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gwd-scouter

Maybe the OA does not have the meaning it used to

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I don't see a problems with the current ceremonies, except the call our. Talking with the last year's crop of Ordeal member to and from their Ordeal, their opinion of the OA based on the call out was that it was "lame" but on the ride home, the though all the symbolic stuff was "pretty cool" now that they understood it.

 

That's my point, that I think the Order has an image problem among non-members which is hurting membership and participation in the Order. There are lots of possible fixed, most of which have nothing to do with the ceremonies.

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I agree with Eagle92. The election procedures have watereds down the Order. Years ago even a large size troop would get 2 or 3 candidates per year. Last year, our troop got 6 membes, and could have had ten! Backl in the day you had to be a 3-4-5th year scout to even be considered for membership. Now a 2nd year is most likely eligible.

 

 

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gdw,

Knowing you and knowing about some of your issues from some of the other threads, I think I know and understand about the accommodation your talking about. We both know the Lodge will take care of it, and the other candidates will probably never know. Go for it. I know you would be a great asset.

 

Being inducted back in the days of PI, I was tapped out back in the early 70's, and very involved. Yes, I think that OA has lost some of it's zing it had back then. It was hard to get elected, and the scouts that went through with it, were the ones that wanted to be there. The commitment to the Order by those elcted into it was strong. It was the Honor Society of Scouting.

 

When I rejoined Scouts about 7 years back with my sons, I thought it was great, the number of Scouts be allowed to be nominated for Ordeal. Now I think that is has become watered down, to achieve numbers. Back in the 70's, it was an honor. Now it appears as others have stated, in most cases, it's to wear the patch.

 

Yes, I do think a part of the problem is the maturity level of the younger scouts. But I see the older Scouts who have the time, blowing OA off after Ordeal too. Some of it is other activities, but some of it is laziness. With older scouts, who place OA as second fiddle to another activity, or are just to lazy to want to do anything, what do you think is going to happen to CHapters when the Chapter Chief is only 13? Even with a good advisor, the 13 y/o is rarely going to have the maturity and mentality to handle the position. I have one 18 y/o SPN who is at the Chapter meetings all the time VC of Activities), and the rest are 13 and under. Sort of hard to make an appearance to camporee's when the younger ones are needed for their troops.

 

Some of it is a bad image.

 

As for the bad image, at least at our Lodge is:

- Our two Ordeals are held before and after summer camp. Not visible to other Scouts. Same for our two fellowships, unless there are units camping the same weekend. This year, the Lodge is moving the Fall Fellowship to the same weekend as our fall camp honors Good Turn Weekend, so the units see the Lodge there along side the units giving service, and hopefully having fun. The COuncil is also teaming up with the County Parks for a massive trail cleanup, using the OA as the team leads for the different projects for the troops and packs.

 

- "It's clichy (sorry, probably misspelled). Scouts feel left out". This from a ASM who is Vigil. Now I really do not remember that being an issue back in my days. Today, I can see that perception. That perception may be true in a few circumstances. I think the real problem stems from the lack of participation after Ordeal, plus communication. Then when a member does show up on rare occassion to a Chapter meeting, he feels out of place, because the few that do consistently attend are on the same wavelength with each other,

like telepathy.

 

- "All they do is make you work". Grunge work. A stated in another thread, the Lodges have to make the Ordeal service a project that the candidates will remember as something that they really contributed to, not setting up and tearing down summer camp.

 

There has to be better communications to everyone. But the how many Scoutmasters are going to listen to a 13 or 14 y/o, when they have a hard time listening to a 17 y/o. I see a lot of our SM's take the information handed out at RT with a grain of salt, the blow it off, never really passing it on at their meetings. Nor do they push their OA Rep's to attend the Chapter meetings. Our District just informed the SM's, that attendance is being taken, and an EC up for DEBOR with OA Rep listed as POR had better be on the list, or the EBOR will bounce the application.

 

If the SM's would follow Skeptic's advice and

-really screen the elegible candidates before elctions,

-really explain what OA is all about, including the maturity and mentality level needed to truely function in the organization,

-and counsel the younger ones that waiting a year or two is not a bad thing and may be more beneficial for everyone involved, and would be more fun and meaningful for them in the long run,

 

then I can see OA once again gaining the respect it deservers and being the quality organization that Scouts can't wait to be elected into.

 

gdw, sorry for the tirade. It wasn't meant to be a hijack. It's just something that I'm passionate about. I hope that some of my opinions may answer some of your questions.

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ASM915 - thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I'll think about it.

 

Your post hit upon most of the things I've thought about the OA's image problem. The clique thing is certainly an issue in some Troops. I remember when older son was first eligible for the OA. Not elected, although almost every other Scout eligible in his Troop was. It was a popularity thing. He was not elected the next year. Third time was the charm. He finds it funny that no one wanted to vote for him and last year he was nominated for Vigil Honors.

 

Our Lodge has thought about changing the timing of the ordeal. Now it's done every week during summer camp. By the time the last few weeks roll around, there isn't much real service work left for the guys to do. I've heard for the past couple of years that they were considering having the ordeal at one or both of the fellowships. Hasn't happened yet, but I think it's a great idea. That way, all the other campers wouldn't see what the guys are actually doing for the ordeal.

 

The group of boys that were elected when he was not? Never did anything with the OA past ordeal. For that matter, I've see a whole bunch of leaders go through the ordeal too. Very few of them are active.

 

Personally, the best thing about the OA is how it has brought my sons together. They are seven years apart in age, so they never had much in common or shared interests at the same time. They are both at our spring fellowship this weekend and are coming home later today. Can't wait to hear their stories.

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I would submit that there are a number of adults - not just boys - who seem to view OA membership with a jaundiced eye. In my area OA has been quite weak and so maybe this is more a local thing, I don't know. But I have seen several adults who were given the "honor" of being selected, only to treat it like a line on the resume (something to do and move on, not something to be part of). When adults treat it that way, is it any wonder that the boys do, too?

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Perhaps membership in OA should be treated more like a POR. Don't accept the title of "Arrowman" if you don't intend to fulfill the responsibilities. I like the idea of discussing OA participation at EBOR. I plan to use that in the future. "I see you're wearing the OA flap of our Lodge. Recite the Obligation for me and tell us what you've done to fulfill the oath."

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I agree with alot of the points already made. The election process makes it too easy to get in. It is often a big "click" with the good old boys getting all the lodge positions, being considered for Vigil, etc.

Plus, the ordeal is not held at summer camp, pulling the OA out of public view.

The ceremonies in my opinion have gotten very lame also.

Just my 2 cents worth.

 

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scoutldr,

The EDBOR was mainly going to make sure that the OA Rep was actually attending Chapter meetings if he was trying to use the position for POR. But I like the Obligation question, and will have to remember and try that sometime.

 

jr,

I feel that if the Scouts are willing to be invovled and make an effort to support the Lodge, Vigil is possible, but will take time. It's strange how National will change election criteria to boost the numbers for Ordeal, but then still keep quotas on how many Vigils a Lodge is allowed to except each year based on Lodge membership. The committed members will be nominated first, not because of a clique.

 

Lisa,

You nailed one problem right on the head, complacency. But then again, the troop may nominate an adult, but it is suppose to be the Lodge that decides if that adult has a skillset that the Lodge needs and can use.

 

gdw,

I would have your Lodge think long and hard before they switch to twice a year. Twice a year is nice when it comes to knocking off some larger labor intensive projects by concentrating all the candidates into two Ordeals.

 

The problem I see with twice a year Ordeals is that when the scouts can't make the Fall Ordeal because of a sports commitment, and has to wait for Spring Ordeal, by the time 8 months rolls around, the desire to join has wained, or they all of a sudden find themselves tied into another school event, and loosing out on Ordeal again, and having to be reelected.

 

With running the Ordeal at summer camp, you still have them baited. They really don't have the chance to change their minds. Usually their Saturday was already clear of any other activities since they were just returning from summer camp.

 

My old Lodge held Pre-Ordeal at an isolated area of our reservation that was seperated from the main two camps by a lake. The PO was run at the same time the Camp Honors campfire was being held on the far side of camp. The scouts at Ordeal automatically received their Camp Honors patch. This kept the rest of the scouts from thinking of taking a night hike and trying to raid the OA ceremony. Our candidates were divided up into two groups on Saturday morning. One group stayed at Camp Butler where the PO was held and worked in the morning. The other group hiked it over to the other camp, Manatoc, and worked in the late morning and afternoon, usually after the rest of the campers had pretty much left. Around mid afternoon, the first group would hoof it over to Manatoc in time for showers and dinner. After dinner, the main ceremony was held. The only drawback other then having smaller work groups was someone had to pick up the new Ordeal on Saturday evening. Luckily, the Council did not cover a large geographical area.

 

The Council and Lodge that I'm involved in now, has a conflict on Friday nights that causes them to have to run two Ordeals, Spring and Fall. The Camp Honors programs is one of the oldest running honors programs in the country, dating back to around 1925, runs every Friday night, and takes 250-300 people to pull it off. It is unbeleavable to me that the Honors program can get that kind of commitment on a Friday night, from that many people, to do what they do, and OA is luck to have a 50-75 adults and youth willing to run an Ordeal.

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I made a mistake when I posted about our lodge doing the ordeal at fellowships. Their idea was to do them only at the fall fellowship, so only once a year. I think one of the reasons they have not changed is because of of what ASM915 mentions. If the candidates have a conflict on the weekend of the ordeal (band, sports, etc.), then they would have to wait another year and likely lose interest.

 

This past weekend was our Lodge's spring fellowship. Both of my sons were there. Very sad turn out, at least from our Chapter. Younger son and the chapter chief the only two youth members, older son and two other adults. Five in all from our District. Very sad indeed.

 

 

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I had thought that being in the OA was to give older scouts more opportunities to do stuff scouting. Sorta like why some troops form Venturing Crew, to give the older scouts more opportunities to do stuff scouting. Just what today's kids need, more activities to go with the veritable plethora of things they do now. In the COuncil/Disitrct I serve, the OA is not what it should be. At every Camporee, Klodike or other activity you see the OA staffing a station, with all the experience and knowledge these scouts have, they should be with their troops helping their unit, but no, they would rather hang together and make fun of the newbies, not the attitude I expect at all when I read the literature.

 

Is it possible the OA is an anachronism that has outlived its usefulness?

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I suppose that just as every patrol, troop, district and council are different in many ways, so are our OA Lodge. Having been a Brother for 37 years, but a member of my current lodge for only 7 years, I can vouch that my ladge is outstanding. These boys are cream of the crop young leaders. Cheerful Service is their goal and our camps could not exist without their efforts.

 

Our troop had our first election last fall. Four boys were eligible and as Scoutmaster, I approved all for the ballot. Had I a vote, I would have voted for three, leaving the last off because of Scout Spirit issues. But I'm a new Scoutmaster and thought maybe election would be good motivation for him.

 

But the boys themselves made the right decision anf elected 3 of the 4 boys. Maybe next year for number 4. I talked with him afterward and I think he understands nad has begun to shape up.

 

Just like 13 year old Eagle Scouts, such young OA Brothers just don't get it". But we adults have pushed our kids to achieve rather than have fun and grow. We have watered down the BSA program as a whole.

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I apologize if I'm jumping in and going off topic. I have not had time to read thru the whole thread, but this is a subject near anddear to my heart. While I agree that the election criteria might be too easy or too broad, a good election process should help guard against some of the issues. The Chapter should be approachin the SM concerning getting an election on the troop schedule. They should provide the SM with the criteria and urge him to use his veto power in creating the unit's ballot. Then when election time comes, it should be presided over by a Chapter election team who explains in DETAIL to the boys how the voting process works and the things they should take into consideration when voting. A good election team is worth their weight in gold. I've seen boys go on a ballot who never should have. I've seen boys get elected who shouldn't. I've also seen the process work and boys not get elected who were included on the ballot. I've seen an SM go around the room at election time and ask who was and was not in OA and make a ballot of all those who were not. An election team should always have a knowledable adult along to work out any issues.

 

A unit should never hold an election without an election team and they should always adhere to the election process. That is about the only safeguard there is in getting deserving members.

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Well, I have heard this called "sash and dash", and I think that's a fairly common term. I think it bothers people who take the honor seriously, but is it any different from the boy who quits scouting as soon as he gets his eagle rank?

 

I think the best thing to do is to start with the guy in the mirror and not worry so much about what everybody else is doing.

 

The lodge I am in certainly does have some programs to try to keep people involved. They have something called "beyond brotherhood". There are silver and gold beyond brotherhood pins that you can earn.

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The OA is near and dear to my heart. When career Exploring and Sea Exploring did not offer the challenges I sought, I gave the OA another shot and the Order far exceeded my expectations. Why do I say another shot, because when I tried to be active the first go around, the chapter I was in was dead. I didn't meet anyone from my chapter when I went throug the Ordeal, and when I did attempt to attend a chapter meeting, no one was there. I also received no communications from the lodge: no info on conclaves, fellowships, other ordeals, nothing. I had to tag along with a candidate to know about another Ordeal, and that's when I found out about being eligible for Brotherhood.

 

Fast forward 3 years and I am the troop's ASM at summercamp. I ran into an old HS friend who is lodge chief. His passion for the OA rubbed off on me and I decided to give the OA that second chance. I went to conclave with only a week's notice. The passion and enthusiasm I saw with the chapter members, it had been rebuilt, and at conclave infected me, and I have been hooked ever since.

 

I say this because the OA is what the MEMBERS want to make of it, both youth and adult. If you have enthusiastic members, you will recruit enthusiastic candidates. Also enthusiasm is like an infectuous disease, you can spread it around. :) The only way that candidates can become enthused and remain active is if YOU are enthused and active. So get involved and be enthusiastic and passionate about the OA. Get a ceremony team, singers, or dancers going. DO SOMETHING FUN AND OUTSIDE THE BOX FOR A CHAPTER FUNCTION.

 

While I think the changes to election process are faulty, the youth on the national level voted fo this, and the youth run the OA. Us old fogeys have to live with it. While this may have affected the membership of Order to a degree, our purpose and meaning has not changed. This is evident by the ArrowCorps5 project last year. And we will see it next year with the OA Service Corps at jambo.

 

So be enthused, be active, and watch our order grow and improve.

 

 

 

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I think it really depends on who wants to do it. If the Scout really wants to do it, he'll push for it and appreciate it more. If it is just something to do, they'll blow it off.

 

I don't see it as a prestige type of thing. There are too many kids going in OA around here for that to be true.

 

If there were more of an ordeal, I think it would carry more weight.

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