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ETD129-AW Chpt Adv

Parents attending OA Ceremonies

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SP,

Can undertand your feelings, and that is your choice, although I wish you would get involved, get to know the OA in your area, and be a resource to your unit, and the parents in it.

 

One big challenge as I see it is that folks do view the Ordeal as some type of big hoopla like a COH, graduation, etc, and do things that are not really appropriate, despite being told otherwise. Folks nowadays do not think rules apply to them, hence the incident described by another poster. If done properly, the Ordeal Ceremony is NOT a graduation, but the completion of a day long process that is to allow the individual to reflect and test themselves. The Ceremony explains a good bit about what is done, as well as what is expected. To be honest it really should a calm, dignified moment.

 

I've had something very similar occur, and the incident the other poster described reminded me of something else that happened. My chapter also had a candidate whose parents came and picked him up immediately after the Ordeal Ceremony. IMHO it was fortunate in that Dad was an Arrowman in his youth, and did persuade the mother from going to the ceremony. But mon and dad did pick him up before he had a chance to go through new member orientation, enjoy the celebratory crackerbarrel, and pick up his new member packet of OAHB, new member handouts, and OA dangle.

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"Nonmembers should not attend the ceremonies."

 

It says should not.

 

It does NOT say CAN NOT, or WILL NOT.

 

Its discouraging nonmembers from attending, NOT forbidding attendence. If the parent or religious leader still feels they need to see the ceremony, they will be allowed.

 

I have a 09 handbook. I'll see what it says.

 

And again, the reason for them wanting to do so is about concerns about the ceremony. NOT because they feel they need to be there like they attend a court of honor or the like.

 

The problem I see is that SeattlePioneer is pushing his VIEWS and thinking that its policy. It's not. I seriously doublt that SP is an arrowman or have any real knowledge of it.

 

Arrowmen do NOT turn away non-members from seeing the ceremonies for any sinister reasons. Its done because these ceremonies should be PRIVATE. Its distrubtive for nonmembers to be there and do things like a previous poster noted. This is why when it occurs, it should be only the parent & religious leader, and done such that its non distruptive.

 

 

 

 

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OK this topic has been beaten to death for 2 years now and i have quietly watched this conversation unfold in that time.

 

Every story has 2 sides of the coin.

There is much more to this story then the original poster explains.

 

At the heart of the matter is really simple. Does the BSA or the OA have the right to prevent a parent from enjoying his or her successes in life. To participate and observe in moments of time that will never be captured again. If the child and parent are enriched from sharing the experience be it direct or indirect.

 

If your against this mindset...I only ask one question.

 

What gives you the authority to deny a parent and child a moment in their lives?

 

It sure wasn't the BSA or the OA. Because the rules are clear no matter how you look at it. There is to be no event in the BSA which will not be open to observation by a parent or leader.

 

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Satashi, scouting is filled with Parent-Child moments, but just like a patrol activity, this isn't one of them.

 

The dignity, solemnity, and tone required to make the ordeal ceremony a deeply meaningful moment of transformation is quite difficult to create. I recall my sash being lifted from the huge wooden arrow we hung them on for ceremony, I heard the cloth slide across the wood, the fire pop, the crickets sing, and nothing more. Thirty years later I recall that exact moment with such detail, because of its careful crafting.

 

In the shadows of the many venerable trees surrounding the lodge ring, sat my new brothers, silently, but I could feel them there, welcoming, inviting, encouraging. The movements of each of the ceremonialists, no matter how small, and profound had meaning to me. The sparks from our council fire drifted skyward, reminiscent of fireworks, as the voice of the Mighty Chief boomed out in the ancient ritual words of welcome, echoing from the walls the neatly silent waterfall, whispering its song, just out of view behind him. What a magical moment, one intended to bond me to my brothers, in a way I would remember all the days of my life it worked.

 

Did I want my mother or father there, no, not a chance. This was about me completing a great ordeal, a task I had undertaken, and completed on my own. Just think how a parents presence, or any non-members, could have changed my view of that event. My experience, its impact, would assuredly have been altered. This isnt about the parent, its about the scout. I know its hard to let go, but they must become men, good ones we hope. To grow a youth needs space, self esteem, earned respect, and a sense of worth I got all of those things that chill October night.

 

If there needs to be a Parent-Child moment, let the parents greet the scout at the cracker barrel, a photo op could even be set up there.

 

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"At the heart of the matter is really simple. Does the BSA or the OA have the right to prevent a parent from enjoying his or her successes in life. To participate and observe in moments of time that will never be captured again. If the child and parent are enriched from sharing the experience be it direct or indirect.

 

If your against this mindset...I only ask one question.

 

What gives you the authority to deny a parent and child a moment in their lives?

 

It sure wasn't the BSA or the OA. Because the rules are clear no matter how you look at it. There is to be no event in the BSA which will not be open to observation by a parent or leader. "

 

Gee, you just don't get it.

 

The problem is, NO ONE says that the OA (or BSA) has the authority or right to deny the parent being at any OA ceremony.

 

 

The thing is, NOT EVERYTHING IN A CHILD'S LIFE IS A "parent-child" MOMENT. Too many parents have gone overboard, thinking they MUST be involved in EVERY aspect of their child's life.

 

They don't.

 

They need to cut the apron strings. They need to give their child breathing room and the chance to live their own lives. Boy Scouts (and by extension the OA) is NOT a parent-child program.

 

This is what several of us are saying. Stop and think first BEFORE demanding to be at that ceremony. We can't prevent you from being there. But please re-consider.

 

There are more appropriate times for parent-child moments. (the lodge banquet, the court of honor, etc).

 

 

I am reminded of a great series of 'children's books' called the "Swallows and Amazons" series. Its about several groups of children in England between the wars, having outdoor adventures during school holidays. The ages of the kids aren't clear, but seem to be about middles school or so.

 

Thing about these stories, is that the kids are doing it WITHOUT their parents around. Their parents TRUST THEM to be able to doing without them. And the few adults around let them take the lead in things, not hoving around and being surrogate parents. In many ways, the adults act like we would want scout leaders to act.

 

The books kind of celebrate the fact that kids on their own can be independent and take care of themselves. Kind of what we hope that scouts will be.

 

The funny thing is (and my final point) is that these books are very popular amoung many families. Who then organize parent-child trips and activities inspired by them. Why is this funny? Because the books are NOT about 'parent-child activities', but on independent child activities...

 

 

 

 

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"They need to cut the apron strings. They need to give their child breathing room and the chance to live their own lives. Boy Scouts (and by extension the OA) is NOT a parent-child program.

 

This is what several of us are saying. Stop and think first BEFORE demanding to be at that ceremony. We can't prevent you from being there. But please re-consider."

 

two comments. BSA brings some of this on themselves, i.e. multimillion dollar judgments for inappropriate activities of leaders and "secret" files.

 

second, the OA does still bar attendance. I know from personal experience. And, the ceremony is not really secret. You can find it, the brotherhood, etc. on the net.

 

So, given the fact that this ceremony has been, in some minds, linked to the masons, and some commentators disagree with the connotations of the religious overtones, or anti-established or catholic religions, it is not real shocking that some feel it is their right to take a 13 year old boy into a ceremony and not want parents around. While I certainly understand "old ox" meaning, if you took "old ox" comments out of this thread, you could likely put it straight into a discussion about cults.

 

 

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Just to be clear, I dont know how to edit. I am not saying it is a cult, but, i am saying that you can certainly see why the issue is so sensitive.

 

I again, certainly understand what old ox is saying, and don't read anything into it.

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I had that question posed to me by a not-so-happy dad. Actually, it was more of a statement: "WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME HOW TO SPEND TIME WITH MY SON?!?"

 

I wouldn't begin to presume to tell anyone that, nor would I deny a family a parent-child moment. I will, however, tell you if and how you are going to interact with a patrol. If I were an OA advisor, I would have no problem telling you if and how you'll observe OA activities.

 

As a Scout leader, I'm concerned with more than just you and your kid. I'm concerned with the overall program we're delivering to all the boys.

 

If you're in you son's patrol site, sneaking him snacks and fluffing up his sleeping bag (as the dad was just prior to the above "conversation"), then yes, I'll run your butt out. If you're on the perimeter of the OA circle, waving and yelling, "THAT'S MY BOY," you're gone from there too.

 

You want a parent-child moment? Take him to Disney.

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I agree with you Twocub, time to cut the apron strings. However I have not seen anyone bring up why this has become such a big issue. Many OA lodges in the past were accused and found guilty of hazing the ordeal candidates and other types of harrassment that led to lawsuits, candidates being injured during the ordeal, and quite frankly giving the OA a bad name. The council lodge which I was appointed staff advisor for as a DE, had some of these issues that the adult and youth officers turned a blind eye to, and in one case a boy was seriously hurt. That is why IMO, the lodge had basically shrunk into a very small click, and had no new members in years. It took a total changeover with new youth and adult leadership to get it back on tack reestablish its credibility,and to repair the horrible reputation they had earned.

 

Sometimes when proper guidelines for rituals, etc. are not in place or even exsist then you are just asking for trouble. The price the OA has paid is the loss of most of its mystery and uniqueness, and that is just sad. Now you have parents insisting on being present at all OA activities.

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Hello BadenP,

 

 

You describe the kind of things that concern me. Frankly, the tenor of the discussion on this thread leaves me worried about OA units lacking a sense of proposrtion and going overboard on things as your describe.

 

One check on that is having parents freely able to observe what is going on and act to file complaints if they see things that worry them.

 

Without that check being freely available, I think there's a real risk that things will get out of hand through poor judgment by adult leaders who don't know when to say Enough!

 

All the talk about the importance of the Ordeal ceremony is just the kind of thing people who have lost a sense of proportion are likely to say.

 

Ceremonies are important in Scouting, but NOTHING is more important than protecting boys from a Lord of the Flies kind of atmosphere, which can develope all too easily. Placing excessive importance on a ceremony is an indication that adult leaders have lost their sense of proportion, in my opinion.

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I've been reading through this thread in the last few days. What it has left me with is a strong feeling that I was not a responsible parent when I sent my young son off to his ordeal a few weeks ago. I can report that there was no question of his parents attending the ceremony since we were not told there would be a ceremony. We were told little more than where, when and what to pack for his ordeal. I trusted the organization, and I feel that trust was misplaced.

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WOW, I would never have guessed this would still be rolling along two years after I posted it. I hope it's been good, Maybe the forum works. I hope everyone can see each other's personal dilemmas'. This is typical of the may "grey areas" created by the BSA. As the OA handbook says. "Non-members should not attend..." We have an obligation to be able to articulate the BSA & OA position to parents that inquire about this. I still stand behind my comments early on in the thread:

 

Thanks again for all the input and opinions!

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

Thanks for everyone's input. I am familiar with the rules set forth in the GSS as well as Youth Protection. Now two days later, here is my take and position.

 

As a parent I can appreciate the BSA's position that NO part of scouting is secret and off limits to anyone especially parents, nor should it be. In today's world we are under the liberal microscope and the last thing we need to do is add fuel to the comparisons that have already been made between the OA the Free & Accepted Masons and Skull and Bones. If this was an all adult order that would be one thing, but it's not, it's for our sons and parents have a need to know. Period.

 

Now on the flip side; As I said, I've been in the OA since 1972. NO ONE appreciates the mystery and the anxious anticipation it creates in the eyes of a 13 or 14 year old scout going through his Ordeal as I do. This mystery aspect should be preserved at all cost, for the sake of the youth. Our youth (and adults) should understand and appreciate this and not reveal the details of their ordeal. So what if an adult knows, as long as the details are preserved, an adult should be able to put this into perspective, and not be traumatized by knowing the details.

 

...

 

Most all of the responses outlines the best way to handle these situations:

 

- We DO NOT need to advertise or even mention that parents are allowed. Stay away from it.

- If a parent expresses interest he should be referred to the LA or CA

- Explain the mystery and the importance of this for their sons

- Explain the ordeal and ceremonies and our purpose.

- Allow access to the script if need be.

- If all this fails we have to allow them in.

- If they show up unannounced, explain they must observe from a distance and must not interfere or interrupt.

- Let the youth handle this. (They can do it so darned much better than we can!!) Really...no sarcasm here.

- So what if still pictures are taken, I would have loved to had some of my ceremony. What does it show?; a bunch of Boy Scouts in uniform around a camp fire with 4-6 other Scouts dressed up as Indians. That's all

- Video of the ceremony by non members. I would not allow this if at all possible. If members video the ceremony, that's one thing, make sure your ceremony team gets a copy .

 

Enough rambling from me.

Yours In the Brotherhood

 

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BP,

 

I think I acknowledged that some lodges WERE, past tense WERE, hazing, and that there has been a very big push to clean it up. I know that since becoming an Arrowman in 1989, the 5 lodges I've been in have NOT been tolerant of anything that could be construed as hazing, to the point that they have allowed folk to be members who really should not have been, i.e. the folks who walked out of a project in the middle of an Ordeal, and a leader who refused to be quiet the entire weekend. But that is my opinion.

 

Again I do not see the problems I've read about. But I am also one of those who will get involved and fix things if I saw them. And most of the folks I know in the OA are the same way.

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This is sort of on topic-I have a helicopter mom that is a great asset to the troop. Non uniform, but a great lady. Her son was voted into OA, and she was all in a lather about the Ordeal.

 

I told her that if she trusted me to take him on a 3 day 2 nighter, she should trust me when I said it would be a good experience for him. She lightened up on me and let him go.

 

Fast forward a few years. Another (uniformed) leader had her son voted in. She hounded me for weeks to know what went on. For weeks. She finally found out from another person, and told her son. Who told ALL the other Ordeal members. Great, huh?

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My two cents: Train your OATR to be the first line of defense about the mystery of the Order. Then, back him up. When non-Scouter Mommy/Daddy get obstinate, let the TR give him/her an adult leader app, and invite them to camp the 15 days and nights. After that, let the TR send them to either the Chapter Chief or the Chapter Adviser for the second line. Don't be bureaucratic, but let each layer work.

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