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milwscout580

Ceremonies-- sit or stand?

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In my lodge, our Cereemony site doesn't have any seating. Many people bring folding chairs to sit in. As a Ceremonies team, we feel this is not very appropriate. I can understand the elderly generation of our lodge needing seats because of medical or other problems, but when a 15-year-old sits on a chair--or worse: lays down-- I think it sets a terrible example for the Candidates. They have had a much harder day, and they too have to stand through the ceremony. I think is is a sign of respect. (note: we do our best to tell these people to stand if we see them sitting/laying)

 

As the Ceremonies Chairman, I have announced that sitting should only be allowed between ceremonies or in certain cases of medical concern.

 

Our lodge also recently approved in the budget money to refurbish an island that used to be for ceremonies. We are planning on adding some seating on the hill behind the moat for the "age-challenged" and others as stated above. The rest of the Lodge (as many as can fit, at least) will stand on the island itself.

 

I was just wondering if anyone had any comments... sit or stand?

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Our ceremonies are done at the OA Circle.

Those watching do not play any part in any of the ceremonies. In fact it could be said that there is no reason for them to be there?

At times we have a lot of people who have sealed their membership by becoming Brotherhood members, I think at the August weekend we had almost 60 and over 100 who had taken Ordeal. When you add Vigil Honor ceremonies it takes a very long time.

By having the circle designed so that everyone can see the ceremonies and the fact that the audience doesn't play any part in the ceremony I can't see any reason for them to have to stand.

When OJ became an Ordeal member, he did it at an October weekend, it was so darn cold I thought I had become frozen onto the wooden log (Seat) that I'd placed my very cold backside on.

And yes I'm both an old fellow who has had several back surgeries so I'd not be happy standing for four or five hours. As for having people sit, stand, sit - I think you will take away from the ceremony and end up ruining it for the participant. After all that's who it is for, not the team performing the ceremony.

You might want to think about picking your battles. If the audience is disrupting the ceremony go out and fight that one!! But in my book trying to ensure that everyone can see and hear what is going on is far more important than if they are standing or sitting.

Eamonn.

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Everyone stands at our ceremonies.

 

Of course we usually don't have a huge number of inducties (once we had 50 ordealies), so they aren't hugely long. We encourage OA observers....a welcoming committee of sorts.

 

I would vote for those who are in discomfort while standing being allowed to sit. For myself, although sometimes standing on the side of a hill is extemely uncomfortable, I am willing (and able) to stand.

 

 

 

 

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We have wooden benches at our ceremony site. All lodge members who do not have an excuse (ie culinary duty) are required to attend to show support for the candidates/new members. They sit for the majority of the ceremony, but rise and use the scout sign to retake the obligation.

 

If you look through the brotherhood ceremony it is evident that bystanders are expected to be there.

 

Nick

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I think the problem here is viewing those other than the candidates and ceremonies team members as "audience". Everyone attending the ceremony is a member of the "ceremonies team". It was many, many years ago, but I can certainly remember that I did not consider that half circle of silent brothers that we passed through as an "audience".

 

The purpose of the ceremony is to impart a message to the candidate. Everyone at the ceremony should be there to add to the ceremony, and not for their own pleasure. You need to decide what message you impart by having an "audience" rather than silent "members of the team".

 

Sit or stand? If you provide seating for those who would have problems standing, I see no problem with that, but they should not be placed in a special section. An inability to stand for long periods of time should not single someone out. Remember the admonition.

 

I am in agreement that brothers who can stand should.

 

One other suggestion. I would suggest requesting that brothers attending remain strictly silent during the ceremony. Brothers seen talking, even if they cannot be heard, will not be seen as part of the ceremony.

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I never really gave this any thought before.

 

Has anyone checked the new version of the Guide to Inductions? It can be found at www.oa-bsa.org if anyone wants to try to find any guidance. I have not yet read the current version of the Guide to Inductions, and I do not recall anything on the subject being in the previous edition, or in the Guide for Officers and Advisors.

 

Everywhere I have ever been to a ceremony those who came to watch sat if there was seating available, and stood if there was not. Most of the ceremony sites I have visited included seating of some form in the design.

 

As a youth I had the opportunity to take place in all of the induction ceremonies of our order at one time or another. I also had the part of each of the four principles at least once. I never had any problem with people sitting. It seemed the natural thing to do. After all, what else were the benches/logs around the ceremony sight for?

 

Looking back on it I still think it is perfectly fine to sit during the ceremony. The only real participants in the ceremony are the candidates and the ceremonial principles (and possibly Elangomats). The focus should be on them. So, how do we best ensure that the focus stays where it should be? That is obviously open to some debate and local interpretation.

 

I should note that in older copies of the current ceremonies (I think the current ones eliminated it) there was a diagram of the lay out of the ring. It included, among other things, seats of honor for the officers/advisors of the lodge. (In fact it showed three seats, and a list was provided to show who had priority in being seated in the place of honor.) So that would imply that at least some sitting is endorsed on a national level.

 

Also, check out the recent OA ceremonies DVDs released at the last NOAC. In this ceremony the candidates were seated for the legend. Obviously this indicates some sitting is OK.

 

There is also the practical aspect. How many members will skip going to the ceremony if they have to stand for an extended period? Consider also the issue of multiple ceremonies. Some lodges conduct a Brotherhood ceremony first, and then often follow it with two Ordeal ceremonies (n.b. there is a limit on the maximum number of candidates that can go through one ceremony). How many hours should people be expected to stand?

 

In truth it really doesn't matter much to me what you all do in your lodges. I see nothing wrong with either sitting or standing. However, I can see there being a strong argument for uniformity. It seems to me it would be better if everyone sat or everyone stood, and not a mix of the two. Again, this is a relatively minor point.

 

I would be overjoyed if such a trivial matter was my largest concern about ceremonies in the lodge. I am instead worried about ceremony teams that know the parts, keeping the regalia from falling apart, finding a dedicated chairman, getting an advisor with the right attitude, proper adhearence to the ten induction principles, etc...

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We went to summer camp out of state this past summer. The council/camp we were at does their call out at summer camp on Friday night. I have to admit, it was one of the most impressive ceremonies I've ever seen. The evening started out sith a campfire program on the banks of a river. At the end of the campfire, three of the ceremony team cam down the river in a canoe. They led ALL of the scouts at camp in a single file line to the OA circle. The circle was HUGE. There were benches that ran the perimeter of the circle. I would estimate that they seated at least 250 to 350 scouts and scouters. The process took forever. You marched in at one end and had to walk the circle to get to your "place". As they had many more scouts coming up the trail, it was necessary to constantly have people going around the circle having everyone squeeze in. I'd estimate that this was a 45 minute process. Of course, we were standing the whole time and shuffling over every few minutes to make room. There was a 12 foot tall fire at the center of the circle. We only set for a few minutes before the ceremony actually started. At that point, we were to stand with our arms crossed and look into the fire. We all had to take several steps into the ring and away from the benches. This allowed people to move behind us and point out to the team who was supposed to be called out. The team would advance around the circle, stop, call someone out, then advance. They made the circle probably 10 times and called out maybe 5 people per trip. The canoe down the river, the walk to the circle, the huge fire, the costumes, etc. was absolutely impressive. But by the end of the ceremony, I was ready to rip someone's...anyone's head off for making us stand with our arms crossed and staring into the fire for HOURS. I have bad knees, back and shoulders. I was about to die standing there that long. It would have really been nice if someone would have warned us that we were going to stand at attention for a truely extended time. I had about 4 scouts that were going to wet their pants if they didn't find a tree. I had to escort them out and back in to keep from having a bad accident. The visitors/spectators were on benches atop a retaining wall overlooking the circle. It was both one of the coolest things I've seen in scouting and also the most agonizing. I found the death march at Jamboree to be better than standing there motionless that long. My suggestion is to stand when appropriate and sit when appropriate. If your ceremony is going to drag on for 2 or 3 hours, let people sit.

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If we did not have bleachers at our Council ring, we would be unable to accommodate all the youth and adults who want to attend ceremonies, supporting the various candidates. Youth members especially should get the reinforcement of seeing the ceremonies several times over. Of course, I often get a different perspective on the "ethic" of an Arrowman when I see a different (either by new blood in our own C-team, or by seeing another Council's team) C-team doing a ceremony.

 

 

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Ah, the Jamboree death march, don't we all remember it well. I have never really heard of sitting or standing being an issue during a ceremony. When I went through my brotherhood, my ceremony was conducted at a campsite that was being "reclaimed" from the brush and most of the members (mainly adults) were sitting on picnic tables watching the ceremony. Depending on the location of the ceremony, I have a problem with people sitting. If the ceremony is held at a location that has seating, then by all means the members should be allowed to sit, but if the area does not have seats, no one should bring a chair and sit down on their own. I think that just takes the focus off the ceremony team and draws the candidates attention to the colorful chair that some member is sitting in. That's just my 2 cents.

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Our ceremonies team has us "cross your arms and in silence follow me". This doesn't really leave a way to carry a chair, unless it is in a bag. But we usually follow them quite a long distance, and taking a chair along just isn't done. I think setting a chair up would detract from the solemnity of the occaision. I believe some of the infirm have sat on a rock or such, but the standard set by the young adult members is that we stand.

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It all depends on the ceremony. At a call-out ceremony, sitting is appropriate during much of the ceremony, and people can be asked to rise as necessary.

 

For the Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil Honor ceremonies, the "audience" should remain standing throughout (except for those that need to sit for health, etc. reasons). You're there to stand behind your brothers as they take that first/next step in service or to stand in congratulations and honor to those that have performed exceptional and distinguished service (Vigil Honor).

 

The Order of the Arrow is predicated on the ideal that all members are equal - there are no ranks within the Order of the Arrow (Brotherhood confirms committment to the ideals of the Order, Vigil Honor recognizes those that have performed exceptional service to their Lodge and community). Sitting while new Ordeal or Brotherhood members are investitured sends a message that "rank has its privileges" and that is a poor message to send.

 

The longest part of the ceremony seems to be the "secret handshake" check of members as they enter the ceremony space before the ceremony actually begins - sitting should be ok during this part but before the candidates are led into the ceremony site, all should be asked to stand and remain standing.

 

CalicoPenn

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Without going into safeguarded information, different actors (and let's face it, the four C-Team principals are young Thespians in action) bring different perspectives on the same script.

 

It's interesting to process that information, and see what comes out as important, based on what they say, HOW they say it, and how they act out their part in the ceremony ring.

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Proud Eagle,

 

This statement you made is partially incorrect.

 

"Also, check out the recent OA ceremonies DVDs released at the last NOAC. In this ceremony the candidates were seated for the legend. Obviously this indicates some sitting is OK."

 

I also own this set of DVDs and during the evaluation of the Ordeal Team, the Evaluator states that when Meteu had the candidates sit, it was not right. This was because it made it seem like Meteu was talking down to the candidates. Also, when you have them sit, it can make them lose their attention span.

 

I know that this thread was not specifically about the part in the Ordeal ceremony, but I just wanted to clarify that having the candidates sitting, was not recomendeded by the National Evaluator.

 

Yours in Wimachtendienk,

 

Nutiket

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