Jump to content
JosephMD

Proud of our ceremonies team

Recommended Posts

17 hours ago, JoeBob said:

Funny.  The witch hunt for a 'Secret Society' has created a secret society.

Inito

Come to the Dark Side, we have red lightsabers and black capes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@shortridge  you ask a very good question,  I've been mulling it over for a few hours and I'm still not sure I have a clear answer. 

Having  done dozens of Elections I recognized the words at once and have no argument with any of them.  But here are my thoughts as of right now .

In our lodge we play a rather dull  video from National so that all the words are always  exactly correct rather that read from a script or recite it from  memory.  It's a lot easier.  BUT, you can see the eyes of many of the scouts glaze over about one minute in.  Especially the younger ones. They're just sitting there letting the sound wash over them not paying any attention at all.  Then they vote for their buddies. I believe we need to train our election teams much better so that they don't need the video crutch. They need to be able to sit down with the scouts and hold their attention while explaining what the order is what it stands for and how the election works.

In short just recite the script without sounding like you're reciting the script. I am quite aware that I'm coming at this from a ceremonies view point, but I think that's what we need we need to convey our enthusiasm and our earnestness  about the order. 

The other difficulty is that many of the Scouts have been instructed previously by their scoutmaster to vote for everyone on the ballot.

I have been there when the ballots are counted and certain troops, where every Scout gets at least 90% of the vote. Year after year. You may argue that perhaps that troop simply has amazingly exceptional Scouts. Sorry, I've watched them at the ordeal I've watched them at Camporees, they're not.  In fact those troops tend to have the highest percentage of sash and dash in the entire District.

Edited by Oldscout448
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Double, maybe even triple the camping requirements and restrict the number of scouts elected to 1 for every 15 scouts in the troop. 

Barry

1 in 10 was the old ratio, if memory serves.  How about requiring the camping MB?  I'm not sure how many scouts could camp 30 to 45 nights in two years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I go back over 40 years in the OA. The voting procedure before this current unlimited voting was based on how many scouts were officially on the ballot (nominated). I could be wrong, but I remember something like: if you had 2 nominated, you had 1 vote; 3 nominated, 2 votes; 4 nominated, 2 votes; 5 nominated, 3 votes; or something like that. And is it still that a scout had to have at least a simple majority to become a candidate? Still 50% plus 1? In other words, half of the votes did NOT gain you a place as a candidate. And all of the scouts voting were supposed to be "active" scouts in their troop?

I also remember the scoutmaster (me in this case) saying that you didn't have to vote for anyone if that was your choice. I reminded them that they saw all of these nominated scouts in action, not me, and had more knowledge of a scout's honor.

Unless it has been changed, remember that the scoutmaster has to approve these scouts before their name goes on the ballot. I think it was listed as " scoutmaster's approval."

I also made sure that a scout understood what the OA was about, and he needed to approve his own nomination. I've had some scouts over the years not want their name in nomination. I've also heard of parents having to approve the scout's nomination as they knew their son's busy schedule. I never went that far.

sst3rd

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

1 in 10 was the old ratio, if memory serves.  How about requiring the camping MB?  I'm not sure how many scouts could camp 30 to 45 nights in two years.

I’m just trying to start a discussion of raising the bar, 1 in 10 is an acceptable ratio. Ordeal should weed them out even farther.

Still,  28 nights is only 12 camp outs and one summer camp. Not that 30 nights isn’t enough to be an outdoors expert, but most troops don’t even encourage high adventure until 14. Is 12 Car Camping campouts and one summer camp the definition of expert outdoorsmen? I really believe exceptional maturity is the goal along with exceptional expertise of the 8 Methods. You can pick the age, but I believe 13 would be minimum.

honestly, I don’t believe this cultural will allow elitism in the program other than Eagles. That is why OA became what it is. This is the generation of mediocrity.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if changing the rules of nomination will change much. My troop is brutal when it comes to nominations. Someone says pick the best so they do. The top 2 or 3 make it, no matter how many are eligible. And yet my troop doesn't show up at any OA events or meetings any more than any other troop.

I really really hate to say this but these scouts don't see why they should join. Being the best at something is similar to going on an adventure to some degree (you have to push yourself) and we see fewer scouts interested in that as well. That's not just my troop but my district. There was a group of scouts that joined my troop 7 years ago and it struck me that this group was mostly not interested in adventure. They wanted eagle and that's it. Their motivation is mostly external and they have little internal motivation. Most never grew up like the 16-17 year olds usually do. Now, there are a few of them that are interested in adventure and they are also the best leaders, the best at helping out, and the most reliable in the troop. Their personalities are all over the map but they're the ones that will accept a challenge. It has little to do with their parent's interest in the outdoors. I'm not even sure it has anything to do with video games either. None of them are super busy with sports or other activities but most do some other activities and it's a reasonable mix. If it were just my troop I'd know where the problem was but it's every troop I talk to.

So, when you get the OA fixed I think there's a lot more where you can apply your solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Problem is nationwide.  I know for my two Scouts, they are not interested in OA because a) all they see is the OA doing work and no one having fun and B) it seems as if everyone is getting in and it it NOT a true honor society. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Oldscout448 said:

1 in 10 was the old ratio, if memory serves.  How about requiring the camping MB?  I'm not sure how many scouts could camp 30 to 45 nights in two years.

This June will be my 50th year as an Arrowman.

When I was elected there was a formula based on the number of active scouts in a troop.  If you had 5 scouts you could potentially elect 1 person; 6 - 14 could elect 2; 15 - 24 would allow up to 3 to be elected; 25 - 34 meant up to 4, and so on.  This meant that a troop with 40 active scouts and 10 of those scouts met the requirement for election could only elect a maximum of 5 scouts.  Those who met the requirements, including SM approval, would be listed alphabetically, and each scout would number his ballot 1 - 5 and list up to 5 names in order of preference.  The election team would then tally the ballots, giving scouts 5 points for each ballot they were listed number one on, 4 for second, and on down the line.  The 5 scouts with the highest point totals were elected, the other 5 on the ballot were not.

Fifty years ago the First Class requirement also had just a little bit of flex to it, in that a scout could be Second Class at the time of election, but must achieve First Class rank within 6 months and prior to Ordeal.  There was also a method for electing Eagle Scouts without it affecting the unit quota.

I would have no issue at all seeing the Order reinstitute a quota system, rather than everyone who is eligible and gets at least half the votes is elected.  I think we would see more interest at the troop level in becoming a member if it was tougher to be elected.

2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Problem is nationwide.  I know for my two Scouts, they are not interested in OA because a) all they see is the OA doing work and no one having fun and B) it seems as if everyone is getting in and it is NOT a true honor society. 

Yes, we do frequently see OA members working; service is a core part of our identity after all.  We all need to do a better job of letting scouts know about all the fun things that take place at conclaves, NOAC, and yes, even on service weekends.

  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"This is the generation of mediocrity."  As aptly stated, this is a problem not just in Scouting.  In relation to this discussion, there are fewer and fewer of us that even remember the "old" OA and how it had special mystique and actual Honor.  Today, due to the "mediocrity" or dare we say it, tendency to overly "protect" them, our youth are being shortchanged.  The meaning of WWW is known by most members, as it is told to them and they theoretically actually have review their handbook.  The idea that kids would not choose to join because all they do is work, is hopefully a misunderstanding, though it is not as far fetched as it might be.  

 

But, as has been tossed back and forth in other discussions, it is a world where for some reason actually challenging a youth is looking on with suspicion or judged to be too harsh.  Grades often are no longer actually given for quality of work, but just for doing something.  The once dependable bell curve for grades is pretty much a thing of the past.  Honors and AP classes somehow seem to automatically require A's and B's, rather than real weighted distribution.  We give those "participation" trophies.  

 

As far as OA is concerned, if we went back to policing the ordeals "fairly" to avoid black balling, but actually held the candidates accountable, we might have a stronger Order.  And while certainly allowing parents to understand the purpose and normal activity, removing the mystique has taken the heart out of it if you ask me.  

 

But what do I know as I often state?  I am one of those old "red jackets" from an outdated time.

Edited by skeptic
spelling
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forty two years ago....

We mostly worked.  As @MikeS72 well said, it was still fun, even the work weekends.  Conclaves and the '79 NOAC were enjoyable.

Looking back, I think the prime motivator for me was OA camaraderie, rather than an emphasis on fun.  Quiet pride.  To make the cut at the troop level, complete a difficult ordeal, and associate with like-minded honor campers whose outlook was "give the us the tough jobs", that to me was more important than fun.  To be around those types of scouts and scouters made me strive to be a better camper and leader.  Taking on the dirty jobs that no one else wanted to do became a habit that helped me quite a bit in adult life....

"...seek to preserve a cheerful spirit, even the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities...."  It's amazing how often I still remind myself of these words.

The OA could readopt the old criteria.  If it wanted to.

Edited by desertrat77
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

 

"...seek to preserve a cheerful spirit, even the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities...."  It's amazing how often I still remind myself of these words.

Me too. Often.

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the OA is a service organization. But there was a camaraderie in the work. Sometimes that "cheerful spirit, even the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities...." resulted in turning it to fun or even turning the task into a joke to make it more bearable. Sadly that is missing.

When I was CA 10+ years ago. I suggested promoting the fun stuff as well as doing our own. We sent folks to fellowship and conclave. We had fun meetings and even did some special trips. Our work load didn't decrease, in fact we did a few extra community service projects. OA was getting back on track for a while in my neckof the woods.

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Problem is nationwide.  I know for my two Scouts, they are not interested in OA because a) all they see is the OA doing work and no one having fun and B) it seems as if everyone is getting in and it it NOT a true honor society. 

The old maxim seems to apply here 

When everyone is special, no one is.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 From the back page of the Brotherhood Ceremony 1949. Song of the Scouts.  by Edwin Markham 

We are the boys of the helping hand.Banded together for the good of all;

We cheer the steps of the ones that stand,And we lift the ones that fall.

Our feet are willing, our hearts are light,And we take the road with a cherry song;

For we are the friends of every right,And the foes of every wrong .

Soldiers are we of the nobler warsThat great souls fight for the common good;

We follow the call of the morning stars,In a knightly brotherhood. 

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×