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Need info on OA and do we have to join the lodge in our Council or can we join in another Council?

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I'm sure someone else has posted on this in the past, but I can't find the info I need. Our SM is really pushing OA with our older Scouts (he is new and doesn't know much about OA either). He wants to do an election next week and our boys are pretty confused. Let me give you the history.


We have had Scouts join OA in the past and the haven't had the best experience with our Council's Lodge. Once they've been to the call out and done the initial weekend, there hasn't been much contact. The Scouts complain that they don't get information on outings, gatherings, etc. until the day of the activity or after the fact. They have been real unhappy with this and so we haven't had an election in 2 years. We have asked for information and some support from the OA people at our Council and have had either no response (even after I cc'd my emails to the CE) or they say it's because the boys didn't pay their dues so they are on an inactive list. The boys didn't know anything about dues at the time. We are on the outer edge of our Council and most activities are at least 2 hours away. They are generally at the Cub Scout camp (our Council doesn't have a Boy Scout camp). Most of our Scouts haven't attended camp at this Cub Scout camp and feel no connection to it. Now another Council has a Boy Scout camp 15 miles from us. This is where we attend summer camp and most of the boys attended Cub Scout camp here. They are very attached to this camp and Council. We even built a new BB gun/ archery shelter there this Spring as part of work weekend. The Scouts that are eligible for OA would like to have their call out there and do the ordeal and brotherhood experiences there. This Council would be happy to have us.


So this is my question. Can we join an OA Lodge out of our Council? If we have to join the Lodge in our Council, can we do the call out and other activities with the other Council? What are our options (if any). Any suggestions?


I am calling our SM and asking him to postpone the election next week until we have more information. By the way, I am the CC and he hasn't brought any of this to the committee. He just did this on his own and sprung it on the Scouts last night while we were at a fundraiser.


I'd appreciate any information I can get!

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I know that we have some forum members that will be able to give you the "Official" answer.

Shame that my son is working at camp, he knows far more about the workings of the OA than I do.

You ask:

"Can we join an OA Lodge out of our Council?"

I think not.

The Troop you are in is part of the Council and the Lodge is also part of the Council.

The Lodge supports the unit and the Council and you not being in the Council Lodge just wouldn't work.

Many Lodges support their Council financially and are actively involved in promoting attendance at Council Camps. Again if you were to belong to the "Other Lodge" this just wouldn't work.

You might want to have the SM if he is an OA member visit http://www.jumpstart.oa-bsa.org/


As the Lodge is youth led, the only sure way to really find out what is going on is for the youth in the unit to get involved!!

They need to grab the bull by the horns and join a committee.

While all Scout Executives are Chief of the Fire, some are more active than others, some tend to be happy to allow the Lodge Advisor take care of things.

I think we have a great Lodge, but there have been times when the youth who are supposed to be doing things just don't do it.

For a while the Newsletter was great then it went down hill and now it's great again. All because of the fact that different youth members have taken care of it.

While the election is held within the Troop,I have always seen membership in the Lodge as an individual thing, which really has nothing to do with the Troop committee - But that might just be my take on it.

My son is very active as is one ASM from the Troop he was in (Now a Sea Scout and the Ship has no ties to the Lodge other than the individuals who are members.) While they make a big deal about the election and going up for the ordeal, I rarely see anyone from the Troop at the weekends or the banquet.


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Can't quote chapter and verse right now, but I believe the short answer is "NO". You are only eligible to join the lodge which serves the Council in which you are registered, and you may only wear the lodge flap if you are a member in good standing (dues paid). If you want to belong to another lodge, I believe you must transfer your BSA membership to a unit in that Council.

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To help with some of the other questions:


- In each Troop there is a youth office: The OA Troop Representative. His jobs are: 1) To go to Chapter meetings, get information, and bring it back, and 2) to take Troop input to the Chapter meeting.


- Chapters are sub-units of the Lodge. They are directly associated with Council Districts. In many councils, chapter meetings are held concurrently with Roundtable. If your OATR does not know who his chapter chief and chapter advisor are, the next person up that food chain is the chairman of the District Camping operating committee (part of the District Committee).


- There is also the matter of tracking the Council Calendar. I'm finding more and more Councils keep their calendars, to include Lodge activities, online.


- Finally, while the SE is the Supreme Chief of the Fire, many SEs appoint their scout reservation director to be the staff advisor to the lodge. In turn, he can put your OATR in touch with the Lodge Chief, one of the Vice-Chiefs, or the Secretary.


I hope all this helps.


ICS.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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No, you can only join the OA Lodge in your council. That is a rule.


Your other issues indicate some problems with communication within your lodge. This is something that faces many lodges and may be compounded by your location in your council. Here is some information that can help.


The OA Lodge is, like your troop, a dues-paying organization. While your boys may have joined the OA, they need to pay their yearly dues to the Lodge to remain active and on the rolls. Most lodges will have a website where they have information on events. Many lodges will mail out regular newsletters to members giving them updates on upcoming events (some may instead email them out). A few may also mail out reminder cards to members about events. But if you are paid up on your dues, you will miss out.


Most OA Lodges are organized into Chapters. Most Chapters will coorespond to your districts, and have monthly meetings, usually at the same time/place as your district roundtables. Find out if your Lodge has chapters, what chapter you are in (and who is the chapter chief and chapter advisor), where/when it mets, and make sure your OA members attend.


When you join the OA, most lodges will include in their fees for the event the dues for that year. So if you have your Ordeal in, say, spring, you are 'dues paid' until the end of the year. Most lodges have dues on a yearly basis. Most may not send out a dues notice to members, expected that they pay their dues at the last couple of events of the year (say your Winter Fellowship or end of year Banquet).


Also, most lodges when you join may give the new members a plan book with information on the lodge, with the name & contact information on the Lodge Officers (elected youth) Lodge Adviser(s) (appointed adults), Committee Chairs (appointed youth), and the dates for the upcoming years events. Most lodges have planned out ALL the events for the coming year, so you should know well in advance this information.


Better people to speak with about this problems is the Staff Adviser (professional in council appointed to the lodge), Lodge Adviser (volunteer adult in charge of lodge), Lodge Chief, your Chapter Adviser and Chapter Chief. Going to the Scout Executive may not be as useful as getting with these people. (but your council office SHOULD be able to give you the contact info for the above adults).


Another thing is prehaps your Troop should have one of its Arrowmen being a "Troop OA Representive". This is a new troop office position (can be used for Star/Life/Eagle advancement) that represents the OA within the troop and make sure the troop knows about events in advance. (on OA dates, when I was a troop leader, we knew our Lodge dates at least a year in advance, so when our troop did its yearly planning we knew when all the OA events were and we had no problems scheduling around them. Getting these dates were never a problem. They appeared on our council calender that goes out in August/September. Does your council put out a calender (or have one on their website). Does it include the OA events? )


hope this helps.

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Thank you all very much for your input. It gives me a better persepctive! I like the idea of having an OA Troop Representative to make sure information is shared with all the boys involved. Communications with our Council as a whole has been an ongoing issue with us. We are on our third DE in 18 months. The latest seems more interested in getting things back on track and making sure information is shared in a timely fashion. His main focus has been on Cub Scouts but he is trying to get on board with the Boy Scouts too. I wish we had a better website for Council and OA, it is "under construction" a lot. We can't rely on it for up to date information all the time. Roundtable is our best source.


Anyway, I had 2 calls from parents this morning upset that the SM told them who was going to be nominated for OA at our next meeting. They were quite upset about this because they were under the impression that the boys would be doing the nominations and elections. So more fires to put out. I will be sharing the information you have all provided me with the parents and the committee later this month. Hopefully we can make this a good experience for the boys!

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One more comment:


OA Troop Rep IS a Position of Responsibility under the current advancement policies. Scouts plainly see it in the list of positions set forth in the Boy Scout Handbook!


As to the Scoutmaster declaring who will be Candidates, that is something for a heart-to-heart talk between the Committee and the Scoutmaster at the coming TC meeting!! SM and CC get ONE ADULT NOMINATION per year per Troop (there are exceptions, but they come along rarely) to work, but if an election team knows its stuff, they should refuse to hold a "non-election."

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Can you join a Lodge outside your council? No. Can your boys take their ordeal induction through another Lodge? Yes BUT! you must have expressed written permission from your Lodge to do so. Our Lodge has inducted members from other Lodges at our Summer camp inductions. We serve boys from several councils every summer and our staff comes from different councils. Being inducted out of your Lodge is strongly discouraged however.

As to who will be nominated for induction; that is entirely up to the boys and there has to be an election run by the Lodge (or Chapter if the Lodge permits). The Scoutmaster has no say in who the boys elect and eligibility is determined by rank and number of nights camped in the previous two years. A boy must be First Class and have camped 15 nights (5 can be long term) in the last two years. http://www.main.oa-bsa.org/programs/ttr/ttrpak/A1-Unit-Elections.pdf Have someone from the Lodge or Chapter speak with the SM before the election but don't let this slip by. If the SM does the nominating then the whole meaning and purpose of the induction into the OA has been lost.


If the SM intends to use the "Unit Leader Approval" section of the eligibility to "rig" the election this needs to be made clear to the election team.(This message has been edited by LongHaul)(This message has been edited by LongHaul)

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There seems to be some confusion as to the OA election process.


There are NO nominations.


There are requirements for boys to be candidates for election. Long Haul has given them, but there is ALSO approval of the Scoutmaster. All the boys who are candidates for election are put forth to ALL the youth members of the troop to vote on. Any boy who gets a majority of votes is now an ordeal candidate for the OA.


You will need an OA election team from your Lodge to come in a run the elections (usually this is done at the chapter level, but who knows with your lodge). It may ALSO be a good idea (considering your scoutmaster is NOT an arrowman) to have your lodge send a group to your troop before hand to explain this both to the boys and to your leaders. There is both the issue of the boys understanding what the OA is before they vote on the candidates, and the issue of adult candidates to the OA (which is always a confusing matter). I don't know how organized your lodge is. There is a video tape that the National OA has for this purpose, hopefully they will use it.


Btw, the OA has a VERY nice website. You might want to read over it. Some useful pages are the ones on OA Basic Info (http://www.main.oa-bsa.org/misc/basics/) and the FAQ (http://www.main.oa-bsa.org/qanda/). The OA election process can be very confusing to the non-member, and the adult selection process is even more confusing.


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Maybe this will help.


Its been awhile since I was directly involved in OA elections, but am pretty sure this is how it goes.


An election team from your lodge, made up of 2-3 youth will come to your troop meeting. This should have been arranged in advanced, not a surprise, etc. (you need a majority of your troop youth members present).


The election team will confir with the Scoutmaster as to the candidates for election. Candidate must meet the following requirements:


* First Class Scout


* 15 days & nights of camping, including ONE long-term (6 days) camping experience. all camping must be Boy Scout Camping (ie, no camping trips with family), the long term is USUALLY summer camp, but need not be with your council's summer camp. A long term camping trip with the troop counts.


* Scoutmaster approval. (as noted by LongHaul, this should be for the right reasons, not so the scoutmaster can 'stake the deck' with his/her favorites).


Once this list is prepared, its usually a good idea for the team to make this list of candidates know to the boys. Putting it up on a flip chart helps.


The team should then explain what the OA is, and how the elections are run. This is vital, especially if your troop has no arrowmen (which I'm assuming from your posting), and may not fully understand the OA. National has a great video for this that hopefully they will show. They should make it clear that the first duty of an Arrowman is TO HIS TROOP. The Troop comes first. They should NOT vote for their favorites, but for those they feel exempliefies the scouting spirit. those they would want to camp with.


Voting is by secret ballot. Each scout is given a ballot form and may vote for AS MANY CANDIDATES AS THEY WANT. None, one, some, all. Candidates must get a majority of votes to be elected in. IF a scout does not feel they know any of the candidates well enought to vote for any, they SHOULD NOT TURN IN A BALLOT. This will not count against anyone. Turning in a blank ballot will.


The election team will collect the ballots, determine who was elected and note this on the election form that will be turned in to the Lodge.


I do not know what the policy is now regarding letting the scoutmaster know who won (we did when I was involved in this), nor if we tell the troop who won (we never did, they found out when the calling out occured). So someone else may want to add this in.


If a troop elects any youth members, I believe that the troop is allowed to nominate one adult per 50 youth members in the troop. If your scoutmaster is not an Arrowman, I personally feel he should be the one your troop nominates. But that's up to your troop. I'm not fully knowledgable about this process. Further nominations can come from the district/council, btw.


Hope this helps.


BTW, a 'majority' is just more then half. "half plus one", "50% plus one", or "51%" are all incorrect.

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Just to add to what emb021 stated, adult obviously do not have a rank requirement like the youth, but they do have the same "nights of camping" requirement. Also, adults nominations should be based on a different criteria than the youth. Election into the Order of an adult Scouter should take place only when the adults job in Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting will make the Order of the Arrow membership more meaningful in the lives of the youth membership. Selection of the adult is based upon the ability to perform the requisite functions (and NOT as an honor or recognition of service) including current or prior achievement and position. ONE ADULT per unit may be recommended each year.


Not so sure about more than one with more than 50 Scouts. In our Lodge (the best in all OA!) the Scoutmaster is informed immediately after the election of the youth. He (me) does not share this information with the youth and only with the youth's parents a day or two before the call-out ceremony in the form of a "you may want to attend" type of statement. I do not inform adult leaders either. The tricky part of selecting the adult nominee is who does that task? The committee? The Scoutmaster? What if the SM or the CC are not Arrowmen? Luckily for us, we don't have that problem. Oh, and one more thing, for "nights of camping" the Scoutmaster determines what does and what does not count (cabin, family, etc.).


And to answer the original question - it really is simple to join the Lodge of a different council, you move.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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All good info,


I want to bring up something that doesn't get brought up much. I think it's extremely important for the Scoutmaster to meet with each Scout eligible for the OA election. The Scoutmaster needs to review with each Scout the responsibilities of being an OA member, and how it relates to his Troop. Some Scouts may NOT want to have their name in nomination (yes, I use the term nomination) for the OA election. Even if a Scout meets the requirements and has the Scoutmaster's approval, they simply may not want to be involved with the OA. The Scout needs to make that decision. The list the Scoutmaster provides to the OA Election Committee for the Troop's election, should not include Scouts not wanting to be OA members. Then there are no wasted votes.



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We talk to each eligible boy individually before the night of elections, also. We explain the process, what OA is really about, and perhaps a little of what goes on at the Ordeal. If we have a candidate we don't feel is ready for some reason, we discuss it with the Scout. We have yet to have an unready Scout leave his name in the election pool. Our "not yet ready" boys have always asked us to remove their name from the list.


We also ask each boy give a short blurb on WHY they think the troop members should vote for them. This is not mandatory, but it really gives each candidate a time for some serious introspection and gives other troop members insight into what makes the lad tick.

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