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mikeb

Ever have this happen?

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OK, I was looking through the eligibility requirements to refresh my memory for the coming elections and I came across something that didn't seem to be covered and I was wondering if anyone has had this situation and how it was handled. The rule is all members under the age of 21 are regarded as youth and the requirements are 1st class and 15 days of camping to be elected. So what do you do if a young man of 18 joins as say an asst SM and in a year has his 15 camp days but of course can't earn rank? Per the rules he can't be considered under the adult requirements until he's 21 so what do you do?

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Good question! I don't have a clue, but I think this points out the dilemma of having two different definitions of "adult" in the Scouting program. I have never seen a rational explanation for the double standard.

 

PS: The other requirement is that a candidate must be approved by his SM to be elected.

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All OA youth need to have earned 1st class. The 18 year old SA, unfortunately hasn't earned, nor can he earn, first class and so is ineligible for being elected. He will just need to wait until he is 21 before he may have an opportunity to join the OA. Don't forget though, that this 18 year old SA is eligible to vote for those scouts in the troop that are on the OA ballot.

 

On the other hand, consider the 17 year old lad that just earns 1st class before his 18th birthday. Once 18 he becomes an SA for his troop. Now, even though he is 18, he finally has an opportunity to be elected into the OA by the rest of the troop's youth (including those SA's under 21).

 

SWScouter

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Hi SWScouter,

You sound like you've run into this dilemma before, have you? Can you share where the hard and fast rule regarding this scenario can be found in official print? One can certainly extrapolate the same conclusion from reading the base requirements for candidates but I'd be interested in seeing how they break the bad news in print.

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The guidelines are clear in the Order of the Arrow Guide for Officers and Advisers. The Guide lists what the eligibility requirements are for Youth Members and for Adult Members. It further defines what is a Youth Member and what is an Adult Member. It defines these terms for the Order of the Arrow - not for the Boy Scouts of America. Though OA is a part of the BSA, their membership definitions are different. It is clear that for the purposes of the OA, it is the OA's definition of youth and adult that are the driving force, and shouldn't be conflated with the BSA's definitions. So when discussing membership eligibility, ignore the BSA definitions altogether because they are meaningless when it comes to the OA.

 

In the OA, a Youth Member is a person under 21. And adult member is a person 21 or older. Rank, positions, etc. in the BSA does not matter (except for 1st Class rank for youth members). An 18 year old Assistant Scoutmaster may be an Adult member of the BSA, but he is still a Youth member of the Order of the Arrow. Therefore, an 18 year old Assistant Scoutmaster who is nominated to be a member of the Order must meet the same requirements as any other youth member of the Order, including attaining the rank of First Class - and must be ELECTED by the other youth members of the Troop. As SWScouter pointed out, an 18-20 year old adult member of a troop is allowed to vote in OA elections of their units, because they would be otherwise eligible to be a youth member of the Order.

 

The way to explain it is just this way - the OA has its own defintions of youth and adult and you are bound by those definitions. It should be pretty rare that this situation would come up.

 

Though it sounds unfair, consider another possible scenario - your unit gets 4 nominations in a year and you have only 4 eligible scouts. As a kicker, you also have an eligible ASM who isn't a member of the Order but had earned his First Class rank in the past - so you add him to the ballot. If he wins election, one of your BSA youth members won't. Who would you rather discuss the unfairness of the matter with - your ASM who can't become a member of the OA for another 2 years because he isn't eligible, or the 13 year old Scout who couldn't become a member because one of the Adults in his unit took his place.

 

Calico

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"Though it sounds unfair, consider another possible scenario - your unit gets 4 nominations in a year and you have only 4 eligible scouts."

 

There is no limits on the number of nominations a troop gets. Any scout that is eligable may be voted in.

 

 

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Mikeb,

 

I have not run into this dilemma before though I have previously thought about it. As CalicoPenn, points out, the Guide for Officers and Advisors covers the election procedure fairly thouroghly.

 

I just don't follow CalicoPenn's other "possible scenario". The number of eligible youth has no limit and there is no limit on the number of youth that may be elected. In his scenario, there is nothing prohibiting all five from being placed on the ballot nor from being elected. Nldscout was right on with his response.

 

There is, however, limits on how many adult scouters a unit can recommended to the nominating committee for induction into the OA. That limit is one scouter for every 50 active scouts. and only if at least one scout is elected.

 

SWScouter

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Yep - sorry - I made a huge blunder - Mea Culpa. As nldscout and SWScouter pointed out, there is no limit to youth member elections - so just ignore that very last part.

 

Calico

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Hmmm, so no specific rule for the 18-21 new Scout(er) crowd? That seems like an odd hole in a pretty good selection system. I would be interested in hearing the official explanation regarding this.

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No, there is a specific rule - All members of the OA under the age of 21 are Youth Memebers and to be elected as a Youth Member, one must have earned First Class.

 

Whatever one's position in Boy Scouts is - Troop Member, Assistant Scoutmaster, Committee Member, District Committee Member - in the OA, if you are under 21, you are a Youth Member. In the Order of the Arrow, there are no 18-21 year old Scouters.

 

When dealing with the OA membership definitions, ignore completely the BSA membership definitions - they don't match.

 

The "He's an adult in the BSA" doesn't matter in the Order of the Arrow - think of them as two different organizations which in a large sense they are - OA may be part of the BSA, but it is still a separate division, just like Venturing, where youth members are people under 21, and Learning for Life.

 

Since the two organizations are separate, with their own membership requirements and rules, there is no hole to be found.

 

Calico

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If one of the requirements for youth membership in the OA was to hold a valid drivers license but they still advertised it as a program for 11-21 year olds most folks would be left shaking their heads in disbelief. It's the same thing for an 18-21 year old who's new to Scouting. These folks have no ability due to age restriction to meet the 1st class requirement but the pretense is that there's no issue. Granted it's probably not an issue in one in a million elections but I was just wondering if anyone has ever run across this situation and how it was handled. From what's been posted thus far it seems it's "too bad 'till you're 21."

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I still don't see a rational explanation as to why the OA needs to have a different definition of "adult".

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mikeb,

 

If you have an 18 to 21 year old who is "new" to scouting, why would you be nominating him to the OA? We have many, many uniformed leaders in our troop. That does not get you automatically considered for OA. In our troop, it has to do with who is dedicated, camps and provides service to the boys. We have adults who are fair weather campers, don't work directly with the boys and have spotty attendance. Since we are limited in the number of adults we can select, those folks will be the last people picked. We like to pick people who will provide service and dedication to OA just like they have to the troop. A "new" person, regardless of age is an unknown in those regards and would be back in line behind the folks who have been around for a while and not yet nominated.

 

I realize that troop size varies as well as adult leadership numbers. People shouldn't be picked just for the sake of having an adult in OA or especially just to add another colorful patch to their shirt.

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If you have an 18 to 21 year old who is "new" to scouting, why would you be nominating him to the OA?

 

I recall a young man who had been a scout in his home town for 7 years, very active but not into advancement (or his troop didn't do much that way), made it to 2nd class. His freshman year in college, he became active in Alpha Phi Omega and through them in the district and in a troop near his campus. Great guy, more active than most scouters in OA and super workin' with kids. Easily the best choice for that troop to recommend for OA.

 

Then there's the young female ASM, a volunteer recruited from a nearby Crew partly because her brother is in the troop, her dad has passed away and can't help out, and her mom works odd shifts. Great young lady, helpin' hold the family together. She isn't eligible because she can't ever have earned First Class?

 

Isn't it odd havin' the youth vote on an ASM's membership? Unless of course the youth get a vote on every adult scouter's membership. Might be a good idea, that.

 

The over-18-still-a-"youth"-member thing is really quite strange when yeh think about it, in terms of YP and other stuff. All kinds of problems with it. But then I always thought OA was kinda strange myself. Pay my dues, did NOAC once, but I've never really been into da trappins'.

 

Seems like some intelligent discretion is in order sometimes, eh? Cheerful service and all that. ;) Right thing to do might be to nominate 'em anyway. Most good lodges would go along.

 

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Hi SR540Beaver,

I don't know if you are aware of it but you centered your response around Scouters aged 21+. The folks I refer to are in the 18-21 age group and aren't categorized under the adult rules. Rather they are lumped in with the 11-17's. At this point the new-ish Scout(er) of 18-21 has no ability to fulfill the youth requirement of First Class.

As far as to why a new-ish person would be elected perhaps it's a new Troop, and/or perhaps this person has shown remarkable character. I imagine plenty of young boys come into troops and a year or two later have met all requirements and get elected. Aren't they "new" Scouts? Thus my question is why not the same opportunity for all considered to be in the "youth" category?

Again I have nothing invested in this, I just brought it up as a point of interest and wondered if anyone has ever seen this situation first hand. Thanks for your comments though, passion for Scouting is a good thing!

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