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SctDad

Disappointed with my chapter

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I think it's a grass-roots issue. Chapters are more likely to lose the vision of cheerful service first, then it carries to the lodge. Since the departure of our chapter chief and his father the chapter then lodge and now section advisor, I only hear and see information about ceremonies, and the boys whining about "having" to go to Ordeals. Yet, our lodge has been a quality lodge for three years in a row, and has received the Goodman camping award 7 times now. They pride themselves on having the largest contingent at AC5. Yet, at my chapter level, I see something totally different.

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SctDad,

 

Like others, I feel and appreciate your pain. Like others, I'm a newly minted Chapter Adviser. I spent the past year shadowing the old adviser. I had a great deal of respct for her, but she was a last minute, fly by the seat of her pants, pull things together person and that attitude was picked up by the boys. They are quite proud of pulling it off at the last minute and it has given them a false confidence that they can do anything. I have been combatting that since the beginning of the year.

 

You and your boy were let down. There my be no excusing it and apologies might fall on deaf ears. There are always two sides to a story though. One of the things I'm trying to do is get Chapter meetings going again. Our Chapter has not had them for a number of years now. The "Chpater" mostly consisted of 4 to 5 ceremony team members who met at the Chapter Advisers house to practice when ceremonies were coming up. All but one boy came from the troop I serve. I'm trying to get other troops to buy back in, get boys to become ceremonialists and get members to attend meetings. Let me tell you that it is an uphill battle and a hard row to hoe.

 

I know all of these boys. One is my son. These are guys in the 15 to 17 year old range from a boy led troop. Life to Eagle. Camp staffers. NYLT staffers. High adventure kids. Two were awarded District Boy Scout of the year. What I'm finding is that I NEED to schedule all ceremonies or it won't get done. I HAVE t osend email reminders and test messages each week or they won't remember where they are supposed to be for practices, meetings and ceremonies. I even copy all of their parents because they have a tendancy to not check emails or mark it on a calendar like an adult will. My fear is that what happened to you will happen to one of our packs and as Chapter Adviser, I won't let the boys, the Chapter or the Lodge be seen in that light.

 

I should be able to turn the whole she-bang over to these guys and sit back and Advise. Should. Reality.....they are teenage boys coming up on the end of their youth scouting experience. These guys are getting driving liscenses, cars, girlfriends, taking SAT's and ACT's, staffing camps, working jobs and simply being teenagers. To them, they think they have a busy life and not enough time to fit everything in and certainly do a poor job of scheduling their time.

 

I recently put one of my ceremonialists on hiatus. We had our call out coming up. We have been busy doing crossover ceremonies (9 so far) and had let practice time slip by for call out. One of my best guys came to practice. He needed to take a bio break and spent 20 minutes of practice time in the bathroom. I was irritated, but nature had called. The next week, same thing. I told him he either needed to go before he got there or after he left.....but not while everyone else on the team is sitting and waiting on him. At the same time, I had other members who couldn't make it because of work or some other something. Because we had done very little to no practice for call out, they all agreed to have a special practice. Agreed! We show up for the special practice on Tuesday night before the Friday call out......and he forgets to come and can't be reached by the whole team trying to contact him. I don't get angry very easy. The boys knew that I was hot. All the troops in the district knew when the ceremony was and many were going to be there and our team had yet to actually practice the ceremony all the way thru without scripts. I gave them two choices. One, we would do it the way it had been done for a number of years up until a year ago and they would stand at the campfire and read names on a list (boring). Or two, they could get on the phone and find someone to take our missing poopers place. They got hold of a boy who agreed to "do his best". He got the script on Tuesday night and saved the day on Friday. The other boy is still on the team.....but it served as a wakeup call for the other guys that they need to pay attention and follow thru.

 

My word to our team was this. We will never, ever fly by the seat of our pants in our Chapter again. They are all old enough and experienced enough and have the leadership skills to do this job right. If they won't do it, I'll recruit new guys who will.

 

Now, I still have to keep in mind that I am dealing with boys who have many other interests and obligations. If a kids boss schedules him to work, there is little I can do about it.

 

Please keep in mind that your Chapter Adviser might be dealing with issues that you know nothing about and he may be just as disappointed as you are. Sometimes we need to walk a mile i nthe other guy's shoes for a little perspective.

 

Sorry for being so long winded and rambling on.

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Just a question...

 

Is the role of advisor much like the role of Scoutmaster? Does mentoring and coaching come into play to equip the Chapter Chief and Vice-Chief on chapter issues?

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Suppose to be. More challenging though in that chapter only meets 1 time a month on average compared to a troop's 4 times a month on average. Plus the #1 responsibility of every Arrowman, from the newest member to the national chief, is their unit. So when conflict with a troop occurs, troop wins out. Also b/c we are a service organization, sometimes when the choice between a fun event, say conclave, or a work event, say staffing Webeloree occurs, the service event will win out, at least in my neck of the woods.

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I guess that's where my chapter is lacking. At our camporee this weekend, every Arrowman refused to work events with the line "It's not our job."

 

I've had better luck asking APO for help from 80 miles away than my local chapter in that respect.

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jhankins,

 

I'm sorry to hear that. From THIS Chapter Adviser's perspective, I encourage our Arrowmen to seek out service. Not just the OA Work Days at our camps, but to serve in their units, to staff our summer camps and day camps and to staff NYLT if the opportunity arises. Likewise, I encourage the folks running those different venues to seek out Arrowmen.

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Having come from a smallish chapter (but we still had ceremony teams twice a year!) in large lodge (hello "belayer") back in my youth, I'm now in a district where OA had been sort of a rumor (in that we thought there might be members . . . but were not really sure beyond a handful). Our Troop elected another handful last year (first election in years), and we located a few more.

 

This year, the good news was that when no Troop stepped up to run the District Camp o Ree this past weekend, a couple of us said "let's have the OA run it", and . . . asked to help, they served (and had great ideas too).

 

Baby steps here . . . truth be told this was more adult run (as had been the case in past years) than guided with youth getting it all done . . . but some of these guys see and imagine what it could be if they do it . . . and now we have 9 new candidates who will hopefully be available to help in the future.

 

Great that some of them "get it".

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While reading this tread the first thing that came to mind was.

 

Why are the youth not running the whole program?

 

Its my belief that if the youth were the ones running the program this would have not happened.

 

The youth need to be in charge.

 

The youth need to be the ones who are called to schedule the ceremonies.

 

The youth are the ones who need to gather the equipment.

 

The youth need to be the ones who make sure transportation is arranged.

 

The youth need to be the ones who make sure there is a team together.

 

You have to let the youth "Drive the Car."

 

So where you maybe disappointed in the chapter.

 

I'm disappointed in the adults who don't know the true meaning of the word "advisor".

 

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Gary,

 

Welcome to the forum! I wouldn't disagree with you one bit. I wish it were that simple. If you go up and read my other post, you see the other side of the story. As an Adviser, part of my job is to give these honor scouts additional opportunities to use the leadership skills they have learned thru scouting. Part of my job is to ensure that while doing that, the boys don't damage the reputation of the Lodge thru youthful negligence. Reputation and respect is a hard to re-earn. All it takes is for the team or even just one member of the team to forget to show up to do a crossover ceremony and word spreads pretty quick. As evidenced by the original post, there is also an anger and getting in someone's face piece of the puzzle to deal with. If you had told your Webelos Den or your Pack for the last 4 to 6 weeks that an OA team was coming to do a ceremony and then had everyone sitting in chairs staring at a wall, what would you do? Would you get up and say, oh well, it is boy run and sometimes this happens with teenagers or would you be on the phone to the Adviser asking how he could have let this happen?

 

As a new Adviser, I do indeed expect my guys to step up to the plate. Especiaaly since the vast majority of them are old enough to drive, are life or Eagle and have been SPL's in their troops. So far, we ain't there yet and I have to work with what I can get out of them. That is the simple reality of the situation. As a member of the Lodge and the District Committee, I simply can't just throw it out there as part of a grand experiment and hope for the best.

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SR540Beaver "What I'm finding is that I NEED to schedule all ceremonies or it won't get done."

 

This is what I'm talking about. As a chapter advisor you feel its important to do ceremonies so you do all the scheduling. If your chapter is truly ran by the young men, a young man would be responsable for doing this.

 

SR540Beaver "As an Adviser, part of my job is to give these honor scouts additional opportunities to use the leadership skills they have learned thru scouting. Part of my job is to ensure that while doing that, the boys don't damage the reputation of the Lodge thru youthful negligence."

 

I disagree it is not the Advisers job to give additional opportunities, or to even ensure the lodges reputation not damaged thur youthful negligence. The youth own the lodge/chapter the youth are responsible for everything if they choose to do nothing then nothing happens. But thats OK because its what the youth decided. As an advisor your job is to offer advice/suggestions and ensure the youth stay with in the guidelines of the OA and BSA. The youth is under no obligation to heed your advice.

 

SR540Beaver "If you had told your Webelos Den or your Pack for the last 4 to 6 weeks that an OA team was coming to do a ceremony and then had everyone sitting in chairs staring at a wall, what would you do? Would you get up and say, oh well, it is boy run and sometimes this happens with teenagers or would you be on the phone to the Adviser asking how he could have let this happen?"

 

Would not of happened with our chapter as its totally Youth ran, and because it is the youth have buy in. If a ceremony happens its because the young men wanted to do it. If for some reason the young men missed a ceremony no one would be talking to the advisor because the point of contact is a youth, and thats the number they would have.

 

SR540Beaver "As a new Adviser, I do indeed expect my guys to step up to the plate."

 

Whose plate/agenda yours or the young mens.

 

SR540Beaver "As a member of the Lodge and the District Committee, I simply can't just throw it out there as part of a grand experiment and hope for the best."

 

Boy lead units and OA lodges have far surpassed the experimental phase. It a fact that they work if the adults will let the youth do it.

 

One more thought.

 

Could it be that the youth "Driving the Car" wants to go somewhere else than the advisor wants. Or maybe they are going to the same place but the youth want to take a different route to get there.

 

 

 

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Gary

 

When I presented the request to the Chapter, I asked if the youth, if they would come out and conduct this ceremony. They said yes. The four boys who were supposed to be coming were at the meeting. So it is not like they did not agree to it and were told that they were being forced to do it.

 

The youth are the ones that have expressed the interest in doing more ceremonies. So the statement of they are not the driving force is inaccurate. The ceremonies advisor works with the youth "Vice-Chief of Indian Affairs/Ceremonies" to make sure that ceremonies are not doube booked and make sure that the regaia is there.

 

We guide our youth, and they are expected to take responsibility.

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Gary,

 

Let me try this again. I believe in boy led. I support boy led. I'm an evangelist for boy led. Boy led begins and continues with adult guidance, advice and mentoring. Simply telling a group of boys that it is all theirs and walking away doesn't work. Never has. In fact, that (extreme) way of doing boy led is why our chapter and lodge is where it currently is......near death. Let me describe where the chapter was until I became adviser at the beginning of the year. The "chapter" consisted of 5 boys from the same troop (the troop I serve). They held the leadership positions in the chapter and they were the ceremony team. They were a clique and had no interests in expanding their little circle. They were the only Vigil candidates from our chapter. There were no chapter meetings. The only meetings were ceremony practices at the old advisers house and mostly consisted of hanging out and drinking root beer. I know, because I was there for every single one of them for the last two years. The real practice came about 15 minutes before a ceremony was done while they were putting on regalia. Other than contacting the 8 to 9 troops out of 25 who "allowed" elections, there was no other communication to troops or Arrowmen. That was our "boy led" chapter.......and we were one of the more active chapters in the lodge.

 

Our lodge and our chapter are in a rebuilding and revitalizing phase right now. To get back to true enthusiastic boy led, we are seeking out the few truly motivated young men who do have a vision of what the lodge can be to run for leadership positions and we are supporting the heck out of them.

 

But often, you have to play the hand you were dealt. The only youth I had willing to run for Chapter Chief is a scatter brained ADD kid. His dad is one of my best friends and I love the young man to death, but I have to work with him in baby steps every single step of the way. Last week was our second ever chapter meeting. I was going to be gone staffing Wood Badge. I reminded him that as chapter chief, it is his responsibility to put together the agenda and chair the meeting. To help, I gave him a number of suggestions and ideas on what to report and what to do. No problem, he' take care of it. Then his dad contacted me and told me that his son actually had a swim team function at the same time, didn't realize it (common problem among the chapter leadership) and could not be there. So, I had another discussion with the chief that if he couldn't be there, it was his responsibility to contact someone else in the leadership team and get them to stand in for him. No problem, he'd take care of it. Never happened. People showed up for the chapter meeting and sat and stared at each other. I could tell you story after story just like this since the first of this year.

 

How many instances like that happens before people decide it is a bunch of hooey and go back to not wanting elections in their troops because OA is a waste of time and meaningless? I could just say, oh well.....that's boy led and you get what you get. I'm not content to do that. At this point, even the guys in chapter leadership have little idea of what it CAN be because they don't know any different. As an adviser, I view my job as seeking out interested youth to bring in and get the chapter moving again. Hopefully, thru them we can change the current culture and get back to letting them do all the work. Trust me, absolutely nothing would make me happier than being able to stand back, see them fired up, watch them work and toss out an occasional piece of advise......but we ain't there yet. Obviously, your chapter had reached this level. But just like troops and patrols, the level of boy led expertise constantly rises and falls in chapters and lodges as new boys come in and old boys go out. Often, the one constant in the equation is the adult mentor and adviser. We are there for a reason and it isn't window dressing.

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Maybe this has been discussed before, but I was just wondering...

 

Is the use of the OA Rep supposed to mirror a "patrol leader" of sorts to continue on the patrol method within the Order just as it is in Scouting? I guess my vision of the position is that it would serve that way, and actually serve as a reporting system to help with quality control from the unit to the chapter.

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jhankins,

 

http://www.oa-bsa.org/programs/ttr/troop.php

 

The Order of the Arrow Troop Representative is a youth liaison serving between the local OA lodge or chapter and his troop. In his unit, he helps meet the needs of the unit and will serve as a communication and programmatic link to and from Arrowmen, adult leaders and Scouts who are not presently members of the Order. He will do this in a fashion that strengthens the mission of the lodge, purpose of the Order and the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. By setting a good example, he will enhance the image of the Order as a service arm to his unit.

 

OA Troop Representative Duties:

 

Serves as a communication link between the lodge or chapter and the troop.

Encourages year round and resident camping in the troop.

Encourages older Scout participation in high adventure programs.

Encourages Scouts to actively participate in community service projects.

Assists with leadership skills training in the troop.

Encourages Arrowmen to assume leadership positions in the troop.

Encourages Arrowmen in the troop to be active participants in the lodge and/or chapter activities and to seal their membership in the Order by becoming Brotherhood members.

Sets a good example.

Enthusiastically wears the Scout uniform correctly.

Lives by the Scout Oath, Scout Law and OA Obligation.

Shows Scout spirit.

 

 

Qualifications:

 

Under 18 years old

Appointed by SPL with SM approval

OA Member in good standing

 

 

Reports To:

 

Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

 

 

 

Flow of Information

 

The following is a list of information that needs to flow between the OA Troop Representative and the Lodge or Chapter:

 

Lodge/Chapter to Unit:

 

Lodge/Chapter Calendars

Unit Elections visit

Camp Promotions visit

Community service project opportunities

Invitations to Ordeal members to obtain Brotherhood membership

Invitations to candidates to attend their Ordeal

Resource lists

OA Representative Registration Forms

Encourages OA members to be active in their Lodge and Chapter

 

Unit to Lodge/Chapter:

 

Does the unit conduct monthly campouts?

Does the unit attend a long-term camp?

Do the units older scouts participate in high adventure programs?

Does the unit need assistance with its outdoor program?

Does the unit need assistance with community service projects?

Does the unit need assistance with training?

Do the units OA members participate in Lodge and Chapter functions?

Name of the new OA Troop Representative

Reaction of the Troop members to the Lodge and Chapter program

 

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