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Eagle94-A1

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY Brotherhood Time Requirement Change

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41 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

That's a delivery problem.  It's supposed to be an elite group.  If we want it to be elite, we need a program that attracts elite Scouts.  As mentioned above, the OA national leadership needs to strengthen the core program. At a local level we need to have strong lodges and chapters that deliver strong programs.

Sadly National changed the election protocols a number of years ago. There use to be a quota on the number you CV ould vote for. Instead of the best scouts getting elected, people view OA more of a gimme than an honor camper society as it was originally. People predicted the lowering of standards would slowly kill the OA. 

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I don't see this as having a major impact one way or another.  Does it make things a little easier, yes.  Do I think the Brotherhood conversion experience will be significantly cheapened?  Absolutely not.  It's certainly not a silver bullet that will solve our dwindling numbers, but it's not going to kill us any faster either.  We can play the "it was better in my day because it was tougher and therefore more meaningful" game forever, or we can roll up our sleeves and help support the youth officers in delivering the program.

Looking over the PMP it really just looks like a simplified JTE with a shiny new name, breaking it down easier for the Lodge Officers who should be running the program.  I'm ok with that.  How many Units skip out on JTE just so they don't have to fill out the scoresheet?  

 

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3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly National changed the election protocols a number of years ago. There use to be a quota on the number you CV ould vote for. Instead of the best scouts getting elected, people view OA more of a gimme than an honor camper society as it was originally. People predicted the lowering of standards would slowly kill the OA. 

Everytime national tinkers with the OA, folks say "it will kill the OA".  I'm sure the OA is caught up in the trend that exists everywhere in Scouting - declining membership.  I see many of these changes as National's way of trying to deal with declining membership in the OA.  Do I personally agree with them?  No, I don't.  But, I understand them.  

The best way we impact declining membership is through quality program.  Give the Scouts a reason to come and to spread the word that the OA is the place to be.  Make it elite because elite Scouts want to be there.  The more shining examples we have of great OA chapters and lodges the better.  They will become the examples we all learn from in building great programs of our own.

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5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

That's a delivery problem.  It's supposed to be an elite group.  If we want it to be elite, we need a program that attracts elite Scouts.  As mentioned above, the OA national leadership needs to strengthen the core program. At a local level we need to have strong lodges and chapters that deliver strong programs.

Then raise, not lower, the membership requirements. 

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If the rules for voting went back to the way they were it would have little impact on how many are nominated from my troop. It's been a long time since we've had more than 3 people nominated and that was when we had 70 in the troop. My troop usually nominates the best scouts. The scouts that screwed around a lot as younger scouts typically have a lot of work to do to fix the name they made for themselves. Most don't make it no matter how hard they try and the ones that do really are the better scouts. So I'm not sure it's about making it harder to get in.

I remember when my SM encouraged me to go to JLT. He basically said you're a good scout, now you need to take it to the next level. That sold me right then and there. I wanted to know what that level was. It wasn't anything about higher adventure, some sort of recognition or patch, or even more service. It was about learning a useful skill. My troop does high adventure and service so thart's not a great way to sell it. Eagle already has the biggest name recognition so telling a scout they will earn something will not get them to chapter meetings. Camaraderie can't compete with what a few years of developing friends in the troop. It has to be something that they can't get in their troops. It would be great to have the OA run camporees but it assumes they have the skills and motivation to lead something big. I listen to the OA adult helping the scouts and he's frustrated with scouts that just can't get anything done. Whatever it is, it needs to be self motivating.

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We just had Conclave this weekend, so this policy change was a topic that everyone was aware of and talked about, but consensus is that changing from 10 months to 6 months does little of encouraging more involvement/participation.  Most feel if we are losing the youth after they complete Ordeal today, this doesn't solve that problem.  One observation that I took from the weekend, compiling various comments, was that we've had a much higher number of youth under the age of 14 going through Ordeal for the past decade+ than we did 20-30 years ago, and that may not have been a great thing in retrospect.  Many just may not have been needing "something additional" or spent enough time in troops yet to appreciate that OA was something special.  Also a lot of expressions that troops have fewer fully engaged older scouts than they would desire, and so they are concerned when they "lose" one of those scouts to the OA.    

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On ‎6‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 10:43 AM, Oldscout448 said:

I don't perceive this change from 10 months to 6 months as having much impact.  Around here the Brotherhood  ceremony is  only offered at Ordeals. The big one is in the spring, the fall ordeal is 5 months later. So 75% of our new members still have to wait a full year.

Same with my old lodge. From the earliest ordeal (Late April) to the last (Mid September) is only 5 and a half months. Even if those dates were juggled a bit to get to 6 months, it wouldn't address the arrowmen who went through the ordeals in May and June. Around here, it looks like everyone will need to take a winter season to meet the requirements. Which is as it has been before the change.

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2 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

We just had Conclave this weekend, so this policy change was a topic that everyone was aware of and talked about, but consensus is that changing from 10 months to 6 months does little of encouraging more involvement/participation.  Most feel if we are losing the youth after they complete Ordeal today, this doesn't solve that problem.  

^^This is the key insight.....

1 hour ago, prof said:

Same with my old lodge. From the earliest ordeal (Late April) to the last (Mid September) is only 5 and a half months. Even if those dates were juggled a bit to get to 6 months, it wouldn't address the arrowmen who went through the ordeals in May and June. Around here, it looks like everyone will need to take a winter season to meet the requirements. Which is as it has been before the change.

FWIW, my lodge does Ordeal Ceremonies at Spring and Fall Fellowships, about 4 months apart.  But, we do Brotherhood Ceremonies all the time.  Fellowships, camporees, church basements, training events, anywhere we can gather eligible ordeal members and the principles.  The 6 month requirement sets up this incentive, election in Jan/Feb, Ordeal in May/June, Brotherhood in December.  That way a single scout can count for induction and conversion in the same JTE year......

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2 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

We just had Conclave this weekend, so this policy change was a topic that everyone was aware of and talked about, but consensus is that changing from 10 months to 6 months does little of encouraging more involvement/participation.  Most feel if we are losing the youth after they complete Ordeal today, this doesn't solve that problem.  One observation that I took from the weekend, compiling various comments, was that we've had a much higher number of youth under the age of 14 going through Ordeal for the past decade+ than we did 20-30 years ago, and that may not have been a great thing in retrospect.  Many just may not have been needing "something additional" or spent enough time in troops yet to appreciate that OA was something special.  Also a lot of expressions that troops have fewer fully engaged older scouts than they would desire, and so they are concerned when they "lose" one of those scouts to the OA.    

I see two things here:

  1. many OA members in recent years have been younger Scouts.  Once those Scouts complete Ordeal, they tend to leave
  2. there are fewer older Scouts in troops and so troops are working hard to keep them active in the troop

I've heard several older scouts comment that they like the OA because it gives them something to do once they get tired of troop life.  It strikes me that this is a place where the OA can really help Scouting to grow.  Provide programming and a place for older Scouts.  Give them new experiences, new opportunities for leadership, and a new circle of Scouting friends.

My question would be - what does a great OA program look like that older Scouts want to particiapte in and can keep them engaged in Scouting.  What would an "elite" program look like?

 

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29 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

 

I've heard several older scouts comment that they like the OA because it gives them something to do once they get tired of troop life.  It strikes me that this is a place where the OA can really help Scouting to grow.  Provide programming and a place for older Scouts.  Give them new experiences, new opportunities for leadership, and a new circle of Scouting friends.

 

This certainly was the case for me growing up. 

My troop wasn't very motivated to do a lot. In terms of camping and outdoor activities, I camped a lot more as a member of OA and Firecrafter (local honor camping group similar to OA) than I did with my troop with all of the ordeals, and fellowships and staffing camporees.

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Giving troops something for the older scouts is not a good marketing endorsement for the elite program or Troop Program. Elite implies exceptional. Is just being older an honor? What appeal does a Service/Camping organization have for the average older scout that a troop program could not provide?

Seems OA is trying to find itself in a youth organization struggling to become relevant in todays social climate. In a culture of mediocrity, elitism, even in character, might have some resistance. Tomorrows parents will have to find the appeal with an OA program that is acceptable for their kids.

Barry

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@Eagledad,

I understand your point.  You've been a strong advocate for troop programs for older youth.  How do you see the OA best fitting into the program? 

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Many many go into the OA, do the ordeal, and it's one and done.  

So the question may be, why one and done?  Can only speak for the local chapter of our local lodge, they tend to be, how can you say...cliquish.  Some of our guys went to some meetings a few years ago and it was not the most welcoming.  Also the follow-up at the ordeal as they talk chapters etc is lost on the 13 / 14 year old Scouts.  Most are asleep anyway.

From a unit perspective the chapter shows up once a year, come in and do the election, show some videos, they seem to not really be able to articulate the WHY a Scout should be active.  Yes the whole cheerful service deal, but what is the hook, the draw, what brings them in.  What is the "program" and what will be "fun".

Sort of like when we had a Venture group at our CO, they wanted to see if our older Scouts might be interested.  Note we are a very active troop.  So the Venture guy comes to the meeting, the guys ask, what are your next activities, and the answer was; we can do many things, join up and we'll plan some.  Not a bad answer, but no real incentive to add something new.

I see the same with the OA at least here.  They are not good at selling what the benefit is for the Scout to stay active in the chapter, maybe pay dues, etc.

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7 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

I see the same with the OA at least here.  They are not good at selling what the benefit is for the Scout to stay active in the chapter, maybe pay dues, etc.

Do you tihnk they know what the benefit is for a Scout to join or to stay active?

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18 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Do you tihnk they know what the benefit is for a Scout to join or to stay active?

I do not think they do, not actually.   They talk about the Philmont OA trek, maybe some vague conclave experience, but it is not actual "Oh I can do that" selling point.  Then they talk about doing work days and service, which is needed, but that may not be the best recruiting talking point.  Some items they discussed like Philmont OA are good, but not applicable.   For instance (in our case) troop goes to Philmont every two years, those that want to go have that avenue.  Not a huge selling point.  

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