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Need to understand OA a bit better

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To VCservice559:


I suggest you go and read your OA Handbook, then talk to either Natami Gegeyjumhet or Nischeneyit Gegeyjumhet, depending on the size of your lodge.


The following comes from the handbook I was given at my Ordeal, in 1970. The book is the 1970 printing of the 1965 OA Handbook, page 7:


"The Order of the Arrow is not a secret society. An air of mystery does surround its ceremonies and meetings, but this is done because of its appeal to boys. Boys who are nonmembers should not be permitted to attend Ordeal, Brotherhood, or Vigil ceremonites. (emphasis added) Scout leaders, clergymen, educators, aparents and others who wish to know the full story of the Order may easily find the answers to their questions by inquiring through their council office."


The secrets are for the youth. The Order operates in the full light of day.


Another quote from the 1965 Handbook, page 88:


"The Order of the Arrow is not a secret organization. Its ceremonies, therefore, are open to any parent, Scout leader, or religious leader. In its ceremonies it employs the element of mystery for the sake of the Scouts who enter. Its ceremonies are not put on in public at a camp because this would decrease their appeal to the boy as he first participates. This is the same principle that applies in the Tenderfoot investiture ceremony in many Scout troops."


If there are not similar words in the current edition of the OA Handbook, they are probably in the Lodge Advisor's book.


Cheerful Service!

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To tack on a REGULATORY/MANDATORY statement from BSA National, I've extracted the following from the current Guide to Safe Scouting:


"Barriers to Abuse Within Scouting


"The BSA has adopted the following policies to provide additional security for our members. These policies are primarily for the protection of our youth members; however, they also serve to protect our adult leaders from false accusations of abuse.


{portions omitted}


"No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders."


I trust, VCservice559, the point is crystal clear now.


In Cheerful Service!

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Everything done in all of the O.A. ceremonies and the induction proceedure are alagorical. What is seen and done has a greater meaning that is directly related to the scout Oath and Law. Those members who are serving on the staff of the induction process are trained and further instructed on what to watch out for during the induction process. The candidates are safe and being watched (sometimes from a distance) for their safety.


Have a set of parents who, when their son was elected, came to me (Associate Chapter Advisor) expressing their concerns based on what they had heard about the induction process. I told them that all scouting activities are open, public events, and that they could watch the entire induction process if they wanted, but would be with another group of candidates for their son's sake. They spent the night in a motel; neither parent camps. Their reaction at the end of the induction process? And I quote, "Wow!"

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I'm a cubmaster who will probably be a scoutmaster and Venture Crew advisor some day.


I don't see the benefit of the Order of the Arrow. It seems elitist and unnecessary. It seems that if you elect 2% of scouts to a separate group and make them undergo special ordeals that you're implying the group is special and, concomitantly, that the troop is less special.


The OA tells 98% of scouts that they're second best.


Why do that?

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First, welcome to the forums.


Second, eligibility requirements for the Order are NOT 2% of the youth population. They are:


- First Class Scout

- 15 Days and Nights of Camping

-- 7 days/nights of which at a long term camp.

- Shows Scout spirit in his Troop and outside lives (serves cheefully)

- Is elected by his peers.


It is the honor camping society of the Boy Scouts of America, but the honor is based on peer interaction, not on a set percentage. If your unit elects all eligible youth to enter, great! If not, I've found youth to be pretty good evaluators of their peers.


The Order provides extensive leadership, artistic and creative talent opportunities ... far beyond what almost ANY Troop can provide. Hands on leadership, interaction beyond the local patrol and troop, and adult association with folks up to the Council camping committee and the Scout Executive all come with the Order.


Look at the Order as another retention enhancement, particularly for older youth who have "been there and done that" in the Troop long enough.



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