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While a scout, I was never selected for the OA by my troop. Back in my day, only a X quanity of scouts could be selected in Y sized troop, so this ended up being a popularity vote, despite the scoutmasters' advice to the contrary. I was never the "popular" scout, and was never chosen to be tapped out. After completing Eagle before my 15th birthday, I became less active in the troop; though I continued to serve on summer camp staff and attended the National Jamboree, my focus was at that time was geared toward Sea Explorers, where I had a very positive and motivating scouting experience for over 6 years.


Though I resented it at the time, I have come to terms with not being in the OA. Nearly all my adult scouter friends are surprised when, after shaking my hand I have to remind them I am not a member of the OA. With my involvement in scouts in our district and council for so many years, veteran scouts just assume I am a member.


I have understood that adult participation/membership is not the same as youth. Appreciating the adult role, I did not seek selection over the past few years as I had other scouting priorities. I did not feel I could commit to the OA as a decicated leader, especially now that I am a fully involved Scoutmaster. This year, one of my close friends on our troop committee encouraged me to accept selection. I turned him down at first, but he insisted that being a Scoutmaster and supporting the OA from the troop level (which I always have anyway) was commendable service to the Lodge. I considered it for several weeks, and eventually decided to accept the committee's nomination.


For the past 30+ years, I have quietly waited for the opportunity to be a part of the OA. In spite of the "sore spot" I have felt, I have encouraged our scouts to participate, and I have not held my situation against the organization or it's members.


Tonight I leave for my ordeal. Some of my closest scouter friends are going through ordeal as well (none of whom were scouts as youth, but at least one I have known since high school). Years ago scouts, and now adults, have always spoken openly of the OA around me (assuming I am a part of the OA) so I there are few "secrets" I expect to learn. However, I am sure to have some misconceptions and I will keep an open mind. I am looking forward to this, and I hope it will be an experience I will remember fondly and cherish the rest of my life. I have never openly expressed any resentment toward those who chose not to select me 30 years ago, and, in spite of my appreciation of the difference between the scout and the adult OA member, this is fufilling one of my lifelong scouting goals. I will try to approach this humbly, but inside my heart is racing with excitement and anticpation. I hope my expectations are not too high.

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I do think that congratulations are in order.


When I'm in one of my preaching moods!

I very often tell anyone who hasn't ran for cover, that we only ever get out of anything, what we put in.

I'm no longer that active in our Lodge.

When I first became a member, I enjoyed the fellowship and the social side of the Lodge.

However it seemed to me that you had to have a PhD in construction, in order to be a "Real Lodge Member" - I'm not that handy or good with tools.

It wasn't until I really started working with the Scouts in the Lodge, that I really got a handle on what being a OA member was really all about.

We still have the hard working guys, without whom the camp would be not as good as it is.

Sadly, some of these guys do feel that the Scouts are Free Labor and go on about how they need to do more for he camp. But there is a lot more to the OA than just pouring cement!

I wish you a long and wonderful membership.

The OA does a lot for the Scouts who put a lot in.


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You will enjoy it.


I had just sealed my Brotherhood this past fall, in a somewhat unexpected way. At summer camp last year as an ASM for my son's first year as a boy scout (he started at Tiger), I happened to mention to our scoutmaster that I had been through Ordeal as a 13 year old scout (now 37). That's when he told me something that I was unaware of...I was still an Ordeal Member with my old lodge! I was encouraged to get my records transferred to the current lodge and attend the fall fellowship to partcipate in the Brotherhood ordeal. What an awesome experience that was and it brought back a lot of memories from my Ordeal.


Enjoy your Ordeal and embrace the experience.

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Welcome to the OA and congratulations! By the way, some of the finest Adult Leaders I know are not members of the OA for various reasons including some similar to your situation. In fact, you have reminded me to nominate an Adult Leader in my Troop that would enjoy being a part of the OA.

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Hello Buffalo Skipper,


I emphathize totally with what you are saying. As a youth, I was not elected the first two times I was eligible. Some of the Troop members had no problem making fun of me for that. It did hurt and I did try not to be resentful. Not always successfully.


I hope that your Ordeal is a great experience and that OA membership has been worth waiting for.


I can tell you that, after my election experience as a youth, my selection for the Vigil Honor was one of my great rewarding moments in Scouting.


Jeffrey, I'm sure you know this, but the criteria for adult membership is not whether the person will enjoy it nor is it whether the person is an honor camper. Rather, "in general, the adult qualifications are different from the youth requirements. Adult selection is based upon their ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and is not for recognition as an honor. Selected adult Scouters must be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities, and must provide a positive role model for the youth members of the lodge." (from the National OA web site.)

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Like Neil above, I too didn't get elected until my 3rd time. BUT fortunately I knew why I wasn't elected: those elected before me WERE better scouts than me (it's kinda hard to ge t upset when your SPL, the guy you look up to and want to be like is on the ballot with ya ;) )


You will find that the OA is a rich source of camraderie, expereicnes, and "WORK WORK WORK." ;)


Congrats again!

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Thank you all for the kind words and warm welcome. Ordeal was, for me, a meaningful and rewarding experience. I went in with high expecations and felt it was at least what I thought it would be.


By coincidence, our chapter meets at our troop's scout hut, and I have already been to a meeting. One of our leaders is a chemist and he came out with a co-worker and liquid nitrogen, and the two of them put on a rather convincing demonstration. I can't wait to get them to our troop meeting.


Local hype at the meeting was that our Section was selected best in the nation, and our Lodge was selected as best in the Section. Their new t-shirts say that plus "You do the math." As we have the largest and most active chapter in the lodge, I guess that is as good a place as any to get started in the OA.


We have plenty of good adult leadership, and I am just a novice. I guess I will spend the next year learning what I can (already been through the OA Handbood 2x, but reading from a book and experiencing the organization are two completely differnt cookies). Someone convinced me that I can be an active member of the OA by promoting the organization within our troop. That I can do while I learn more and find out where else I can contribute. No rush, though. Neither I nor the lodge are going away any time soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Sometimes, the best thing an adult can do for OA is simply encourage the Scouts to get involved. OA is a wonderful thing when it works, but sometimes it takes a little bit of prodding to get them to events post-Ordeal so they actually get that chance to see it work.




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Buffalo Skipper - Welcome to the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service (officially, although I am convinced that you have been giving cheerful service for many years in many ways). Enjoy the OA and plan to seal your membership when you are eligible. Reflect on your Ordeal, its symbolism and meaning; and the next step will be even more meaningful.

It is amazing, yet not uncommon, how often peers take for granted that an individual has been recognized with something and as a result some very active and dedicated people are overlooked.

The most common examples are OA induction, District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver. A conversation often overheard at an award presentation goes something like this - Question: "Sam, why don't you ever wear your Beaver neck ribbon to the dinner?" Answer: Because I have never been honored with one." Reply: "Oh, I/we thought with all of your involvement ..."

Some councils and districts have an unofficial historian who keeps track of awards and the activities of council and/or district scouters. It helps a lot when nominations are due and someone can look over a list and say Should we consider nominating Sarah or Sam? I have some collected information and a scouting resume for her/him. Training recognitions for our non unit scouters is another of those items that often seem to fall through the crack.


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Fellow Arrowmen,





Again, Congrats to Buffalo Skipper!



Also, I highly agree with hotair36!


The BSA program is primarily for the youth boys (and Venturing/Explorer girls), we all know that. The Advancement system is based around learning, testing, being recognized and promoted. But I believe in the literature, it states that the BSA is a family based program.


Adult leaders equally need recognition from time to time. The trucks, the cars, the vans, the busses and the trailers don't drive themselves to camp. Camping funds don't miraculously appear in the troop banking account. I comment about this once a year, during Roundtable, and place the responsibility on the Committee Chairs. Pack, Troop, Crew, District or Executive Chairperson. In addition to managing adult volunteers, they should recognize them annually, with a patch, mug, jacket, DAM square knot or SB medal.


We should strive to have a boy led (and Venturing youth led) program, but meanwhile we need the Adult Association, to help manage our programs.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!



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Congratualtions. I know part of what you mean by everyone assuming your were already a member. I was highly invloved as youth, serving on ceremony teams, being a Lodge officer, Camp Staff, etc..... most of my contemporaries at the time were selected to keep their Vigil and many of my old Scouting friends assume I have too.

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