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Keeping the Honor in the Order

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"My bottom line is..

Limiting potential great Scouts from becoming Arrowmen seems to be on the individual Scout in the troop.

 

To counter any election confusion, unethical popularity, favoritism, Could there be anyway that our National OA committee allow even more hard working, positively motivated, cheerful, friendly Scouts which constantly demonstrate Scout Spirit?

 

Could National OA committee look at any future procedures that will allow some great Scouts to become Arrowmen, while not lessening the honor? "

Crew21Adv asks.

 

I'm of the thought that opening up the Order to all those eligible that received at least 50% of the votes cast has watered down the Order. Although it is still a great honor to be elected and it does reflect greatly an those elected. Many deserving Scouts will still not be elected for reasons mostly unknown. I have not seen how the last changes have benefitted Lodges, Chapter, or even Troops, as an Arrowman's first obligation is Service to his Unit! Rather I've seen that the Order seems to have lost participation and focus.

 

I do not have the answer. However I doubt that the National OA committee can by simply changing the rules make anything better. Working within the Order at the Unit, Chapter, Lodge and Section levels is where real meaningful change could and should happen. In that order IMHO. It will take effort of Scoutmaster, Unit OA Reps, and Chapter Cheifs and Advisors to educate and validate the honor in the Order.

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BrotherhoodWWW and Fellow Arrowmen,

 

Greetings!

 

True. I have to agree with you. Some may enjoy the changes from National, either OA, or with advancement in Boy Scouting, Cub Scouting or Venturing. Others may not enjoy changes as much. Each Scouter's opinion is based on the positive and sometimes negative trends we all have seen.

 

I myself, would certainly like to see the Order of the Arrow, as well as the Boy Scouts and troops thrive and benefit, whichever avenue our BSA takes. Regardless if I personally agree with National Policy, policy changes.

 

Hopefully our National professionals and National Committees, will continue to identify ways to enhance the BSA overall.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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One positive step might be if those prospective Arrowmen who are undergoing an Ordeal had the right to deny membership(and knew it) to those other Ordeal prospects in the same Ordeal group who were clearly NOT enduring the Ordeal but instead making a mockery of it by insisting on talking and being disruptive.

 

Make it hard to eliminate them, get an 80 vote to eliminate. But we had two doozies in the last Ordeal that I participated in. They would have garnered every down vote available except their own.(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)

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From what I have witnessed those that are not eager to participate in service and follow the traditions tend to weed themselves out fairly quickly. So on one hand money may have been wasted on a flap, sash and book that will never be used, but on the other hand that person may eventually mature to the point that the understand and so become a benefit. Sometimes scattering seed is a gamble on the soil.

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Scoutmasters must only approve the most outstanding Scouts for an OA Election.

 

I also brief our OA candidates in understanding that some Scouts will not take the Ordeal program seriously, and that I and all of our Troop's OA members expect their highest efforts. We encourage our OA candidates to take individual pride in how they participate in the Ordeal program.

 

On My Honor..........

 

sst3rd

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When I was a Candidate,

 

My totem included 4 beads... one to be broken each time we broke the silence.

 

After each rest/discussion/reflection session, those who had broken beads were taken offline by Advisers and Lodge senior Arrowmen. There were long and careful heart to heart talks.

 

These days, I don't think any Lodge would dream of calling Candidates down to the front of the campfire ring and having totem beads broken publicly. We'd call it humiliation and a violation of BSA YPT.

 

Of course, this was 1970...

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Yep, the Ordeal process is a rubber stamp pretty much. Because there were occasional instances of "black-balling" in earlier days, and a few candidates felt they were treated unfairly over the years, the rules were changed. Now, there is very little, if any accountability if the Ordeal vows are broken. Just one more instance of taking the glow off the campfire and over doing the challenge to keep it fair, but meaningful.

 

Still, most candidates seem to try to uphold the honor of the moment; and a few seem to actually "get" it. Work with what we have, and hope we can push forward.

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Perhaps an "up or out" policy. Of those who pass the ordeal, require active participation in the Chapter/Lodge to become a Brotherhood candidate. Those who do not achieve Brotherhood within a certain time frame (i.e., 2 years) would be dropped from membership and have to start over. I can't tell you how many "flap wearers" we have who are NEVER seen at OA events. Wearing the flap is only for Lodge members "in good standing", but that's not enforced, either.

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A few years ago, we implemented the Nemat hike in our Lodge. When I Nemat, I like to talk, a lot, about the meanings of cheefulness, service, and brotherhood (yes, out of order deliberately).

 

There seems to be almost a fetish these days to get membships sealed.

 

I know this... I like Nemating during Scout Camp more than induction weekends. I spend all day with my charges, and we have lots of opportunity to talk about the Order ... to include talking through what was once called the Brotherhood Questionaire.

 

Frankly, I'm more concerned that the ethic stays with them when they are 22 or 23 or 30 than I am if they lock into the ethic at 13 or 14.

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One boy just came back from ordeal, disappoinded as it was not as descibed by others. Only 2hr of work then get back together into large groups. None of the isolation others describe. Is this not normal now? or just our area.(This message has been edited by firekat)

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During our spring and fall inductions, it's a full days work. We've got cheap labor, and by golly, Ranger takes advantage of it!

 

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"Only 2hr of work then get back together into large groups. None of the isolation others describe. Is this not normal now? or just our area."

 

In my area, work is a full day. Unless they run out of things to do, you're pretty much busy until atleast mid-afternoon.

 

Not sure what you mean by isolation. As this is an open forum, I'd rather not speak too much about what the ordeal is and does. Most ordeals you will be working with others, anywhere from half dozen to 20 or more, depending on the job.

 

 

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FireKat, I think both you and the new Ordeal member should complain to The Supreme Cheif of the Fire (Scout Exec, the Lodge Staff advisor, Lodge Advisor, and Lodge Cheif! IMHO it is a great dis-service to canidates to water down their Ordeal experience. Properly done the Ordeal can be an earth shattering event that an Arrowman will remember for his or her (in the case of an adult candidate) life.

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There are two sentiments that I feel are common in this thread, and they are that the Ordeal is a test of the candidate, and that OA membership conferred on a Scout that has no intention to be active in the OA as a member is wasted.

 

I am a Vigil Honor member, and have been active the OA as a youth and adult. After many years of learning about and studying the Order, my understanding of both sentiments is that they are not a reflection of the Orders true intent.

 

I believe that Ordeal is not a test, but a learning opportunity. The purpose of the Ordeal is to give the Scouts insight into leadership. By exemplifying the qualities of Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, and Service, they can be better leaders, and the Ordeal shows them but one way they exemplify these virtues. There are infinite others.

 

Secondly, a Scouts primary responsibility is to his home unit. This is in the OA handbook, and there is an allusion to it when the Candidates are prepared for the Ordeal Ceremony (if the ceremony is done properly). If a Scout returns to his unit and continues to provide leadership to his unit and serves others, then he is fulfilling the promise he made during the Ordeal Ceremony. While I would like the Scouts in my troop to be more active in the OA, as I believe it provides more opportunities than simply the Troop, I have to respect their decision not to.

 

So, that being said, if Scouts dont take the Ordeal and OA membership seriously, I would look at your lodge leadership. How do they approach the Ordeal Candidates? Do they see them as outsiders who must be closely scrutinized, or do they see them as younger versions of themselves, who can flourish with brotherly guidance. Are they goofing off while the candidates are working, or are they working hard on service projects. I can tell you in my currently lodge, its the first (for both), and OA participation is dwindling, and I think these are reasons why.

 

Many may disagree with me on this, and thats fine. But I think if you sincerely read the available official material, you will start to understand the OA as I do. I highly recommend the Guide to Inductions available on the National OA website, but the ceremony pamphlets, OA handbook, and Guide for Officers and Advisors are also valuable.

 

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Funny.

 

I recall the script for the Pre-Ordeal and the Ordeal calling it a test.

 

From the 1965 edition of the OA Handbook (1970 printing), p 25 (my personal handbook):

 

Talking to the responsibilities of the Ordeal Master:

"He mus be extremely careful that each candidate fully understands the symbolism of the pre-Ordeal ceremony and the reasons for all of the Odeal tests to which he is subjected..."

 

I omit the remainder because it describes in detail the Ordeal.

 

Is it a learning experience for young men? Yes.

 

IS IT A TEST FOR YOUNG MEN? YES.

 

I rest my case.

 

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