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New SM help with OA questions

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I have gone over the website and find the FAQ section a bit scattered with information.


I am a new SM and I need answers to the easy questions.


I do know that Scouts need to obtain the days camped requirement along with the rank of First Class scout. Then one has to live by and exemplify the scout oath and law. So my question is, who votes on which scouts go through the OA tap out to become ordeal members? How many from a troop can be tapped out in a single year or at a summer camp per unit? When a scout is selected on the unit level who do you contact or do you have to contact before unit selection?


What kind of requirements does an adult leader need to obtain before being selected? What is the process?


I am sure these are questions that have been asked a bazillion times, but answers are appreciated.



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For an election your local Lodge must be contacted. Since you seem to already know the requirements I'll not repeat them here. Adults are selected by nomination to the Lodge but not in the same way that youth. Adults must meet the same camping requirements within the past 2 years in order to qualify.


The number that can be elected in a given year is harder to explain. If you have 10 elegible Scouts each youth member present can cast a ballot with as many as 5 names. It is possible that everyone qualified gets elected and it is also possible that no one will be elected. Each elegible Scout must receive 50% of the votes. So if your Troop has 50 youth voting it would take 25 votes for a Scout to be elected. All youth members present vote. You must have a majority of your Troop present for an election to take place. Since the OA runs the election you do not have to cantact anyone after the election.

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I would see if your district has an active OA chapter that can help you out. We traditionally contact them and they supervise our unit election.


All eligible scouts can go on the ballot. The entire troop (boys) vote on the candidates. I can't remember if a majority or some percentage is needed. We've had years where all eligible candidates were elected.


I do tell the boys going on the slate that they should be prepared to complete the ordeal within the next year, and that they make an effort to participate beyond the ordeal.


Hope this helps.

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robvio, here is a link to our Lodge web-site and the rules that govern elections. Ours are, I understand, in compliance with National OA standards, so you may find them helpful. Since I had absolutely nothing to do with it, I can say that we have a pretty good web-site.




Specifically, a scout eligible to vote can vote for all, none, or any candidates and a candidate is elected by getting 50% of the vote.


But, honestly, your Lodge are the people to contact.




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The rule that says that Scouts can only vote for 50% of the Scouts on the ballot is no longer in effect. It was discontinued in the late 1990s. Now Scouts can vote for as many Scouts that the feel are worth to be in the OA. So using Bro-hoodWWW's example, if you have 10 Scouts on the ballot, the Scouts can vote for all 10 Scouts. Or none. Or any combination in between. A Scout still needs at least 50% of the votes to be elected.


You also need to have at least 50% of your active Troop present at the election in order to conduct it.

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I don't see in the rules where you need to have 50% of your active troop present to conduct the election - but that doesn't mean it isn't so.


But the kind of info (outdated, misinformation, correct or misunderstood or local variance) being presented here is why it would be a really good idea to get in touch with your Lodge. They're the ones who have to approve it, set it up and conduct it anyway so their interpretation of the rules is the only one that matters anyway:

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Sorry, Vicki - your lodge's election rules are not in compliance with National OA Policy. National OA Policy on elections is stated quite clearly in the OA Guide for Officers and Advisors. Anything that deviates from this is "local option" and there is no such thing as "local option" when it comes to OA election policy (except for where elections are to be held - note it's where, and not how).


Your lodge rules state that a boy must be in attendance at long term camp in order to be elected to the OA - this is simply not correct per National OA Policy. The policy is that there is a requirement for long-term camping nights to be included in the total camping nights - 5 nights out of the 15. This does not mean that someone needs to be in long-term camp when they are elected - only that within the two prior years, they have been to a long term camp. Any youth member who has met the eligibility requirements is eligible for election at the troops annual election - which can be held (and usually is held) at troop meetings. A youth member candidate does NOT need to be present when the election is held. According to National Policy, 50% of all eligible voting members of the unit must be present at the election - eligible voting members include all those 18-21 year old ASM's that have been away at college - as long as they have participated in at least one Unit activity, they are to be considered active and therefore eligible. If you have a unit with 60 boys in it and only 20 at camp, an election cannot be held - this is why it is strongly recommended by National OA that elections be held at troop meetings. If your Lodge wishes to hold elections at camp, they are certainly welcome to do so - they just can't require candidates to be in attendance at the time of election, nor can they hold an election for a unit that has less than 50% of its eligible voters present.


Your lodges by-laws also talk about the election of adult members to the OA. There is NO election of adult members to the OA at any time, by any one - not even at the local troop committee level. Per National OA policy, adults are recomended to the Scout Executive for induction into the Order of the Arrow. A committee may come to consensus, but they are in no way required to hold any elections.


Your lodges by-laws talk about out-of-council elections - per OA Policy - and this is in italics in the guide for special emphasis, elections MUST take place within a troop or teams HOME council - no elections may be held by any lodge for an out-of-council unit - not even with "permission" from the home lodge.


Your lodge has a rule about Brotherhood eligibility that is also not in compliance with National OA Policy. The lodge has a camping requirement since one's ordeal. National OA Policy has NO additional camping nights required for Brotherhood (or Vigil for that matter). The lodge has taken it upon itself to add to the requirements - they are not allowed to do so.


National OA Policy regarding eligibility for and conduct of elections is available in the Guide for Officers and Advisors. Handily, this guide is available as a pdf file online, without a need to a password. It is the 2006 final version, which is the latest version. The link is: http://www.main.oa-bsa.org/resources/pubs/GOA-2006-Final.pdf




Vigil Honor Member

Former Lodge Vice Chief

Former Chapter Chief

Lakota Lodge 175

(This message has been edited by CalicoPenn)

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Well, there ya go - CalicoPenn just proved my point. Talk to your Lodge. If you don't know how to find them, ask the Camping person at your nearest Scout office, they should know. Just an aside, OA is definitely worth the effort. You'll hear adults joke about how they're only there to drive - OA is truly youth-run.


Be aware, as I am now aware, that you may have some "illegal" local variances. You may tread on toes rather hard if you try to start quoting national OA to your local folks. I have a tendency to just keep my mouth shut unless I'm at a campfire with the Lodge Adviser, a cup of coffee in our hands and some time to kill.


Thanks for the official link, C-P.



Vicki (typo edit)(This message has been edited by Vicki)

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