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SctDad

Disappointed with my chapter

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We were supposed to have an AOL and cross over ceremony for one of my Webelos this weekend. We even chose the campsite based on not only the availability of the site, but the chapter ceremony team would not have to travel too far to do the ceremony. I also scheduled the ceremony back in February. They brought it up at the last meeting two weeks ago and it was all supposed to still be on.

 

So I tell everyone about the OA ceremonies team coming out. I tell them that these boys are great and put a lot of time and energy into their regalia and ceremonies.

 

Low and behold I think that I should have treated them like I do my new Cub Scouts. I should have called them Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Because when I called to inquire about who was coming out, one of the advisors told me that he had the regalia and no one had or made plans to come out.

 

So right now I am glad that our chapter meeting is not tomorrow night. It seems like all our chapter wants to do sit in meetings, do the ordeals, and go to our fall fellowship. If you really pry them you might get a service project out of them, but that is only because you tell that it is part of our lodges QUALITY CHAPTER, which is all some of the advisors are concerned about.

 

THinking about going into the next meeting and asking what it is the youth really wants to do because there were a LOT of disappointed people at the crossover last-night.

 

Guess I am just severly P.Oed.

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Are you going to be able to calmly explain how the Chapter ceremony team has really disappointed a lot of young Scouts and Cubs and severely damaged their reputation? How the boys are not fulfilling their obligations? (Not the OA one, just in general.)

 

I couldn't.

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I'm sorry this happened to you - it's always a shame when something planned doesn't go through.

 

If it were me, I would be sending a tersely worded letter to the LODGE Chief with copies to the LODGE advisors (both volunteer and professional) and the Scout Executive telling them how very disappointed a number of Webelos and their parents were when the Chapter failed to show up and perform a crossover ceremony that had been arranged without giving any notification at all that they would not be able to meet their committment and how you hoped that the Lodge and it's Chapters would never fall down on the job again.

 

I would then read that letter to every Scouter attending the next Roundtable, and well as to everyone gathered for the next Chapter meeting.

 

When I was a Lodge Officer, had we received such a letter about one of our Chapters, we would have read the letter to everyone gathered at the next meeting of the Lodge and Chapter officers and been asking some very hard questions of that Chapter Chief.

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My sympathies, SctDad!

 

Unfortunately I've heard of this happening on a number of occasions. Since it was just discussed at their meeting two weeks ago, you had every right to expect them to live up to their obligation. When I question how these things happen, I'm told , "well it's up to the boys to do keep on top of these things". I can't say that I totally buy into that. There is a Ceremonies Team Adviser and I feel that he has an obligation, once a commitment is made, to see that these ceremonies happen. A missed ceremony really gives the OA a bad name and puts a bad taste in the mouths of these brand new Boy Scout parents.

 

I hope that someone at least apologizes to you for leaving you hanging out there with egg on your face.

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I understand that I only had 1 Webelos crossing over, but there were at least 4-7 boys that will become eligible for OA membership in the next few months and I have been trying to alk the OA up to the leaders and get people back involved. Looks like that is something that is going to take a lot more work.

 

Not to mention they cancelled the Webelos weekend. When it was mentioned that we could do it the next weekend, the Chapter Advisor said that he had Camp Staff that weekend and he would not be able to be there so the event will have to be cancelled. Although there is talk about having it in the fall.

 

I guess that when I came into the chapter and saw how nothing was being done and thought that the youth would like to do a little more. Guess there is no changing someone who likes sitting around at meetings.

 

Guess scouting is not what it used to be.

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SCTDAD,

 

A few things. #1 You know I'm sorry to hear about it and yes you are welcome to attend our chapter meetings whenever you want.

 

#2 One of the things about having Scouts in your pack's affiliated troop in the OA is that 90% of the time they can pinch hit for a ceremony team. I say 90% b/c sometimes pack's will do AOL/Crossover at the same time as an OA function, like Conclave weekend or Ordeal.

 

#3 This may, stress MAY, be an option in the future, and one I don't like unless absolutely necessary. You can have an adult Arrowmen do the ceremony. I do not, repeat NOT like this option, but had to do it twice within the past few years. Once was for a pack AOL/CO ceremony because the chapter already split the ceremony team in 2 and was doing 2 ceremonies simultaneously as the one I did ( thank goodness I'm a dancer and have my own rig!). Second time I filled in for a sick ceremonialist for an ECOH. Again I do not like this option, but only offer it as a last resort.

 

BTW you would make a great Straight Dancer!

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You can have an AOL ceremony and crossover without the Order of the Arrow. If your chapter is unreliable, move on to something else. There is a AOL canlelighting ceremony which involves the Seven Virtues. Personally, in my opionion, the Seven Virtues AOL ceremony is more meaningful than the Order of the Arrow AOL ceremony. I witnessed a Cubmaster do this for his AOL candidates and it really added a personal touch.

 

 

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SctDad,

 

I understand your position. I'm Chapter Advisor to our Ceremony Team. I've had 5 youth chairman over ten years. With our Chapter Advisor's support, from the beginning, I decided to coordinate requests for AOL and Call-Outs. Those are the only ceremonies we do. We don't do Crossovers, as that's between the Pack and the receiving Troop(s). I keep the Ceremony Team's calendar. We ask all requests to come through me, the adult advisor. I make all of the contacts with adult leaders. I ask about dates, times, locations, inside or outside, what did you do the year before, amd many other variables. We ask for a 30 day lead time. If a date is already occupied, I try to work out a new date. If a date request is too close to a confirmed date, I ask for a new date, or apologize if we can't accomodate. I keep the youth Chairman in the loop and ask for his input and opinions.

I want the youth Ceremony Chairman to deal with his Team members by; recruiting new members, by collecting their preferred communication info, editing ceremonies per each request, practicing the ceremonies, repairing and keeping clean the various outfits and associated props, actually making contacts of members for upcoming ceremonies and letting me know the status to avoid problems in advance, work out transportation issues, and much more. Most inportant for me and the Team, is for them to be proud of their service to the Packs and Troops, and have FUN. Yes, even at their usually advanced age, it still needs to be fun.

 

It works for us.

 

WWW

 

sst3rd

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SctDad,

 

Greetings!

 

 

Working with teenagers is difficult. A Chapter Advisor is not only discussing and planning with them. An Advisor is planning OA ceremonies with the Arrowmen's Troops, Scoutmasters, football/baseball coaches and parents.

 

My chapter has been successful in having our first OA hosted Arrow of Light ceremony in quiet a few years. Our Chapter picked the weekend, spot, location and even time. Then the Chapter created a flyer and announced the AoL ceremony to all the local packs. It was almost painful, getting the equipment, regalia, even OA parent permission for a few, we even had to have the fire department inspect

 

My local Chapter has been invited to a few Pack AoL ceremonies and a few bridging over ceremonies. But my Chapter has had to graciously decline the invitation and restate our chapter's ceremony. The Packs (and parents) have been told that they are welcomed to conduct ceremonies by the campfire or on the camp grounds, but their ceremony will be after our Chapter Arrow of Light Ceremony ends.

 

It may sounds petty, but it worked out fairly well. The Webelos, Den Leaders, Cubmasters and parents came to us. They were very happy to attend an OA ceremony. We exceeded 1/2 of the packs in our district/chapter area. The feedback was very positive. So our Chapter believes we will follow this model for the next few years. Hosting on our time, date, location and convenience, and they will come to us.

 

It may not work for every Chapter, and larger Chapters may attend every Pack ceremony in their community; but for my local Chapter, we have found this Field of Dreams quote "build it and they will come" works great for us.

 

Good Luck in future OA ceremonies for you Packs and Troops!

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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SctDad

 

This seems to be a growing problem in the OA nationwide, after being inducted into the lodge only a small handful want to be ACTIVE and PARTICIPATE in events outside the NOAC. IMHO the idea of SERVICE is lost on most of the boys. Maybe the interest in the OA itself is just wanning among the scouts of today.

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SctDad:

 

As a freshly-minted Chapter Adviser, I hate reading things like this. The Chapter has let you down, no bones about it.

 

But, while the OA is youth-led, I will suggest that this is really an adult failure. A big part of mentoring/advising OA youth is making them "own" the service responsibilities they take on in exchange for the "privileges" of OA membership. (From their perspective, I think these are exalted Scouting social status, fancy patches, and Lodge weekends free of annoying first-year scouts.) It sounds like someone has not accomplished that task. (And, frankly, it isn't easy. It takes time to build up that kind of credibility with a teenager you may not know very well.)

 

Keep your powder dry with the youth for now, because most of them will just remember you as "that angry guy at our chapter meeting that one time" and never address their own fault in the situation. But do have a reasonably calm conversation with District/Chapter/Lodge leadership about this, because waving their hands and saying "oh, the youth have to take care of it" isn't the right answer.

 

 

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Born

 

I will be bringing this up at the next chapter meeting. Guess it helps that there is some time between when the event happened and when the chapter meeting is. Gives me lots of time to cool down. I will also remember the scout law and try to follow it when I am speaking.

 

I understand that this is not only a youth failure. I understand that there is also an adult failure. Ceremonies Advisor changed and things failed. I just tend to think that it is no excuse. But that is my opinion. I have always thought of OA as what they are, Honor Campers. I have always thought of them as Scouts with a greater show of responsibility.

 

But anyway, thank you all for the advise. I may post what the outcome of this topic.

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BadenP hit the nail on the head....

 

To my way of thinking, the OA has very little impact these days. Sure, scouts want to be in the OA for the prestige, but there is not much substance to most lodges.

 

"Cheerful service" is a powerful concept. Alas, it is often crowded out by competing priorities, like the over-emphasis on regalia (lodge flap worship and the accumulation of innumerable geegaws and gimcracks), and lodge functions (like conclaves) that are focused organizationally inward.

 

I'm painting with a broad brush, but this is the sum of my impressions as I move around every couple years....

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While it would have been nice for the OA team to inform you they weren't showing up, they have no obligation to perform ceremonies for you.

 

People in the OA do many other things in life, and may not have time to fit you in.

 

The scenario where no one planned anyting on it sounds like the kids were being forced into the ceremony team, and did not like what they were being made to do.

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xlpanel

 

So a persons word is not as valuable as it used to be. My SM would have whooped my tail. Then again he would have driven me if I had no ride. Then again rules were different then.

 

My main point is that on TWO occasions they said that they would be there. If they had said no then that woud be a different story.

 

Also, the chapter is trying to get active in ceremonies and stuff, so this is something that the youth wanted to do.

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