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"pitch a fit" induction

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Sound advice, although the situation being referred to took place 14 years ago. 😀

Well, 14 years ago, 14 months ago, 14 days ago, it still applies.  With very few exceptions, adults need to keep their noses out of OA business.



Wow - what a mess.

Problem mom is also Scoutmaster (SM).

As if that wasn't sticky enough, her dad is Committee Chairman (CC).

Yes - this is going to be difficult to untangle, but necessary.


(Some other acronyms we've tossed out are Charter Organization (CO) and Charter Org Representative (COR) - these are the troop's sponsor and main point of contact.)


Please quietly follow up. With a couple of phone calls, you can find the leader of the OA Unit Elections team. (Your other SM buddy will know.) Quietly tell the OA Unit Elections leader what you have told us with intent of putting vicious rumors to rest or correcting a problem.


You didn't ask - and I almost never offer unsolicited advice - but I'd start thinking about other prospective troops to visit.


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Our elections are run by the OA council. The names are presented as to who can be voted on.

The OA guys bring ballots. They pick them up from the boys and count them out of our site. They then come back in and have the SM sign the form.

I signed it this time as ASM because SM wasn't there. I then reported to the SM who was elected in. 4 of 6 were voted in. No one else knew until tapout who was elected. By the way our SM was also elected and he didn't know until the night of tapouts.

No one but the SM and the OA should know who was elected until tapouts. Period.

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The only way I have ever seen OA elections handled over the years is how Lynda described.


This eliminates any "post-election" politics.


Cloak of silence? Not unless you consider the secret ballot system we use to elect our government as "cloak of silence".


As far as it being a popularity contest...ALL elections are popularity contests! Who here doesn't vote for the candidate they like the best?


The best way to avoid problems is to follow the BSA program, policies and procedures.


BW(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Proud Eagle, your statement, "The instructions for the elections specificially mention there is to be no discussion about the Scouts being considered for election." piqued my interest. Could you let us know where you obtained this information?


It is my understanding that Scoutmasters have the authority to approve/disapprove who may be on the ballot for OA. That is, a Scout who met the 1st Class and camping (total and long term) requirements can still be "vetoed" by the SM (prevented from being on the ballot). As SM, I like to rely upon the judgement of the youth and have not given any vetoes. However, I was dismayed at our troops past few election choices. This year, as I announced to the troop who met the rank and camping requirements I also gave a generic speech on the goals of the OA and what it was about (with the OA election reps permission). I then handed out the participation/attendance records of the boys under consideration. Did I overstep my bounds?

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I know the last version of the election video I looked at made mention of no discussion after the process had been explained and any questions had been answered.


Also, in the Guide for Officers and Advisers, page 26, "Election Ceremony" if you look under "OA Member A" it says:


"Campaigning in an Order of the Arrow election is not permitted. You are expected to think for yourself; do not let others influence your decision. The election is by secret ballot and no discussion will be permitted, so no one will know for whom you are voting. This important decision about your fellow Scouts is entirely up to you."


I don't think you overstepped. As long as what you provided was entirely factual, you are OK. However, an OA election is most certainly not the place to be providing opinions about anyone. I don't really like the idea of passing out those records during an OA election, but I would not be willing to say you actually violated the rule.


Next, you do not need the permission of the OA election team to explain the process or the basis for election. Rather the OA election team should ask your permission to make their presentation or should work with you on making the presentation. After all it is your troop, they are just guests performing a service. As the Scoutmaster, if you are an OA member, it is entirely appropriate that you help explain things (assuming you keep current on policies and procedures).


Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it should be noted you do not have a veto over the choices of the Scouts. What the unit leader has is the responsibility to approve only those candidates who meet the requirements. You give your approval to candidates prior to the election. You have no post-election veto.


The leader must certify the candidates Scout spirit (adherence to Oath and Law and active participation) and certify that he meets the other specified requirements (rank, current registration, camping, and age).


(You probably knew this, but I wanted to make certain it was clear to anyone reading this that does not know the process.)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

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This is truly a sad affair, on so many levels.


As to the boy who may or may not have been elected, I reminded of a Mark Twain quote in "The Scout Law - Quotes for Life" (p 76, "Brave")


"It is better to deserve honors and not have them,

than to have them and not deserve them."


- Oren

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  • 5 months later...

Our chapter separates elections and call-out. Elections are held in January and February. Call-out is held at District Camporee. It gives the time needed to settle all fits that have been pitched. There is an O.A. Election form. It is pressure sensitive carbon paper. The lodge gets a copy, the chapter gets a copy and the SM gets a copy. The SM can do what he/she wants as far as announcing the names of the elected. Any scouter who pitches a fit is directed to the chapter advisor. That normally puts an end to the fit.


Yes, I have been confronted by adult O.A. members (who should know better) about seeing that Billy's name be changed to show election or added to the elected list. Nope. It's the boys' decision. Then I give them contact infomation for the chapter advisor and elections associate advisor. And get the heck outta Dodge.

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I did not realize that the OA election process (or other secret ballot processes) forbade discussion of the vote afterwards. I know you cannot talk about many aspects before or during in order to minimize undue influence on the voting process, but I was unaware that it was to remain inappropriate to discuss afterwards.


Just curious!

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About a month before elections our OA rep contacts us to see which of our boys are 1st Class and have met the other requirements. The SM gives them the names. They then print a ballot with those names on it. The boys do not put their names on their ballot. The boys are told that they can for for all, none or one. But that they are not to discuss who they voted for. The ballots are then taken up and counted. It was hard this year for me since I knew who was elected and that my Kevin was one. He kept asking me. I simply told him that the only people that knew who was elected were the OA reps. That we would all find out when the tapout was done.

Obviously this SM mother is more interested in image than she is by grooming good scouts.

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My boys got the OA nod. They completed the ordeal. The program is such a joke around here that both have backed off fast. The older went to one meeting. The younger hit two.


There were two boys in OA from last year (or earlier). Nine of those voted in completed ordeal. Three (or four) went to the meeting(s) (including my two). They know one of the other boys, and he's not planning to go back.


The leadership is so poor that OA is no honor. Frankly I'm glad that my boys aren't interested. I can't even imagine sending my boys off with this small crowd for camping. The trips sounded neat, but I draw the line and shipping my kids off with adults that give me the creeps.

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  • 1 month later...

In the OA since I got voted in a lot of stuff has changed. There is no age at which the boy can become a member, but you have to reach a certian number of campouts and one has to be a week of summer camp, you have to be the rank of 1st class or above, and you should best exemplify the scout oath and law. you can also vote every person that is eligible in even if the boy gets one vote, but you do have to have a minimum of 3/4 of ther troop there in order to vote and it has to be done by an OA CP/UE(camp promotions and unit elections) team that is made up from boys outside of your unit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Actually, the rules state that a troop can hold an election if at least 50% of the Active Membership is in attendance. This is one of the items that a SM signs off on.

As a Chapter Advisor, I have seen my share of problem elections, from units trying to hold their own to one where the SM certified that there were enough in attendance to hold the election and it turned out that five of the youth were actually Webelos who were visiting and had not registered with the troop. That one took a lot of explaining to the boys and the parents.

OA Elections Teams come to troops and explain the election process. They then hold the election and report the results to the SM.

One election that was held two years ago was similar to the one in question. The boy's father was CC and raised a ruckus when his son was not selected. I was asked to void the election and hold it again. I refused as there was no problem with the original vote. The father went to the Lodge Adviser, who passed it back to me. Then the DE got involved. He was new and caved in. I still refused. He then took it to the Council SE who ordered a new election. It was done, the CC's son was selected. He took his Ordeal and never came back. As since moved to another troop because he and his father felt he wasn't being advanced fast enough.

There will always be a few problem people, but in 14 years, there have been only a few problem elections.


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  • 13 years later...

This is certenly a sensitive situation.  Perhaps this sh ould be brought to the attention of the Lodge Advisor who could look into the facts surrounding this induction. Then the Lodge Advisor can pass it on to the Lodge Chief who can present it to the LEC and let them decide.  That way Scoutmasters, committees, and unit members who have a specific interest will be removed from any decision that is made.  I suggest that whenever there is a conflict involving the OA, the Lodge Chief and his LEC be informed and allowed to take what action deemed appropriate.

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1 hour ago, Mrjeff said:

I suggest that whenever there is a conflict involving the OA, the Lodge Chief and his LEC be informed and allowed to take what action deemed appropriate.

Sound advice, although the situation being referred to took place 14 years ago.


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