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Order of the Arrow Membership for Venturing

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I know this is going to probably be very controversial but here goes.


What about Order of the Arrow membership for Venturing? Both youth and adult members?


Currently, OA membership is restricted to qualified members of Boy Scout Troops and Varsity Teams - both youth and adult.


I am an advocate of OA membership for qualified Venture Scouts and Scouters.


My rationale is that those in Venturing are part of the BSA and often do many of the same types of activities as Boy Scouts. Many Venture Scouts and Scouters who are not also in Boy Scout Troops are interested in OA. OA membership for Venturing would also help Ventuing becoming more inclusive to the overall Scouting program.


Requirements for membership would be essentially the same as for Boy Scout members:


Registered in a Venture Crew


Achieve at least the Bronze Award (preferably the Outdoor Bronze)


15 days and nights of camping in the past two years including one long term camp


Have the unit leader's approval


Live by the Venturing Oath and Code


Be selected by the members of the unit.


I really see no reason why Venture Scouts and Scouters who meet these or similar requirement cannot be members of the OA.


And if you are wondering, yes, I am a registered member of the OA.


Do you support allowing OA membership for Venturing? Why?


Comments (preferably objective and constructive):



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I vote with you. But the membership requirements should be the same. Is the Outdoor Bronze analogous to earning First Class? Crews that don't go camping would not elect any members. After all, the OA is the "Society of Scout Honor Campers", and in my opinion, you can't be an honor camper if you don't have proficiency in Scoutcraft.

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I think OWL was asking what we thought, not what the rules are. But since you pointed out the source, it sounds like BSA is calling the shots, and if BSA changes its stance, then the OA is open to the idea:

"The Order of the Arrow is a program for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts between the ages of 11 - 18. If that Boy Scout policy changes, the Order would readily welcome venturers into the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service."

It sounds like while they may be a "separate organization", they don't do anything without BSA approval.  Rules can be changed...with the right justification.

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I stand corrected it does appear that the BSA sets the membership rule. I do have a question however. the same emebership rules existed for the Explorer program for decades before Venturing existed and there did not seem to any concerns then about Explorers not being able to be OA unless they entered through troop scouting. Why now is Venturing supposed to be treated differently?


I too am an OA member and I would not care if the OA decided to allow Venturers. What I do not understand is why adults should be involved or concerned. This is a youth operated activity ad it should be the youth member's decision. I'm not sure that this is something that adults should be concerned about or have their opinions weighed in the decision.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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As has been mentioned, the OA is a BSA organization - and rules can be changed.


I can't explain why the issue of the OA did not seem to arise in the old Explorer program (or in the new for that matter) - except to say that most Explorer posts are career/vocational oriented - not outdoors or high adventure.


Many Venturing Crews are high adventure crews.


As I said in my first posting, I think that there should be a "rank" requirement - the Bronze Award and I even specified that I think it should be the Outdoor Bronze.


If you look at the Outdoor Bronze Award requirements, they are similar to the requirements needed to earn the Boy Scout First Class award. Note that I said similar, not exactly the same. In most cases Venture Scouts must do far more to achieve the Bronze Award requirements that Boy Scouts do to earn their ranks up through First Class.


Many Venture Scouts are indeed "honor campers". I think this needs strong consideration.


As I recall, the very first members of the OA were adults, not youth. Even today, adult Scouters meeting requirements can be inducted into the OA. Although today it is primarily a youth led organization - and I think it should be. And I think Venture Scouts would be a weclome and valued addition to the OA. There was a time when female Scouters were rare - today, in most Councils they are many. I received my Wood Badge regalia from a female Scouter, who is also by coincidence a fellow Owl. Didn't bother me in the least, in fact, I appreciated it.


Long standing traditions and rules change slow, hard, and sometimes never. The fact that Venturing itself was created, and exists, indicates change, probably needed change within the OA.


Other than the existing OA rules, and perhaps tradition, I can find no justification to exclude Venture Scouts from the OA, particularly if they have earned the Outdoor Bronze Award and meet other requirements.


I think it will take a while, but I think that eventually, Venture Scouts will be welcomed into the OA.


Tradition is great, but I think we should build upon it, not use it as a restrictive tool. We need to find ways to make the BSA grow.


I have a feeling there will be many more responses to this topic....



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scoutldr, Can you tell me where your quote came from? In the OA a person is a youth member until 21 and can be elected by his Troop until he is 21.

Owl62 It was founded by two adults and their staff to help those Scouts choosen to set the example in their Troops.

That said I don't see why Venturers, with the same or nearly the same qualifications as Boy Scouts shouldn't be allowed to join. The only change to the program would be that the phrase "boy led" would have to be changed, but that is not a bad thing for me.


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It is my understanding that Explorers never held unit elections after going co-ed. I have always heard that unit elections at posts were stopped in order to prevent female youth from being elected as candidates. It could be there were other factors at work, but that is what I have understood to be the case.


Really the Venturers in OA and female youth (I will use the term "girls" for the remainder of the post) in OA are two seperate issues. I don't know of anyone that would really object to a First Class (or higher) Scout in a Crew, that meets all other requirements, being elected. Many would however object to any girls ever being elected. Others would object to any youth (male or female) being allowed in without First Class.


Also, someone mentioned the issue of OA youth being anyone under 21. The practical idea behind that is, I think, that allows people time to develope the leadership capabilities needed for, and rise to the various higher leadership positions of the Order. It would take a minimum of 5 years under any scenario I can think of for someone to reach the national officer level after completing the Ordeal. In reality it normally takes longer. Also, most new Arrowmen are older than 11.


It is my guess that if a vote were taken of the whole of the youth membership of the Order on the issue of allowing girls (under any scenario) into the Order, the answer would be no. I have no scientific basis for this, rather I base it on my own observations of the opinions and attitudes of others. Certainly there would be many who would favor allowing girls in (some for good reasons and some for bad reasons). There would also be some lodges where the majority would favor it. In the end, I think it would be a "no" on a nation wide vote.


Here are a few issues that would suggest girls in OA might be a less than optimal idea:

Event planning, which is largely done by youth, would become more difficult.

Arranging for adult leadership would become much more complicated. (Most adults are male. An even larger percentage of active adults are male. I can only think of 3 active female members in my lodge.)

Can you imagine the day the ceremony team includes girls?

Can you imagine what allowing girls to take the part of the principals would do to the sometimes already strained relations with certain Native American tribes? (obviously some tribes wouldn't care, but some would)


There are several other issues I would like to bring up, and I will do so later. However, I need to go review a few other materials first.


One last note. OA is not youth run. It is youth led. The OA is run by a combination of youth and adult. At the national level the national director, the Order of the Arrow Committe, and the national officers, are all involved in running the OA. Also, remember that the OA is part of the Boy Scout division. The OA Committee is essentially a sub-committee of the Boy Scout committee.


Final note, not even lone Scouts, who are within the Boy Scout program, may become candidates. It is impossible for anyone to be inducted as a youth who is not a member of a troop or team.

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Two CommentsOne can not be elected to OA at present from between 18 and 21. I understand only Scout/Varsity members can be elected as youth member and since OA youth membership goes to age 21, one has to be 21 to be elected as adult to the OA.


At one time you could be elected from an Explorer Post but you had to have earned First Class in Boy Scout troop, that kept girls out.. The essence of our existence is that we must be those campers- Boy Scout, Explorers, and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in our daily lives. Order of the Arrow Handbook 1991 printing p.7. It was your fellow Scouts or Explorers that elected you to membership in the Order p. 31 When they created Venturing they did not allow the crew to elect, and with Explorers going to Learning for Life and no longer part of Traditional Scouting, they could no longer elect.

Now my view, I believe that Ventures should be allow to elected to the OA, of both sexes.


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Women in our lodge are quite active, In 95 we had our first women elected to Vigil, in 99 I went through Vigil with two women. We have an active bunch of female camp staffers (youth) that are at most of our fellowships and even have gone to conclave in our section even up to Alaska. Never had any problem with them.


Enthusiastic Scoutmaster --- Tyee Tumtum


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Those over 18, but under 21, are still youth for OA election, induciton, voting, and office holding purposes. Anyone under 21 who meets all membership requirements may be elected by their unit as a candidate for youth membership. Also, any unit member, under 21, is eligible to vote in a unit election. If necessary I will quote the Guide for Officers and Advisors, but do we really want to go down that road again.


For more on that see:


my post on 3/1/2004 at 6:57 p.m. should make this point clear

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My sincere apologies to the ladies who post here....but I must be honest.


The day I see girls under the age of 18 inducted into either the Order of the Arrow or the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, will be the day I eat my campaign hat!!


(since that day will probably come sooner than later, can anyone recommend a good wine to go with my hat??)

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Irving, TX -- March 14, 2004 -- Drawing praise across the nation, BSA who courts have stated is a private organization and can set its own membership rules has actually changed the membership rule and now will allow female members of co-ed Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships to join the Order of the Arrow a service organization consisting of honor campers...



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