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OA service/support to units??

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Many moons ago, I was very active in a small lodge and was awarded Vigil as a youth. Now that I'm active in a different mega-lodge with my sons, I'm struggling to reconcile the great memories I have with the realities of what I see today. (I'll save the prolonged discussion about how to tame the mega-lodge for the future.)


I'm trying to help our Chapter Advisor figure out how to encourage the troops in our area to get more active, but there's a nagging question.

According to the OA handbook, the primary purpose of the OA is service/support to the units.


Can you cite some examples of true service to the units (troops, crews)?


Just noting that your troop youth leadership are all OA members doesn't count, because I would argue they would probably be the leaders without the patch on their flap.

What difference does your local lodge or chapter have on your unit?


Let's start the discussion with things you see that are working.

Later we can move over to ideas on what we can do better.




-mike(This message has been edited by Mike F)

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Ok, I'll start:


Publish a "Where to Go Camping Guide"

Publish a camping promotion video and web site

Provide dance teams for COH and Webs cross-over ceremonies

Visit units to do camp promotion presentations

Conduct inspections of cub camping locations

Serve as staff assistants for adult outdoor skills training (BALOO,etc)

Serve as staff for JLT training


For more ideas, see



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Some good points. I know OA does some things which support local camps (which indirectly supports troops) and we do a lot of Webelos Arrow of Light ceremonies (for packs).


Let's just say you were trying to convince a Scoutmaster that OA was a valuable thing for his guys to be actively involved in. How would you convince him that they will be bringing more back to their troop than they (the troop) might potentially lose (when seasoned leaders get more active in OA activities - sometimes causing them to be less active in the troop)?


The "WTGC Guide" is valuable, but really the product of a small group - typically not youth members.

Camping promotion video and website - again, youth don't do much of this. And not really required because most units either already camp or will not be influenced to decide to start by a video and website. Same goes for unit visitations.

As for staffing courses, is this really an OA-led activity, or just one that uses older, experienced guys that happen to be in the OA?

Dance teams can be good outreach, for the few OA members that participate in them. Our dance teams here don't go to unit events (CoH or cross-overs). The only time we see them is during OA events, so they give the appearance of being fun, but self-serving. There is an Indian dance Venture Crew with a lot of members who are in OA, but their activities are Crew, not OA.


I don't have any idea what you mean by "Conduct inspections of cub camping locations."


Phrasing it a bit differently, what do OA youth members bring back of service/support to their home unit?


I don't mean to be difficult - just trying to get some clear ideas. I believe they are out there, but I'm having trouble clarifying them well enough to effectively communicate.






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Mike - I realize you are trying to help, but instead of you & the Chapter Adviser doing this, it sounds to me like this should be something for the boys who are Lodge Officers to work on. Have you brought this up to the Lodge or Chapter Executive Committee?


The way to get Troops more involved in OA is not thru the adults. It should be thru the boys & thru the Troop OA Representative.


BTW - The primary purpose of the OA is NOT just service / support to the boys individual units. It is much more than that.


Per the OA national site:


The purpose of the Order of the Arrow is fourfold:


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


2) To develop and maintain camping traditions and spirit.


3) To promote Scout camping.


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



Per the OA Guide for Officers & Adviser's :


The lodge program should be directed toward achieving the purpose of the Order, camping promotion, council service, leadership development, and cheerful service to the community.



The OA's service & support extends well beyond individual Troops. It goes all the way from Arrowmen working with Cub Scout Packs, to Arrowmen helping to train other Scouts & even Scouters, to Arrowmen from all over working to keep BSA's High Adventure Bases in top shape & the area's ecology sound.


It should not be a Troop's adults mentality of "what have you done for me lately". It should be the Troop's boys saying "what can we do to have a positive impact on Scouting, our community & the world at large".


(This message has been edited by ScoutNut)

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