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sherminator505

"The Honor Society of Scouting"

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John, I have similar memories of my scout OA days...though my era was the '70s, there was a ratio, not sure if it was as limiting as yours, but the number of scouts/scouters inducted was still small.

 

Tap out and ordeal were much different than today! The sum effective was "whew, glad I made it!"

 

We were given a few moments to bask, and then "cheerful service time, get over yourself" was the focus.

 

Regarding the discussion about the scouts liking/disliking Indian garb/ceremonies: I think this is a big "it depends."

 

If the ceremonial team is sloppy--poor memorization of lines and delivery, cheesy attempts at building regalia--then yes, I've seen this backfire. If it's all squared away, top notch--that's a draw.

 

There's only one was to go with ceremonial teams--first class or no class.

 

 

 

 

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If the ceremonial team is sloppy--poor memorization of lines and delivery, cheesy attempts at building regalia--then yes, I've seen this backfire. If it's all squared away, top notch--that's a draw.

 

There's only one was to go with ceremonial teams--first class or no class.

 

 

Ain't that the truth! I know how hard doing ceremonies can be. I know how much time and effort it takes for a really good ceremony team. I also know that a good neocolonialist can pull it off, even if mistakes are made by not letting the participants know he screwed up.

 

But having folks read from a scroll. Ok I can see a scroll wiht a list of names for Call Outs, but there are better ways of handling that, BUT the primary ceremonies of the OA? Or worse having the script pasted to the back of a shield.

 

But the absolute worst if having a podium in the ceremony ring, having ceremonialists reading from the script, and event then HAVING THE WRONG PERSON READ A PART OF THE SCRIPT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO!!!!!!!!!! ( caps for utter disbelief when I saw that happen.)

 

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"John, I have similar memories of my scout OA days...though my era was the '70s, there was a ratio, not sure if it was as limiting as yours, but the number of scouts/scouters inducted was still small."

 

I joined in the 80s. To my knowledge, the rule from day one until they changed it more recently, was that only half of the candidates could be placed on the ballot. Hence, only half the candidate could get elected in. this had the effect that boys had to think a little harder about who they wanted to vote in, rather then put down everyone.

 

 

"Regarding the discussion about the scouts liking/disliking Indian garb/ceremonies: I think this is a big "it depends." "

 

So. Being interested in Indian garb/ceremonies has never been the purpose of the OA. Not everyone who joins or is active is into that, and that's fine. Different people stay in the OA for different reasons. So long as it doesn't have a negative effect on the OA and its mission, so be it. I've heard of terms for some of the various subgroups in the OA: thread-heads (patch collectors), candle sniffers (ceremonialists), pencil pushers (rules and procedure types), feather freaks (indian lorists). Never hear a term for those just into doing the service. And some people can be in several of these.

 

I know for myself that the first 10 years or so in the OA, I had no interest in indian lore, and only later 'caught the bug'. But indian lore is in no way the sole reason I'm involved.

 

 

 

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emb021 - The change was made in January 1997. Under the old rules, it was still possible for every eligible candidate to be elected, but it required each eligible scout to be voted for on exactly half of the ballots turned in.

 

I think the current procedure is better because it allows the scouts voting to judge the merits of each candidate individually instead of having to compare them against each other. Interestingly enough, when the change went into effect the number of scouts being elected did not significantly increase in my lodge.

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Interestingly in my troop several of the boys find the OA to simply be a clique of self-important scouts and they feel no interest in joining the club. Maybe it is just in our council that this occurs, but the same is felt of Woodbadge folks, too (just a big clique, that is).

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Troop24 - "Interestingly in my troop several of the boys find the OA to simply be a clique of self-important scouts and they feel no interest in joining the club. Maybe it is just in our council that this occurs, but the same is felt of Woodbadge folks, too (just a big clique, that is)."

 

I'm not sure of your position in the troop, I'll assume you are the SM. Hopefully you know this not to be the case and work to change those misperceptions. Maybe it is just your council, because as a Chapter Adviser, I can tell you that the OA is anything but a clique of self-important scouts. They tend to be the boys you can turn to when you need something. These are the guys willing to go beyond the comfort zone of their troop's inner circle. My active guys are the ones willing to staff District Cub Day Camps, Cub and Boy Scout summer camp, Camporees and Webelos Woods, etc. Most have done more than one high adventure base. Most have been a PL and a good number have been SPL's. Most are Life or Eagle. They don't shirk away from providing service. They all know how to look an adult in the eye and shake their hand firmly and confidently. They provide elections and ceremonies and spend countless hours doing ceremony practice. Self important? Nah. They are doers and go getters who understand the meaning of service to others.......often times with no thanks for their efforts. But like a true servant, that isn't why they do what they do. Wouldn't we like every scout in every troop to be part of that kind of self important clique?

 

From the adult side, I'd echo many of the same characteristics of the Wood Badgers.

 

When I think of a clique, I think of those Scouters and Scouts who don't need that stinkin' old OA, WB, District or Council and want to be left alone to do it their way.

 

I guess your perspective changes depending on which side of the fence you are on. ;)

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Ditto what SR said. The closest to "cliques" in the OA I have ever seen are the Ceremony and Dance Teams, and even then most of them understand their role in the OA, and do not try to say they are better than anyone else. They work hard together, travel together, practice together, perform together, etc so sometimes it may seem as if they are cliquish b/c they are most comfortable with one another. But 99% of the teams I've dealt with know that they are no better, or worse, than any other Arrowman, or Scout for that matter.

 

But unfortnately there are a few bad apples. I went to one Conclave where one lodge's dance team DID think they were better than everyone else. Acted very unscoutlike, an tried to use the excuse "We're dancers, we got to compete at X time." "Guess what, so are we, you need to wait your turn." Ran into that same lodge's dance team at two seminars. At one they removed my blanket off a bench and tossed it aside, and at another they started sitting on my blanket without asking permission, both considered extremely rude actions in the powwow world.

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I had occasion to attend the Powow of the Sieux Indian tribe held on the Rosebud Indian reservation in 1987. Much of that is Indian dancing.

 

I would be interested to see what kind of reception an OA dance team might get at that kind of gathering. It would be an education for OA dance teams as well!

 

 

 

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SP,

 

It would depend upon the OA dancers and how they went about it. I know of one group of OA dancers who went so far out there, that the local nation asked the lodge to stop them, and when the team members refused, the lodge disbanded them. Luckily the lodge had a very good relationship, albeit somewhat damaged due to the yahoos, and when we we restarted the dance team a few years later, one of their elders came out to help us, and we were invited to their powwow a few months later.

 

I and others have danced at several Native American powwows with no problems. Now I always ask permission for us to dance the first time I attend an annual powwow, or if we haven't attended in a while, and we are on our best behavior, following all protocols.

 

But again I do know of some OA dancers who do not dothings properly, and it gives all of us a bad name.

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I think this all boils down to how well organized and active your council lodge truly is. In many cases I have witnessed lodges where all the decisions were made by a small handful of members and the rest either came on board or did not participate, unfortunately most chose the latter. As a youth member, adult member, and staff advisor to the OA I have watched the organization deteriorate over the years into a clique or club, the meaning of the Indian symbology has been lost, and the service aspect of the organization almost nonexsistant. I have heard many scouts elected to the OA make comments like "the OA is lame, dressing up like Indians is gay, and doing service projects is a real drag."

 

Personally I think the OA needs some serious reworking done with its imagery, reputation, and purposes. As long as scouts view the OA as lame, gay,and a drag the organization will continue to flounder. Its reputation as an "Honor Society of Scouting" will not hold much credibility.

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As long as scouts view the OA as lame, gay,and a drag the organization will continue to flounder.

 

Replace "OA" with "Scouting" and you've got the Eternal Issue. If you can come up with a plan to make the stuff we do "cool" to every boy in the country, you're much smarter than I.

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BadenP,

 

What you are experiencing is kids who don't like having their comfort zone challenged. One of the boys on my ceremonies team is famous for declaring a year ago that he wasn't going to dress up like no faggot indian. He does and has a blast. I'm unsure why any Scout would feel like OA is geeky when many of their peers already think they are geeks for being Boy Scouts. I agree with shortridge that you could easily replace the word OA with Scouting and have the eternal issue.

 

You say, "I think the OA needs some serious reworking done with its imagery, reputation, and purposes. As long as scouts view the OA as lame, gay, and a drag the organization will continue to flounder." Couldn't the same be said for Scouting and isn't that what Mazucca is doing that you dislike so much?

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The image problem with the BSA that others have noted goes back a long ways. It's mentioned in FOLLOW ME BOYS with Whitey's reluctance to join the troop.

 

The interesting thing is that one you give the youth a taste of the outdoors and independence, most get hooked.

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What Mazzuca and the current leadership are doing is rebranding. And what this rebranding does is search for something that they think will resonate with the masses with little regard to what we are supposedly here to do.

 

This whole "Honor Society of Scouting" thing is one example. Consider also the (relatively) new mission statement:

 

"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

 

Yes, it sounds good, but something is missing. Consider the following from the Preface to Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys, World Brotherhood Edition (regarding Scouting):

 

"It is, in a word, a school of citizenship through woodcraft."

 

In my opinion, this one simple sentence succeeds where the lofty statement fails for one very important reason; it touches on WHY we do what we do. The object is to help boys become better CITIZENS by instilling those values, as well as strengthening their self-sufficiency and complete development.

 

Better citizenship doesn't come through sloganeering and symbolism, it comes through a complete education. We're here to fill in the spaces that our schools cannot and will not address.

(This message has been edited by sherminator505)

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I'll agree that OA Indian dancing probably has some image problems. But that's a byproduct of the fact that not many realize that Indian dancing is still a vital and dynamic cultural force among at least some Indian tribes.

 

When I attended the 1987 Rosebud, SD Powow of the Sieux, I was impressed by a cultural phenomena I had never encountered before.

 

I suppose the OA has a tough time trying to replicate the impact of hundreds of Indians dancing for thousands of their fellows. That's not surprising.

 

It would be nifty if more OA chapters had a chance to experience that kind of dancing and participate in the dancing contests themselves, if they were made welcome to do so by powwow organizers.

 

In Hawaii, variations on the hula are pretty widely practiced by dance teams of all different ethnicities. It might be neat if OA dance teams were welcomed by Indian tribes as those practicing a fine art.

 

 

Here's a u-tube video that gives something of the flavor of the Rosebud Powwow. Keep an eye out for American flag honor guards that are dancing while "marching" with the American flag:

 

 

 

 

Imagine OA dance teams from around the country being invited to give a mass performance at the Rosebud Powwow someday! Recognition like that would lend real legitimacy to OA dance traditions, I would suppose.

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