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signman

Botched Call Out at Summer Camp

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Q, This is a bit off topic and not really a big concern of mine but if there are really no secrets in Scouting what is with all the passwords on the documents on the National OA site? What about all the wispering in the ear? Maybe we have different definitions of the work "secret". Not a very good secret I will admit given a modest amount of Google-fu.

 

In our lodge, I am told parents are NOT allowed at any of the ceremonies. I personally witnessed this Lodge Adviser explain to a parent his job it to convince parents they should not attend ceremonies. I don't think a Chief inviting parents to ceremonies would be a wise career choice in this Lodge. Just because National says something doesn't always make it so.

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Q' date=' This is a bit off topic and not really a big concern of mine but if there are really no secrets in Scouting what is with all the passwords on the documents on the National OA site?[/quote']

 

Most sites have a secure document area. Keep in mind that a lot of O/A stuff should be youth communications, and development work. So, it stands to reason it would be sheltered from non-members.

 

What about all the wispering in the ear? Maybe we have different definitions of the work "secret". Not a very good secret I will admit given a modest amount of Google-fu.

 

Oh, you mean the password that I can never remember? I think it roughly translates to "brotherly love". But like you said, there are resources that you could check to correct me on that one. But the point is for a boy to learn that the "big secret" that he's been working hard to attain is what he should aspire to do on a daily basis.

 

We've had boys ask in detail about the goings on of O/A. Our ASM who is most involved in the lodge had no problem sharing with them most details. But, reserving a little mystery isn't a problem. Most boys are content to know their buddies can look forward to meager rations, service, and silence for a day.

 

In our lodge' date=' I am told parents are NOT allowed at any of the ceremonies. I personally witnessed this Lodge Adviser explain to a parent his job it to convince parents should not attend ceremonies.[/quote']

 

Your lodge advisor is playing fast-and-loose with policy. There is something special about a boy moving out on his own into the world. So, the order is designed for boys to manage with minimum input from parents. We should assure Mom that she doesn't NEED to be there, but is welcome to observe and not make her presence a distraction. I've had parents come back grateful for being able to see one ceremony or another.

 

I don't think a Chief inviting parents to ceremonies would be a wise career choice in this Lodge. Just because National says something doesn't always make it so.

 

All politics is local. :(

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It's highly discouraged but a parent CAN witness any and all things that are Scout related, even OA ceremonies.

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Welcome to the Forums, Signman.

Keep the Scout Promise and Law ever before you and make sure EVERYONE knows what is going on. I have been there and done that in different BSA faragoes. I know that my "Trustworthiness" and "Courtesy" and "Loyalty" and "Friendliness" and "Cheerfulness" made things right, helped others learn from their mistakes and prevent the same problems coming up again.

More than once, I have been told "don't worry, it will soon be forgotten" or "there is nothing that we can do" or "that's just the way it is, forget it and move on with your life". None of those ideas are right. Do not accept them. " Persistent" is the 14th point of the Scout Law (the 13th is "Hungry").

 

"'nil carborundum Scoutae""

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The Lodge Adviser asks my son's name and instructs one of his minions to go to the Council Ring and call out my son's name in front of his peers' date=' make him take the Walk of Shame in front of a hundred or so of his fellow scouts, remove him and send him back to his campsite carrying his bedroll and groundcloth.[/quote']

 

Now according to many BSA publications and trainings, a Scout should never be penalized because of the mistakes of an adult. For example: if a 'blue card' for a merit badge is accidentally signed off on in error, it's signed off, you can't take the merit badge back after the fact because you realized he didn't actually complete one of the requirements. Even the application for Eagle Scout has a clause stating that "mistakes by adults" are legitimate grounds for an extension past a Scout's 18th birthday to complete requirements.

 

So if a Scout was accidentally called out in error, oh well, he was called out, let him in. I wouldn't penalize that Scout because some leader messed up. Maybe use it as an opportunity to tighten up the checks and balances to make sure it doesn't happen again in the future, but it's not worth penalizing that Scout because someone else goofed.

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So if a Scout was accidentally called out in error, oh well, he was called out, let him in. I wouldn't penalize that Scout because some leader messed up. Maybe use it as an opportunity to tighten up the checks and balances to make sure it doesn't happen again in the future, but it's not worth penalizing that Scout because someone else goofed.

 

Just to play Devi's Advocate, though, do you think the Scout would feel good knowing that he was inducted into the Order of the Arrow knowing that he wasn't chosen by his fellow Scouts? If someone accidentally pinned an Eagle medal on my chest (hyperbole, I know) I would feel weird knowing that I didn't earn the rank of Eagle.

 

At any rate, I do agree with you that Scouts shouldn't be penalized due to the errors of adults.

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As a Scout, I wouldn't want to take credit from something I didn't actually earn or deserve. I wouldn't want to encourage a Scout to do that either. Becoming a member of the OA merely due to a clerical error made during a call out ceremony is meaningless and should not be what that honor represents... but sending a Scout back to his campsite humiliated, disenfranchised and in tears due to an adult's mistake is hardly what the Scouting program should stand for either.

In such a situation, I would explain to the Scout what happened (off to the side, to avoid any public embarrassment), and I'd let him advise us on what we should do. He may opt to recuse himself until he is properly elected in... but maybe not. If he decides to stay, I would encourage him to go through all the steps to get into the Order legitimately, even if the steps he's taking are somewhat out of order ("okay, you were called out, so you can go through the ordeal tonight; but to be fair to all the other Scouts that wear the sash, afterwards we should make sure you get voted in by your peers and let's make sure you've completed all the required nights camping, reached First Class, etc."). That way when he wears the sash and pocket flap and attends OA events he can say he did truly deserve the honor listed on his Scouting résumé and he does deserve to be there (even if his pathway there was unorthodox or backwards).

I had a Scout several years ago that accidently got signed-off on Citizenship in the Nation merit badge at summer camp when he didn't actually complete all the requirements (due to a paper-work mix-up with the councilor at the camp, he got credit for writing a letter to a congressman when he never actually did it). I didn't withhold the badge (nor the advancement to the rank of Life that earning the badge entitled him to). But I did encourage him to actually go do that requirement he had skipped... which he did. Now he wears his Eagle badge with pride and knows he did everything the badge requires (even if he technically did them out of order). If he hadn't written the letter, I wouldn't have withheld further rank from him; but he'd know that he took a shortcut and I think his Eagle would be less meaningful to him.

So, in this case, I wouldn't withhold membership or participating in the ordeal due to an adult mistake during the callout, but I'd encourage the Scout to make the honor meaningful by going back to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's.

 

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I think this is a situation, like many in Scouting, where a black-and-white, hard-and-fast policy or rule can't just be handed down from on high and applied universally... you need some situational common-sense and individual assessment to find a solution that is fair to the individual person and circumstances while keeping in mind the ultimate goal of supporting the three aims of Scouting. And treating two people or situations "fairly" doesn't always mean treating them "identically."

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Yes, I think this was the best solution.

 

Anyone who thinks that OA standards and practices are more important than the disappointment of the boy in this circumstance ought to turn in his sash and flap, in my opinion.

 

 

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Ummm. "A Scout is Trustworthy. Shouldn't be exaggerating like that!

 

 

Frankly, I think OA needs a major overhaul to dump the Indian rig a marole. I visited the district OA meeting last week and suggested this to the district OA leaders, but they eat that stuff up.

 

That's fine, but if they actually pitched OA as an opportunity to learn keen Indian dancing, I suspect that the number of people attending Ordeal would drop sharply.

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... Frankly' date=' I think OA needs a major overhaul to dump the Indian rig a marole. I visited the district OA meeting last week and suggested this to the district OA leaders, but they eat that stuff up. That's fine, but if they actually pitched OA as an opportunity to learn keen Indian dancing, I suspect that the number of people attending Ordeal would drop sharply.[/quote'] Funny, and if the harkening to NA culture were not part of O/A, I would tell my boys not to bother with elections. They could just call the ranger and say, we're here to help.

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It gets sticky when it comes to telling someone they are not getting in. Yes mistakes get made, but all OA elections need to be done prior to Summer camp, and should be run by at least two OA youth and one OA adult. Proper forms need to be filled out and signed by the scoutmaster and the Lodge Advisor. This way everyone knows who is eligible to get in and do their Ordeal.

And as to your son, the elections are not supposed to be popularity contests, but after all, they are just boys.... His time will come. And when it does, it can be a great experience for him to interact with boys from across the whole council and not just his troop.

I don't fault your dad skills as others have. Our sons need to learn that life has disappointments and we learn from them. What kind of men will they be if they don't learn about all of life's ups and downs.

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I don't fault your dad skills as others have. Our sons need to learn that life has disappointments and we learn from them. What kind of men will they be if they don't learn about all of life's ups and downs.

 

I don't think anyone here thinks that learning to deal with disappointment shouldn't be learned. But there's a better way to let that lesson be learned than some lodges are currently doing.

 

Also, as far as elections are concerned, if OA was truly worried about taking those most worthy, they'd have a blind ballot where each candidate's service project and camping record for that two year period were next to their name. That way the boys could see that Tommy Unpopular had 30 nights camping and 50+ service hours, whereas Johnny Popular had 15 nights and 10 service hours. Who would the boys vote for then?

 

I have seen some VERY worthy Scouts never make OA simply because they were not popular. Over a 15 year period, it's enough to say that the OA is missing the boat and leaving some very good scouts behind who's time never comes. It is time to change how the OA elects members.

Edited by Mozartbrau

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Mozart,

 

if the elecion is done properly, it's not a popularity contest. I too have seen worthy youth get not get elected. I saw a lot more of it under the old election rules. Heck I got elected on the third go.

 

Part of the problem IMHO is that I am seeing more and more folks seeing it as a check off item to Eagle, and not as being selected as an Honor Camper as the OA is suppose to be, a Honor Camper society.

 

I know I had one SM PO'd at me and the OA election team when it was discussed what being in the OA really ment. Half of those eligible decided to back out before the vote. SM  said we shouldn't have said anything and just let them get elected without them knowing what we do.

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Mozart,

 

if the elecion is done properly, it's not a popularity contest. I too have seen worthy youth get not get elected. I saw a lot more of it under the old election rules. Heck I got elected on the third go.

 

Curious, how does running an election properly keep kids from voting for Mr. Popular? Isn't the election team limited in what they can say? Sure, everyone says "It's not a popularity contest", but there's no way to prohibit the election from becoming one the way it is now. Blind elections would eliminate that possibility...or at least greatly reduce it.

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