to make sure we send those most qualified for this high honor. The election is not a popularity contest. It is your chance to reward fellow scouts for their commitment and dedication to scouting and our troop.



"The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold:


One. To recognize those Scout campers who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives."


Notice that the purpose is to recognize scout 'campers'. Who among you do you see on many of our camping trips? Who seems prepared while camping? Who is friendly and helpful? Who has helped you set up a tent in the dark, scrubbed a pot until it glistened, or always seems positive even when there is a tough job to do?


Non-campers need not apply. Who do you rarely see on a camping trip? Who is never to be found when there is a job to do? Who grumbles and complains most of the weekend and is a real drag to hang around?


"Two. To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit."


Who has spirit here? Who seems to enjoy camping and this whole thing we call scouting? The OA is not an award to be given because you are a certain age or have a certain rank, it is an opportunity for scouts with spirit to continue traditions that are nearly a century old. Who do you think may be up to this challenge?


"Three. To promote Scout camping"


Again, that four letter word...camp.


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


Those scouts that you elect will be given a tremendous opportunity...the chance to develop a greater understanding of themselves and their service to others. While you can vote for any number of eligible scouts, who do you think really deserves this honor and opportunity.


Maybe tone it down a little bit...afterall, we do want somebody elected, right?


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The troop's leadership should consider it their responsibility to explain what the significance of OA and elections are before the election team visit. I would actually say this should be something done during the year, not just 5 min before the election team arrives.


It is also the election teams job to explain the election process, including enough background to make a good choice.


The troop leaders must assume the OA will do a bad job and the OA must assume the troop leaders are doing a bad job, just to be safe. Besides, it won't hurt anyone to hear it again.


Now, as for the actual election team presentation here is what I would advise:

The election team should review the following materials- Election Team training video, unit election video, and LLD S48A Beginner Unit Elections, and the Unit Election script from the Guide for Officers and Advisers. These materials provide everything the election team (and it should be a team, not just a solo act) must know. For team leaders, committee chairmen, or others providing leadership and planning for elections session 48B and 48C from LLD could also be useful.


There is no reason an election team shouldn't know the job and be able to perform well. If they are underperforming it is for one of the following reasons-

1. They didn't bother to go to training

2. They don't care enough to put what they know to use

3. Their lodge/chapter did not make training and support available



If you are interested in this topic please take a look at the Order of the Arrow Guide for Officers and Advisers, specifically "Election Procedures" on pages 22 & 23 and "Election Ceremony" on pages 26 & 27. (page references for 2004 edition)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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