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Parents attending OA Ceremonies

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Yes, lets all band together to subvert the rules so we may keep the status quo we like regardless what the rules say.


Lets also have the boys be the front line of subterfuge so adults will feel guilty about asking for their parental rights.


Our opinion is more important than BSA policy so we will establish BSU, Boy Scouts of Us! Its no matter that it will be Kaos with no official handbook, Charter, Guidelines or rules as we just make up our own rules off the cuff. This will be difficult but when the OA, or even the BSA, is banned for our actions, it will be our only choice.


Funny how we Americans want adherence to the Constitution, rules of law, strong professional police departments and freedom for all, yet when it comes to facet of US Scouting, we will subvert, conceal, violate, deny parental rights and even violate the rules and the TRUST of the very organization we purport to love, cherish and support.


We all signed an oath to follow the rules and policies of the BSA, suck it up and honor your oath or get out and start the BSU!!!!!

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No one here is talking about subverting any rules and your accusations are unfounded and untrue. The controversy as to allowing parents to observe the ordeal and ceremonies is one of fairly recent origin and one of great concern to every OA leader and member.


Boy Scouts is partly about teaching a boy how to grow into a man who doesn't need mommy and daddy going every place with them. The OA has lost much of its appeal, mystery, and prestige because of things just like this. OA lodges are in the same downward spiral in numbers as troops and scouts are for a reason. Our friend Kudu calls it "cupcake scouting" where the boys are no longer challenged and their scouting experience is little more than MB and Rank mills where QUANTITY far exceeds any quality program.

Believe it or not people like yourself who blindly follow whatever is in print and never question the potential harm something may be causing the program are one of the main reasons for the continuing demise of the Boy Scout program. You really need to see the forest from the trees in order to help try making scouting a better program, not allow it to become weaker.

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If youre not interested in exposing your Scouts to anything beyond your Troop, feel free to stop them from joining the OA. No growth can be earned from ArrowCorps or SummitCorps... just slave labor. Never mind the fun and fellowship they will develop with Arrowmen in other troops, Districts, Councils, Sections. NOAC is only a huge waste of time. They won't need the personal growth of being a ceremonialist or vice chief of any board activities. Go ahead and tell these young men that all they need to know about Scouting they will learn from their almighty Scoutmaster.


I wonder if you all are the same folks on this board complaining about your 14, 15 and 16 year olds dashing as soon as they get their Eagle, as they are sick and tired of teaching the same first aid and knots year after year to another batch of wild 11 year olds. Look around, plenty of active Arrowmen in their late teens and college years. Look closer, you will see some of the most talented and capable young men in any collective place. I hope none of you plan on attending the new high adventure camp in WVA... they must be up to more no good down there all summer.


Shame on you for thinking you have the right to prevent Scouts from joining a BSA honor organization they may be entitled to join just because you dont have a warm fuzzy about it. The arrogance in these posts just continue to amaze me beyond belief. How sad for you and the boys you influence with that attitude.


Mommy and Daddy want to watch? Fine. Be at this place at this time and well escort you there to witness a ceremony from a distance. You may be able to pick out your son, but his part of the actual ceremony only lasts seconds. At the conclusion, youll be escorted back the parking lot to depart from camp property. We can answer all the questions you have before and after, but you are a guest observing a ceremony that your son and many others have worked and sacrificed all weekend for the right to participate in.


In over 20 years of active service of the OA as a youth and adult advisor, I have never ever had a parent cause a problem over this. However, I HAVE had plenty of idiotic SMs feeling they needed to protect their boys from the evil Arrowmen (quote, unquote) but never a parent. Deal with them respectfully and patiently, make arrangements for them to see the ceremony, but none ever followed through with it. Maybe the fact that most of these parents arent all that interested in when push comes to shove and they realize they have to go tromping out in the woods in the dark, no well lit trails, will get a little muddy, eaten by mosquitoes, wont have a comfy cushion seat to sit in, for about two hours? nah not all that big a deal after all I guess.


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Yes, I'm also appalled at the number of adults determined to obstruct the rules of the BSA by burdening the right of parents to observe OA proceedings.


Frankly, I'd boot every such person out of any OA leadership position they might hold.


The wisdom of that OA rule is illustrated by the attempts to subvert it illustrated on this thread.


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There is no valid reason at all to discourage a parent from wanting to watch a ceremony. In fact, I regretted that rarely did a parent of many of our ceremonialists even make an effort to come watch how great of a job their sons did, and most of the fathers were Arrowman themselves. I dragged my wife and daughters out numerous times for tapout ceremonies to make sure she saw how talented our own was in his roles. The pride I felt in him I would never want to stop another parent from feeling. The pride in seeing your son as lodge chief is like that of few other.


The real tragedy that occurs out of this discussion is the presentation by posters that they speak for the OA and speak for what happens in all lodges. I cant control what happens in any lodge other than the one I am a member of, nor can anyone else unless they one of the handful involved on the section, region, or national level.


If any parent approaches any of you to see an OA ceremony that your son is involved in, give them the contact information for your chapter/district advisor or your councils lodge advisor. Nobody else needs to be involved. Dont pretend to be a gatekeeper and prevent it thats not for you to do and you are doing more damage than you realize.


If any leader is unsure about the OA, I challenge you to step up and find out what you dont know about. You can do it in one of two ways

1.) present yourself to your Troop leadership as interested in being an adult nominee and going through an Ordeal yourself. This only happens once a year, so be patient.

2.) Not up for it or maybe not selected? Fine, ask your chapter or lodge advisor to watch a ceremony. Theyll mean absolutely nothing to you and youll be bored to tears. Keep in mind, youll only be watching a ceremony that is meaningless to you since you have no iron in the fire and havent earned the honor of being a participant yourself. If you havent prevented an election, maybe one of your troop members will be going through please be discreet about it and dont embarrass him by making a big deal about it - remember - it's not about you, it's about the youth.


But heres the real catch - the ceremonies are only a small slice of what the OA is. You wont be seeing the youth leadership and interactions that occur in meetings, service events, or games, youll still have no understanding of the brotherhood that develops between these young men and watching the growth that occurs as they control large event budgets, run better committee meetings than many adults, and plan out great weekends with 100s and 1000s of Arrowmen in attendance at. See the travel that takes these young men all over the area and country for training, fun, seminars, fun, fellowships, fun You wont see the relationship that builds between an Arrowman and his advisor over the period of a year. Or in the relationships that last long beyond Scouting years as you watch these young men go onto the adult world with careers and families of their own. Or brotherhood that lasts from childhood through adulthood and into your own children. You wont see any of that in one night in the dark. You have to hang around for a while, be a mentor and brother to see that happen. Sad to say, few ever do.


Or you can take the easy way out and find stupid little statements on a forum board to confirm your over reactive fears in your own small mind and make excuses to keep yourself from growing.


You make the call of what you are going to be. '...be the change you want to see...'


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"The controversy as to allowing parents to observe the ordeal and ceremonies is one of fairly recent origin and one of great concern to every OA leader and member."


Completely the opposite here. As a parent and an OA member, I do not see the issue with allowing a proud parent to silently observe the ceremony, without photos or video. Allowing a scout to progress on their own can still occur simultaneously with adult observations. Is that not what "boy led" is all about? I have challenged many "ceremony guardian" adults in our area and have never gotten a satisfactory answer other than "that's not the way they did it for me as a scout".





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  • 2 weeks later...

In my very large council, it's standard practice to have parents and non-members observe OA ceremonies. It was that way when I was a scout in the 1970's and it's still that way today. When I did my brotherhood ordeal, we had our final ceremony in park with public access. Even though we were in a discreet location of the park, it would have been possible for anyone walking by to stop and observe. No secret organizations and I like that.

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Hmm, I'm reading a lot about opinions on this rule ... who has read it, and it's latest interpretation? Take a look, by no means are lodges required to permit parents to attend their child's induction ceremony. Why fight non-member attendance, simple, the illusion of mystery, and the feeling of acceptance into an elite organization are key parts of why the Order of the Arrow appeals to scouts. We talk about the decline in interest, involvement, and and the role of the order ... is there a correlation between these things and non-members attending ceremonies, and everything being out in the open, you bet ... compare the timelines. Lets get back to where things started, and fix this program.


Klamachpin Gentgeen


I used to be a Bear ...

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You state "Take a look, by no means are lodges required to permit parents to attend their child's induction ceremony."


While I would like for non-members to stay home; I will simply point to the Youth Protection Guidelines. Which clearly states ALL aspects.


"No secret organizations are allowed. The Boy Scouts of America does not allow any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders."




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structuralrik,You didn't do what I asked.


The intent, and purpose, of a rule is extremely important in understanding its application. The U.S. founding fathers so firmly believed this that they created the Supreme Count to interpret the Constitution, a much for abbreviated body of rules then those BSA operates under ...


In brief, let me lead you through this:


- No secret organizations. It may shock you to lean the OA is not, and never was a secret organization. Therefore lets remove this from the discussion entirely.


- Parents attending inductions: Let me borrow what another posted it this, as it's an abbreviated restatement of the cometary from The National Committee.


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


The purpose of the rule is to overcome real issues and concerns the parents may have. Looking at the purpose, and intent, of this rule it become clear that first off the only non-members who are ever allowed to attend are parents or guardians. The second thing that become clear is that parents may only attend when this is a legitimate issue or concern. Hmm, in reading every post on this topic, in this thread, and the several others, I don't recall anyone saying they wanted to attend due to a legitimate concern or issue.


The intent of this rule was to deal with legitimate issues and concerns, but it was also to safeguard the induction ceremonies, so that the special feelings of accomplishing something on their own, and being accepted into a select brotherhood, key elements of the OA induction, are maintained.


You may ask am I opposed to parents attending inductions? The answer is no, not when there is a legitimate concern or issue, and not even when there isn't, if they remain outside the circle of members, don't use flash photography, remain silent, and in no way disrupt the solemn, and dignified,tone of the event. Parents should not clap, or cheer, and should never enter the circle of members, simply waiting outside the circle for their child.


Am I apposed to anyone other than a member, or parent/guardian attending, absolutely! There is no legitimate purpose, or provision, for anyone other than a member, or parent/guardian to allowed to attend an induction ceremony.


I hope this better explains my prior comments.

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Old OX,


I completely agree with the argument you've made. Furthermore, when I was a scout, I was interested in becoming a member of the OA because of the mystery and exclusivity of it all. However, your last statement that anyone who isn't a parent/guardian shouldn't be in attendance, did prompt a hypothetical question.


Suppose a parent is wondering if anything in the OA conflicts with their personal religious beliefs, so they ask a trusted cleric to attend; this enables them to rest assured that everything is in congruence with their faith, without encroaching on their son's special experience. In this scenario, what is your opinion?


As far as the whole "secret organizations" concept, I think that a guy I used to work with put it best, when I asked him about Freemasonry, "It's not a secret society, rather it's a society with secrets". We, as a Brotherhood, are not a secret society that operates in a clandestine manner, but we do have secrets, such as the admonition, handclasp, etc.

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Old Ox,


Whether or not the OA is or is not a "Secret Organization" is not a contention put forth in this whole thread. The problem is the "appearance" conveyed by discouraging the attendance of parents. You know as well as I do just the accusation of being a "Secret Organization" damages the image of Scouting no matter the reason. Were a group of parents make such an accusation of your lodge, would you enjoy standing in front of news cameras to explain what the hell were you thinking???



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