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SctDad

Troops VS OA

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I like that idea, having Arrowmen stand behind the call-out team. Very nice.

 

My lodge is big on service. 5 Ordeals this year, last year was six. I had a long talk with the Lodge Adviser last night after a Wood Badge beading and we discussed how cheerful service in some chapters is better than others, and the LC is working with each CC separately to come up with a plan.

 

 

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Scoutnut - how do I know? Because I asked. I guess the day camp director and program director might have been providing inaccurate answers, but I have no reason to believe that was the case.

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Unfortunatley not every chapter is doing well in my lodge, as SctDad can attest, but overall the lodge is pro service, and doing well. Yep we get the sash and dashers and flap wearers, but overall their is a sense of commitment to service.

 

My chapter was having challenges, adn i viewed it as an image problem. We were active and doing things, but #1 we were not visible and #2 we weren't having fun. Yes we are a service organization, but we still have to make it fun. Helps to have former camp staff members as adults;) As for the visibility, I know some did not like the 'excessive" wearing of the OA sash, but it has made a difference.

 

One key is to have an enthusiastic adult adviser who can communicate well with the other adults in the district. I say adult b/c there are some leaders who do not view 18-21 yo OA members as adults.. But get a motiviated, enthusiastic, and Communicative adult to handle the adutl side.

 

Then get the same criteria as a youth. This can be hard as once you finally got your youth broken in, they either age out or move on you, and the procees starts all over again. But get a good chapter chief who can realte to the others inthe district and start havign a mix of work and fun, and the chapter will grow.

 

And when chapters grow, it will keep scouts intersted in their troops.

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>>"how do I know? Because I asked. I guess the day camp director and program director might have been providing inaccurate answers, but I have no reason to believe that was the case."

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I know every district and council is different, but in mine the CSDC folks usually don't ask if you are OA or not. Grant you some of the CSDC CDs and PDs are Arrowmen, but the emphasis is on GETTING STAFF.

 

Now I know the OA has been included in my district's CSDC in the past, and last year we had several youth and adult members on staff. But I also recurited them ;) Also I know that we are looking to have the OA perform at one of the quiet time sessions this year. Hopefully the youth will approve.

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We are having some similar issues, right now. We have a pretty young troop and I always thought of OA as being something for older Scouts.

 

I had an SA who was pretty enthusiastic about the OA though, so I asked him to research it a couple of months ago and build it into our program. Well he got a new job and went off to training without doing it, so I was happy to put it on the back burner.

 

Until the week before last, when our SPL, a great Scout and pretty good leader, wanted to get an election squeezed in, so he could have a sash before he goes camping with his Jambo troop. Against my better judgement I said ok, and now our next trip, a 25 mile bike ride to camp and back, looks like it will be short 2/3s of the PLC, cause the ordeal is the same weekend.

 

 

I think in the future I will only approve older scouts who have completed their term as SPL and PL. Kind of like presidential libraries don't get built for sitting presidents.

 

 

Mr Irish

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Apparently things really do work differently from place to place. Youth staff? We didn't have a youth staff to speak of. Our day camp staff came largely from cub leaders and cub parents who staff each station. When I say "I asked" I do not mean I went up to each individual person and inquired "Are you from OA?" I mean, the day camp director and program director and I, all friends who had been through WB together, spent a good deal of time talking through how day camp staffing was going (among other things). I asked them - what about approaching OA for help? I got told we'd be getting no OA help. Now that was in a time when OA was pretty weak around here so it does not surprise me.

 

SctDad's original question was - if OA could do some things to improve their image among troops, what should they do? And for me, one such thing is: have a public presence. If people who are not in OA do not know what OA actually does locally, then they will assume (maybe correctly, maybe not) that you do nothing. Not that folks in OA have to constantly toot their own horns, but there needs to be a way for people to see them in action or see the results of their action, on a local level. I hear this repeated in a lot of other people's comments here, too.

 

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Mr. Irish - I hear what you are saying, but I think you would be doing the boys a real dis-service by seeking to limit them like that. Please do not let this short-term inconvenience (competing calendars on short notice) result in a long-term problem (artificial limits on OA eligibility and lack of participation in OA). May I suggest that, now that you'll have several OA members in the troop, you ask the boys to find out OA's calendar of events for the upcoming year and plan their troop calendar so that they don't have these kinds of conflicts again?

 

 

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"Mr. Irish - I hear what you are saying, but I think you would be doing the boys a real dis-service by seeking to limit them like that. Please do not let this short-term inconvenience (competing calendars on short notice) result in a long-term problem (artificial limits on OA eligibility and lack of participation in OA). May I suggest that, now that you'll have several OA members in the troop, you ask the boys to find out OA's calendar of events for the upcoming year and plan their troop calendar so that they don't have these kinds of conflicts again? "

 

 

This.

 

A Scout shouldn't need to have completed a term as PL or SPL to be worthy of receiving Scoutmaster approval for election into the Order of the Arrow. Scoutmaster approval should be based on a scout exemplifying the Oath and Law, and meeting the objective eligibility requirements (First Class, camping nights).

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'Irish

I have to agree with Lisa, try not to narrow down who can get in. You may be pleasently surprised as who the youth elect.

 

One of the challenges of new units and established units that do not participate in OA activities is that they have no idea when OA events will be and sometimes double book. usually it's not b/c they aren't advertised, but that they are simply overlooked. In the 5 lodges I have been in, all have established weekends that constantly repeat year after year. Only time a weekend might change is when a holiday is involved, i.e. my lodge changed officer's training this year b/c it fell on New Year's Day, and oen year they changed the Conclave date b/c it conflicted with Easter.

 

I can tell you first hand that the OA kept me active as a young leader with my. After I turned 18, I was looking for something beyond the troop, found Sea Scouts, and the ship didn't meet my needs. HS friend was LC and got me back involved with the OA. the emphasis of service and the fellowship of the OA was what kept me with my troop. I was active with my troop, by I did have the opportunity to do more.

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Thanks Lisa, I already told them to make sure they bring the OA calendar to our July annual planning PLC to minimize conflicts in the future, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

 

Part of the problem is that I am not very familiar with OA, despite having been a SM and CM for about 10 years, which is why I tried to delegate dealing with it to my ASM. But from what I've seen it exists to keep older Scouts involved by giving them a staff role at Camporees and fellowship with their peers while performing that service. But our troop is so young, that we desperately need all our older scouts to have any hope of being boy-led. It doesn't seem sensible to me to expect a Scout to both staff a camporee as part of the OA, and attend a camporee as part of the Troop PLC. Or am I missing something?

 

I have also recommended to my PLC that they read this thread. I told them that they should consult their own conscience while resolving this immediate dilemma, but that the experience of the others on this forum would likely enable them to make a thoughtful informed decision. So thanks for all your comments.

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'Irish,

An Arrowman's primary duty is to their service. If the troop needs them, that is where their responsibility goes. If the troop doesn't need them, then off they go.

 

For example, At one event this past month, we had an OA set up. Our chapter chief is big on AIA, being a singer, but his crew was also doing a display, and needed his help more than the OA. Guess where he was, with his crew. Another young man's troop didn't go to camporee b/c they couldn't get enough adult leaders to go. guess what he did, OA AIA booth.

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Okay, apparently a truly differing experience here.

Disclosure, OA Brotherhood member.

Our Council Camp is the PRIMARY single beneficiary of our local OA chapter, there are SO many things that the chapter does.

 

At the Council Camp they clean up Campsite do minor repairs, clean campsites, ensure facilities are in working order add new program areas(new COPE activities) - under the guidance of the Ranger.

 

If you see a youth working at just about any Council driven event - he probably was made aware of the opportunity through either the OA or his Troop but was not recruited to work the event AS a OA member but they are primarily the ones who will answer the call and it's probably(by observation) 80/20 OA/Non-OA youth working the event.

 

Our OA youth are the ones who are the drivers trying to keep Brownsea alive.

 

There are at least four different workdays/Ordeal opportunities every year - two at the Council CS camp and two at the Council BS camp and occasionally a fifth at other Council owned/maintained properties.

 

Without the OA I sincerely believe we would lose a 50% more boys over the age of 15 from the Council. The have formed a great group.

 

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As a longtime OA member (ordeal in '77) and a current Associate Section Adviser, I'd have to say that the theory of the OA stealing youth members has some merit, but is also an urban legend. The one factor that will determine which it is in your Council is how well the Lodge emphasizes that a member's key responsibility is to promote camping, especially in their unit. Everything else is bonus material.

 

I reviewed my local Lodge's recharter papers and noted that with a little over 400 members, we contributed $1250 cash to FOS, over $2200 in materials to camp and nearly 4000 hours of service to camp. Personally, I wish they weren't so self-centered and spent some time doing service around the community.

 

I think since the organization went from the "Brotherhood of Honored Campers" to the "Scouting's National Fraternity" the program has been diluted and dumbed down. When I was young and eligible, the OA seemed like a very special thing to get involved in. Now, it's just something else that people view as consuming what little free time they do have.

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