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Oldscout448

Can a SM ban OA elections?

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Old448,

 

Thanks for the update. Sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders. I'm glad he knows that he can always find another program that better fits his wants and needs. Maybe others will follow. I like the fact he made his decision and set a good example. Our district has a few hard headed Scoutmasters that refuse to give the OA program a chance with the Troops that they serve. It happens.

 

Moving forward,

sst3rd

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as a SM I like to promote OA. We hold elections, we try our best to make sure a troop campout is NOT the same weekend as an OA event (but sometimes it does happen). The way I look at it if a boy is eligible, I feel is ready for the Ordeal, and the scout is willing to be put up for a vote then let's have the vote. If the boy is voted in and becomes an arrowman then leave it up to that boy what he does with the lodge. Just the same we do with troop - a boy can be a member of the troop and still decide what parts he wants to be involved with.

 

Last year we had 4 eligible and all were elected in. This year we will for sure have 2 eligible and possibly a 3rd depending on getting first class before the election.

 

My son just turned 18. He's still an ordeal member as conflicts in his schedule have kept him from getting to a weekend for brotherhood, but he is hoping to get it with me either on a special brotherhood weekend or at the next fall fellowship (Spring conclave falls right around graduation and he's graduating this year so that is out) And since he got his ordeal before me though he was the alangomat for my group due to my medical issues he'd like to get brotherhood at the same time as me which I think is nice. Anyway, he's not that active with OA due to his schedule, but his dues have been paid every single year since becoming an arrowman.

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As a SM without OA experience, I had mixed feelings. The elections in our troop were absolutely a popularity contest, with guys getting in that barely showed up for troop events and never did any service. Other guys that helped out with every service project and Eagle Scout project were getting left out. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I finally realized that even with the OA election team explaining what the OA is all about, the young scouts all look at the guys who are eligible and vote for the oldest, the biggest or the funniest. PLC decided a couple of years ago to start using a printed ballet instead of just having scouts write names on a blank sheet. The ballet showed rank and troop position, along with total nights camping in the troop. Suddenly the slackers weren't getting voted in (as much) and the newer brothers have been more likely to be active in the lodge.

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PA Scoutmaster,

 

The last requirement for a Scout to be eligible for an OA Election, is the Scoutmaster's approval. That's where you get rid of " the oldest, the biggest, or the funniest." You need to have a serious conversation with each qualified Scout about their future commitment to the Troop with the addition of being a member of the OA, and then make that decision. I've had approved candidates remove themselves from the election, because they wanted their Scout time to be with the Troop, and didn't have extra time for the OA. That's a mature choice. There's always next year.

 

Thanks for your service. Make it mean something.

 

sst3rd

(former SM, always OA)

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As a SM without OA experience, I had mixed feelings. The elections in our troop were absolutely a popularity contest, with guys getting in that barely showed up for troop events and never did any service. Other guys that helped out with every service project and Eagle Scout project were getting left out. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I finally realized that even with the OA election team explaining what the OA is all about, the young scouts all look at the guys who are eligible and vote for the oldest, the biggest or the funniest. PLC decided a couple of years ago to start using a printed ballet instead of just having scouts write names on a blank sheet. The ballet showed rank and troop position, along with total nights camping in the troop. Suddenly the slackers weren't getting voted in (as much) and the newer brothers have been more likely to be active in the lodge.
Hmm, a printed ballot you say..... I like it.

Just found out the JASM of sons new troop is the chairman of elections in our local chapter, I'll see if that's an idea he can run with

Oldscout

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The issue here has nothing to do with the OA, it's a SM who does not understand how a Boy Scout Troop works. Your actions, and that of the scouts, should be to correct the actual issue. Once the troop is back on the correct course, I have no doubt there will be elections. Cause and effect

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The minute that Boy Scout Troops become political, is the minute that they become a disservice to their youth. This all needs to be brought up at a committee meeting with all members present.

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Funny thing is, we have a similar issue in our troop, but it isn't the SM, it's the BOYS! They don't want any part of OA. The adults do NOT speak ill of the OA either, but the boys won't openly tell us in BORs why they don't want to go to the ordeal when they are elected. A few years ago, at a Pack event, I chatted with some of the Lodge officers who wondered why elected boys from our Troop don't attend the ordeals, or otherwise show any interest in the OA. Eventually the SM told me that the some of the boys, once elected and inducted, would attend chapter and lodge meetings and basically be ignored; would sign up for committees and never be called, etc. It's the BOYS in our troop who don't want the OA, which is what I told the Lodge folks. Naturally, I got "yes sir"ed to death. The boys talk to each other, and there is an overall ill will toward the Order! The OA Lodge has a serious Public Relations problem with our scouts and THEY need to fix it!! They've made no attempt to do so in the past few years. None. So, the SM goes through the charade of letting them hold elections each time (when they bother to show up), no boys attend Ordeals, and the Lodge is apparently happy with that. Fine and dandy. They have their signed papers as another notch in their belts for "Quality Lodge" or whatever. Did I mention that one of our scouts is also the Lodge Chief? The past two OA Representatives appointed by the SPL have done nothing to promote the OA because the boys don't want to hear it. I do feel that the thirty minutes of Troop time could be better spent, though.

 

P.S. The scout in our troop who is the Lodge Chief? We rarely ever see him. It's been that way for about 2 years.

When I was inducted into the local lodge as a scout, I put my name on the list for several areas in the lodge requesting help. Never got a call or a letter (this was in the pre-internet days) to follow up. Most of the lodge officers and active members were from one or two districts in the council, just not the district my troop was in. (This was before the concept of chapters was introduced).

 

Fast forward 15 years, and a council and lodge merger, and the same was still true. After becoming an adult leader, I decided to try volunteering with the OA lodge again (thinking that maybe with the merger, things would be more open), and sought to seal my Brotherhood. Imagine my surprise when there were still only a couple of districts – one of them the same as years before - providing most of the lodge leadership (youth and adults). Apparently since I was an unknown in the lodge, I was once again not asked for my assistance for helping with the lodge or the chapter, even though I was active on my district’s training team. I guess you could say I have since become one of the ‘sash and dash’, choosing to provide my service at the unit level.

 

In the 1990's, one of our scouts actually became Lodge Chief. A couple of years later, we had a Troop OA Rep, then no one entered the OA for several years. When I was SM (10 years ago), I tried to get the lodge to do unit elections, but couldn't get anyone to follow up my attempts at contact. I finally had to contact the Field Director at the council office to get the lodge unit election coordinator to respond. We finally got elections a couple of years ago - 5 years after my initial attempt. I try to encourage the Scouts in my unit to consider having elections again, but they don't see any reason to.

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Final update: OA election night in scoutson#4 's new troop, he's in!!! whoo hoo!

Must call older sons tell them to clear decks, for the Ordeal ceremony in a few months!

Now deep breath, must focus on working with the ceremonies team as an coach, not a dad.

( Took the job a few weeks back)

sst3rd is there a forum for team trainers/ coaches ?

Oldscout

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All lodges are not created equal, My sons chapter stinks, so he attends another chapter and attends the lodge level events.

 

Is the Lodge just slave labor for the councils camps???? Is there any program to speak of.???? While it is the Brotherhood of cheerful service, Many councils abuse this. This may be the case.

 

Has anyone actually sat down and asked the SM why? Not try to change his mind but just why???

 

 

As an SM I have a hard time sending my guys to set up and tear down camps and work the for profit council events.

 

 

But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members.

"But honestly the OA is nothing more than a lodge flap to 90% of the OA members."

 

Sad but true. While there is plenty of blame to go around, part of that problem is because SM's won't support the program. It's no different than the uniform. Show me adult leaders who won't wear the uniform correctly and I'll show you a troop full of boys who won't either. Show me adult leaders who are fair weahter campers and I'll show you a troop full of boys who won't go out in the cold or rain. It's a two edged sword. The Lodge needs to provide a program that makes boys want to participate, but if their adult leaders don't support it, neither will they.

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May a new person just add a comment? My son was elected to OA a couple years ago. For him, it has been one of the better experiences in scouts. Yes, he's done the labor of tent packing for the camp, but participated in as many OA events as he can get too. I can drop him at camp as the only boy from our county with confidence he's made friends from around the state. He's had the chance to work at camp where he's a leader for the younger boys and I've seen his self confidence and leadership grow.

 

As for a popularity contest, I'd say the boys seem to be pretty good judges of character, perhaps at times it seems better than the adults.

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May a new person just add a comment? My son was elected to OA a couple years ago. For him, it has been one of the better experiences in scouts. Yes, he's done the labor of tent packing for the camp, but participated in as many OA events as he can get too. I can drop him at camp as the only boy from our county with confidence he's made friends from around the state. He's had the chance to work at camp where he's a leader for the younger boys and I've seen his self confidence and leadership grow.

 

As for a popularity contest, I'd say the boys seem to be pretty good judges of character, perhaps at times it seems better than the adults.

A good OA chapter does wonders for a boy and, in turn, his troop.

 

I know for some of you there's no comparison, but a good VOA (Venturing Officer's Association) should also be doing the same thing for a youth and his/her crew.

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I have posted on this topic several times. The Chartered Organization owns the unit, lock, stock, and barrel.

 

The issue our Chartered Organization was most concerned about, when deciding whether or not to participate in OA, was cultural appropriation. A decision was made to not participate in OA, and that decision is final.

 

In fairness to our prospective Scouts, parents, and leaders, this policy is clearly stated.

 

To answer the question, yes, the Scoutmaster can ban OA elections if that is the policy of the Chartered Organization.

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With OA being a council organization, how does the CO have the right to ban participation in it? They may own the unit and can dictate what happens within the troop, but except for the election, OA doesn't participate in unit activities. OA elections will be held this coming Saturday in the City Park. All the boys wishing to participate are invited to come. End of discussion.

 

If one were to carry this logic further, one would have the CO dictating what summer camp to attend and whether or not the unit can participate in such things as Popcorn sales, camporees, NYLT, and any other disctrict/council activities.

 

Stosh

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