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Scoutmaster Teddy

Order of the Arrow for Females?

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On an tangent note I think there will be those that take he inclusion of females as an opportunity to remove the Native American element out of OA. I continue to hope that as an organization we can find a way to keep that part of the tradition going. As a person with a small degree of Native American ancestry I appreciate that element of the program, but I am well aware that those that do not share my feelings are small but vocal group.

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If OA is a Boy Scout honor society, how is it that anyone would think it something open to Venturing in the first place?  They are two entirely different programs unless a scout is registered in both programs.  Even then the double registration is valid only in Boy Scouts because no elections have ever been done in the Venturing program for OA.  If a scout registers in both programs and basically does not follow through with a commitment to both, it would jeopardize their ability to get into OA.  It would be no different for a scout to be a Boy Scout SPL working on rank and then never showing up for any of the Boy Scout meetings or activities.

 

I make it clear in my troops that if a scout is going to register in two different programs, they had better give full support to both and the blending of the two isn't acceptable unless stated by BSA policy.  If the rank requirement says attend 10 scout activities in the Boy Scout Handbook, Venturing activities don't count towards those 10.  If the OA requirement is XX number of nights camping as a scout, Venturing camping doesn't count.

 

The Webelos requirements make it very clear that for AOL, a Webelos scout must attend a SCOUT activity.  That's two different programs, but it is spelled out clearly in BSA material this is the way it is to happen.  

 

After all, why wouldn't Cub Scouts, if they happen to meet the criteria be eligible to join OA?  To me it's the same.  OA is not, nor ever was a part of the Venturing program.  The only reason there are adult females in the OA is because they came in through the Boy Scout program having made contributions to that program.

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If OA is a Boy Scout honor society, how is it that anyone would think it something open to Venturing in the first place?  They are two entirely different programs unless a scout is registered in both programs.  Even then the double registration is valid only in Boy Scouts because no elections have ever been done in the Venturing program for OA.  If a scout registers in both programs and basically does not follow through with a commitment to both, it would jeopardize their ability to get into OA.  It would be no different for a scout to be a Boy Scout SPL working on rank and then never showing up for any of the Boy Scout meetings or activities.

 

I make it clear in my troops that if a scout is going to register in two different programs, they had better give full support to both and the blending of the two isn't acceptable unless stated by BSA policy.  If the rank requirement says attend 10 scout activities in the Boy Scout Handbook, Venturing activities don't count towards those 10.  If the OA requirement is XX number of nights camping as a scout, Venturing camping doesn't count.

 

The Webelos requirements make it very clear that for AOL, a Webelos scout must attend a SCOUT activity.  That's two different programs, but it is spelled out clearly in BSA material this is the way it is to happen.  

 

After all, why wouldn't Cub Scouts, if they happen to meet the criteria be eligible to join OA?  To me it's the same.  OA is not, nor ever was a part of the Venturing program.  The only reason there are adult females in the OA is because they came in through the Boy Scout program having made contributions to that program.

 

You are absolutely correct, OA is Boy Scouts National Honor Society, so I have never understood the argument people use with Venturing. Although I do think BSA muddied the water by allowing Teams. Teams have, or had, elements of Troops and elements of Crews, so allowing Teams but not Crews was a Pandora's box.

 

As for requirements between Troops and Crew, I am going from memory (i.e. I am not going to look it up), but somewhere in officil documentation I have read that most things (there are some exceptions listed) can crossover when it comes to Troops and Crews. Camping, hiking, first aid, backpacking requirements can be met in one unit even if that activity was done with the other unit. The caviate is that it must have been done after registration in the unit that it is being applied too. In other words, if a scout earning Hiking MB last Summer and joined a crew last week. Those hiking activities do not count for anything in the Crew. However, if he goes hiking this week with the Troop, then it can count toward the Crew advancement.

 

I would suppose in the end, that the acceptance of those activities is entirely in the hands or the MB counselor, or the SM/Advisor for advancement.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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This overlapping programs and rule changing on the part of BSA is the best way they have come up with when shooting themselves in the foot. 

 

This trial-and-error method of fixing dying or struggling programs just isn't working out for BSA and for well over 45 years one's track record would dictate at least quit doing it.  They have yet to learn.

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How quickly we forget that OA's byline is "Scouting's National Honor Society"

.... OA is Boy Scouts National Honor Society, so I have never understood the argument people use with Venturing. ...

If OA is a Boy Scout honor society, how is it that anyone would think it something open to Venturing in the first place?...

Well, in the first place, OA was open to Explorers. See Mike Walton's reply in https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/07/18/female-youth-order-of-the-arrow/ regarding the history of OA including Explorerrs, then closing that door in the 90's.

The contrived "troop/team" specification was all to could avoid saying "no girls allowed."

Like I said, it would be fine by me if the up and said that. But, when it no longer recognizes a swath of the organization's honorable campers, what kind of society is it really?

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Hmmm.... it took 20 years to close the door on Explorers in OA?   General Interest Explorer Posts weren't really a hot-bed of female interest.    As a matter of fact, only about 5, maybe 6 GI posts in our council out of 43 Posts in the Council I was in in the early 1970's  Splintering it off in the late 1990's when they shut down potential OA females really didn't do much to help bail out the sinking ship. Then in the late 90's Venturing with a whole new "image" really didn't take off.  Putting a Bandaid every 20 years isn't really going to cure the patient.

 

Oh, if one is into simple Math, every 20 years is a generation.

Edited by Stosh

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How quickly we forget that OA's byline is "Scouting's National Honor Society"

Well, in the first place, OA was open to Explorers. See Mike Walton's reply in https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/07/18/female-youth-order-of-the-arrow/ regarding the history of OA including Explorerrs, then closing that door in the 90's.

The contrived "troop/team" specification was all to could avoid saying "no girls allowed."

Like I said, it would be fine by me if the up and said that. But, when it no longer recognizes a swath of the organization's honorable campers, what kind of society is it really?

 

Okay, maybe I am missing it, but he appears to be saying the 1st class was a requirement for OA and that a loophole in Explorers allowed members that had attained 1st class in Boy Scouts were eligible. Thus Explorers that had not earned 1st Class, be they boys or girls, were not eligible.

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One of the problems facing the fledgling co-ed Explorer program was it's main focus was not on scouting activities.  Most of them were a Nature Post, a Medical Post, a Law Post, a Law Enforcement Post, etc. career focused programs on a certain interest area.  All the "old" Explorer Posts (of which were very few) were just call General Interest Posts.  Like I mentioned, they were a very limited number of these Posts, in that the push was for career oriented posts, not the old Scout focused Explorer Posts.  There weren't many boys interested in these General Interest Posts, let alone girls.  They wanted the Career Posts like Medical where they could actually work in a hospital or Law where they could shadow a lawyer, etc.  Seriously how many boys if given a choice between a Law Enforcement Post and ride in a squad car vs. a General Interest Post sitting in the woods. 

 

So we fast forward 20 years and for some reason a few of the outdoor gals in a GI Post, push for OA membership?  Okay, a couple at least and BSA shuts down the door quickly.  Not enough gals to make a big deal about it so it's swept under the rug.  Then in the late 1990's National BSA breaks up the program into career Explorers now known as Learning For Life and the old GI Posts they rebrand into Venturing Crews.  So one takes an old sock and runs it through the washer, but voila, it's still an old sock.  So for 17+ years BSA has been trying to shore up a program that wasn't all that steady to begin with.  It's a pig, it ain't never gonna fly and no amount of lipstick is going to make a bit of difference.

 

So what's left in National's little bag of tricks?  Let's just make the whole thing co-ed.  Yep that's the magical cure-all and the sun will come up and the roses will bloom yet once more.  Well, the future looks a tad bleak and I see more thorns than roses out there.

 

So where do we stand with OA in general?  Is it like the old Explorer Posts that need rebranding, maybe go co-ed too.  Shore it up, find some lipstick?  I haven't had an OA election in either of my last 2 troops in over 7 years.  I did my brotherhood 20 years ago, paid my dues faithfully for 10 years and got one newsletter and that's been my OA experience since.  It's really sad because I don't hear any rumblings about even miss having the program around.  Adult volunteers do the summer camp setup and tear down, the one big thing the OA used to do.

 

So, the hot topic is girls in the OA?  Sure, why not, the boys don't seem all that interested in it around here, same for Venturing.  I sure hope other Councils are better off than mine.

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@HelpfulTracks, it's my understanding that a boy who did all of his activity in a post at the time, providing he had obtained 1st class, could be elected. No troop involvement required. I've met a few explorers from central PA and NY who camped regularly. So, a nomination from a post would not be that far fetched.

 

For me, this is very simple. And it has to do with @Stosh's scouts' ambivalence toward OA:

 

Either they are scouting's honor society like they say they are, or they are a safe space niche program for boys.

 

I'm fine with either. Just don't make your byline one thing and when you are the other.

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Like Boy Scouts of America.

Proof will be in the pudding if the 4G results in a net gain in B a decade from now. We're both skeptical about that one.

 

That doesn't negate that OA has hedged its bets with marketing doublespeak by contriving youth membership requirements to be dependent on the make-up of some divisions of BSA, fiddling with loopholes rather than admitting its narrow focus as an honor society for boys in scouting.

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:)  The only ambivalence I have with OA is the difference between what it is supposed to be and what in reality it is.  As long as it is as poorly run in my area, what difference would it make to have girls join.  There's nothing there to really get excited about in the first place.  If it is going to be run as it was designed to run, then leave it the way it was designed to run, an honor camping/service program for Boy Scouts.

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Stosh,

 

Do you let the scouts make up their own minds about OA in your troop without inserting your own bias? Do you schedule elections? I'm just wondering because I often see troops not holding elections because the scoutmaster had a poor experience as a youth in the OA, doesn't know what the OA is, or is afraid the OA will "take" his/her best scouts. In my lodge, the youth run everything. Some years they are great, some others not so great but it's because of the youth leadership that gets elected each year. Advisers sit back and let the youth thrive or fail.

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My "bias" never enters the situation.  Previously I would get a request to come hold elections in the troop.  I promptly pass that request off to all of the PL's.  It is up to them to set a date for the election.  The last time a troop I was in as SM had an election, we had 4 patrols so I passed the information to the PL's and they had the SPL invite an OA rep in to do the election. 

 

The OA rep showed up in blue jeans and school sweatshirt.  The SPL rescheduled the election at a time when the OA rep could show up in a Scout uniform.  The OA rep never came back.

 

At the present, I have one patrol of of new troop where none of them are FC nor do they have enough nights of camping, but I pass the OA request for elections on to my PL.  It is up to him as to whether or not he makes the call.

 

All my boys know I am an OA member and wear the brotherhood sash at summer camp call-outs.  Yes, it's not proper, I haven't been paying dues for a year, but it is my way of keeping OA in front of the boys so when the time comes for them to be eligible, they will at least know what the program is all about, could get elected, and maybe make a difference in our local lodge to get it back on track. 

 

I make opportunities for my boys, I never take them away.  I would love to have one of my boys become Lodge Chief and bring it back to life.

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Another late to the party question* ......When did adult female leaders start getting inducted into the OA?

Here at Chief Seattle Council I'm noticing some woman wearing the lodge flap at district and council events.

* away from Scouting for 40 years.

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