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SR540Beaver

Resistance to OA

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Adult troop leaders, if you don't allow OA elections at the top end of the scale to not supporting or encouraging participation on the low end of the scale, why? I'm our current Lodge Adviser and this is the perennial issue across the land. I just want to hear the objections and also what might entice you to entertain this portion of the Scouting program.

Edited by SR540Beaver

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Our Troop does OA elections. We've had a handful of Scouts be active in the OA, but for the most part it's a niche thing. Our previous two Scoutmasters never bothered to do the Ordeal so they don't have a window into that world. I'm a brotherhood member, but OA is additional weekends to give up that I'm just not willing to. 

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Occasionally, we have not promoted the O/A activities simply because we came up with a bunch of scouts who were not interested. We always invite an election team to come promote. And we encourage youth to step up and represent the chapter for the troop. But we see it as the youth responsibility to drum up enthusiasm.

 

I will say this, about half of my arrowmen who were also venturers would rather attend venturing events than lodge events. They didn't make it about equal rights or anything. It's just a matter of which group they were tight with. If they saw it as a responsibility to get the women in their life hiking and camping, the lodge offered them nothing that could help them do that.

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I had nothing against the OA. I liked the idea of the OA. However, it struggles. In our case the leadership consists of some rather young scouts that are well intentioned but quiet. And they can't seem to follow through on much of anything. I had to run the OA elections on my own. Whether this is just poor leadership or lack of motivation I don't know. But it was hard for me to encourage my scouts, who aren't much better, to show up. If they had good enthusiastic scouts making things happen then it would have been easy to get some scouts over to chapter meetings.

 

This isn't just the OA, a lot of troops are having the same problems.

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I had nothing against the OA. I liked the idea of the OA. However, it struggles. In our case the leadership consists of some rather young scouts that are well intentioned but quiet. And they can't seem to follow through on much of anything. I had to run the OA elections on my own. Whether this is just poor leadership or lack of motivation I don't know. But it was hard for me to encourage my scouts, who aren't much better, to show up. If they had good enthusiastic scouts making things happen then it would have been easy to get some scouts over to chapter meetings.

 

This isn't just the OA, a lot of troops are having the same problems.

 

OA to my troop and I nothing special anymore. It's too simple to get into now. You camp a weekend, do a service project, done. Two of my friends did it, but they hated itI was chosen to go to an ordeal, but it's just not worth it. 

 

(This is my opinion)

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Annual elections in January. OA Advisor (ASM) works with unit Arrowmen to promote OA within unit and to remind guys if they are on the border of eligibility. Make sure elections note all camping nights and service hours for each candidate; makes it less of a popularity contest. Any candidate that does not meet SM recommendation has an SMC several months ahead of time to put them on notice. Once elected we do our own tap out (district's takes three hours and no one likes it). OA Rep manages candidates to make sure they take their Ordeal.

 

Once full Arrowmen, the unit OA hosts refreshments at COHs.

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The bottom line is that some SM's do not understand what OA is, what it does, or how it can benefit their troop. Others see it as a detriment to their troop, thinking it pulls boys away from their troop just as they are starting to turn into leaders.

 

As a Lodge we have been working hard to make sure we have a presence at non-OA events and are visible and willing to talk to SM's and scouts about OA. We worked the recent Eclipse event at our council, we show up at round tables and camporees (beyond just doing tap outs). We do crossovers and help packs coordinate with troops. We do camp promotions, high adventure promotions and take every opportunity to teach Scouting skills.

 

Most importantly we make sure our Arrowmen know their first obligation is too their unit, and that they are going back to their unit and demonstrating what OA has done for them, teaching and leading other scouts and talking about OA.

 

We are also talking to SM's, particularly those that are not members of OA, about their responsibility is in the election process. OA is an honor society, the SM should be looking for the scouts that best live the Oath and Law, not just the basic minimum requirement of camping days/nights and rank. As an SM you should be approving scouts that live the Oath and Law and who show Scout Spirit, and are willing and eager to serve. Those are the scouts that are most likely to take OA seriously and return to their troop to teach what they have learned in OA and become a benefit to their troop.

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The bottom line is that some SM's do not understand what OA is, what it does, or how it can benefit their troop. Others see it as a detriment to their troop, thinking it pulls boys away from their troop just as they are starting to turn into leaders.

 

As a Lodge we have been working hard to make sure we have a presence at non-OA events and are visible and willing to talk to SM's and scouts about OA. We worked the recent Eclipse event at our council, we show up at round tables and camporees (beyond just doing tap outs). We do crossovers and help packs coordinate with troops. We do camp promotions, high adventure promotions and take every opportunity to teach Scouting skills.

 

Most importantly we make sure our Arrowmen know their first obligation is too their unit, and that they are going back to their unit and demonstrating what OA has done for them, teaching and leading other scouts and talking about OA.

 

We are also talking to SM's, particularly those that are not members of OA, about their responsibility is in the election process. OA is an honor society, the SM should be looking for the scouts that best live the Oath and Law, not just the basic minimum requirement of camping days/nights and rank. As an SM you should be approving scouts that live the Oath and Law and who show Scout Spirit, and are willing and eager to serve. Those are the scouts that are most likely to take OA seriously and return to their troop to teach what they have learned in OA and become a benefit to their troop.

First, SORRY! I clicked the down arrow instead of the up (on phone).

 

Anyway, some troops do think OA takes you away from your troop. Especially if the OA meetings are the same day as the Troops meeting. Some don’t want to miss meetings, or adults don’t want them to miss meetings since it’s mostly ‘senior’ scouts that do OA.

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The barriers I see to OA participation:

 

- Conflicts with other unit/district events.

- Poorly run or developed events.

- No perceived value from attending OA events.

- Adult driven outcomes, events, activities.

- Still seen as popularity contest in many units rather than brotherhood of elite campers.

- Another expense.

- Can cannibalize other unit events or involvement.

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We have elections. Out of three eligible in 2016, no one made it. This year we had one eligible and he made it by one vote. Some resistance we have faced include:

 

- Cost (yearly dues plus Ordeal/Brotherhood fees, etc)

- Time needed for work weekends, Conclaves, Chapter meetings, etc.

- Don't like the uniform already. Why add another item?

- Adults ("I'm here for the Scouts, not for me." Duh, accept the nomination, complete the Ordeal, and help Scouts become active in the OA big dummy.)

- A *lot* of my Scouts are ones that would not fit in with the other Troops (Catholic, LDS, a small quiet Troop) in town. They are poorly disciplined, can't pay attention, from broken homes, are there because their Mom and/or Dad and/or guardian made them go, etc. I'm Catholic but I don't fit in the "clique" that is the Catholic Troop. Some go on very few campouts due to not wanting to listen to leadership and the fact you can't play video games. That makes them ineligible for nomination due to the campout nights requirement.

 

Last item was a rant. Catch-22 style.

 

I just completed my Ordeal a few weeks ago. I'm off to my first Conclave Sept. 15th.

 

Dean

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I don't oppose OA.  Having an honor society of scouting seems right.  To get in is an honor.  But to be honest, there is not much to it beyond that.  Scouts go through the OA ordeal.  Maybe they continue to brotherhood.  Beyond that, 99% of the arrowmen don't do anything else.  Those that do more essentially invest their time in running OA elections and OA ceremonies.  ... sort of a self-important pyramid scheme ... get called out for OA --> go through ordeal --> now you can help others get called out --> they go through ordeal --> now they help with elections and ceremonies --> others get called out ....

 

So yes, OA is an honor and more uniform decorations  But why OA ?  I just don't see it having a significant contribution to scouting.

 

I'll continue to support OA.  Proud to be a member.  But it has relatively little impact on my scouting life.

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It is disappointing to hear that view of OA. As an "old" Arrowman I hope we can change that perspective.

 

There is so much more that OA can be, and is in some lodges. Arrowmen provide important service for keeping up Summer camps and high adventure bases, as well as helping conduct National Jamboree, Camporee and other scouting events. They get to experience NOAC, Conclaves, Fellowship and banquets. They conduct ceremonies for scouts and Webelos that can provide memories that will last a lifetime. They promote camping and teach scouting skills to young scouts. They get to compete in quest games, ceremonies, dance and drum. They have Leadership training opportunities that are some of the best. They get to experience high adventure bases in a way no other scout can. The get to learn to produce newsletters and websites and provide valuable guides about where to go camping for local troops.

 

From personal experience I know it is very satisfying to see trails we cut and structures we built still in use 30 plus years later. Not to mention the friends I made back then and new ones I continue to make today. As adult leader it also some of the most rewarding experiences to get help Scouts have the kind of OA experience that I had all those years ago.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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Make sure elections note all camping nights and service hours for each candidate; makes it less of a popularity contest.

Great idea

 

 But to be honest, there is not much to it beyond that.  Scouts go through the OA ordeal.  Maybe they continue to brotherhood.  Beyond that, 99% of the arrowmen don't do anything else.  Those that do more essentially invest their time in running OA elections and OA ceremonies.  ... sort of a self-important pyramid scheme ... get called out for OA --> go through ordeal --> now you can help others get called out --> they go through ordeal --> now they help with elections and ceremonies --> others get called out ....

 

So yes, OA is an honor and more uniform decorations  But why OA ?  I just don't see it having a significant contribution to scouting.

 

That description would fit our troop.  The arrowmen wear their sash and patch but there is no talk about OA except at election time.  No one accept the members know anything about it.  It comes off as more of a secret society/fraternity.  I don't know but would bet that our arrowmen are rarely at any OA event. 

I sat in on the OA presentation this year so that I could learn more.  I realize this is for the scouts but is it deliberately brief and vague?  From what I can recall, there was little or no talk about service, how OA worked or even what the ordeal was.

 

Rant: My son was up for OA this past election and I wanted to know details.  I walked out of the OA presentation amazed that there was literally no info given.  I did my own research online to find out what fees or time were involved with OA.  I'm not a helicopter parent but my scout was only twelve at the time.  He can't drive himself to the ordeal or OA meetings.  The troop attends summer camp outside of our council so the ordeal had to be at a later date.  It's my time as much as it is his to drive a few hours for a meeting or camping. 

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It is disappointing to hear that view of OA. As an "old" Arrowman I hope we can change that perspective.

 

There is so much more that OA can be, and is in some lodges. Arrowmen provide important service for keeping up Summer camps and high adventure bases, as well as helping conduct National Jamboree, Camporee and other scouting events. They get to experience NOAC, Conclaves, Fellowship and banquets. They conduct ceremonies for scouts and Webelos that can provide memories that will last a lifetime. They promote camping and teach scouting skills to young scouts. They get to compete in quest games, ceremonies, dance and drum. They have Leadership training opportunities that are some of the best. They get to experience high adventure bases in a way no other scout can. The get to learn to produce newsletters and websites and provide valuable guides about where to go camping for local troops.

 

From personal experience I know it is very satisfying to see trails we cut and structures we built still in use 30 plus years later. Not to mention the friends I made back then and new ones I continue to make today. As adult leader it also some of the most rewarding experiences to get help Scouts have the kind of OA experience that I had all those years ago.

I wish this was emphasized more. It's a great view.

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I wish this was emphasized more. It's a great view.

Well Fred, a lot of that starts with unit leaders actually letting a team in to tell your youth about what the OA offers. Then it helps to have adult leaders who become members, are active and provide transportation for Arrowman to OA events. It helps to have the SM be one of those people. Having a youth and adult OA Rep within the troop who attend Chapter meetings and brings back info to the unit. The troop leadership needs to view the OA as a natural extension of a great Scout program rather than an interruption or competitor. They need to understand the leadership training and opportunities provided. A Scout can be the national OA Chief. A position that represents all Scouts nationally. Below that are region, section, lodge and chapter positions. OA provides the cheapest way for a Scout to attend the high adventure bases thru the trail crew program. Spend a week building trail and then get to help design a custom week long trip. The OA is big in show production. Those great shows at things like Jamboree and NOAC, all OA. They provide service to the Jamboree, other events and conservation work to wilderness areas of the nation. But back home, they do elections and ceremonies and provide service to camps. All they ask is to be able to visit your troop and introduce a world of enhanced scouting to your boys. But many troops just say no, we don't do OA.

 

https://oa-bsa.org/pages/content/a-day-in-the-life-on-operation-arrow-staff

 

https://oa-bsa.org/pages/content/oa-hackathon

 

https://oa-bsa.org/pages/content/oa-facilitates-journal-program-with-national-geographic-explorer-paul-salop

 

https://adventure.oa-bsa.org/

Edited by SR540Beaver
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