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LeCastor

Leadership Through Service and Togetherness

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MattR

The OA no longer exists. All vestiges of the OA need to be removed and packed away. Scout troops will only prosper if they have dynamic programs planned by the scouts, supported by the adults. Yes, the patrol method. Recruitment for the troops will come from packs that like your program. Word gets out. It always has. Friends of the scouts can be recruited as well. But don't promise them adventure, if all you do is sit through endless advancement classes.

As far as service to our camps (like the OA used to provide), have planned and announced work weekends at scout camps maybe three times a year ought to do it. Open it to all scout members who have dads that will drag them out to camp and work. Should be fun.

The spirit is gone.

sst3rd

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1 hour ago, sst3rd said:

... Scout troops will only prosper if they have dynamic programs planned by the scouts, supported by the adults. Yes, the patrol method. Recruitment for the troops will come from packs that like your program. Word gets out. It always has. Friends of the scouts can be recruited as well. But don't promise them adventure, if all you do is sit through endless advancement classes.

I so so like the statement.  It's dead on right.  

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On 12/29/2018 at 10:39 PM, sst3rd said:

The OA has become the BSA's "service club." I can't promote that in the troops that I serve. I can't defend the fact that it's all about free labor. The scouts aren't dumb. They have better things to do on a weekend.

Yeah, how often I have heard things like, "We'll just have the Order of the Arrow do it.  They're supposed to give cheerful service."  And how often I have seen the chapter (the OA group within a district) and the lodge (the OA group within the council) struggle to make their Brotherhood numbers (Brotherhood being the second level of OA membership) because after their Ordeal, many new inductees see the OA as being about doing hard, dirty jobs for someone else -- and they never come back.  The sash is just another doodad for the uniform, not a symbol of a commitment.

What I see as problematic is that the Order of the Arrow operates as a separate organization outside the troop (and, as of February 1, outside the Venturing Crew and Sea Scout ship).  For many youth, that is a great thing because it gives them activity and leadership opportunities in addition to those available in the troop.  I have seen many youth blossom through active participation in the OA who weren't getting much out of the troop.  But with the OA having no official role in the week-to-week life of the troop, and a mission that simply emphasizes two of the twelve points of the Scout Law (Helpful and Cheerful) -- the 'honor camper' attribute having been de-emphasized, as @desertrat77 mentioned -- it is difficult to show other Scouts how OA membership has value.

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46 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

Yeah, how often I have heard things like, "We'll just have the Order of the Arrow do it.  They're supposed to give cheerful service."  And how often I have seen the chapter (the OA group within a district) and the lodge (the OA group within the council) struggle to make their Brotherhood numbers (Brotherhood being the second level of OA membership) because after their Ordeal, many new inductees see the OA as being about doing hard, dirty jobs for someone else -- and they never come back.  The sash is just another doodad for the uniform, not a symbol of a commitment.

What I see as problematic is that the Order of the Arrow operates as a separate organization outside the troop (and, as of February 1, outside the Venturing Crew and Sea Scout ship).  For many youth, that is a great thing because it gives them activity and leadership opportunities in addition to those available in the troop.  I have seen many youth blossom through active participation in the OA who weren't getting much out of the troop.  But with the OA having no official role in the week-to-week life of the troop, and a mission that simply emphasizes two of the twelve points of the Scout Law (Helpful and Cheerful) -- the 'honor camper' attribute having been de-emphasized, as @desertrat77 mentioned -- it is difficult to show other Scouts how OA membership has value.

Spot on.

My chapter was dying out because all the chapter did was "work work work." No ceremony teams (an aside, one of the reasons the teams died out was because they went to black robes  after doing Philmont's OA Trail Crew. Many in my council considered them "Satanic" and threatened to quit OA and Scouting.), no fun days, didn't even go to conclave or lodge fellowship events because they always corresponded to Cub Scout events the OA ran a fundraiser at. OA was known as "slave labor."

It took two years, but we had a 180 degree turn around. While getting the Cub folks to change event dates helped a lot, and we planned fun events,  the #1 reason for the improvement was American Indian Affairs (AIA) consisting of ceremonies, singers, and dancers. People started seeing us outside of working all the time. We inspired Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts with our ceremonies (another aside, current lodge chief got his motivation to join the OA from his Cross Over Ceremony we did ), and it reinvigorated the chapter.

 

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1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

Yeah, how often I have heard things like, "We'll just have the Order of the Arrow do it.  They're supposed to give cheerful service."  And how often I have seen the chapter (the OA group within a district) and the lodge (the OA group within the council) struggle to make their Brotherhood numbers (Brotherhood being the second level of OA membership) because after their Ordeal, many new inductees see the OA as being about doing hard, dirty jobs for someone else -- and they never come back.  The sash is just another doodad for the uniform, not a symbol of a commitment.

What I see as problematic is that the Order of the Arrow operates as a separate organization outside the troop (and, as of February 1, outside the Venturing Crew and Sea Scout ship).  For many youth, that is a great thing because it gives them activity and leadership opportunities in addition to those available in the troop.  I have seen many youth blossom through active participation in the OA who weren't getting much out of the troop.  But with the OA having no official role in the week-to-week life of the troop, and a mission that simply emphasizes two of the twelve points of the Scout Law (Helpful and Cheerful) -- the 'honor camper' attribute having been de-emphasized, as @desertrat77 mentioned -- it is difficult to show other Scouts how OA membership has value.

 

53 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Spot on.

My chapter was dying out because all the chapter did was "work work work." No ceremony teams (an aside, one of the reasons the teams died out was because they went to black robes  after doing Philmont's OA Trail Crew. Many in my council considered them "Satanic" and threatened to quit OA and Scouting.), no fun days, didn't even go to conclave or lodge fellowship events because they always corresponded to Cub Scout events the OA ran a fundraiser at. OA was known as "slave labor."

It took two years, but we had a 180 degree turn around. While getting the Cub folks to change event dates helped a lot, and we planned fun events,  the #1 reason for the improvement was American Indian Affairs (AIA) consisting of ceremonies, singers, and dancers. People started seeing us outside of working all the time. We inspired Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts with our ceremonies (another aside, current lodge chief got his motivation to join the OA from his Cross Over Ceremony we did ), and it reinvigorated the chapter.

 

Good assessments.  How many times have we seen scouts (or even adults for that matter) wearing a sash at a non-OA event, because they think that the sash is the penultimate of what the OA is? There is, and should be, so much more to the OA than just the workday aspect.  Convincing youth of that is a hard thing- and, if the other aspects such as fellowship weekends are not full of fun, or even fun-based learning events, then there is the challenge of getting the youth to chose to go to that over a troop event (let alone anything non-scouting related they could do).  Our lodge, IMO, suffering a lot from the "we can have the OA run a trading post" at X council activity.  Conclave has traditionally been a pretty fun event in our section- I would say my son was not entirely engaged to the OA until he got to experience Conclave.  The expense of it can be prohibitive though.  Our council charges above the per attendee fees set by the Section, which drives me crazy.  Personally, I think that our council wants the OA doing all this work, but also wants the operation of the lodge to be budget neutral, so we soak the members for every event.  Hardly makes anyone feel like they are part of any special group.  Paying $30 to go and do a weekend full of work, not sure many would see that as a good experience or value.  

I am curious to how members from other lodges view the relationship of their councils in relation to the OA and costs.  Does your council supplement the OA from a budget perspective?

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We are veering off the subject at hand: leadership through service. Let's try to steer back on course. Otherwise, I can split off several of these posts into another topic for the Order of the Arrow sub-forum.

*********

Each year about this time, I reread selected Klondike stories by Jack London. In reading "In a Far Country" this morning I was moved by a specific passage that I think is a supplement to the initial post outlining key aspects of servant leadership. Describing the hardships of living in the cold North, London says this of an individual:

"For the courtesies of ordinary life, he must substitute unselfishness, forbearance, and tolerance. Thus, and only thus, can he gain that pearl of great price, --true comradeship. He must not say "Thank You;" he must mean it without opening his mouth, and prove it by responding in kind. In short, he must substitute the deed for the word, and spirit for the letter."

 

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NOTE: For those interested in pursuing some thoughts about the Order of the Arrow regaining its path to an honor camper society, I have created a new topic in the Order of the Arrow Sub-Forum.

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3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

... the #1 reason for the improvement was American Indian Affairs (AIA) consisting of ceremonies, singers, and dancers. ...

What is this?  What year was it ?   It's an interesting comment and I'm wondering if it's still current.  I find many quietly cringing at the use of indian lore for OA ceremonies.  

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2 hours ago, fred8033 said:

What is this?  What year was it ?   It's an interesting comment and I'm wondering if it's still current.  I find many quietly cringing at the use of indian lore for OA ceremonies.  

Did it several times. First time was in the 1993-1998 time frame, as a youth and adult Arrowman. It was not intentional, but something sparked AIA, and it grew in the chapter and lodge.

In 2001-2004 did it deliberately to start a chapter that died. Started with the drum and singers, moved out to dancing, then ceremony teams.

Last time was the 2007-2010 time frame. Reignited my chapter using AIA, and it spread to the lodge. While my chapter has slowly died when my replacement chapter chief stepped down and no one was willing to step up. That was about 2014 or thereabouts 

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5 hours ago, LeCastor said:

We are veering off the subject at hand: leadership through service. Let's try to steer back on course. Otherwise, I can split off several of these posts into another topic for the Order of the Arrow sub-forum.

*********

Each year about this time, I reread selected Klondike stories by Jack London. In reading "In a Far Country" this morning I was moved by a specific passage that I think is a supplement to the initial post outlining key aspects of servant leadership. Describing the hardships of living in the cold North, London says this of an individual:

"For the courtesies of ordinary life, he must substitute unselfishness, forbearance, and tolerance. Thus, and only thus, can he gain that pearl of great price, --true comradeship. He must not say "Thank You;" he must mean it without opening his mouth, and prove it by responding in kind. In short, he must substitute the deed for the word, and spirit for the letter."

I don't think the original Order of the Arrow induction ceremony as depicted in the video really has anything to do with "leadership," and doesn't really address "service" either, at least directly.  Rather, all three tests were about what London called "true comradeship," or in OA terms, "brotherhood," and how that bond multiplies our ability to overcome difficulties, how far we can reach, and our strength.  If you take Scouts who are already living the Scout Oath and Law individually, and mold them into a brotherhood, the ability to collectively carry out ideals such as the Good Turn is magnified far beyond what the same number of Scouts could do individually.  That's what I got from it, anyway.  

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1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

I don't think the original Order of the Arrow induction ceremony as depicted in the video really has anything to do with "leadership," and doesn't really address "service" either, at least directly.

I think it says loads about Servant Leadership. 

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5 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Did it several times. First time was in the 1993-1998 time frame, as a youth and adult Arrowman. It was not intentional, but something sparked AIA, and it grew in the chapter and lodge.

In 2001-2004 did it deliberately to start a chapter that died. Started with the drum and singers, moved out to dancing, then ceremony teams.

Last time was the 2007-2010 time frame. Reignited my chapter using AIA, and it spread to the lodge. While my chapter has slowly died when my replacement chapter chief stepped down and no one was willing to step up. That was about 2014 or thereabouts 

I'm still confused.  Is "American Indian Affairs (AIA)" something you created or is it an organization provided by local native american tribes ?

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3 minutes ago, LeCastor said:

Well, I never knew.  I've always been on the edge of OA.  Involved and supporting, but never in the guts.  Interesting.  AIA, American Indian Activities.  Now, that I see it.  It makes sense.  AIA is a shell around which meaningful ceremonies and memories are created.  

Thinking more on it, I'm uncomfortable with using AIA to make OA meaningful.  We try to be respectful, but OA is appropriating another culture to serve our purposes.  It's one thing to have a dance team to teach native american history.  It's very different to use AIA to make our program meaningful.  Part of the issue is about playing pretend.  Another part is about the updated history perspective (trading diseased blankets for land, forcing people off their land, breaking treaties, repeated wars / slaughter, alcoholism, etc).  Now, we are appropriating their culture too for our purpose.  I really don't have that big of an issue with it, but everyone who goes through the ceremonies is also cringing just a little bit because of those blankets, and broken treaties and lost land and ....   

We should be able to make OA meaningful without repackaging another 

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@fred8033 I guess it all relates to relationships to local nations. Growing up, once the chapter and lodge decided to "go local" we got a lot of support from the local nation. We had Native Americans in the lodge, one being a chapter adviser, that helped.We had elders and council members coming out to help us get it right. Found out we were restablishing the relationship with them. When the lodge's AIA group was really active years earlier, they  contributed to research and awareness of them to get state recognition, and was helping them in their appeal for federal recognition.

In my current lodge, we have an extremely good relationship with several local nations. Heck a bunch of Native American Arrowmen, got together at OA events and formed a drum that is popular on the east coast powwow circuit.

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