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gwd-scouter

OA Elections-So many new Scouts

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We just enrolled 11 new Scouts to our Troop. We had only 9 guys to start with. Three of our guys are in the OA. Four will be eligible for election this year. We are having our elections in May and I'm wondering about all those new guys voting. Being in a new scout patrol that is headed up by two of our OA guys, the new scouts won't really know the four eligible scouts very well. Presumably they don't know anything about the OA either. I'm hopeful that the presentation the election team gives will be helpful, but I wonder...

 

How could the new scouts vote for a guy without knowing him?

 

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I strongly recommend NOT having OA elections until the new guys have a few campouts with the everyone under their belt and know everyone.

In all likelyhood, they will either NOT vote, or vote for who they know, and no one else.

 

My old troop made the mistake one time of having OA elections about 2 weeks after the new scouts crossed over, and the PLC said not again. One of the new scouts had a brother who was eligible, and it appeared that every new scouts voted for the brother and no one else eligble. While big brother was a decent scout, others eligible would have been better Arrowmen, and only 1 other got in. The PLC figured out what happened, whether on their own or if the SM told them. I sure as heck didn't as I was the CA at the time, and they told me exactly what happened when they tried to get me to spill the beans.

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You can suggest that they abstain. The election is based on the number of ballots cast.

 

Next year you might schedule your election prior to crossover. Most chapters are glad to do them earlier, the closer to camporee and summer camp the busier the election teams get. The only reasons to wait that I can think of are to hold out for an advancement or to get the chartered count over 50 so you can nominate 2 adults.

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I can't speak to how every council does it, but unless you're going to summer camp out of council you can hold your election while you're at summer camp.

 

That said, the three councils where I've had the privilege of going to summer camp have all held elections during summer camp.

 

That would solve your problem of newbies not knowing the guys.

 

Vicki

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Vicki - Here lies a problem. Some lodges do run elections at summer camp. Others, like mine, do not. Elections, for us, are usually run somewhere between February and the middle of May. All elections need to be completed by May 15th, in order for us to assemble a call-out list, approve adults, and send letters to other summer camps for those troops going out-of-council. I've only ever experienced one election during camp, and that was an out-of-council unit who's lodge normally runs elections at camp. It was a pain in the butt for me, as camp chief, because I didn't know how many Scouts I was suppose to have called-out until the day of the ceremony, but if in-camp elections are the norm, I can see them working.

 

gwd-scouter - I generally agree with Eagle and jet. Since the "before the cross-over" option is not available, you need to get the candidates involved with the new scouts, but not in an unnatural way. I've heard of SM's assigning special projects to overcome issues of this sort, but I see that as completely against the goal of the election. Consider having your Guides have the 4 scouts help them with instructing or something along those lines. The new guys will see enough of the guides over the next year. If the 4 guys have POR's, be sure to have the new scouts introduced to the POR's as soon as possible, so they can see the impact these scouts have on the troop. Definitely encourage the candidates to go on any camp-outs between now and the election. With a smaller troop, like yours, the candidates should have plenty of opportunities to get face time before the election. One thing to consider is that youth can be a better judge of character than adults at times. (Not to say that your situation, Eagle92, is acceptable) With over a month of exposure, the new guys will have definitely made an opinion about the candidates (we actually make up our minds about people in the first 3 seconds, not to say that can't be changed...). If a candidate does not get elected, don't suddenly jump to the conclusion that it was just the naive new scouts voting him down because they don't know him. I've seen too many SM's that simply don't understand that youth don't always act the same in front of adults as they do youth. Maybe the candidate treated the new scouts poorly? Maybe he isn't the great kid that he turns on for you?

 

If it comes time for the election and you still feel that they haven't really met the candidates, go with jet's recommendation. When I run elections, I always make sure that they understand abstention. While you can't force them to abstain, you can recommend it.

 

Worst comes to worst and you don't get anyone elected, it's quality that counts, not quantity. If all 4 get elected, plus the 3 current members, almost half of your troop (nearly all of your originals) will be Arrowmen. That is a lot! Most troops that I run into only have a handful, and finding active Arrowmen is more difficult. Rather than having lots of Arrowmen, we should be pushing our current Arrowmen to be active.

 

gwd - From what I've seen of you on the forum, you seem fairly experienced, so if this all is stuff that you understand, I apologize. If not, I hope it helps!

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Well, there ya go then, Sakima. That was the point of my caveat.

 

I take it by your name that you're a member of a team? Congratulations and thank you - that's a lot of work and a great contribution to your lodge.

 

GWD, do you know that your lodge doesn't do elections at summer camp?

 

Vicki

Brotherhood, Shawnee Lodge

 

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I don't know about the Lodge as a whole, but our Chapter always sends an election team out some time in the late spring, before our Troops start going to summer camp. I am not in the OA so I don't know what happens with the sheet after I sign it verifying those boys that have been elected. When we get to camp I always have to go find a Lodge person and make sure I write down our guys' names for the Call Out on Wednesday. Seems pretty odd to me.

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Boys can choose to abstain if they don't know the candidates well enough. I think perhpas this point should be emphasized with the boys. If they abstain, it is as if they were not at the election and it is not as if they voted against the boys.

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Hello Scouter 760,

 

You're right about abstentions in an OA election with one exception. Scouts who abstain count toward the 50% present which I believe is necessary to have a valid election.

 

That's one of the problems which can arise with elections at summer camp. You need to have at least 50% of the total registered Troop membership there.

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Actually according to the Guide for Officers and Advisers, it is 'preferred" that units do not do elections at summer camp. Which seems kinda weird to me since A) OA started from a summer camp society and B) one of our primary goals, ok several, is to promote camping. What better place than summercmap?

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Because, as NeilLup pointed out in the post above yours, many troops have trouble getting 50% of their registered youth to attend summer camp. In addition, elections need to be overseen by the lodge of the council in which the unit is registered. No valid election can occur that is conducted by another lodge. So for units that go to an out of council camp, they wouldn't be able to have an election at summer camp.

 

So, frankly, that's two strikes against holding elections at summer camp.

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We would have a big problem getting to the 50% if all the new Scouts abstain. We started with nine Scouts and in the course of a couple of weeks received twelve new Scouts (just had another new guy walk through the door last Monday). So, you see, new Scouts make up more than 50% of our Troop. I am going to ask around at roundtable tonight and see what suggestions I get from the adult OA members and experienced Scouters.

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Hello gwd-Scouter,

 

From what I understand of the situation, you don't particularly have a problem.

 

Let's say that you have everybody present. Nine older Scouts and 12 new Scouts. First, you easily meet the 50% quorum necessary to hold an election. You would only need to have 11 Scouts present to hold the election.

 

Now let's say that all 12 new Scouts abstain so that only 9 Scouts are voting. Any name which could appear on 5 of the voting ballots would be elected as I understand matters.

 

The count for the quorum and the count for who gets elected are totally separate.

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NeilLup has it right. The Guide for Officers and Advisers spells it out on page 22. The 50 percent applies to the number present, not the number voting. That's the whole point of abstaining. Abstaining is covered on page 22 as well. So, if you just convince the boys who don't know the candidates to abstain, you don't have a problem. On the other hand, some of the new boys might know the candidates even though they are new to the troop and might want to vote. I also wonder if some boys will want to vote just so they don't feel left out.

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We have a roster of 60. We have 18 new scouts this year. The OA election was held the night of many of these boys first troop meeting. It was explained to them how the voting works and for it to be a fair election, they would not be voting this year as they didn't know anyone well enough to make a valid vote. Now, that wasn't the exact wording, but it was the gist of how it was done.

 

I know it varies from Lodge to Lodge, but doing elections at summer camp would never work for us. Call outs typically happen at spring District Camporees, so obviously the elections have to happen before that. Our district's call out will be happening on April 18th and the first of two Ordeals will be May 16th. Summer camp happens in June and July. Elections for us happen in the December to March time frame with troops scheduling an election team to come to one of their troop meetings.

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