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I had the urge to go off on a rant. If anyone agrees or disagrees, or if they have any words of wisdom, feel free to post!



There are several adults in my troop who aren't big fans of the OA, for one main reason: they feel that it pulls the scout away from the troop. These are the same "administrative troop committee members" who, without consulting the PLC, schedule and change troop event dates without taking into consideration OA events that same weekend. Several members of the PLC are extremely active in the OA, and they very much enjoy OA fellowship weekends. Now, feeling rejected and ignored by the sudden change of plans the troop committee made without ever consulting the PLC, who can really blame those arrowmen who choose OA fellowship weekends over the troop weekends? In my opinion, it is not the OA that drives the scouts away from the troop, but rather, the lack of interest in the troop program!


Ideally, the troop should be a boy-led program, but right now we're just beginning a transitional stage. This, I have read in these forums, can take years. As mentioned before, the boys who hold leadership positions in the troop also hold leadership positions in the lodge. Their experience working with the OA has provided for them the unique experience of truly "being in charge" and deciding how the lodge should operate with little or no "adult interference". They wish to convey this same sense of youth-leadership to the troop, but they too often become frustrated with the amount of time this is going to take, considering the current active adult membership who are having a hard time letting go of their way of controlling every aspect of the troop.

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I know that somehow the BSA expects the youth leaders to plan all Troop events, but one major item I take care of every year, is scheduling our camping trips. Our Council calendars come out in June, and our Troop has its annual planning meeting in August (this used to be the BSA recommended month, still works for us). As Scoutmaster, I pull together our school calendars, church sponsor calendar, National, Council, District, and Order of the Arrow calendars. Add to all of this the regularly scheduled holidays, and there's usually very few weekends left to schedule camping trips. But, we work it out. Our Committee is responsible for supporting this program once the youth Scout leaders have planned it. This takes a huge amount of stress off of the youth Troop leaders (and the adult leaders as well), and lets them concentrate on the camping trips themselves. Our Troop is also very active in the Order of the Arrow.




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OA weekends seem to be real big in our Council and I have yet to hear any moans and groans from the adults about them taking away Scouts from the troop program.

I have been a member in our Lodge for a very long time, but have never been very active, mainly because I had to work weekends and try to make a couple of dollars and it seemed for the longest time that unless you were a master brick builder or carpenter that "They" didn't have much time or use for me.

I am really happy to see the direction that our Lodge is now heading, I think the change from Honor Campers to Honor Scouts was a good one. I am happy to see the Lodge sending Scouts to NLS Training's.


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We handle our schedule very much as sst3rd does. While the committee/Scoutmasters don't do the planning, we do provide the PLC with the open dates and suggestions. As a fifty year old troop, a lot of things we have done in the past aren't things current scouts would know about.


I guess our troop is so "into OA" that it wouldn't even occur to us NOT to try to plan around major OA events. It happens and we don't sweat it, we just realize that we'll get mostly younger scouts on that outing and plan accordingly.


Sounds like the "administrative" people are forgetting where they stand in the larger picture - they are the tail trying to wag the dog on this one, IMO.



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As far as the Order pulling youth away from the Troop...


We're talking about young MEN ... NOT automata.


As these young men reach 16-18, they are increasingly finding their individual ways. That way MAY OR MAY NOT be in the path of Monday night Troop meetings and basic skills campouts.


OA gives the young man who wants to hone a theatrical intrest an opportunity: Ceremonies team.


OA gives the young man who wants to hone an interest in American archeology/anthropology an opportunity: Dance team or north american native costuming.


OA gives the young man who wants to hone an interest in retail management an opportunity: Lodge trading post (in our council we have a BSA supply division scout shop, so the honor camping programs run their own specialty trading posts).


OA gives young men who want to hone their interst in property management an opportunity: Work for our Ranger.


Yes, these are all provided in the Merit Badge program. What I've seen the past few years is that the young men who go fully active in OA tend to have those MBs, and have not had their appetites sated.


Remember, there's always a way to deal with recalcitrant adults: Don't accept their dues for the coming charter year. We are here to serve youth, when we become an obstacle rather than a support, it's time to go.

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OA has no age limit but due to the camping and 1st Class requirement tends to "lop off" the 10 - 12 year olds for the most part. Many of the boys relish in being in a Boy Scout activity that has an age spread somewhere in the 13 - 20 range rather than the 10 - 17 age range. Sounds somewhat like what Boy Scouts USED TO BE!!


Some do look at Venture and OA as versus the troop but in reality it complements the troop.



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I have run into the same kind of problem. I am currently our Chapter Chief and very active in logde activities. There are several others in my troop who could really benefit from the leadership oppurnunities the OA offers, but our troop is not very supportive. We do hold elections every year and a number of deserving scouts are chosen to join, but very rarely complete their ordeal. I realize it is the scout's personal decision whether or not he wants to complete the ordeal, but the troop sometimes views it as an 'exclusive club.' Some believe it is only for 'super-scouts', and others think it is a waste of time and has no purpose. I have tried to educate these people, but some just assume i'm getting up my soapbox again. And the younger ones who are actually interested by these things are turned off by the reaction of the older boys. ("you don't really want to join that. It's just some dumb thing that Aaron does.") or something of the like. The adults of our troop don't paticularly lean one way or the other most times, but they do like to follow the majority. (after all, this is a boy-led organization) Sometimes it does leave me frustrated when i'm trying to convince others in different troops to become more active in OA when I cannot convince my own troop to be so. I haven't yet found a happy medium.

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