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WisconsinMomma

Son invited to OA. What does it all mean?

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On ‎3‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 1:50 PM, Oldscout448 said:

Not quite yet it aint.  At least not everywhere.   I aim to keep feeding it as long as I can find sticks.  

AMEN

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As a youth, I was active in OA. Thoroughly enjoyed it. My troop was not the best in terms of outdoor activities and such. I camped more at OA events than with my troop.

OA can be a good way to keep older youth active in scouting.

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Every Arrowman is different, as is every Lodge and Chapter. 

It is a hard work. From Ordeal, to service projects that keep Council Camps in order, to ceremonies and more. There are many ways to Cheerfully Serve. 

But the OA offers much more. It helps fulfill the BSA AIMs of building character, citizenship and it helps build leaders and the spirit of service. 

It is a great deal of fun, with Ordeals, Fellowships, Banquets, Conclaves, High Adventure, National Leadership Seminars, NOAC and NSJ Service Corp.

Arrowmen gather together like no other group in Scouting. The Lodge (Council Level) has multiple gatherings per year. Ordeals usually involve a good bit if service work, for candidates and brothers alike. Fellowships also have service usually, but also have training (leadership, ceremonies etc.) and fun (Quest Games and free time). It is much more youth led than Troops in most instances. Many Lodges do American Indian Activities and host Pow-wows (contrary to popular reports AIA is alive and well). 

Section (Area Level - several councils) meet for Council of Chiefs and Conclaves - to do training and compete in Quest games, ceremonies, AIA dance and drum teams. Scouts meet other Scouts from across several Councils and often several states. 

Regionally we hold NLS - an advanced training for Arrowmen. And Nationally every two years we hold NOAC (National Order of the Arrow Conference) where Lodges from all over the country gather for training, service, spectacular shows, fun events and games. There is also the Service Corp that helps run the National Scout Jamboree. 

In addition there is the opportunity to go to all of the high adventure bases at a much reduced rate, 1/3 to 1/6 the cost of contingents, based on where you live (travel is not included so that is why the cost vary so much). The Arrowmen perform service at Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier and SBR. In exchange for spening part of their time doing service work, they pay far less and get to create their own unique itineraries. 

Yes, it is hard work. But it is an honor. It is also an experience that most truly appreciate and treasure. It is unique in Scouting and I have seen nothing like it in other organizations. I have been a member for decades and have enjoyed every moment. My son has been a member for a few years and it is now his primary focus in Scouting, outside of his unit. My daughter has just been elected and is excited about going through Ordeal this Spring. 

When a Scout is elected I encourage them to attend 2 events after they have gone through Ordeal. Ordeal is hard, so if they think that is all there is to it, they probably won't return,. Most Lodges will have a Fellowship within the next two events, or a Conclave or something similar. If after those two events, they are not interested, I thank them for their service and wish them well. The OA like all things Scouting, is not for everyone. The vast majority of those that make the two events stay active in the OA. Most are active at least through high school and many until they turn 21. Some stay active for many years longer. 

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I have a few points and they don't necessarily correspond with one another:

  • What your son, and husband, are doing to me is the equivalent to being offered the option of a free gold brick ($521,644.05) or a new cell phone. And they choose the phone over a gold brick that would buy a house, a car, an even better phone, and still have money to spend.....because the gold is heavier. A rather frustrating process to watch.

 

  • The opportunities and benefits are many as previous posters have supplied. One that hasn't been mentioned is as an OA member your son can hold a 6 month position in the Chapter or Lodge that would meet his requirement for Star/Life. If you have a smaller Troop it can be difficult to hold those positions within a patrol, they just don't cycle around quickly sometimes. Those timelines can add pressure to earning his Eagle. Large Troops can have similar problems as Scouts can get lost in the shuffle.

 

  • When I hear parents and Scouts complain about the work involved I have to remind them that it will all add up to a great young adult, and that is worth the work. I think it is important to recognize that as many Scouts near mid-teens they really start to push back. And generally demonstrate a "lazy" attitude towards work. Because they can. Truly they are just being selective of what they do and don't do following their own priorities, which unfortunately does not always align with our parental expectations. Asserting their independence so to speak. Scouting in general and the OA specifically can help stimulate more productive selection or choice making. Working with peers, leading others...even adults, can be very motivating and empowering. It can create a positive hard-wiring effect towards good work ethic and practices.

 

  • At the end of the day it's his choice and if he doesn't want to do it he shouldn't be pushed into a Sash-N-Dash situation. It does nothing for the Scout and wastes sorely needed effort and energy of the Lodge.

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On 3/31/2019 at 9:30 AM, ItsBrian said:

I was elected for the OA in my troop, but I declined it. It depends on the scout, see what your scout wants to do. I’ve heard our lodge isn’t the best which also steered my decision.

When your lodge "isn't the best", you've gotten the gift of opportunity.  Anybody can jump into an organization that runs like a well-oiled machine, but only a real leader can take the rusty, worn out machine and oil it and turn it around.  

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4 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

When your lodge "isn't the best", you've gotten the gift of opportunity.  Anybody can jump into an organization that runs like a well-oiled machine, but only a real leader can take the rusty, worn out machine and oil it and turn it around.  

It is the adult leaders from what I heard - and they also met on the night of my troop meetings.

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14 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

It is the adult leaders from what I heard - and they also met on the night of my troop meetings.

Yes, too many adults can certainly put a monkey wrench into things...

Meeting night conflicts are kind of inevitable.  Unfortunately, there's only 4 good weekday nights to hold meetings, and chances are good that if you pick one of those 4 nights, it's going to conflict with SOME local troop's regular meeting night...if not yours, then another troop's.

Same things happen with Roundtable. Pick a night of the week to reserve for Roundtable and inevitably, that will be the only night of the week that some local troop is able to get their meeting room reserved / scoutmaster available, etc.  

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