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Eagle94-A1

Has the OA Lost It's Luster?

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@@MattR, well said.

 

As I reflect, the lodges weren't culturally appropriating anything.   Rather, it was cultural appreciation.

 

None of the lodges nor the individuals said "this clothing, these dances, these traditions are ours."  Everything was done with acknowledgement and respect to the originating Native American tribe. 

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Well, I am curious to see how our Pack Meeting goes on Thursday. I finally got a hold of our local OA chapter and they are going to come and do the Arrow of Light Ceremony AND the bridging ceremony for my Den's boys, and I am interested in seeing what they come up with. I was frustrated about their communication issues (which have been going on for months now), but now that they have been keeping in touch about the ceremony and explained what I can expect, I am reserving judgement until they get a chance to prove themselves this week. 

 

To be honest, I was never sure of the OA's purpose or nature as a Scout. I was inducted as a naïve 14-year-old back in 1997, went through the Ordeal - and never heard anything more from my chapter after that. Pretty sad. For years I actually thought the sash was just some special award, and had no idea it was an organization unto itself. This seems to have been an issue ever since then. I am now in the very same chapter and lodge that I was first brought into as a kid, and they haven't improved their communication much since then from what I can tell.

 

BUT: we will see - if they put on a good ceremony for my boys this week, it will certainly go far towards improving their image in my eyes. I am all about giving things another shot, and I think that when it is well-run and well-organized, the Order of the Arrow can be one of the better parts of the Scouting experience. I just hope that by the time my Webelos are old enough to be a part of it, they will have improved their organization and program.

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@The Latin Scout

 

Yes, I had the same situation, Got Ordeal and never heard anything until a buddy was inducted and I went with him to try and get involved. Anyway had a good weekend, but still didn 't hear back for several years.

 

One thing I've found is teh OA is a lot more work since the focus is youth run.

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I am not an OA member but my son is. Has the OA lost its luster? I say it's a question of perspective. When troops turn the elections into popularity contests and the scout who get elected doesn't have solid scout skills then yes it has lost its luster. My troop for some reason had a bad view of the OA and has only held elections the past several years. The scouts that were elected were solid scouts who all have been successful PL's. So from our scout level view OA means your a solid scout. My son said that there were several scouts from the same troop at his ordeal who did not know how to set up the tents they brought. So, I think its just a question of how you look at it. It seems that all lodges and chapters have a problem with communicating to it's members.

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My unit never participated in the OA because of the cultural appropriation thing.  We certainly didn't feel that arrowmen were better scouts.

 

 

This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while.

 

 

 

I find it interesting that you would describe my Chartered Organization's decision to not participate in cultural appropriation as adult bias and prejudices.

 

 

OK. Is there something magical about COs that renders them immune to criticism?

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If you only want to hear the opinions of OA members, why did you post this topic in the Open Discussion forum?

 

Perhaps you should move this topic over to the OA forum where you guys can slap each other on the back and tell yourselves how special you are.

 

I agree with the first sentiment, but do not recall seeing anybody saying that non-OA members should stay out of this discussion. Maybe I'm wrong though.

 

I also haven't seen any back slapping or smoke blowing over in the OA forum.

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I started a tangentially related thread a while back in the OA forum about increasing unit participation. There were some interesting replies worth considering.

 

Going to the OP in this case, at least in our unit I think it has. The question would then become, why? We historically would only elect maybe 2-5 scouts out of 30 or so candidates. (Although last night we blew the doors off that with 19 out of roughly 30 elected.) And half of them, sometimes all of them, wouldn't go through the ordeal. So I have given this some thought.

 

The first reason I settled on is, as was raised above, scouts being much more guarded with their time. I know my son (who I suspect was elected last night) is not very interested. I actually talked to him about it and he is not interested in giving up another weekend. Between school work, high school band, the whole college admissions test taking and preparation,  and his and his friends Eagle scout projects, there's not really a whole lot of time left. My oldest son's story was much the same, although he did enjoy the ordeal. And I think most of the scouts in both my sons' troops are this way.

 

The second reason is I don't think they understand what it can be for them. There is not a strong tradition in our troop, so they don't appreciate how fun camping and otherwise hanging out with their peers without the responsibilities of the POR can be, particularly coupled with their complete discretion as to participation in terms of when and what.

 

The third reason is that our OA at both the lodge and chapter level has almost no visibility. I have never seen them at an event of any kind other than the annual scout fair where all they do is a tapout. (Yes, no service, that I can see.) Our OA rep was also the Chapter Vice-Chief, so perhaps that's a start within the troop.

 

But I think the driving factor is that they don't see enough reason to participate when their schedules are so tight.

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The reason I found the remark interesting is because my CO made the decision to avoid conduct that might be perceived as racial prejudice.  It seems to me that my CO is being accused of prejudiced behavior for choosing to avoid prejudiced behavior.

 

Sometimes, you just can't win either way.  You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

 

That's because they went about choosing to avoid prejudicial behavior by exercising prejudicial behavior. To quote Chief Justice Roberts, "The way to avoid racial discrimination is not to racially discriminate." This is analogous here, too. As for not winning, you can blame the political left for politicizing every aspect of society.

Edited by Ankylus

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Well, I have to say, the Order really came through for me the other week. 

 

I had sent a flurry of e-mails trying to reach to OA to see if they would perform an Arrow of Light and bridging ceremony for the boys in my Den who had all earned the AofL together, and I was worried they wouldn't pull through. But a few days before, they contacted me and said they would come, and from then on were wonderful about communicating to me what they had planned, what they needed, and what they would present.

 

The night of the ceremony, they were there on time, they were exceptionally well-prepared, and the two Arrowmen who performed the ceremony were FANTASTIC. They had their legends memorized, they were dressed magnificently, they had a really ingenious fake fire that in the dim-lighting really set the mood, and the overall presentation was PERFECT. My boys felt extra-special (we haven't had anything like this in years), the parents were impressed, and they even stayed late to pose for pictures with whomever wanted them. They gave information to the Scouters about future ceremonies, and the whole thing was perfect as I could ever have hoped. Now my boys are anxious to be inducted into the Order when they are old enough, and the fact that I am and Arrowman (the only one in my pack) is suddenly a respected and admired part of my scouting resume.

 

So ... wow. This has certainly improved their image in my eyes and heart. As soon as my scheduling allows, I think I will start getting more involved in OofA events in my area so that when my boys are old enough to be members, I can be ready to be involved with them!

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I really hope it isn't.  OA is probably my favorite part of Scouting.  It's definitely lost some of it's visibility.  It seems that the only time that regular Scouts seem to see OA is when they do elections once a year and then at the call out ceremony.  Some of my best Scouting memories are from OA, it will always be special to me.

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You are lucky! My experience here in South OC didn't extend past the Ordeal, but they came and did an amazing Arrow of Light ceremony for my boys a month ago (read above), so I have a better view of them since that. :-)

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As a long time OA member (1977) and father of the current Lodge Chief, I have seen many changes that have IMO brought about a lessening of the luster being in the OA use to have.  The biggest problem in my neck of the woods is the "Sash and Dash" canidates, who after going through the ordeal, are either never seen again at a lodge function, or choose to only attend the "fun' activities such as Fellowships and Conclaves.  This is because again, IMHO, the changing of the election rules from so many per troop based on troop size, to all that are eliable can be elected has cheapen the admission standards to the point that at most unit elections everyone who stands for election is elected.   No longer is it somethintg to strive for, to work toward, but an automactic pass once the scout has obtained First Class and the required camping requirement.  Coupled with the fact that Scout leaders at the troop level will not assist in enforcing uniform regulations (The lodge flap can only be worn by "ACTIVE" members of the OA, this being having paid the annual dues to the lodge and participated in at least one event per year, too easy right?) has resulted in the current trend of "Sash and Dash". 

 

So without active youth members, Lodges struggle to staff dance and ceremony teams, let alone perform the service to the council that they once did.  On many occations in my lodge lately, the adult members present for meetings and work projects far exceeded the youth.  My son, who is the current lodge chief, has decided that he no longer wishes to stand for re-election becuase saddly, no matter how much he begs and pleads, the other youth have "other things to do" or having taken on a responcibility to head up an activity or committee, just don't do anything, causing him to to have to scramble to fix things, while the "adults" lament about the old days.   

 

Scout leaders, if your scout wears an OA flap, check to see if he is still eligable to wear it.  If not, remind him of his oblegation to serve his lodge, or make him remove it from his uniform.  Remember, lodge flaps are official BSA insignias, issued by the lodges as regnition of continued service to the council.  Help the lodge help your units.

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How would a scout leader who is not a member of OA go about checking if the boys are still eligible to wear the flap?

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How would a scout leader who is not a member of OA go about checking if the boys are still eligible to wear the flap?

Start by asking the scout.

 

Barry

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How would a scout leader who is not a member of OA go about checking if the boys are still eligible to wear the flap?

 

You could always call the local council office.  They should have it on record.

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