Jump to content
Eagle94-A1

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY Brotherhood Time Requirement Change

Recommended Posts

6 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

@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? 

Well OA is an outside organization for scouts of a specific interest, specifically camping and service. It is (was) viewed as an honor organization because the members peers picked them out specifically, and theoretically, for the exceptional camping and service (character) skills. Of course "exceptional", as well as "camping" and "service" skills have changed over the years. I believe the reason the program appeals to older scouts today is because they have the maturity in those areas to plan, organize, and act with those skills. Something troops should be doing. That stuff is boring to young scouts.

OA needs to have an appeal that is exceptional to the Troop program. In my opinion, scouts who want super doses of outdoors and/or leadership responsibilities would be naturally attracted to the program. Actually, I feel the program (at least 20 years ago) wasn't failing. It just appeared as failing because they were loosing a lot of scouts by filtering out those who weren't really interested in the OA activities.  The recruiting is high because peers aren't selecting the scouts for their skills anymore, they are just picking them because they were next in line. The maturity requirements of the program drives immature scouts away, or the program reduces itself to a boring program to reach the immature scouts.

Where I think OA is failing is the adults advisers don't have good vision for the program. Tehy don't encourage activities that develop above average skills. They don't understand the comradery of working together, so the work camps don't have enough personal social activities. There isn't enough of outdoors development mixed with the service. Arrowmen should practice outdoors a step or two above common troop camp outs. For example, a weekend campout without tents, without stoves, or common cooking tools. Canoeing to a work camp. Rappelling near a trail that requires repair. Camping where the end of the day brings the crew. They should be LNT experts. Arrowmen should hike in and hike out. Building exceptional skills builds pride, and it's just plain fun. A troop wanting to try something new like rappelling or canoeing should only have to go to their troop Arrowmen to ask "how?". Lead us.

Character is developed through giving and serving. Service should be visible in the community as much, if not more by the district. Helping a poor family paint their house. Raising food for the local needy. If OA has a bad reputation of slave work, then that is because they aren't spreading their time in the community. Finding service projects is only as far away as asking a church for helping one of their members. Teams of two to five Arrowmen for helping build an wheelchair ramp can be done in just a couple hours. Imagine how many of teams of 2 to 5 scouts can be organized by each district. 

Arrowmen should be expected to be the outdoor experts because they are trained and experienced in most outdoor skills. Likewise, they should be experts in arranging and planning service activities because they do so much of it. How hard is mowing the lawn of a bed ridden elderly person. And, to me, Arrowmen should always properly wear the field uniform in all their activities. Elite scouts should set an elite example. They shouldn't have to wear the sash or patch to be recognized An Arrowmen. Their actions speak loudly. Their appearance is professional and confident.

As I said, the problem I saw with OA lately is the lack of vision from the adults. No real expectations for honor campers and servants. They were just repeating what they always did. OA should be known as training for each units camping expert. Don't worry about the little newby scouts who aren't ready for OA, if the organization has a true reputation of honor, then they will be back.

Something like that I guess.

Barry

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Eagledad, I wish they would just make you in charge.  

Here is where I expect these things came from. Someone at national asked some scouts who stuck with the program (11 to 18) what made them stay.  They got a large number of "the OA" answers.  I think this is true of many Arrowmen.  I also think that the rate of people sticking with the OA after Brotherhood is much higher than those who only ever complete the Ordeal.  National must have concluded that getting scouts to brotherhood with help them stick with the OA longer, sticking with the OA will make them stay in the program longer.  

I am not sure of the logic as it seems to me that OA lodges are all so different.  I hated our chapter because the chapter chief was the same guy for my first three years there.  He was a bully that got in "trouble" for smoking at camp. I hung around just enough to complete my brotherhood though.  I don't know if it really matters how much of an "honor society" the OA is.  

 

For reference, our lodge only had two weekends for ordeal, one spring and one fall.  They also did the brotherhood ceremony during summer camp after the ice cream social/lodge meeting.  If your lodge doesn't have ceremonies to match this requirement then it is your lodge that is going to have to change.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was once the most prestigious group of any size within Scouting - the SPL/Silver Award/Eagle Scout Club.  Your heart pounded as the Tap Out Team worked its way slowly  towards where you stood in line at the campfire - to the beat of a drum.  "Thump, thumpo, thump"  - Gary got it!   Is someone behind me, silently holding his hand over MY head?!  Could I be an Arrowman?  

Leadership in Service.

 

 

 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks @Eagledad

My gut tells me that these are some a key lines:

2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Where I think OA is failing is the adults advisers don't have good vision for the program. Tehy don't encourage activities that develop above average skills. They don't understand the comradery of working together, so the work camps don't have enough personal social activities. There isn't enough of outdoors development mixed with the service.

...

As I said, the problem I saw with OA lately is the lack of vision from the adults. No real expectations for honor campers and servants. They were just repeating what they always did.

Between what I see locally and what I read here, this is I suspect the root of the problem.

I'd love to find a way to capture your ideas and turn them into some specific recommendations for chapter advisors.  One could certainly just print out your post and share it.  I'd love for the community to create something that we could share with advisors.  A sort of "Guidelines to OA Chapter success".

Edited by ParkMan
Added a few clarifying words

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two things I have noticed.  Changing the elections so that all eligible youth can get in, cheapens the program.  The ceremonies that are mandated by National are so lame.  Last year at the tap out ceremony, I asked myself the question.  If I were a first year scout who knew nothing about the OA, I would have left the ceremony still not knowing anything about the OA.  The legend is non existent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess times have changed.  I grew up in a family that went out of their way (looking back on it) to help in the community.  My dad was a Lion, club president for some years. My mom was deep in the PTA, other local clubs,  wrote a column in the local paper,  They just did stuff, and I tagged along, helped out where I could , I remember many of my friends were of the same sort, not just in Scouts. 

Finding satisfaction in DOING and finishing a job.  We mowed the church lawn (now it's a pro outfit),  served at the church /VFD dinners,  variety show raised money for various charities,  the Lion's Club Horse show (I ran messages, watched the gate, led horses, ) school service club (Key Club? Leos?) were active.  I remember it was fun, doing "adult stuff" , with my parents' friends.   Have the kids lost the example from "millennial" parents who forgot what their parents did?  

When I was elected/tapped for OA, it seemed to be another step in that growth. The ordeal was a camping test (it RAINED !), and the service just a continuation of what seemed to be an expectation.  Help at the Camporee?  The Salamagundi?  At the Scoutaree?  That's what we did for the other Scouts coming up. The OA were senior, older Scouts.  We taught. We led, but not so much with a finger point as with a glance over our shoulder, if you catch my meaning. 

I still see some of that , but maybe this thread/discussion has made me think that such civic mindedness is not as prevalent as it once was?   The volunteer fire company cannot be staffed so easily any more by local businessmen and farmers who would drop their tools at the sound of the siren and come running to the firehouse.  Now, the county has a professional core of wonderful "first responders" that smile and nod at the volunteers that still work to equip the fire companies and keep up the training standards, all because they think they "should".  

Perhaps the perceived OA "crisis" is another symptom of the friction between the Scout Led/Patrol Method and the adults who sign the check book  that are afraid the kids won't do it right the first time..... 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why the OA matters to my son:

1. As a scouts ages, they relate less and less to the scouts in the unit.  OA lodge gatherings bring youth in similar phases of life to together.  Arrowmen talk about college, and other aspirations.   It is not uncommon for the entire chapter to pile in one adirondack while at a lodge event, and talk until 3 AM.  See #2

2. Brotherhood...not the recognition.

3. OA High Adventure programs.  These programs are more affordable and much more accessible to middle class folk then the generic scout HA programs, and do not require adult (parental) involvement.  

The local chapter has meetings once a month, but they are a snore.  Most of the active arrowmen are reliable participants at lodge and section events.  Yes, there are many kids who go through ordeal, and they are done, but they are faceless unknowns that have marginalized themselves, and are not legit.  They may be statistic on a computer spreadsheet, but if they are not attending chapter meetings, lodge activities, NOAC, and HA, then they are not really arrowmen.

My boy is planning on going on a OA HA every year until he ages out.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I'm one of the Scoutmasters "allowed in." I fumed out as a youth and missed summer camp and what would have been my tapout. I joined Scouting with my son when he became a Tiger. Attended with him all the way to the troop.  I had my 15 nights camping (more like 30) and was nominated by my committee. That was Summer 2017. Got Brotherhood. I'm still very active, having advised for a Winter Dinner (Jan 2018) and still serving as a Chapter Adviser since May 2018. No freebies here.  Founder's Award Jan. 2018. Haven't missed a work project or Fellowship/Conclave. Not bragging... Just trying to set a good example.

We offer Brotherhood at the May Fellowship, Thursdays during Summer Camp (five to six opportunities), and at the August Fellowship. Plenty of opportunities. As much as I try to live the Scout Oath and Law and provide cheerful service and a good example I still fail to convince some of my own Scouts to reach for Brotherhood. They get their pocket flap and sash and dash. Some don't even pay dues after year one. The dynamic has shifted. 

Edited by Scoutmaster Teddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/9/2019 at 12:29 PM, 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.

The National Lodge needs tor to reevaluate the history and find a way to reinstate the mystique and actual "honor" in being a member.  It has been beaten to death, but there need to be more actual limits on eligibility that make it less a "gimme".  They sill have a purpose and in ur council do help, though, as noted, getting higher participation is difficult.  But that has as much to do with the lesser honor issues than simply the over-scheduled lives of the scouts in general. 

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, skeptic said:

The National Lodge needs tor to reevaluate the history and find a way to reinstate the mystique and actual "honor" in being a member.  It has been beaten to death, but there need to be more actual limits on eligibility that make it less a "gimme".  They sill have a purpose and in ur council do help, though, as noted, getting higher participation is difficult.  But that has as much to do with the lesser honor issues than simply the over-scheduled lives of the scouts in general. 

 

Fully agree.  I've been wondering of the OA would be better off by ncreasing the requirements and then combining chapters and perhaps even doing away with them.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, skeptic said:

The National Lodge needs tor to reevaluate the history and find a way to reinstate the mystique and actual "honor" in being a member.  It has been beaten to death, but there need to be more actual limits on eligibility that make it less a "gimme".  They sill have a purpose and in ur council do help, though, as noted, getting higher participation is difficult.  But that has as much to do with the lesser honor issues than simply the over-scheduled lives of the scouts in general. 

 

We had 3 scout eligible this spring and two were elected then a short time before the Call Out ceremony out Chapter adult leader call to tell me that he could put the third scout in since he can put in deserving scouts that don't get elected.  I told him that I have never heard of that before and no the troops vote can stand but he replied that there weren't many scout elected for our chapter.  Sometimes it feels like they want more Arrowmen just to have a larger audience to sell all of their OA swag to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, my_three_sons said:

We had 3 scout eligible this spring and two were elected then a short time before the Call Out ceremony out Chapter adult leader call to tell me that he could put the third scout in since he can put in deserving scouts that don't get elected.  

No he most certainly can not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Fully agree.  I've been wondering of the OA would be better off by ncreasing the requirements and then combining chapters and perhaps even doing away with them.  

 

While most do, it is not required for a Lodge to have Chapters.  Most that have them set it up as each District has a Chaper, but I have seen some that have a Chapter for every two Districts, or divide it entirely unique from the District division.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×