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JerseyScout

Joining requirements

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The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

I've never been one for OA, I was elected three times and never bothered to attend the ordeals. My troop always did more camping and service than our local chapter by a very healthy margin, so I just didn't see the point. Fast forward to today, a few of my Scouts volunteered at Cub Scout camp over the summer with adults and kids from other troops, and now are interested in holding Order of the Arrow elections. OA was not for me as a Scout, but if my Scouts want to take part, I certainly want to give them that opportunity.

 

They are registered, have been around for more than two years, and the interested parties have camped twice as much just in the last year than they are required to camp in two years to join OA, and certainly have my approval to be put up for election.

 

My question has to do with the week of camping. My troop camps out for a week every summer, but we do not attend the local merit badge mills, the kids set up and run their own week-long adventure trip. Does this disqualify my Scouts from joining Order of the Arrow?

 

Even if it does, I suspect the local chapter (who is always hurting for members) will overlook it, but its safer to ask here than to out the kids by asking this question to the local chapter adults...

..(This message has been edited by JerseyScout)(This message has been edited by JerseyScout)

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Direct from the OA website, oa-bsa.org ... emphasis mine:

 

Q/A: Resident Camping Requirement

 

Q: I have a question about Unit Elections. For the camping requirement of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping does the camping have to be at a Boy Scout owned and operated camp, or can it be a troop long term campout allowed by the council?

 

A: The exact wording of the camping requirement can be found in the current printing of the Guide for Officers and Advisers (#34997A, revised 1999). This book sets forth the official policy of the Order of the Arrow on this topic. The pertinent passage, on page 20, says:

 

"... long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America."

 

It does not say that the resident camp must be at a Boy Scout owned or operated facility. If the national Order of the Arrow committee had wanted to say that, they would have. The language used was very carefully composed. If a troop runs their own long-term resident camp, "under the auspices and standards" of the BSA, it qualifies. The BSA does have very explicit standards for a resident Boy Scout camp, requiring much more than just a week long campout. Your local council camping people can provide more information on what the current standards are.

 

Some of the confusion may be caused by an error in the current Boy Scout Handbook, which stated the camping had to be at "a local or national council facility", but that is incorrect.

 

==============

 

As a purely practical matter, however, no one's going to check up on them. There's no one up at your council HQ who's calling around and verifying where your troop attended summer camp. Your signature as SM is enough to qualify them for election.

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In general, the long term camping requirements for a camp run by a unit is to include the program and menu with the tour permit. These are wanted to make sure that there is a plan and that the scouts have a balanced diet during the week. Some councils may have specific requirements for the program but I suspect that most are rubber stamped with little review. For all practical purposes, if you received a tour permit for the camp then it is "approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America".

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Actually, the standards for resident camps are very rigorous and explicit. They aren't just rubber-stamped. Approval of a tour permit for a long-term camp is not the same as approval of a unit-run resident camp program.

 

Resident camp standards for 2010 are here: http://nerbsa.org/filestore/regions/neregion/program/campschool/visitation/2010_Resident_Camp_Standards.pdf

 

As you can see, it would be extremely difficult for a unit doing a week-long campout, especially in a backcountry area, to meet all these standards. Your best bet is to call your council, as the OA advises, and check out what standards they would apply to your troop's camp.

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That expressly only applies to council run camps. If that is the definition of resident camp then no unit run long term camp will qualify.

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shortridge

 

What you reference is a requirement for BSA council camps in order to get CERTIFIED before they can even hold a summer camp program, this is not the same thing as the OA camping rule. The OA rule is more for excluding things like family camping trips, or camping with some friends. Instead the camping must be within the context of a troop camping experience, demonstrating and using scoutcraft skills. Council summer camp may not even qualify if the scouts don't cook their own meals or use their scouting skills, instead just using the recreational facilities like the waterfront, ropes course, shooting range, etc.

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Look at the OA-BSA website again.

 

The BSA does have very explicit standards for a resident Boy Scout camp, requiring much more than just a week long campout. Your local council camping people can provide more information on what the current standards are.

 

That's what you need to do if you want to make sure your ducks are in a row.

 

Simply filing a tour permit doesn't mean that your unit-run long-term camp is carried out by BSA standards. A tour permit is just that - it does not include blanket approval of everything you do on the trip or campout.

 

Such a unit-run program, to qualify for the OA, must be "much more than just a week long campout." Some of the standards that your unit-run camp must meet may be included in the National Camp Standards guide. You need to contact your council to get the details.

 

=====

 

BadenP wrote: "Council summer camp may not even qualify if the scouts don't cook their own meals or use their scouting skills, instead just using the recreational facilities like the waterfront, ropes course, shooting range, etc."

 

Huh? I'm very confused. Are you saying that Scouts that go to a council summer camp and choose the dining hall option don't qualify for the OA? Or that Scouts who just go to a council summer camp and have fun don't qualify?

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Addendum:

 

What you reference is a requirement for BSA council camps in order to get CERTIFIED before they can even hold a summer camp program...

 

Actually, no, it's not. Camps can open up and operate before the national inspectors come to make sure they're complying with the standards.

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JerseyScout: "I've never been one for OA, I was elected three times and never bothered to attend the ordeals. My troop always did more camping and service than our local chapter by a very healthy margin, so I just didn't see the point."

 

What a shame. As a Chapter Adviser, I deal with this issue with boys and units. Of course your unit camped more and did more service than your local chapter. They are supposed to. An Arrowman's first responsibility is to his unit and a Brotherhood member is expected to give back service to his unit generously. Lodges and chapters are expected NOT to overburden their calendar and have expectations of scouts feeling a need to choose between their unit or the OA. You were elected by your peers three times because they found you worthy due to your abilities, Scout skills, leadership, character and example. They were honoring you as someone they would like to be like. Why would you turn that down?

 

We are gearing up for elections right now and running into the age old "we don't allow OA in our unit" sentiment from particular troops. Do what? That is like a school saying the don't allow the National Honor Society. The Order of the Arrow is a program of the BSA and it recognizes outstanding boys based on the vote of their peers. What skin is it off of an SM's back to recognize a scout for service, leadership, skills, etc. Honoring that boy takes absolutely nothing away from your program. It shines a light on him to make other boys aspire to his level. As long as he is providing service to his unit, he is fulfilling his obligation as an Arrowman. If he chooses to get involved in ceremonies, dance team, holding chapter of lodge office, etc., that is just enhancing his scouting experience and could help keep him active at an older age.

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shortridge

 

I think we are talking semantics. A summer camp experience with a dining hall option and recreational activities ONLY I do not think should qualify as the camping experience the OA is talking about, why, because everything is being done for and planned for the boys,kinda like a primitive Club Med, not them using the skills they have learned and actually putting them to practical use. Now if he is at camp and goes on a trek for example where they pack out, cook their own meals, learn about living in the wild and pack back in that is a different story. Summer camp should be fun, but summer camp is not always "camping".

 

As far as camp certification is concerned every reputable council camp has to be sure that before they open the summer program they have met all the certification standards ahead of time in order to insure the safety of their staff and campers, not just when they know the inspection is going to take place.

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Fellow Arrowmen,

 

 

Greetings!

 

We've had the similar Q&A in my district and chapter about two years ago. It was the OA election season during the winter, just before Spring Camporee and OA Spring Ordeal.

 

We had one troop (PLC and Committee) that decided to go on their own for a summer, they obtained reservations at a known campsite in the near a local river. That summer, just prior to elections.

 

Regarding the interpretation of the OA literature that shortridge quoted. My chapter and district agreed, if they troop planned and appropriately submitted a tour permit for the week, and our council reviewed the tour permit and granted permission, then it was a council sanctioned camp and camping days.

 

Just my .02 cents.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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BadenP,

 

There's semantics, and there's just plain inaccuracies.

 

You wrote: "A summer camp experience with a dining hall option and recreational activities ONLY I do not think should qualify as the camping experience the OA is talking about..."

 

Maybe, but it still qualifies, whether you want it to or not. Opinion is not fact.

 

You wrote: "As far as camp certification is concerned every reputable council camp has to be sure that before they open the summer program they have met all the certification standards ahead of time in order to insure the safety of their staff and campers ..."

 

Sure, they do, but that's not what you said. The camp does not have to be certified before it can start its camp season.

 

================

 

Let's look at the key phrase in question: "auspices and standards."

 

Auspices: This clearly means that a Scout can't use family camping or a solo trek someplace to meet this eligibility standard. It has to be a Scouting activity. OK, simple enough.

 

Standards: What standards are involved? As the OA advises you to, contact your local council camping team. The term "standards" in BSA parlance usually refers to the set of very strict criteria that council-run summer camps must meet. The OA clearly states: "The BSA does have very explicit standards for a resident Boy Scout camp, requiring much more than just a week long campout." It does not make sense to interpret "standards" as "I filed a tour permit for a week-long trek and an overworked council clerk stamped it approved, so we're running an official resident camp now." That's naive.

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It does not matter if the council approves your summer camp or not. It is solely a Scoutmasters call, the SM and only the SM deceides who is qualified and what meets the standard.

 

If the OA election team disagrees thats to bad for them. Once the SM signs the form thats the end of the issue.

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nldscout,

 

Negative! The boy must meet the requirements set forth by the OA to be elligible for election. The only call the SM has is whether or not to place him on the ballot based on Scout Spirit. The SM doesn't get to waive the camping nights or rank requirements.

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