Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ETD129-AW Chpt Adv

Parents attending OA Ceremonies

Recommended Posts

"Are we there yet?"

 

Not sure yet.

 

I keep hoping this will end.

 

 

Sadly, it seems that SOME don't get it that 'discouraging parents from attending' ==/== 'not allowing parents from attending'.

 

AFAIK, *NO ONE* said or advocated not allowing parents from attending. The rules say that parents can attend if they so choose. And NO ONE is arguing it doesn't.

 

But, the reason that peopld try to convience them not to by having a conversation or the like should not be seen as an issue or violation of this.

 

The only valid reason parents should have to attend is they have issues/concerns. This can be addressed by having a conversation with them, prehaps showing them the ritual. If its not enought, then NOTHING prevents them from attending.

 

Parents should NOT be attending because they think they should, thinking its the equivalent of attending their COH or the like (again, hence the conversation).

 

And, as has been noted, its JUST the parents. NOT the scouts assorted siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts/uncles et al. This is NOT a family affair.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been debating for three days whether to post this or not since it seems like we beat the horse on this one. I was at a Lodge Ordeal this past weekend and the situation which arose solidified my opinion that non-members should be discouraged in attending the event (if they completely insist due to a safety concern, then parents only).

 

I served most of the weekend with a large clan from a single Chapter. There were a couple youth Elangomats and one adult, and I was more of a project foreman, ensuring the projects were completed as they were laid out. There was one older youth cadidate that I would "catch" sitting behind trees or behind a building when the rest of the candidates were working. Toward the end of the day I was counting up candidates to make sure no one was missing and I was short one....I found the young man off in the woods talking to his parents on a cell phone, telling them what he had been doing all weekend and where the ceremony site was (Pre-O). I simply asked him to rejoin his fellow candidates.

 

Later on in the evening, I was at a ceremony helping with a few things and in trods two parents and their (approx.) 8 year old daughter. They completely interupted the ceremony which was going on and when they realized it wasn't their son's, they demanded to know where it was because "they didn't drive 2.5 hours to miss taking pictures."

 

I put two and two together and knew who they belonged to and was able to take them to the other site. As we moved together to the other site I mentioned that the ceromony was important to everyone and that we ask for the up most respect and decorum while attending. Well, when we got there, they disrupted that ceremony as well, calling out there son's name, waving (he was waving back)...all like it was a little league game. The team fumbled a few lines as they were distracted and it was an all around bad experience for everyone.

 

After the ceremony, the family (including the new Arrowman) disapeared. The didn't stay for any Chapter or Lodge fellowship and wasn't there for the Lodge Officer's welcome and new member introduction. The Ordeal ceremony was ruined for about 40-50 new Arrowmen and we will probably never see the offending Arrowman or his family ever again.

 

I am not advocating for seceret ceremonies, but as an Arrowman who was elected as a youth, the Ordeal is something special to me. I paid attention to everything that was going on and really took it to heart. A little over 20 years ago, the lodge who inducted me was still using the arrows around the neck, and if there had been cell phones back then and I had been on it during the day, I am certain my arrow would have been broken and I would have been sent home.

 

This topic came up Sunday morning at breakfast, since the situation was widely known at that point. The opinions mainly broke down in two ways....the adults who had been elected as youth thought we should keep some mystery to the ceremony and thought non-members should no attend exept for safety concerns, the adults who had been selected as adults saw no big deal I thought anyone who wanted to see their boy in the ceremony (as a side not, every adult who went through had a son in a troop at the time).

 

I know what the G2SS says, but wanting to view the ceremony because you think it's a Court of Honor goes against why we allow parents to view it in the first place. I lost my vote close to 15 years ago...with everything else, if it's not a safety issue, why don't we let the youth Lodge leadership decide?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive said quite a bit on this topic, but heres the non-biased, simple truth. Thank you for your wisdom emb021

 

 

Sadly, it seems that SOME don't get it that 'discouraging parents from attending' ==/== 'not allowing parents from attending'.

 

AFAIK, *NO ONE* said or advocated not allowing parents from attending. The rules say that parents can attend if they so choose. And NO ONE is arguing it doesn't.

 

But, the reason that peopld try to convience them not to by having a conversation or the like should not be seen as an issue or violation of this.

 

The only valid reason parents should have to attend is they have issues/concerns. This can be addressed by having a conversation with them, prehaps showing them the ritual. If its not enought, then NOTHING prevents them from attending.

 

Parents should NOT be attending because they think they should, thinking its the equivalent of attending their COH or the like (again, hence the conversation).

 

And, as has been noted, its JUST the parents. NOT the scouts assorted siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts/uncles et al. This is NOT a family affair.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote: "The rules say that parents can attend if they so choose."

 

It does NOT say parents can attend if they still want to after doing all you can to discourage them!!

 

Put the onus where it belongs, the OA & District leadership need to select a ceremony site where parents may observe and still not detract from the ceremony.

 

Any level of discouraging parents from attending will grow as "protecting the Ceremony" will be the focus rather than following the rules. And then, we get another "Secret Organization" accusation that BSA does not need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, willful OA leaders just don't get it, so it needs to be stated in the baldest terms:

 

 

ANY effort to discourage parents from attending is VERBOTTEN!

 

Frankly, anyone who can't understand that simple concept should be replaced as an OA leader in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SeattlePioneer: "ANY effort to discourage parents from attending is VERBOTTEN!"

 

G2SS: "All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders."

 

You have moved far beyond either the letter or spirit of the G2SS. Perhaps a deep breath is in order.

 

If the parents have concerns about the Order for religious reasons then they need to know and understand what is going on before the Ordeal so that they can decide if their child should join the Order before the Ordeal. That is only fair to the parents, the scout and the Order. For most parents in this category, they will either choose not to allow their son to join or they will no longer have their concerns. In either case this discussion needs to have taken place. Based on your twisted version of the G2SS we are not allowed to have this discussion.

 

If the parents have safety concerns. Come on, there are no parents that fall under this category. At this point in the son's scouting journey the parents trust the leaders and are not concerned for his safety. Those that don't, have not been allowing their son to go camping anyway and so are not eligible for the honor.

 

So what you have left are the parents that want to come see little Johnie get his award. Chances are there is nothing you could say to keep these people from coming and I don't know anyone that tries to stop them. Bores will be bores. But they can be greeted at the camp entrance, be informed of proper behavior and escorted to the ceremony. Just like any other event, if they do not behave they can be asked to leave. It will be up to them if they want their son to leave with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Unfortunately, willful OA leaders just don't get it, so it needs to be stated in the baldest terms"

 

Sorry, SeattlePioneer, it is YOU who doesn't get it.

 

 

"ANY effort to discourage parents from attending is VERBOTTEN!"

 

Sorry, there is NO such rule, and NO such view.

 

the rule mearly states that parents (and certain other leaders) are allowed to observe the ceremony. AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN, *NO ONE* has said otherwise.

 

OA leaders get this. YOU don't! There IS a reason why we do NOT promote the time/location of ceremonies. They are PRIVATE. (not secret).

 

IF parents have concerns about the OA and its rituals, having a conversation FIRST is the best way to address this. This can include showing them the ritual. If they STILL have concerns, they are OF COURSE allowed to observe (but in such a way as to NOT disturb things), see the recent posting on an example of this.

 

IF parents want to see the ritual for other reasons, having that conversation first is best to possibly get it thru their heads NOT to attend. But AGAIN, if they STILL want to see it, they are OF COURSE allowed to observe.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no provision in the rules that allow for a scout leader to explain and attempt to discourage attendance at any ceremony, event, etc.

 

You are reading this into the rule that it is allowed. The rule does not say parents can attend as a last resort. It says they can attend. It doesn't say they can attend if they insist on doing so. It says thay can attend.

 

Meet parents, explain where they can sit, and then shut up and do your thing. Doing anything else to discourage attendance is actually acting contrary to the rule. For example, you see a sign that says do not go down the hill. Is it ok if you just go halfway down the hill. The sign just said don't go down the hill, it did not say that you could not go down halfway and turn around.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seattle - Try looking at it this way: do we discourage parents from involving themselves in their sons' patrol functions? Do we discourage parents from permitting their scouts to miss meetings and camping trips? Do we discourage scouts from tenting with their parents? But, if push comes to shove, will we allow a parent to do any of these things if they insist on it? Yep, we have to.

 

Same train of thought for the OA ceremonies. If a parent arrives and says, "I'd like to go to my son's ordeal ceremony," and an OAer says, "I'm not sure that's a good idea, and here's why...." -- how is that a problem? It's just a case of a Scouter sharing information about a particular program with a parent. Then, if the parent agrees he or she doesn't need to attend the ceremony, its no problem. Or, if the parent still insists on attending the ceremony, its still no problem. No one is keeping secrets, or preventing a parent from having access to their child in either case.

 

Now, I'd say that these types of conversations should NOT be occuring with only a few minutes clearance before the start of the ceremony. I'd say that when this happens the lodge needs to do a better job of communicating the schedule and expectations with the parents well before the ceremony starts, but that's another issue.

 

dennis - There's a bit of a difference though. Denying a parent access to their child is a legal issue. There is, however, no harm in asking that the parents voluntarily agree to give their kid some space in certain situations, and there's nothing wrong with an Arrowman explaining why they would prefer that the parent not attend a ceremony. It only becomes an issue if the explaining of a reason turns into a refusal. I'm not a lawyer, but at that point I'd imaging you're talking about kidnapping or something along those lines.

 

Rules typically don't explicitly state things that one is allowed to do. Instead, they restrict behavior. In this case, we are restricted from excluding parents from Scouting functions. That doesn't mean that we can't explain why we would prefer that they cannot attend - it just means that we cannot prevent them from doing so.(This message has been edited by KC9DDI)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Seattle - Try looking at it this way: do we discourage parents from involving themselves in their sons' patrol functions? Do we discourage parents from permitting their scouts to miss meetings and camping trips? Do we discourage scouts from tenting with their parents?"

 

Totally different set of facts and circumstances. There is never a time, or at least there should never be a time, when you would encourage a parent not to be present during any of the above events. Encourage them to allow the boys to learn and do it on their own, sure. But, encourage a parent not to show up and be around when meetings, trips, patrol functions occur--NO WAY.

 

 

"Same train of thought for the OA ceremonies."

 

Exactly. Parent can be told to sit in the back, etc. but again, not encouraged not to be present. That is what this thread is about. It is about the OA encouraging parents to stay away, or, barring parents from attending. It is not about encouraging boys to learn on their own. It is about trying to set the stage for the boy to engage in a function where the OA wants parents kept out. All of this talk about encouraging parents to stay away is purely that--an attempt to keep parents out of the ceremony when there is no basis in the rules to do.

 

"No one is keeping secrets, or preventing a parent from having access to their child in either case."

 

Wrong--by actively advocating to the parent that the parent should not attend, you are actively taking steps that are contrary to the no closed ceremony rule. You are actively attempting to prohibit the parent from attending by any other means possible besides outight barring them from attending.

 

and, officially, this is a dead horse.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dennis - You're right, there's never a time when we can conduct an activity closed to parental observation. But, consider when a recently crossed-over parent observes their son struggling to start a fire on a camping trip. If the adult decides to go down to his son's patrol site and start the fire for him, do we, as more experienced Scouters, not discourage the parent from doing so? Even though we have no legal standing for requesting that the parent stay away? Again, we're not trying to prohibit anything - that would be against the law, and I would think it would be illegal in many situations. But, clearly there's nothing wrong with explaining why we believe the program works best under certain conditions, and asking that the parent voluntarily choose to act a certain way.

 

There's a huge difference between explaining a situation and making requests of parents, and prohibiting parents from having access to their children. There is no BSA rule or law that prevents a Scouter from having a conversation with a parent to explain the goals of a given program, and to request that the parent take a certain course of action. The parent can choose to listen to your explanation for as long as they want, and can choose whether or not to agree to do what you've asked them to do. Its only a problem when the parent makes their decision, and you continue to prevent them from going to their child. That's why I would strongly advocate having these discussions well in advance of the actual ceremony whenever possible.

 

The rules don't need to make a special allowance for explanations and conversations. It would be pretty silly if the BSA rules needed to specifically allow each and every conversation that would be permitted in a Scouting context. Rules in general restrict behavior, and there is no restriction on explaining why we ask that a ceremony occur a certain way. We are, however, restricted from closing any Scouting event to parental observation. There's a clear and obvious distinction here.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, what I see over and over again are OA leaders talking about, boasting about and promoting, their many varied methods of discouraging parents from attending Ordeal ceremonies.

 

The idea appears to be to find the best and most sophisticated way to keep parents out of observing this ceremoney without actually producing complaints that would be hard to justify, extenuate or excuse.

 

In my opinion, that's an irresponsible violation of BSA rules, no doubt intended to avoid exactly that kind of abuse, based on what is probably a long history of problems.

 

So, to make things perfectly clear, I again suggest that ANY attempt to discourage parents from attending OA ceremonies is VERBOTTEN!

 

 

No doubt there will yet again be people who don't agree with this, but frankly they are the people who should be removed from OA leadership, in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok I cheated and googeld but here it goes, but here it goes.In regards to ceremonies from BSA literature. YES parents, if they have a concern, can attend a ceremony.

 

Youth Protection Guidelines for adult leaders and parents. Irving, Texas: Boy Scouts of America. 2006. "Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity ... The BSA does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program such as Order of the Arrow are open to observation by parents and leaders".

 

BUT here is some additional stuff

 

Order of the Arrow Handbook. Boy Scouts of America. 2008. "If after discussing the ceremony with the lodge advisor, the parent, Scout leader or religious leader continues to have questions about the content of the ceremony, that person will be permitted to read the ceremony text and view the Ordeal's ceremony training DVD. Following this, parents will be in a position to decide whether to allow their son to participate in the ceremony. Nonmembers should not attend the ceremonies."

 

That last bit is new even to me, and probably everyone who doesn't own a 2008 OAHB, because parents, leaders, and clergy with concerns DID have the right to view a live ceremony. Now they want folks with concerns viewing the training DVDs and not attending.

 

Grant you I am cutting and pasting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Arrow#cite_note-YPP-32

 

So if someone has an new OAHB, could you please verify?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Eagle92,

 

 

Thanks for posting the current guidance on this issue.

 

 

Unfortunately, like increasing numbers of BSA literature, this is hypocritical. Calim that OA isn't secret and then refusing parents permission to observe the ceremony is going to create problems, I predict.

 

Perhaps parents will just take advantage of the option they have and refuse to allow their son to participate.

 

Frankly, with that as guidance I might be among the Scoutmasters who would simply take a pass on OA altogether.

 

Rather too many of the comments I have read in this and similar threads suggests to me that OA is not a part of Scouting I am interested in participating in or supporting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...