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SR540Beaver

Resistance to OA

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One of the things we recognized is that the OA provides some of out older boys an new avenue in Scouting.  As much as we hate to admit it - some of our scouts tire of going on the same trips multiple times.  For them, focusing on the OA is a great way for them to continue to be involved.

 

One challenge we have is finding unit leaders who qualify for the OA.  We're fortunate to have a couple of ASMs who go to summer camp year after year.  The reduces the need for other adults to attend.  It's been a long time since we had an adult join the OA because of the summer camp requirement.  Personally - I think the OA needs to reduce the adult camping requirement - or at least replace it with one that focuses on total nights.

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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.

It would help if the OA didn't cannibaize unit or district events or did their planning with enough notice so that units could send people if they wanted. All too often that's not the case. And when you DO take time out to suppor an actitivty, such as Ordeal, it would help if the chapter leaders themselves took the vow of silence with the same reverence intended of participants. Again, not the case.

 

I think there's plenty of blame to go around, but much lies in a lackluster OA program that is (in my area) poorly timed, planned, prepared for and executed.

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Well Col Flagg,  on the other side of the coin it would be helpful if my council didn't hold Woodbadge on the same weekend as the Ordeals.  I haven't kept a careful record but I think they have conflicted 4 of the last 7 times.  Now I like woodbadgers. A lot. They are some of the best scouters I know.  But it's hard to run a good Ordeal when your go to guys are off being a "critter" or staffing.

 

As to the " vow of silence" I am  just a bit confused by how it would help.   My chapter leaders,  chief, ordeal master, ceremonies head, lead cook, etc.  are running an event for 150 or so people.   Or to be more honest they are learning how to run it while doing it.   One of the hardest thing for them to learn is the importance of communicating with each other.    I shudder to think of the chaos if they couldn't even talk to each other !   We do of course try to keep talking to an absolute minimum when any of the candidates are in hearing range.  

 

Oldscout

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Every chapter and lodge is different. And things are cyclical. Sometimes a chapter is on top of the world. And other times, it's the last priority.

 

Currently the OA chapter in my district is on the downswing. The really motivated youth aged out and/or went to college. The advisors that were the glue tot he leadership either got burned out, moved, had kids age out, or in my case, had kids in Cub Scouts. Now the chapter is a shadow of itself, and folks have no interest, including my son. :(

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One of the things we recognized is that the OA provides some of out older boys an new avenue in Scouting.  As much as we hate to admit it - some of our scouts tire of going on the same trips multiple times.  For them, focusing on the OA is a great way for them to continue to be involved.

 

One challenge we have is finding unit leaders who qualify for the OA.  We're fortunate to have a couple of ASMs who go to summer camp year after year.  The reduces the need for other adults to attend.  It's been a long time since we had an adult join the OA because of the summer camp requirement.  Personally - I think the OA needs to reduce the adult camping requirement - or at least replace it with one that focuses on total nights.

In regard to the adult qualifications, I know from experience that on occasion an adult is overqualified in regard to the intent of the OA, but they have family issues that keep them from long term summer camp.  The Scout executive of each council has the ability to waive certain requirements in rare cases.  But, even though our candidate had more actual nights camping than most other adult candidates, and they were almost all backpacking two and three nights, adding to over 30 days and nights, he had not been able to attend a summer camp.  We nominated him anyway with an explanatory letter that mentioned his heavy support of our overall camping and hiking program, including having done all the outdoor training, high adventure training, first aide training with the extra backpacking elements, and worked with other scouts outside our unit on merit badges and also on a couple of general work weekends for the council camp.  We submitted it when his son was elected, but he was turned down due to the summer camp missing.  His son had done summer camp three times.  So, I surely agree that there needs to be some flexibility for adults, with legitimate factors in place.  He was finally able to go to summer camp two years later when his job and family schedules changed, and he and his son did the ordeal together then, though his son was already Brotherhood.

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I'm not in favor of waiving requirements unless it's due to disability or something. The role of OA is supposed to be an honor society of campers. There's NYLT these adults can help staff. There's high adventure trips, there's all sorts of non-summer camp opportunities for these adults to get their 5 day long-term camp. When we start making excepts to rules for folks we create problems and preferences for one group or one person and not others. If they truly want OA there's a way to make that happen but it take desire and sacrifice.

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We do not encourage OA in our Troop for most of the reason already stated.

 

  1. It is a good ole boys club
  2. Pulls the top Scouts out of our unit
  3. In our council at least, very poorly run
  4. Does not allow females (we have a female Scoutmaster)
  5. Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry
  6. The Ordeal looks like hazing
  7. Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc.

That all being said, I have seen councils where it looks very well run and very open

Edited by Snow Owl
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        5. Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry

        6. The Ordeal looks like hazing

        7. Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc.

 

I agree with your points, very strongly.  The induction process looks very dated.  If my son didn't want to go into OA, I'd be okay with it.  Sad, but okay.

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We do not encourage OA in our Troop for most of the reason already stated.

 

 

  • It is a good ole boys club
  • Pulls the top Scouts out of our unit
  • In our council at least, very poorly run
  • Does not allow females (we have a female Scoutmaster)
  • Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry
  • The Ordeal looks like hazing
  • Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc.
That all being said, I have seen councils where it looks very well run and very open

Your council doesn't allow female OA members? Ours does. Am I the only one? I thought it was national...for a while now.

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We do not encourage OA in our Troop for most of the reason already stated.

  1. Does not allow females (we have a female Scoutmaster)
  2. The Ordeal looks like hazing
  3. Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc.

That all being said, I have seen councils where it looks very well run and very open

Egads! What Council/Lodge is this? My Asst. Scoutmaster for OA is female. And an Vigil member to boot!

 

Hazing? Seriously? Be quiet and work. That's all. If it's more than that someone needs the boot. Geesh!

 

Dean

Edited by deanofmac

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We do not encourage OA in our Troop for most of the reason already stated.

 

  1. It is a good ole boys club
  2. Pulls the top Scouts out of our unit
  3. In our council at least, very poorly run
  4. Does not allow females (we have a female Scoutmaster)
  5. Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry
  6. The Ordeal looks like hazing
  7. Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc.

That all being said, I have seen councils where it looks very well run and very open

 

I don't understand why Snow Owl was given a negative 1 for his reply.  The OP specifically asked to hear from scout leaders who don't support OA.

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I don't understand why Snow Owl was given a negative 1 for his reply.  The OP specifically asked to hear from scout leaders who don't support OA.

Balanced with +1. All is back to order.

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We do not encourage OA in our Troop for most of the reason already stated.

 

  1. It is a good ole boys club
  2. Pulls the top Scouts out of our unit
  3. In our council at least, very poorly run
  4. Does not allow females (we have a female Scoutmaster)
  5. Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry
  6. The Ordeal looks like hazing
  7. Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc.

That all being said, I have seen councils where it looks very well run and very open

 

  1. Isn't everything? The roundtable crowd isn't the same as the OA crowd, which isn't the same as the WB/NYLT crowd, etc. However, if you put effort into getting to know the people in each group, you will be welcomed. Believe me, every part of the program wants more volunteers.
  2. I've had employers who didn't want to promote their best employees or recommend them for other positions because their team would suffer. It was a disservice to the individual. I think it's the same with scouts. If there is a scout who is a great leader, why hold him back for your own benefit?
  3. It's truly boy lead. Sometimes the leadership group is great and put up great events. Other times, they flounder. Sometimes they need better advisors.
  4. My wife is brotherhood. Several of my son's best advisers are female. There are lots of women who hold the vigil honor. Now, if you are talking about venturers, you are correct. I wish they would open the program to venturing girls but maybe the "New Family Scouting" will fix that.
  5. I agree to a point but I don't have any alternatives that I think would capture kids' imagination.
  6. As has been said before, doing things like trail building or camp maintenance in silence hardly qualifies as hazing. The small amounts of food are still nourishing and there is a feast after. Maybe things were different in the past but so was scouting. 
  7. It's not a secret. Parents are welcome to observe. The ceremonies should not be shared to preserve the awe for the candidates but if you have concerns, you can talk to the adviser. We've discussed the hazing. The exclusion... well, anyone can get in if they put in the effort. I have seen scouts who were not elected (rightfully, in my opinion) change their attitude and work extra hard to make sure they got elected the next year. 

 

I hope I didn't come across as snarky. I was trying to respond point for point. 

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  1. Isn't everything? The roundtable crowd isn't the same as the OA crowd, which isn't the same as the WB/NYLT crowd, etc. However, if you put effort into getting to know the people in each group, you will be welcomed. Believe me, every part of the program wants more volunteers.
  2. I've had employers who didn't want to promote their best employees or recommend them for other positions because their team would suffer. It was a disservice to the individual. I think it's the same with scouts. If there is a scout who is a great leader, why hold him back for your own benefit?
  3. It's truly boy lead. Sometimes the leadership group is great and put up great events. Other times, they flounder. Sometimes they need better advisors.
  4. My wife is brotherhood. Several of my son's best advisers are female. There are lots of women who hold the vigil honor. Now, if you are talking about venturers, you are correct. I wish they would open the program to venturing girls but maybe the "New Family Scouting" will fix that.
  5. I agree to a point but I don't have any alternatives that I think would capture kids' imagination.
  6. As has been said before, doing things like trail building or camp maintenance in silence hardly qualifies as hazing. The small amounts of food are still nourishing and there is a feast after. Maybe things were different in the past but so was scouting. 
  7. It's not a secret. Parents are welcome to observe. The ceremonies should not be shared to preserve the awe for the candidates but if you have concerns, you can talk to the adviser. We've discussed the hazing. The exclusion... well, anyone can get in if they put in the effort. I have seen scouts who were not elected (rightfully, in my opinion) change their attitude and work extra hard to make sure they got elected the next year. 

 

I hope I didn't come across as snarky. I was trying to respond point for point. 

 

 

 

Well said.  My experience has been similar to this.

 

The OA in my area is far from perfect - but it does function and provides scouts a different area of Scouting to explore.  Some like it, some don't.

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