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Youth Protection and OA

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I have voiced my objection to the way my chapter handles youth protection, and I have gotten no where. In their eyes even though some of the "youth" are over 18 they are still considered "youth", and so they can sleep in the same tents as those under 18.


While I was writing this, I decided to take the Venturing youth protection. I am amazed that it made no mention of separate accommodation for youth under and over 18. That is confusing if I understood the Venturing training and what my chapter said was right, example:


a 16 year old scout and a 19 year old ASM are in the same troop, chapter and crew. The first weekend, they sleep in the same tent at a fall fellowship and change clothes in the same bathroom. The next weekend they are forbiden to sleep in the same tent and have one on one contact on a troop backpacking trip. And now on the third weekend, the are in the same tent a again, on a crew camp out.



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Yes, this is true--in the OA, individuals are considered Youth until 21, meaning that a 20-year-old and a 16-year-old can share a tent at OA functions, but not troop functions. This is NOT something your Chapter is doing wrong, it is National Policy. The reasoning, I believe, is that troops tend to have younger scouts, starting around 11 years old. The OA, however, tends to have older scouts, starting around 14 years old. An 11-year-old and a 20-year-old in a tent is a big age gap, but a 16-year-old and a 20-year-old is not such a big gap. Don't complain to your Chapter, they are doing it right.

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I was speaking to our Chapter Advisor about this and he said that at NOAC they seperated those under 18 from those over 18. He told me that our Lodge has adopted the policy to follow the standard Boy Scout approach and sperate members at 18. Must be a local choice or event organizer choice.


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I looked on the website for national in the F.A.Q. section. If I am reading this right anyone over 18 is an adult for sleeping purposes and a youth for activity and voting until they are 21.


Q: What is the cutoff age for youths and adults in OA Activities?


A: For Order of the Arrow participation (events, elections, etc.), a youth is anyone under age 21. Adults are those 21 or older. This holds true for everything except housing status at events, where adults are defined as 18 and older (see more below).


Note that this does NOT change the BSA youth protection policies, which define Boy Scout youth as those under 18, and adults as those 18 or older. These policies still apply to all OA activities.


So individuals at OA activities really fit into one of three categories:


Those under 18, who are youth for both OA events and BSA policies

Those 18 to 20, who are youth for OA events, but are adults for BSA policies

Those 21 and older, who are adults for both OA events and BSA policies

This requires careful arrangements for housing, facilities, etc.

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My understanding is that talen has it exactly correct. At OA events, there are four sleeping areas:

1) Males under 18

2) Males 18,19 and 20

3) Males 21 and over

4) Females ( who by membership rules are only eligible if 21 or older)

It does produce goofiness. I remember the story of two National officers of Venturing. They were dating. The boy was 20 and the girl 19. Everybody thought it was great until the boy turned 21. He was now an adult!! and utterly forbidden to date a "youth." The only solution was for one of them to drop out of Venturing until they were both 21. The girl ended up dropping out and, of course, resigning as a National officer.


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meamemg, if you look at talen333s post above you can see that a 19 yo and a 22 yo would fit in two seperate categories. But, the only requirement is "This requires careful arrangements for housing, facilities, etc." which sort of sounds like they cannot sleep in the same tent, but I'm really not sure.


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