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sherminator505

"The Honor Society of Scouting"

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Females in the Order of the Arrow? Heres the thing:

 

I started in Cub Scouts in 1974, I say Cub Scouts, as Tiger Scouts didnt exist then. We had Den Mothers, but the Cub Master , his assistant, and the Webelo Leader were Men. Hey, it was the 70s. Well the times changed, more single parent families, more working moms, women were soon seen in all the cub leadership positions. The late 70s, and early 80s were liberal, soon those female cub leaderss children were Boy Scouts. The moms in many cases knew scouting in ways the dads didnt, and with BSA exploring coed scouting concepts, despite a bit of shock, these female leaders were allowed to step up to the Troops and posts heck, female DEs were popping up.

 

Ive seen the whole catharsis, I was inducted in 1981 and it was a boys only club!

 

The first thing that changed it was the professionals, as part of a DEs resume he, or she, needed to show a complete understanding, and involvement with all aspects of the program. This was overlooked for a bit, but then there was a female SE Supreme Chief of the Fire things had to change. ALL professionals were allowed membership, if needed to carry out the responsibility of their position. Originally only the SE could give himself/herself Vigil, but this also changed, and is another topic. Female professional members started appearing in the early 80s.

 

By the mid to late 80s most troops had a female CC or ASM, very few had a Female SM, but some did. At this point it became clear that barring those leaders from the order was not only counterproductive, but very bad press! Although this change was official, councils, and lodges, were not quick to embrace it. I became inactive for a short period in 1990, and female members were quite rare still. Over time, things have changed. The key here is that the female members are adults, no youth.

 

In explores we have been coed for many years, but these are youth who are mostly 16 and over. Venture Scouting lowered the coed bar, and in doing so created a coed group which embraces youth of a younger age, and lower maturity level. Venture Scouting requires a very different model, and approach, with lots of additional precautions all of this would come to the order if female Venture Scouts were allowed to be elected. This is a lot of complication, and would further lower the age at which coed scout contact occurs. Twelve-year old OA members are not uncommon, on occasion we get an eleven-year-old. Coed with eleven year olds, is this a good idea? Not only are there program concerns, but what about parents? Parents who put their children in Venture units know what they are getting into. Parents who put their children into Boy Scout units are not signing up for a coed program, and many will object to it. How many summer camps do not allow female Venture Scouts to attend at the same time as Boy Scout units for the same reasons?

 

BSAs reasons for not allowing female ventures to be elected into the Order of the Arrow, go deeper then what most people posting here are seeing. Boy Scouts coed, I heard that one in the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s, and each had a grain of truth (see above), but it was never that simple. A blanket change like this will cause a huge backlash from families, and will never happen in my lifetime.

 

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Old Ox

 

First you need to get your facts straight about professional scouters and the OA,as a former DE I can tell you there is NO requirement that any professional must be involved or active with their lodge in any way, never has been. As a DE my SE appointed me as staff advisor to the lodge, which had shrunk to four boys,all in the same district and basically inactive, no elections or events and with an inactive lodge advisor. My job was to bring the lodge back to life. I and some key youth and adults organized elections, the first one in over a decade, and within a year the lodge had new officers, adult advisors and an active membership of over 75 youth.

 

As far as women in the OA it was inevitable that as women were allowed to become SM's and ASM's that the OA would change to accomodate them, and it has. The idea of coed scouting has been frequently debated here, but truth is that it is only a matter of when and not if, and I tell you you will see it in your lifetime. The CSE supports coed scouting, and look at the next Jamboree in 2013 will include Venturing meaning girls will be present on a much larger scale. I brought my coed crew to the 2010 Jamboree as visitors and we saw many Venturing females present, 2013 will be even bigger. So yes you will see it happen in your lifetime, because it is already beginning to take shape.

 

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BP,

 

In reference to pros and the OA, it depends on the SE/DFS. In the council I was a youth in, I know one SE fired 2 "Professional Trainees," DEs who hadn't gone to PDL-1 yet, because they walked out of the Ordeal after the Pre-Ordeal Ceremony. He made it a requirement for the job to be a member of the OA.

 

But when I was a DE after going to 2 OA events, I was told by my DFS "you don't need to play Indian" and not to go to any more OA events.

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BadenP,

 

I think you misread Old-OX's comment. The statement was: "ALL professionals were allowed membership, if needed to carry out the responsibility of their position."

 

In other words, if a DE was appointed lodge staff adviser, as you were, or if their job put them in contact with a lot of OA work (such as camp ranger or resident camp director), they probably should be members of the lodge.

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short and eagle

 

In Ox's first sentence, second paragraph he says, "The first thing that had changed was that the professionals, that is DE's, as part of their resume had to show a complete understanding and involvement with all aspects of the program." which I took to mean the OA lodge program,since DE's have always been required to have an understanding of all aspects of the scouting program and are trained in that regard.

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I understand Old_Ox's misgivings about girls in OA, but I hardly see it as the deal-breaker that he does. I will admit that I have misgivings of my own as to how things are now.

 

I do not like seeing 11-12-year-old boys in OA. I wonder if they truly understand the meaning of the Order, the importance of decorum in carrying out ceremonies, and the proper spirit of cheerful service. I also wonder how many of the "sash-and-dash" Arrowmen we often talk about belong in this group.

 

I'd like to see a minimum age for OA comparable to the enterance requirements for Venturing.

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This tends to skirt the issue, but in dealing with the parents in our troop, I always refer to the OA, not as the "honor society" (which it is) but as a service organization (which it is). This way, they don't look at it as just an "award" but as a commitment.

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Too young for Eagle, too young for OA? I hear this all the time. What is this?

 

This is supposed to be Boy Scouts, not Man Scouts. A scout can "get it" at any age.

 

I was a newly awarded Star Scout, ASPL and 11 years, 10 months at the time of my ordeal. I'm pretty sure I got it.

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The reasons for the decline are many and varried. IMHO poorly done ceremonies are worse than no ceremony at all. It should be the most memorable part of ones Ordeal. BSA and the National OA committee have revised the mission of the OA and the Lodge. It seems that one of the main objectives is leadership and choosen capable adult mentors for each youth- I see problems with this in regards to youth protection guidelines. I believe the OP is correct and we need to go back to being honor CAMPERS!

 

OT but I think the problem with BSA is numbers v quality. The middle school model works against us. Our cornerstone program has peer and public perception problems. Cub Scouts chases many away due to emphasis on arts and crafts and advancement task oriented. Venturing, Varsity, and Explorers are about adding to our numbers. If the purpose was serving youth then why do we on purpose underpay summer camp staff? Are not they part of our target audience? Elsewhere Bob White has posted possible reasons why we are losing youth. His conclusions deal with meeting thier needs. If Troops are not meeting the needs of youth until age 18 then we are doing something wrong. It is not the fumes at fault it is us, the guardians of the program. I say scrap Tiger, go to a three year cub program with an outdoor focus. Spend most of our resource on the Boy Scout programk and start meeting their needs. If we do not get them involved by 7th grade chances are we will not. Venturing and Explorers are fine as long as they are stand alone programs and not merchandised as the next step.

 

Return to the days where being an Arrowman was special. Kids do like playing indian once they try it and get the ego boost that comes from looks of wonderment from younger scouts.

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Tiger Cubs is the best program in Scouting in my view and experience. Wolf and Bear programs should be taking a page from the Tiger Cub Emphasis on outings and fun skills to learn.

 

Webelos could be another real winner but it requires a significant transwition to a camping oriented program which can be difficult to do. If it's not done, boys drop out. If it is done, parents may drop out unless they understand and support the program.

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SP the problem with Cubs is that first it is too long and burns kids out. Second kids and families that are not into the art and crafts and silliness have the mistaken belief that Boy Scouting is just more of the same and will not give it a chance. Interesting thing about TC is that it was tested by LDS who choose to not adopt it into their program. You know and I know that Cubs is a great program and gives us good numbers, I think I've heard that Cubs out number other programs. My point is that despite the numbers in Cubs we are not retaining them into Boy Scout years, which is our Charter objective.

 

Cub Scout parents and leaders generally do not make great Boy Scout adult leaders without much training and breaking of bad habits that are counterproductive to a boy lead program. IMHO we are left with third year Webelos troops, advancement mill troops, renegade troops that otherwise do not follow the program, and a few good traditional units that focus on Scouting, and this goes for all charter orgs. Scouting focuses on outdoors, boy leadership, and providing opportunity to achieve First Class. Arrowmen that are active seem to come from this last type of troop.

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The problem with Cub Scouts is not that it's too long but that the Wolf, Bear and Webelos programs involve too much schooling and too little fun, in my experience and judgment.

 

That's especially true with the current emphasis on completing advancement requirements during den meetings.

 

 

The Tiger Cub program is a lot more FUN and places emphasis on specific Go-See-It outings that boys enjoy. And completing badge requirements is fairly easy.

 

In my judgment, the Wolf, Bear and Webelos programs should be recast more like the Tiger Cub program.

 

I'm starting a Webelos program next school year, and my aim is to make that a camping oriented program if I can. That would begin the transition to Boy Scouts that I agree is often done poorly. And getting the Bear Den Leader to adopt that transition is something that I'm struggling with now.

 

But the problem isn't that the program is too long --- the problem is that it isn't designed properly in my view. It should be the Webelos program that is the transition between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

 

If the Webelos program is camping oriented, boys usually stay. If it's Cub Scout oriented, they often drop out.

 

My aim is also to have the Webelos den doing joint outings with Scout Troops when Troops are doing suitable trips and outings. Both parents and Cub Scouts should start to understand Boy Scouts from that experience.

 

In my view Cub Scout should NEVER be an arts and crafts program. Arts and crafts can be a means to an end. Decorating Pinewood Derby Cars ---- good craft activity, but RACING THE CARS is the main activity.

 

I'll be doing a rocket launch as a recruiting night activity next Monday. Boys will be encouraged to decorate their rockets as they build them, but the main activity will be LAUNCHING THE ROCKETS 15-25 times that evening or whatever. We'll have six rocket launchers going at once to make that happen.

 

I dropped out of Cub Scouts after a few weeks of arts and crafts activities led by Den Mothers circa 1958. One of my aims as a Cubmaster is not to repeat that mistake for Cub Scouts in my pack. It doesn't have to be that way and shouldn't be that way in my opinion.

 

I was also a young Scoutmaster circa 1981-1987, which gives me the advantage of knowing where Cub Scouts ought to be going.

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