Jump to content
SR540Beaver

Resistance to OA

Recommended Posts

???  I haven't posted any replies on this topic, at least until now.

In this topic thread "Resistance to OA", you have not. You just gave a thumbs down to a Snow Owl's detailed, considered reply to the OP.

 

So care to elaborate?

Edited by RememberSchiff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My struggles with adult leaders in the last few years are that they are guided by ignorance more than the facts and this is just one example. OA is an honor organization that at it's heart is about serving and service. How scary can such an honor be? Arrowmen when I was a scout were super scouts. The best of the best, and they were the epitome of servant leaders.

 

Who knows where Snow Owl imagined the misinformation about, but the scouts suffer the most because not only does Snow Owl not approve of OA, they are restricted from even considering the organization. 

 

I am not surprised that fear of pulling the scouts away from unit activities is Snow Owl's major concern. I have seen a lot of events lately that have convinced me that we live in an age of helicopter parenting. I had a discussion the other day with a scout leader who believe that the majority of scouters today are more of the helicoptering type of adult leaders. So it's not just scouting that is changing from this generation of parents, it's helicopter scout leading, helicopter coaching, and helicopter teaching.

 

Scouting is an outward activities program that forces scouts to make independent decisions and that kind of program is being pushed out of the culture. Kids today live in a bubble created by adult fears and that bubble is getting smaller. I recently read and article that was explaining how the combination of technology (personal cell phone media) and our over the top fears for our children have led to the anti-free speech movement that some of the college campuses are experiencing. Kids today find restricting free speech easier than dealing with the challenges of free thought that comes from free speech. What are these kids calling themselves, "snowflakes"? Sounds about right.

 

This reminds me of a local a group of boys who created a sand lot baseball team that have been in the news lately. You may have even seen them on Good Morning America. Can you believe it, a bunch of boys in the neighborhood get together weekly to play baseball, and it becomes national news. Well these boys have become popular enough that adults are coming to watch. But they are held by the rules of no cheering, no coaching and pretty much stay out of the way of the boys (I don't remember adults at any of my sand lot sports). You would not believe the uproar from some of the local adults that these boys are playing without any adult supervision. Helicopter baseball fans? Sad.

 

You think that is over the top? Go read Snow Owls post again. Snow Owl is not alone. Snow Owls imaginative fears may even be typical.

 

It's been trending this way for a few years now, but discussions like this throw cold water in my face that snowflakes are the future adult leaders of the BSA. Some folks think it's unfair that I view the future of BSA as an after school program. But after school programs were created to keep kids safe and out of trouble until the parents got home. Everything I see is that an afterschool scout program to keep their kids out of trouble is exactly what todays parents want.Well, that is what Badon Powell was trying to do as well. Still, Badon Powell was no Snowflake.

 

Thank goodness that my family of men, from my dad thru his grandsons, were scouts when scouting was about developing boys into men. 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scouts could have done without the "snowflakes" insult, but if  your local OA lodge is not fulfilling its mission of service ( and Snow Owl observed other lodges do) why encourage membership? 

 

If from my experience a MBC or a scout camp was not fulfilling the BSA stated standard, I would not encourage either.  Same with teachers, schools, youth programs, ...

Edited by RememberSchiff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back when I was a Commissioner(5+ years ago) it seemed that the units that were resistant to OA were also the same units that didn't send anyone to NYLT or Jambo or Woodbadge and the same units didn't like the Venturing program.
Most had the fear that these pulled Scouts/Leaders away from their unit.

This was most likely true as these units had a weak program and these other programs were offering a activities and challenges that were not getting in their units

I also noticed that the stronger units were the ones where they had members fully involved in all of these.

Edited by RememberSchiff
typos
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

Also, limiting food ... being told where to sleep (walked to an unknown place, without tent, with only what they could carry, etc) ... roping them together ... standing in formation multiple times ... limited information on what's happening ... etc.  

 

It was a meaningful and special experience to me.  Not everyone will be glad they were put through it.  But it is pretty much the exact definition of hazing.  Especially as you can't become a member without going through the "ordeal".  Sort of breaks the "friendly" promise of scouting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, limiting food ... being told where to sleep (walked to an unknown place, without tent, with only what they could carry, etc) ... roping them together ... standing in formation multiple times ... limited information on what's happening ... etc.  

 

It was a meaningful and special experience to me.  Not everyone will be glad they were put through it.  But it is pretty much the exact definition of hazing.  Especially as you can't become a member without going through the "ordeal".  Sort of breaks the "friendly" promise of scouting.

 

They are no longer tied together. Everything else, you just kinda described the Wilderness Survival merit badge. I guess we should drop that badge. 

 

I don't know what you mean by standing in formation multiple times. Do you mean walking somewhere single file? That's hazing? 

 

Just wait until they see the paddles!

 

I'm kidding! There are no paddles. :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It was a meaningful and special experience to me.  Not everyone will be glad they were put through it.  But it is pretty much the exact definition of hazing.  Especially as you can't become a member without going through the "ordeal".  Sort of breaks the "friendly" promise of scouting.

My complaint about OA today is that it allows members who are too immature to understand the distinction and priviledge of the organization. Friendly? Is that like the friendly the atmosphere of taking a test in school, CPA or Law Degree.  Practicing the discipline of self control may not have a lot of jokes or laughs, but I certainly wouldn't describe ordeals as unfriendly. In it's day the honor required the maturity  for understand the nobility of service and taking on the role with full enthusiasm. In the day, every scout that participated in the ordeal not only wanted to be there, they felt very honored. I beleive that comes under friendly.

 

To bad hazing has lost it's general definition. It wasn't very long ago that Council was suggesting that scout units not recognize scout's birthdays because the act of standing in front of a group while singing happy birthday could be interpreted as hazing to some scouts. And of course there was the silly holding a cub scout up-side-down to award the Bob Cat. The boys begged for the ceremony. 

 

Sigh, sign of the times.

 

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

How does the concept to "not encourage OA" manifest itself?

 

Does that mean:

  • Your Troop does not hold elections or request election teams?
  • Your Troop holds elections and attends Ordeal, but once they are over, the troop discourages discussion of OA in the troop?
  • Is it an active campaign against OA? (i.e. The OA is a bad organization?)
  • Does the Troop participate in events at Camporee or Jamboree that are hosted by OA?
  • If you do not hold elections, what happens when a Scout wishes to join?

I am not being snarky, I just don't truly know how a troop can take a passive stance toward OA in a boy led troop.

 

To your points:

  1. It is a good ole boys club  - If that is true, then have a discussion with the Council Scout Executive, he is the Supreme Chief of the Fire, if your Lodge is not acting as it should, he can and almost certainly will, address the issue. OA servers too important a function for a Council to let it wither on the vine because of poor behavior
  2. Pulls the top Scouts out of our unit - if utilized by the Lodge AND the UNIT, the OA will give far more back than it takes from a unit. An Arrowman's first obligation is to his troop. Most Lodges will gladly provide all types of service to the unit if asked. Not to mention Leadership training, skills training and keeping older scouts involved in Scouting past when they may have normally moved on.
  3. In our council at least, very poorly run - Fair enough, some are poorly run, the best way to fix that is to become involved, get trained and help fix the problems. OA is boy led just like troops, sometimes things run well, other times not so much. The Scouts are learning and need good mentors to help them.
  4. Does not allow females (we have a female Scoutmaster) - OA absolutely DOES allow female adult Boy Scout Leaders as members. Only two types of units currently have youth members, Boy Scouts and Varsity, neither have female youth. If your Lodge is restricting adult females, then they are not following OA policy.
  5. Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry - this is a debate that will rage on both Pro and Con. I have seen members of various tribal nations on both sides of the argument. Personally, in recent years at least, I have not seen a display that was intentionally disrespectful. A small portion of my heritage is Cherokee and Chickasaw, I will occasionally cringe at certain things I see, but I would rather help them learn about what they were mistaken about than restrict them. Events like Wachipi (recently at Philmont) are held to educate Arrowmen about Native American culture and how to maintain OA traditions and to be respectful.
  6. The Ordeal looks like hazing - The work is reasonably difficult, but not more than they can handle, and certainly nothing more than they would do during regular OA service as a member. Food is scan, but more than enough to meet dietary needs. Frankly, Ordeal taste pretty good too. Silence during ordeal portion, I cant see how that is hazing, in fact Elangomats go through every bit of Ordeal with the candidates, some Elangomats serve multiple times. All members go silent when candidates are in the area. Nothing abut Ordeal is meant to embarass, harass, belittle or abuse.
  7. Looks like what we tell the scouts they cannot do - secret organization, hazing, exclusion etc. - Nothing is secret, parents can and do attend Ordeal, see hazing above, and OA could not be exclusionary if it wanted, primarily non-OA members are the ones that elect members to OA.
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider anything less than what I went through in Marine Corps Boot Camp as non-hazing. The Ordeal wasn't that bad, even with the scant food and formations, etc. I enjoyed my time as did most, if not all, of the scouts who were with me. We even had adults with CPAPs. If the work was too physically demanding for you they had the option of assigning you sit-on-your-arse work.

 

Scant food, maybe. In volume, yes. In calories, no. Although after the "feast" I did stop at McDonald's and get dinner.  :) The feast was nothing more than a snack.

 

And we wonder why they are so "snowflaky"...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry

 

I agree to a point but I don't have any alternatives that I think would capture kids' imagination.

 

We've got a fellow in our Lodge that really does a good job of helping our Arrowmen clean-up their ceremonies ensemble.  I had no idea of the history behind the attire - and this guy's a natural storyteller, so it really interests the scouts (and keeps the cringe-worthy items (plastic tomahawks, etc.) away from our efforts.

 

He uses "Warriors of the Plains - Native American Regalia & Crafts" as a guide (found at Crazy Crow trading post - I have no financial interest so this is a genuine reference).  It contains several clever and effective items of regalia and crafts - ranging from simple to complex, that are inexpensive but respectful.

 

 

Not real thrilled with the ceremonies and Native American mimicry - this is a debate that will rage on both Pro and Con. I have seen members of various tribal nations on both sides of the argument. Personally, in recent years at least, I have not seen a display that was intentionally disrespectful. A small portion of my heritage is Cherokee and Chickasaw, I will occasionally cringe at certain things I see, but I would rather help them learn about what they were mistaken about than restrict them. Events like Wachipi (recently at Philmont) are held to educate Arrowmen about Native American culture and how to maintain OA traditions and to be respectful.

 

Bingo.  Nothing intentionally disrespectful - I certainly wouldn't know - but thankfully our guy, like you, is on the case.  As you say, the key is to "help them learn".

Edited by AltadenaCraig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I came from small town rural America in Nebraska.  For us it was just something to get. Go to ordeals, get to brotherhood and basically just wear your sash at special events.  Part of the problem for us is the chapter meetings where you can go and interact with other arrow men, was 15 miles away.  Also, most didn't have a car by the time they got in.  My parents and I'm sure most others would not want to drive out of the way just for an hour or two meeting for their kid and sit in the car (so to speak).  If I was in a larger metro city I may have been a little more active, but when growing up in a rural district that would take an hour just to drive to the other side of the district, there wasn't much practicable to invest that much time into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Laxpir21, and welcome !  

That is a problem that has plagued the Order pretty much everywhere.   Back when I was elected in '74  the older scouts with cars would often pick up their younger troopmates for meetings, tapouts and the like.   No longer allowed.   I guess its safer but it puts more of a burden on the adults for sure.    We have somewhat solved  it by holding the chapter meeting at the same time as roundtable.  since the scoutmasters are theoretically going there anyway.    

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I think there might be a rant coming so forgive me if this goes into chapters or novellas. 

I haven't been active in OA since the 90's, I know my old lodge has merged a time or two since then, and as a parent now I really don't know what my role or participation in OA will be in the future. But I do remember why I accepted being tapped. I was made to feel special. When I got my arrow of light and joined a troop I was ready for the big stuff. The 50 milers and such. And just as I came in all the senior scouts went out. A few got their eagle, more transferred out to other troops, and others just stopped coming. All of the sudden the Scouts and Tenderfoots WERE the senior scouts. I was ready to learn camping and wilderness survival, I didn't want to be the next Rambo but I sure wanted to be able to if I had to be. And all the experienced teachers evaporated. So I studied hard. I could tie any of the knots put to me blindfolded and behind my back. Of the 8 or so different types of tents the troop owned I could set them all  up in 5 minutes flat. I might not have had a grizzly named Ben, but I wanted to be just as at home in the woods as Adams. I was quiet and shy, introverted to the point of being mute in school from 6th through 12th grade. But at meetings or on the trail I had confidence and did and said what  was needed. When the OA dance team came around I thought THAT IS AWESOME! I want to do that. And when I learned you had to be voted in I blew it off as one more thing that wasn't for me because voting meant a popularity contest and I might have been gaining leadership but I wouldn't think of myself as popular. No matter how much my SM stressed that we were voting on the best campers in the troop, the best service people, the best ect.. I still assumed others would vote the popular charismatic person. So when I got tapped I was shocked. My troop understood my interest and recognized my contributions. Not my Mom or Dad, not a SM that might have pity on me, but my peers. It meant a lot to me.

The ordeal was nothing. Working all day at my favorite Summer Camp was cool. I got to see areas I hadn't  known existed and became pals, equals of sorts with the councilors I'd known for years, if only in brief 1 week encounters. Did I like digging holes for new outhouses? No. Did I enjoy eating the one egg in the morning? No, I about vomited because I hate eggs, always have. For the first time I was shoulder to shoulder with SM's and ASM's and senior scouts as an equal. We were all Ordeal and even if we couldn't talk..we could smile or wave or high five. I've spent far worse weekends in a hotel on vacation with wife and kids than I did for my Ordeal weekend. It's a day of bonding in service. Which is quite different from hazing.

After that I went to a few Conclaves, the NOAK in 92, helped a few Arrowmen with the Eagle serve projects. By that time I was 15 or 16 I was pushing hard to get my Eagle so the Lodge took a back seat. But I have always been proud of my lodge patch on my uniform when I received my Eagle. I didn't just plod along on a course set for me. I proved myself, and my peers recognized the difference in the quality of my "Path."

Now I don't recall why I didn't get Brotherhood and maybe it's waiting for me as an adult as an ASM, But I do recall my frustration with not having more elections in my troop until well after my time with the troop had passed. The other scouts didn't like the idea of an ordeal. Of extra work. Everything I saw as a new challenge to test myself they saw as a negative. I had a poor opinion of myself and I thought if I can do it anyone should be able to and I was frustrated because they didn't even want to try. And I think that sentiment has grown in the years since I was a boy. Instant gratification and a sense of entitlement are very political terms and come easily but they seem very fitting to the situation. Can OA make the boys scouting experience harder? Certainly, just as a rotten SM who has been at it too long can. Can lodge and troop functions and outings choke a schedule? Yes, just like family and work and any hope of a hobby does for us adults. It all still falls under learning and growth. You get out of scouting what you put into it. If you want it to be negative it sure can be. And just as easily you can put positivity in and reap positive results.

 

I'm sure it sounds ignorant to those who view OA in the negative but my bottom line is:  If there is an aspect you don't like then get involved and help make changes.

If you don't want to be involved then don't be, but let the boys make their own decisions about it.

Share this post


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

I might not have had a grizzly named Ben, but I wanted to be just as at home in the woods as Adams.

That's a coincidence.I ended up a blend of an old man and a stubborn mule named Number Seven. 

I was only aware of OA elections starting with this one scout. A scout who had the respect of everyone because he respected everyone regardless, and gave them his time and attention. He was elected. He was simply awesome as a person and I'm still incredibly impressed with him. The following year, two scouts were elected and it was more of a popularity contest, but both scouts had merit, but they also were favored by the scouters. Politics were heavily involved. 

I hate troop drama. 

My son joined the following year. At the time, I didn't understand the election policies and I was perplexed how one year two were selected and then the next year only one could be selected. Before that election, all the boys in two patrols were telling him that they had organized and were going to elect him over another scout with more accolades, but not character. (He eventually got it too.) 

My son was eager. He was excited. He studied as part of the ceremony team and from what some scouters told me, he was their best of that year. Things were happening for him because he made them happen. 

In the second year something had happened. Something shifted. One of the favored scouts mentioned above was now in charge of the ceremony team. My son got dropped from notifications about changes in the schedule and then the location. After months of attempts to make the ceremony practices and emails, phone calls, texts and direct questioning; it all came to an end with one phone call. Seems they were short for a ceremony and that favored scout in charge called him up and used the words, "we're desperate, so we're calling you. You are the last person I can call." 

Now I can't tell you how incredible that moment was in my son's life and development. He wanted to be a part of it all. He wanted to please people. He ended up a lot of times following, if he wasn't on his own. And that day he stood up for his dignity and said "not anymore". He declined to participate. Had that scout not indicated that he was only calling because it was the last ditch effort and he wouldn't have otherwise, my son would have been there in a heartbeat because there was a need. 

The sad thing was he stopped all things OA for quite a while until the scout I first started this tale with contacted him. They hooked up, met, and that scout had clued in on what was going on when he observed it at one of the monthly meetings he got my son to attend. He asked questions and was disgusted at what had happened. 

Now my son is involved again, performing ceremonies with this OA person who respects him and what he brings. 

Did I mention I hate drama?

 

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

×