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Amangi Mizin

Quality vs Quantity

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About 6 years we had a lodge advisor that took office. He was not a local and first thing he did was change when our ordeal and brotherhood were held from twice a year to 5 times a year. He wanted to make Quality Lodge and he did but it came at a price. The ordeal and brotherhoods were held every week of Boy Scout summer camp. It made the lodge books look great but it turned our lodge into a summer vacation lodge. Our summer camps looked impressive with a lot of arrowmen but number were way down for all the events from October to late April. It seemed the arrowmen only cared when they were in summer camp or not in school. About 2 years ago we switched lodge advisors who had been in the council for years. He switched the ordeal and brotherhood back to two times a year. Our numbers dropped on the books so we havent made quality lodge for the past two years but our year-round active members have increased. We get pressure from the section that we need to make quality lodge to make the section look good.

 

Sorry for the long back story but has anyone else been in the situation? Our numbers our down but I think our lodge is doing better. Its the age old quality vs quantity but I think to build a better lodge we should first start with quality. What do you think?

 

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Numbers, numbers, numbers what is the purpose of the OA? Is it to get boys to summer camp? Is it to act as a reward for popular boys that have enough camping? Is it a service organization that benefits the Scouting program? Summer camp dog and pony shows are great if that's what you think OA is about but if the "activity" of the Lodge disappears between summer camp sessions I think the benefit is lost.

 LongHaul

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I agree completely. Quality Lodge is something set up to measure how well you're doing--but it is not perfect. If Quality Lodge doesn't meet your needs as a lodge, it is really more of a suggestion than anything else. Keep up our "quality" system instead of the "quantity" system--eventually, that quality system will get you to Quality Lodge (makes enough sense, right?). In the mean time, just know that what you're doing is better for the people of the lodge, council, and community, and that's what's important.

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Here are my questions:

 

Is EVERY TROOP in your Council being given the opportunity for an OA election?

 

Are your election teams TRAINED?

 

Are your team leaders and their advisers able to prep a Scoutmaster on Candidacy standards and his ability to certify Scouts for nomination?

 

Do you have a legitimate way to process every Ordeal Candidate elected by a Troop?

 

Do you have a year-round program in your Lodge, which supports retention of youth in both Scouting and the Order?

 

If you answer yes to all five questions, then relax... you're doing the right things.

 

If you answer no to any question, it's time to take a hard look at your lodge, perhaps asking 3d party Arrowmen to look in. After all, feedback is a gift!

 

ICS/F&W(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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I'm sooo confused - I have so many questions.

 

How was it possible for the Lodge Adviser to change the dates of the Ordeal, and for the second Lodge Adviser to change them back? It's not up to the Lodge Adviser to make these decisions - its up to the Lodge Youth Leaders. The Lodge Adviser can make the suggestion, but its ultimately the Lodge Chief and his cabinet of officers (including the Chapter Chiefs) to make the decision. And no, the Lodge Adviser doesn't get "veto power".

 

How can the numbers be so much different between summer camp Ordeals and spring and fall Ordeals. Theoretically, you're electing the same number of people. Is the lodge area so big that people can't make time to attend at least one weekend of service? If it is that large, do you hold the spring and fall ordeals in two different places so you can reach as many people as possible? How is it even possible to make up the loss of numbers of all the Units that don't attend the Council's summer camp unless election standards weren't being followed? If numbers are still a concern, can the Lodge do summer camp AND spring and fall ordeals? I know of many Lodges that hold ordeals at summer camp but also hold at least one spring or fall event for those that don't attend the Council's summer camp?

 

Is being a "Quality Lodge" a goal of the Youth Leadership or of the Adviser? If the Youth Leadership aren't concerned about being named a "Quality Lodge" then why the push?

 

And who really cares what "Section" wants anyway. The Section is there to offer opportunities for fellowship and training - it has nothing to do with the operations of Lodges. The next time they start pressuring you to bring your numbers up to become a "Quality Lodge", politely, but firmly, tell them to "Go Scratch".

 

The Lodge Leadership's primary responsibility is to the current and future members of the Lodge. It's up to them to make the program work for the benefit of its members and the Council.

 

If the Lodge Leadership feels its offering a quality program, then congratulate yourselves and keep it up.

 

Calico

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Sometimes the adult advisors stick their noses in where they don't belong. A few years back, a young fellow couldn't go to his ordeal because he was ill, very ill. He was going to be spending the summer working at a camp where they did call outs and ordeals every week. I tried to get permission for him to do his ordeal at the camp. The Lodge Chief had no problem with it but one of the adult advisors said, "nope. no way. uh-uh. ain't gonna happen." And that was that.

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"How was it possible for the Lodge Adviser to change the dates of the Ordeal, and for the second Lodge Adviser to change them back? It's not up to the Lodge Adviser to make these decisions - its up to the Lodge Youth Leaders."

 

That is true. If you have a 'youth-led lodge'. Just as you have issues between boy-led and adult-led troops, the same is true in OA lodge. Some are heavily adult run, others youth run/adult advised.

 

"Is being a "Quality Lodge" a goal of the Youth Leadership or of the Adviser?"

 

It should be the goal of both. In my area, most Lodges work toward QL, and I think few youth would not be behind it.

 

"And who really cares what "Section" wants anyway. The Section is there to offer opportunities for fellowship and training - it has nothing to do with the operations of Lodges."

 

Sections are more then just fellowship/training. In my Section, the Section officers visit all the lodges sometime during the year, work to help out the lodges, etc. This is, I think, the norm. So, yes, they do have something to do with the operations of the lodges, especially when it comes to helping ensure the lodges run properly. AFAIK, its part of their job!

 

 

"A few years back, a young fellow couldn't go to his ordeal because he was ill, very ill. He was going to be spending the summer working at a camp where they did call outs and ordeals every week. I tried to get permission for him to do his ordeal at the camp. The Lodge Chief had no problem with it but one of the adult advisors said, "nope. no way. uh-uh. ain't gonna happen." And that was that."

 

Not clear on this. Was the summer camp he was working at in his council, or was it an out of council camp? If the later, then the Lodge Adviser was correct: you are NOT allowed to complete your ordeal with another lodge. I am not aware of any situations where this is allowed.

 

MOST lodges, if they are smart, have a 'make up' ordeal. This helps those who, for whatever reason, could not attend the first, regular ordeal. Pretty much all the Lodges in my section do this, because too often there is some conflict for some people with the regular ordeal and they miss it.

 

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John-in-KC, the answer to all your questions is a resounding yes except for the election team. They are trained but not well and a place for improvement in our lodge.

 

In our council, the OA is the work horse. They are the ones who staff camporees, maintain camp, initiate and sometimes fund camp projects, run council fundraisers, and make up 80% of the camp staff. Because of this, The Supreme Chief of the Fire (SCOTF) (aka the council exec) and other adult advisors keeps a close eye on the lodge and the SCOTF does have veto power but thats another hot item with me too so I wont go there.

 

Quality lodge is pushed by the SCOTF and the section. I agree with emb021s take on the section and yes our lodge does have a make-up ordeal and brotherhood weekend.

 

Im glad to hear that not everyone is concerned with numbers. Unfortunately financial issues and recruitment reign supreme in my council and I think it hurts the quality of the program.

 

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Getting back to the original post.

 

A lodge should be able to achieve QL with 2 Ordeals a year. Most of the lodges in my state do so.

 

Most lodges don't have more then 4 lodge events a year. Am not sure if its a national rule, but am fairly certain its a national recommendation. One is usually the formal lodge ordeal (one lodge, due to its size, conducts ordeal at the chapter level). Most lodges in my state have gone away from summer camp tap outs and august/sept ordeals, to tap outs at camporees and ordeals either in late fall or early spring.

 

One reason for this is that in many of our councils, troops aren't attending their council camp. 2 councils no longer have summer camps! National rules forbid being tapped out OR going thru Ordeal with a lodge other then your council's.

 

Due to the fact that some kids will miss out on ordeal to do things like school sports, etc, most lodges will have a second, smaller ordeal conducted as part of another lodge event. Most lodge weekends will include the Brotherhood ceremony. Most lodges have the Brotherhood conversion rate as a problem with achieving QL.

 

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" National rules forbid being tapped out OR going thru Ordeal with a lodge other then your council's."

 

I think that this is where the confusion started with my situation. One advisor said that it was okay and another said no. Evidently the one was thinking of call out because you can be called out in another lodge.

 

"A lodge may not call out candidates from a visiting out-of-council troop or team unless the unit leader presents a letter from the home lodge chief and lodge adviser, requesting the call-out and identifying the members to be called out." Source: "Guide for Officers and Advisors"

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