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John-in-KC

NATIONAL POLICY: AOL and Crossover Ceremonies

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I looked at the BSA/OA provided scripts.....I didn't gauge them as more lame vs less lame. I viewed it as one more detail, one more corner where the BSA is micromanaging how troops and volunteers do, say, plan and carry out even minute parts of the program. This is very sad, I think I need to watch Follow Me Boys again and get a sense of why I did get involved when I was between 2003 and 2011.

Mandating how old kids can be to use a wagon, no squirt guns, must use scripts, my replacement at Scoutmaster got into an aguement with some woodbadge dude at IOLS about proper dish washing procedure, my replacement had 20 years camping and whitewater experience. The attempt to micromanage and script out more and more details is a reason why I retired out. I was happy we were in a remote area and were able to keep council at a distance. Our UC was a rational reasonable guy and he was never a problem.

 

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1 hour ago, mashmaster said:

I would rather them protest the solution by reaching out to work with the executive committee to help come to a compromise rather than quit.

I'm not sure the exec committee is listening

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No they won't listen, waste of time and energy. Just hang it up and maybe....someday they will wonder what happened. Of course blame for it will be deflected far from the real problem.

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1 hour ago, Miami_Chief said:

....  While the Native American elements have been a vital part of our image, it’s not who we are at the core.  Our principles remain unchanged.  If they were to announce that they are dropping Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, or Service, sign me up to protest, but until then we should focus on fulfilling our Obligation.  

Thought experiment by way of example:

A recent grad in our district had founded a "Do Something Club" into a service fraternity for young women.

Strip away your arrowmen's homage to native tribes, then tell me what do you have that's any different than what they have? Lot's of groups claim to offer brotherhood. Many are cheerful. And, many others tout service. A few package that quite nicely. Why should a youth bother with O/A if they can't get a deeper understanding about what we admire the most from the native American mystique?

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19 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Thought experiment by way of example:

A recent grad in our district had founded a "Do Something Club" into a service fraternity for young women.

Strip away your arrowmen's homage to native tribes, then tell me what do you have that's any different than what they have? Lot's of groups claim to offer brotherhood. Many are cheerful. And, many others tout service. A few package that quite nicely. Why should a youth bother with O/A if they can't get a deeper understanding about what we admire the most from the native American mystique?

True.

Another part of the foundation was removed years ago:  "honor camper." 

To me, "honor society" is just too generic and doesn't carry the same weight or prestige, especially in an outdoor-focused organizational like the BSA.

Edited by desertrat77

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One in the morning, a full moon,a small fire, and I am pretty sure I'll be leaving  the OA come January first. Or rather the OA will have left me if the ceremonies are declared illegal and whateverthey try to replace it with is as corny as the new AoL 

Ah well, 44 years is a good long time. I'm grateful my sons got to go thru the ceremonies. It meant a lot to them.  Just sad it looks like my grandsons won't have the chance.  ButI still have two vigils to attend, two brotherhood, one  pre and  one last ordeal ceremony to help run.

I'll try to make them the best ever.  The scouts deserve at least that.

Edited by Oldscout448

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As a Webelos leasder myself, I am sorry the opportunity to have the OA members come all decked out in their full regalia. That was always special. 

As for the two scripts ...

The Cubs Crossover Ceremony script is just ... it's just so bad! The lines are so poorly written, so stale and forced, that no boy - no matter how superb an actor - will be able to deliver them naturally. Either they'll ham it up to the point of mocking the whole thing in one extended joke or they will clam up to the extent of 10 - 15 mintues worth of excruciating monotone line reading.

To make sure I wasn't just being overly cynical, I asked my dad, who is a rather venerable career stage actor, to read through the script and tell me what he thought. He read over it, and after a long pause only told me "please don't ever ask me to read this kind of inane drivel again." However, being the curious/obnoxious middle child, I pressed him for at least a little more critiquing. He then essentially told me that whatever backwards amateur thought that this script would make for a decent ceremony was either seriously delusional in regards to his work, or that he must be harboring an intense desire to make any boys forced to deliver it look like complete and total idiots. And mind you, at any other time my father is desperately trying to find opportunities to get boys to sing more, but in the context of this "ceremony," the musical number (ahem! yes, it has one) is just torturously over-reaching.

Surprisingly, however, I think the Arrow of Light Ceremony is quite nice. It's concise, simply, and dignified in a manner appropriate to the age. It's a rathar marked contrast to the train-wreck that is the Crossover; it's simply a nice ceremony that presents the award itself and the values it represents. No stage-hams forcing some ridiculous dialogue, trying to convince us that the pretend adventures they are scripted to talk about really happened - and gee wililkers weren't they exciting? Mind you, it's not quite so nice that I would ever really use it, but I appreciate its sincere tone and simple brevity.

In the end though, if these are indeed the only scripts OA presenters will be allowed to use in the future, then I'm afraid I will not be inviting them to join our services again. Not through any fault of the willing participants, but because I simply don't want these artificial, poorly conceived ceremony scripts to be a part of my Webelos ceremonies. My boys deserve better. The OA deserves better. But for now, this is what we've got, and so as a Webelos leader, I have choices to make.

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As does the OA,  I do not see why the Order is needed to act this out. Anyone with a uniform could do it.

I suspect the scouts that have spent untold amounts of time and effort both scripting and performing in the past, will simply decline to attend another Cub ceremony,  unless they can sit in the audience. 

I'll let you know what  my boys deside.

Edited by Oldscout448

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7 hours ago, qwazse said:

. Why should a youth bother with O/A if they can't get a deeper understanding about what we admire the most from the native American mystique?

 Statements like the really get at what makes OA so challenging and so easy to be done poorly.  There is no “Native American mystique”— the tribes of North America are/were so diverse that there is nothing common to all of them.  Some lodges, I’m sure, work really closely with the local tribe and put on a fantastic, authentic ceremony honoring the tribe in their area.  Most don’t.  In another BSA forum I’m on, an Arrowman stated that his lodge didn’t have any Indians nearby, as the three reservations in his state were far away.  Through random professional contacts, I happen to know about a large group of Sauk and Fox living in his Council, some of whom are WWII vets working to get recognition from the government for their part in the Code Talkers program.  They would welcome OA members looking for help with ceremonies— and, they’d welcome any “cheerful service” the OA wanted to give to help them work thru the endless red tape!  But the local chapter hasn’t made any effort to find them, so the chapter does a random, half-hearted ceremony based on an amalgamation of Indian myths and lore from all over.

The odd thing about the scripts, to me, is that they aren’t related.  At every AOL ceremony I’ve been to, boys have also crossed over.  The two scripts don’t seem designed for that.  

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Both of my sons (and I as a youth) were recognized at the Brotherhood level. Both of my sons also cringed at the Hollywood Indian and copy of the Plains war bonnet worn, knowing that it a form of stolen valor in eyes of many tribes. It helped (and hurt) when a member of the Navajo nation stayed with us and had long conversations with them about history, abuse, etc. 

Some lodges do an amazing job of working with the local tribes, but unfortunately far too many do nothing of the sort.

As for cross-overs....

When we crossed Cubs over, the invitation was delivered by the Patrol that was accepting the new members. They came it with their Patrol Flag, Patrol Yell, Camporee Ribbons, list of Eagles, etc. Cubs would look up at the high school boys and wanted to join their gang. This worked beautifully, and gave inspiration to the Cubs and a chance to shine for the Scouts.

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10 hours ago, bearess said:

The odd thing about the scripts, to me, is that they aren’t related.  At every AOL ceremony I’ve been to, boys have also crossed over.  The two scripts don’t seem designed for that.  

Actually, my boys never earn their Arrow of Light and cross over on the same night. Since mine is a year-round program unrelated to the school year, boys enter my den on their 10th birthday, and move on to Boy Scouts on their 11th. The crossing over is thus always at the last pack meeting before their 11th birthday - but most of my boys have earned their Arrow of Light long before that, usually about 8 or 9 months after they join our group. So I've always needed separate ceremonies for the AofL and the crossing over into Boy Scouts, and they are going on all year instead of being all clumped together at once. 

The sad thing is I appreciated being able to get the OA involved in some of the ceremonies to give us some variety now and then. Now with these imposed scripts I won't have a legitimate reason to invite them any more.

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I always thought they were separate events too.  I'd have Scouts receive the AOL as soon as they earned it.  The crossover was at a fixed time later in the year.

I just read the crossover script.  It was a bit hokey for me, but that's just my style.  But, I think you still have them attend and conduct it.  In my mind, the OA are still the group of senior, distinguished scouts - an impressive bunch.  They would seem the best group to encourage Scouts when they cross over.

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21 hours ago, qwazse said:

Thought experiment by way of example:

A recent grad in our district had founded a "Do Something Club" into a service fraternity for young women.

Strip away your arrowmen's homage to native tribes, then tell me what do you have that's any different than what they have? Lot's of groups claim to offer brotherhood. Many are cheerful. And, many others tout service. A few package that quite nicely. Why should a youth bother with O/A if they can't get a deeper understanding about what we admire the most from the native American mystique?

I am curious, how would you answer your own question?

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