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Fuzzy Bear

OA Chapter is about k-putt

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For the past few months, we have had a sharp dip in attendance. Our Advisor has been babbling about quitting and some of the left-over Scouts look mighty young and unsure about how to carry on. I think it is about time for a new breath of life but it looks like the coals are but dying embers. As an adult, I get kind of tired of standing around with my hands in my pockets while this boy-led program is going by the wayside but maybe that is the way of it all. I realize that all other Chapters in the world are running on all four pistons and wouldn't have a clue as to what to say since OA has so many opportunities for growth and leadership but then somebody might have a suggestion.

 

I also want to point out that we have about 200 Patch Wearers in our Chapter but only about 10 have ever shown up at meetings. I am in charge this year of going out and getting more Patch Wearers elected. I bet we can easily rake in another $1000. in patch sales. I suppose that it is all about collections in the 21st century. fb

 

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Is it the OA Chapter that is in trouble or the OA Lodge? If the Chapter is faltering, it is up to the Lodge leadership (and that's the youth - Lodge Chief, Vice Chiefs, etc) to step in a get things back on track - it isn't the District's responsibility (most Chapters are organized so they correspond with Districts). Time to approach the Lodge and tell them the Chapter may no longer be in a position to carry out their duties.

 

When it comes to Troop elections, call-out ceremonies, etc., if the Chapter isn't there, or can't do the work, the Lodge will have to do it - they can't just say since there is no Chapter in the District, there will be no elections in the District. Lodges are fully responsible for all aspects of the OA Program - they may choose to delegate to Chapters but that doesn't abrogate their responsibilities to the OA program - Chapters are an option, they aren't required.

 

Why are you in charge of getting more "patch wearers" elected? This is the job of the youths - in the OA more than anywhere within the BSA, the organization is youth-led, and youth-run! Adults are advisors only - in the truest sense of the word. If there are no youth in your Chapter who can do this, turn it over to the Lodge and let them handle it - and let them come in to revitalize the Chapter - it's what they were elected and charged to do. It wouldn't be unheard of for a few people from another Chapter to come in to your Chapter as the Chapter Leadership and start rebuilding the program - you have some young members who are making the effort to attend and with proper training by the right people (and those people are other youth members) you might very well see your Chapter turned around in less than a year.

 

I know it's hard to stand around with the hands in the pockets and let it happen, but thats the way this particular program works - Strong Youth Leadership, Weak Adult Leadership.

 

You do have resources to go to - and that resource is the Lodge - its hard to consider going outside the District for help but to reiterate, this is the Lodge's program - and problem to solve - not your Districts.

 

In the Lodge of my youth, had a Chapter Advisor came to us with this dilemma, one of the Vice Chiefs would have immediately been appointed with the task of developing a plan of action. But then again, in the Lodge of my youth, the Vice Chiefs were required to attend at least 2 Chapter Meetings every month (if meetings were held in that month - most Chapters didn't meet in the Summer or in December) - by the end of the year, we would have visited all of the Chapters in the Lodge at least 3 times.

 

Calico

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Ok - I tried to edit my message to add this but I got a message saying I was not authorized to do so, so instead I'll just add another post.

 

 

In a way this relates to the thread about youth membership versus adult membership in the OA. Most of the time, the Lodge leadership, and often the Chapter leadership is made up of the older youth members of the OA - chances are high that the Lodge Chief is over 18. I'm pretty sure that the National Officers are over 18. BSA trains the lads to be leaders, the OA is where a lot of them really put it into practice.

 

Should you approach the Lodge to get help (and I strogly encourage that), they'll likely find a 17 to 19 year old OA Member going to High School or Community College with a drivers license, and some time that doesn't interfere with any Troop leadership positions (probably not someone working on Eagle at this point) to help pull the chapter back together. This person would be in a good position to attend Roundtables to talk up the OA and the Chapter and to make appointments with Troops to visit and talk to the Troops OA members. He'll have a different skill set in relating to Scoutmasters in identifying potential Chapter leaders/active members from Troops without setting up fears of poaching the Troops good youth leaders.

 

Calico

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FB,

 

Greetings!

 

I can certainly empathize. Scouts and Scouters only have so much of an available calendar, before their evenings and weekends are totally filled up. Over the years, I've been a constant but background member of some strong Chapters and Lodges (and some not so strong Chapters and Lodges). Equally, like I'm sure most of our fellow Arrowmen and Scouters, I am or have been a member of community-based groups, social groups, church groups, whew!!! I know Im getting over committed, when the boss my wife has to schedule an appointment on my calendar. LOL. Jokingly, but most Arrowmen place attending or supporting their chapter and lodge lower on the list of their to do list. Especially, if there is little incentive or fun value in it.

 

If opinions were truly a dime a dozen, I'd be a millionaire. I thought you stated "Somebody might have a suggestion". Being thick headed sometimes, I'm not sure if that was directed for your own Lodge and Chapter or posted to the forum for suggestions from Fellow Arrowmen.

 

Here is my suggestion. My current Lodge and Chapter share similar difficulties. We are geographically spread over many miles. The youth and adult Arrowmen are transitory every two to three years. The youth have their school homework, own troop events, church and youth sports, which occupy most of their time.

 

Regarding my Chapter Sometimes adult Scouters scratch their head at OA elections. My oldest was elected into the OA at 16 when he was a Life Scout, (after being passed up for four years of elections). Now my oldest Eagle was elected Chapter Chief before he turned 18. Our local Chapter has not held meetings in 3-4 years. Our Chapter Advisors are good adults, but usually transitory and busy as well; and for business reasons often they can rarely attend the recent chapter meetings. Compounded by just a few parents will drive their youth Arrowmen to a chapter meeting five or more miles down the road, just to sit in the car for an hour and then drive home.

 

Back to my oldest son (my local Chapter Chief) who is 18 now, I really don't want to be my son's Chapter Advisor, but I will attempt to give him a little advice.

 

FB, I may be long in explaining, but I typed all this to explain my Chapters current dilemma.

 

I explained to my Chapter Chief, the OA handbook and the Guide for Officers and Advisor seem to have many Chapter responsibilities and duties. I advise him to be a realist. Do not tackle all of the duties at the same time, but attempt the most important duties. And finally, try a 50/50 mix of work and fun.

 

At some prior OA weekends I've attended in various lodges and chapters, Arrowmen work from 8 am till 8 pm, then maybe the youth have enough energy to break out a movie or video game by 10 pm. Whew!! Working that hard, Who wouldn't sign up for the next OA event?

 

Call me insane, but the youth will come for the fun, and a little bit of OA.

 

We now have Chapter meetings at the same time and location as Roundtable. The building is available and sometimes it increases attendance in both meetings. At most Chapter meetings the Arrowmen have some of the most tempting frosty Root Beer and the spiciest Beef Jerky. The Chapter Chief emails an OA meeting flyer invitation each month, to the entire Chapter, to encourage attendance at the meeting. With an hour to meet, I ask him to conduct 30 minutes of business (accepting the most important duties first), then break out the video games or gaming magazines. Next month they are planning a service weekend at a community-based camping lodge. The Arrowmen will be painting the exterior of the lodge, then a "You Can Dew It" Mountain Dew XBOX tourney inside the building that night.

 

So... Finally.. My bottom line...

About K-putt is something I know a lot about. I'm not a miracle worker and neither is my Chapter Chief. He cannot make Arrowmen attend. But he can offer a lot of fun, with a little OA work. He can concentrate on the basic and most important tasks and not all of the tasks at the same time (Some tasks our Chapter may never get around to performing, during his term).

 

Is our Chapter "running on all four pistons?" Heck no. But if you make an analogy, maybe you can say, our Chapter is getting a "tune up" and we will have to wait and see, how well it runs after it gets out of the "garage".

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

 

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Calico,

 

I volunteered to request Arrowmen from the units in our District to come forward to be trained to perform elections. I did not agree to do the elections nor to drive anyone to elections; I agreed to use my phone and email. I am trying to do my part in being in the Weak Leadership and doing my best to live up it. If Scouts just want to wear patches, that is their business. I had my turn years ago and rather enjoyed it.

 

The Lodge Advisor happens to be aware of our problems and has not said a word. I have an idea that he doesn't have anyone in the Lodge that he can dispatch to our aid, as our ship slowly sinks in the west. SOS. We haven't tried the National Chief, maybe he can give us the spur.

 

Crew21,

I am happy to know about your problems as well. It is always encouraging to not go down alone. We held elections now for two months running and nobody came forward to take up the mantle of leadership. We had a couple of wide eyed Ordeal members wondering about what was going on in this Society of Honor Campers. I suppose they are thinking that they have just been elected into a group with less going on than what was happening in their own bedrooms back home. I have to admit that the offerings of the last Chief had the makings of more fun than OA. His mixture drew about five to ten to a meeting and most times fewer. He has since moved up the ladder of success. Our Advisor spoke to us about his own dedication to the OA and Scouting and wanted to be buried in his uniform. I was most inspired by this admission. fb

 

 

 

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FB and Fellow Arrowmen,

 

LOL.

 

I would rather give it the analogy of "staying afloat" or "treading water" rather than "going down".

 

While not a premier Chapter program, and no crowds of Arrowmen beating down the door to attend our Chapter meetings. There is a meeting, there is an agenda, there is a mission and goal. They are just not "Earth Shattering" lol

 

I'd encourage your Chapter Arrowmen not to give up the ship. Just to fall back on the very, very basic OA tasks.

 

If you're more willing to state your Chapter is "treading water", I'm right with you brother!!!

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

 

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Crew21,

 

No, I am afraid that the ship has foundered and is dropping like a lead weight. This is being done as I speak right here from my weak managerial state of consciousness. I am hoping that a few phone calls will give it the Breath of Life but I am not holding mine. fb

 

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FB - I misunderstood your role in your post - sounds like you're doing just what you should be doing in regards to elections.

 

If the Lodge Advisor isn't doing anything for you, go directly to the Lodge Chief - and put a little bug in the ear of the professional staff liason.

 

CP

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Calico,

 

I will contact the Lodge Chief and the Lodge Advisor (again) and lay this thing out. I need coffee time with the Chapter Advisor. I believe he is out of answers. He also is a little temperamental.

 

Well, thanks for everyone listening and giving an ear and a voice about a problem I care about. fb

 

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FB,

 

If you are having challenges with the Lodge Advisor (a volunteer) and the Chief (either a youth member or a transitional Scouter), then two other resources are:

 

- The Staff Advisor to the Lodge (Professional)

- Supreme Chief of the Fire (the SE)

 

BTW, If the Chapter Advisor is not providing the training and backup to the youth, and you are looking like you want to be an agent of change, do not be surprised if the District Chairman or the District Camping Operating Committee Chairman asks you to take over the CA role!!

 

I agree the Lodge Officers and committee chairs should be the ones backstopping the Chapter Chief, but it may take some serious arm-twisting to get it done!

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FB

I understand your plight. I'm involved with our chapter, not the advisor, just a concerned scouter. Our chapter barley has it's nose above the water.

 

Some of the suggestions I've made to the chapter chief and advisor is to talk with the SM before the elections.

Have the SM sit down with each potential OA candidates and interview them. Explain to them if elected to the OA what is expected of them (ie: attend 1.)the chapter meetings, there is always a ride, being held with the round-table, 2.) the lodge functions, Ceremonies, fellowships, conclaves, service projects, etc.).

Explain the perks, Philmont, Sea Base, N. Tier for a fraction of the cost compared to regular scouts, if they are willing to provide service for on week, then get one week to have fun, NOAC, etc.)

Let the scout know that being in OA can count toward NHS service. (I had a scout call me up the other night. He wanted to know if I could meet with him. He needed to have 5 papers signed for NHS verifying his leadership, and service projects that he had been involved with in scouting.)

Ask the scout "Does he want the responsibility that goes with the honor?"

Will he promise to follow through if elected?

If the scout doesn't want the responsibility or doesn't want to be involved, the SM can hold that name from the ballot. Only submit the names of the scouts that are truely intersted in being involved.

To many times the election is a POPULARITY CONTEST and the most deserving scouts get passed over.

 

The chapter in the next district is thriving. Their advisor turned the chapter into a Venture Crew. The only major catch is that you have to continue to attend your troop meetings and activities to be an active member. In other words, don't drop the troop for the crew.

 

I like CREW21's advice. I'm open to any suggestions that might help us also.

 

Have a nice warm weekend. I hear NE Ohio might have a baumy 15 degree heat wave. YEAH!!

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Have the SM sit down with each potential OA candidates and interview them. Explain to them if elected to the OA what is expected of them (ie: attend 1.)the chapter meetings, there is always a ride, being held with the round-table, 2.) the lodge functions, Ceremonies, fellowships, conclaves, service projects, etc.).

 

I'm sorry, but I completely disagree with the above. The expectations for OA membership are for the scout to continue to serve his unit in a cheerful and helpful manner. There should be no expectation for the scout to serve the chapter above or beyond him serving his unit. Remember the obligation that the scouts pledge in the ordeal; it says nothing of serving the chapter or the lodge, but of keeping the OA traditions alive and serving others.

 

When a scout takes the Brotherhood challenge, then maybe the above is appropriate, but I don't see this for a scout to be put on the OA ballot.

 

SWScouter

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SWS,

Aren't they already serving their unit? They 're already thirteen, First Class and have their 20 days/nights of camping in. By this time they hopefully are serving their unit. If not, then there is something wrong somewhere.

Aren't OA members also suppose by offering up CHEERFUL SERVICE to their fellow scouts? Aren't there scouts at the LODGE level and scouters at the Council level that fall under FELLOW SCOUTERS? Don't these scouts(ers) deserve CHEEFUL SERVICE?

 

The main point I was trying to convey was:

1) A lot of 13 y/o's have no idea what OA is all about.

2) They should be informed about the FUN,PERKS and BENIFITS that they are entitled to as well as the CHEERFUL SERVICE that they should be willing to participate in.

3) They should be educated what services the LODGES provides and for whom the services are provided to (Council, district, troop, chapter, section on up to National.

4) Do they want to be in OA after being eductated on the OA?

5) That if they want to be elected as a member that it is not all about another COOL PATCH TO WEAR ON THE RIGHT POCKET, A SASH OVER THE SHOULDER or another item to put on a future resume, but that there is a responsibility that is suppose to go with wearing the patch and sash.

6)Are they willing, if elected, to take on that responsibility and participate in some, not every, but some of the Chapter and or Lodge functions?

 

Our troop elects 2 or 3 scouts every year for Tapouts. They all have gone for Ordeal, received their patch and sash, and then stop. In the last 5 years there has only been one scout from our troop that has shown any interest in OA after getting Ordeal. The others show up at the ice cream social at summercamp, but that is the only time you see them.

Our Chapter has 17 troops. Figure @ 350-400 scouts. Figure at least 250-300 Ordeal or higher members. There are 10 Chapter meetings, a Winter Banquet, 2 Fellowships, 2 Ordeal Weekends, Conclave totaling 16-20 events a year. If 10% would show up at each Chapter meeting, that would be great, except for the part when I hit the floor from fainting. There are 6 Districts in the Lodge. I'm not sure on the Lodge membership, but lets say multiple our number by 6. That's 2000-3000 members. If 10% showed at Lodge functions, they would be burying me after the shock.

I'm not saying that once the boy is in the LODGE that all his time should be LODGE time and the troop takes a backseat. I'm just saying if the scout wants to be in the OA, at least show an interest and participate in some functions, otherwise decline being put on the ballot and allow another scout that is interested the chance to get elected.

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I was thinking of posting a seperate question, but it appears you are talking about similar things to my question. Currently being the SM for my son's troop, and CA for my daughters venture crew, I'm learning alot in a very short period of time. Most of the boys in the crew are older scouts in the OA chapter, and one of my assoc. advisors is the OA chapter adviser. Our district OA chapter is having very much the same issues as is being described in these posts. The troop that shares the same unit number to the crew is the unit that mostly shows up for any of the OA chapter functions. They want to see more members attending from other troops, but for now, it's usually just a handful that show up from that unit. The rumor is the chapter adviser is probably in need of replacing if the chapter is to survive, but I don't know if it's all that easy.

 

Now to my question, we are a much smaller troop that meets within a few miles of this other, larger troop. All of our HS aged scouts, who are mostly absent from our troop activites as they try to complete their eagle requirements, have already been voted into OA, and have done just enough to get their flap and sash. The only two scouts who are eligible for elections are my son (a 12 year old, 6th grader, who crossed over in Jan. of his 5th grade year.. he's been in since Tigers.) and an 8th grader, who joined in the fall of his 7th grade year. Both will be receiving their 1st class rank in about a month, and in time for OA elections. I had not seriously considered my son ready for something like this, because he is still immature in many ways. However, he is probably the most focused kid of the new scouts, and because of his native background (Dakota/Omaha), he has been dancing since he was 7, when my father did a naming ceremony for him. He goes to a new Native (I just prefer Indian... but my daughter cringes when she hears that.) charter school here, that has some amazing programs and clubs. He is the head man dancer in the powwow club, and leads the entire student body in any of the community celebrations they have had since last fall. He's a pretty fearless young man, who just does not get embarrassed. He has amazing abilities to memorize ceremonies, and is also an accomplished artist. I'm wondering if he could help the chapter, even at this early stage in the troop? I know the other, older boy could easily do OA, but I could see him more as another of these patch collectors. What do you consider the basic requirements for being a viable member of OA, and would it be better if he waited another year. He turns 13 in July. I know you can't talk about it, but is the ordeal something that would limit a younger scout from completing as well? We will probably, and should have OA elections in April, but I need to know a little more before he finds his name on the troop ballot. Thanks,

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Wow, Kahits... where to begin.

 

First, maturity of your son for Candidacy is not your call as a Father. If I understand things correctly, it may be your call as his SM. If so, then you must evaluate him strictly in light of OA standards ... unless you want to lose him forever from Scouting.

 

The Election Team will announce those standards to the Troop, so don't even think of hiding them. If they are doing their jobs correctly, they want to be sure all who think themselves eligible have an opportunity to visit with you as SM officially!

 

Don't worry about the American Indian stuff. Period. End of sentence. The Order is not about Sharing Native American Ways. The Order is about Cheerful Service. The delivery vehicle uses dance, thespianism (to include costuming and stage menagement), labor, Native American Ways, and FUN. After a Scout is in the Order he can decide how, or even if, he will express himself in service to the Lodge.

 

As far as the Ordeal goes, I was 13 years 6 months old when I took mine. My son was just over 14 when he took his, but we held him back a year a long time ago. Knowing my Lodge, its officers and Advisors, I see no problem with a 13 year old taking his Ordeal.

 

As SM, you can talk to the Staff Advisor for the Lodge at your Council and get input. OA is not a secret organization; it uses mystery to enhance program delivery.

 

As far as getting a Chapter to be doing things, finding fun and service is the way to get boys to come to Chapter functions. There's nothing wrong with a bowling evening for the Chapter. There's nothing wrong with a pool party (just conform to G2SS and Safe Swim Defense ;) ). Does your community have a Christmas or Thanksgiving support network? Helping prepare T-day or Xmas baskets ... going caroling...

 

For the older youth, packaging a group trip to do an OA Trail Crew trek at Philmont. (Want to see a DEEP discount on the Philmont cost? Arrowmen Trail Crew is the way! Yeah they labor, and labor hard for several days in service of Scouting, but then, they have the freedom of the Ranch. I've heard of some radical tours: Phillips to Baldy to the Tooth)

 

ICS.

 

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