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EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY Brotherhood Time Requirement Change

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From https://oa-bsa.org/article/national-committee-immediate-policy-changes

 

National Committee: Immediate Policy Changes

 Ed Lynes      June 07, 2019      Announcements
 

Brothers,

In recent years, youth membership in the Order of the Arrow has declined significantly — down 18 percent since 2015. These changes have impacted lodges, and their ability to support councils and deliver program.

The Order must grow, alongside the Scouting movement, to achieve its purpose. The best way to do this is through supporting a “High Performing Lodge” in each council. To help achieve this aim, the national OA committee approved several, significant policy changes at today’s meeting:

  • Brotherhood Requirements: Effective immediately, the waiting period between induction and eligibility for Brotherhood membership has been reduced to six (6) months. All other requirements are unchanged.
  • Journey to Excellence (JTE): The lodge program is being discontinued and immediately replaced with the new Performance Measurement Program. There are a small number of requirements and clear benchmarks for lodge achievement. The requirements are consistent with the former JTE to align with your lodge planning.
  • Purpose of the Section: Effectively immediately, the role of the Section has been expanded beyond hosting an annual Conclave. Sections share in the responsibility of empowering, supporting, and helping lodges become high performing.

The Lodge Ledger will have more detailed information on these changes and other new programs and policies approved at the meeting. They will also be covered extensively during Thrive, the national OA webinar, on October 19.

If there are questions on these changes, or feedback on how to better support your lodge, please contact either Vice Chairman of Unit, Lodge, and Chapter Support Dan McCarthy or myself at membership@oa-bsa.org.

Thank you for all you do to make our Brotherhood stronger each day.

WWW,
Ed Lynes
Vice Chairman of Strategic Performance
National Order of the Arrow Committee
membership@oa-bsa.org

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Yup.  Making achievement easier always works.😉

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I am really disheartened by this move. I wish National would remember when the times they have already made things easier in an attempt to improve retention, but made matters worse, i.e. doing away with time requirements for T-2-1 Ranks,  changing OA election procedures to allow everyone  eligible to be able to get elected, automatically allowing SMs admission to the OA.

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Yes, like everything else, make it easier. In promoting the OA in our troop for over 38 years, I simply couldn't anymore. Scouts have long sense known that this is all about free labor. Dress it up anyway you like, and they see nothing but giving up their time and working all weekend.

I left the Order several years ago when they removed the Native American motif.

It should always be about the quality of the members and nothing else. The work always got done.

Cheapening the OA makes it nonrelevant. Headed in the wrong direction.

sst3rd

 

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I’m betting National is using some data to show 6 months improves membership. But like most data used by National to make changes, they misinterpret the data. Excepting for girls, the change won’t likely change the final results much. I would expect further changes down the road to make OA more attractive. 

National will have to rides these changes out until the adults who are used to the traditional program leave. As I tell new SMs, make program changes with the new scouts while appeasing the older scouts. 

Barry

 

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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.

I suppose there will be a slight uptick in the brotherhood conversation numbers nationally,  So on paper things look better, but at the local level?  Little and less.

The other change seems good  in my eyes, some lodges are on life support, and having the section giving them a helping hand seems to be no bad thing.  Although I suspect many sections were already doing all they could.

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11 hours ago, sst3rd said:

Scouts have long sense known that this is all about free labor. 

I think that's over simplifying things. The work the OA does is what it has always done. And yet nobody thought of the OA as just free labor when I was a scout. One thing that changed is there are fewer people volunteering. If the same amount of work needs to be done by fewer people then I can see the perception that it's just about labor.

My council is also being squeezed by fewer volunteers and less donations. The solution is adapt to that by scaling back but the council is just expecting more money from families. 

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3 minutes ago, MattR said:

 

My council is also being squeezed by fewer volunteers and less donations. The solution is adapt to that by scaling back but the council is just expecting more money from families. 

Yes, I was reluctant to use the “f” word (family), but I was also thinking it.

Barry

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Posted (edited)

Matt, I am not sure I can agree with you here.  The Order is about serving on that all agree.  But it should be first in your own patrol, troop,district.  Then council. 

What I have seen is the lodge having weekend after weekend putting tents up at the council camp, taking tents down at the council camp, building a new stage at the council camp, spreading much, shoveling gravel, clearing downed trees  all at the council cubscout camp.  Is there any weekend ( or even a hour or two) devoted to how to be a better patrol leader?  SPL? QM?   Den chief?  Troop guide?

Nope.  Nothing.

A long time ago some of our local chapters had a group of older scouts, mostly eagles,who would go camping with brand new troops showing them how to stay warm dry and well fed in the woods.  The new Scoutmasters just loved it and it made quite an impression on the new scouts as well.   Sadly that type of group no longer exists.

A number of scouts and scoutmasters have bluntly asked  seeing as they don't attend the council summer camp, what direct benefit the OA is to their troop.  I wish I had a better ( read more local) answer. 

Edited by Oldscout448

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27 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

What I have seen is the lodge having weekend after weekend putting tents up at the council camp, taking tents down at the council camp, building a new stage at the council camp, spreading much, shoveling gravel, clearing downed trees  all at the council cubscout camp.  Is there any weekend ( or even a hour or two) devoted to how to be a better patrol leader?  SPL? QM?   Den chief?  Troop guide?

Well, that is different from my experience. We have 3 service weekends and that's it for the year. I'd understand the frustration if it were half the summer weekends. I don't think much of any time is allocated to improving leadership. Tell me about that, even if it's an old program. It sounds great.

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Isn't the core problem here one of the program delivery not keeping up with the expectations of today's kids?  Fewer and fewer scouts are seeing any value in joining the OA and so they don't join.

So, if Scouts are not seeing value in joining the OA, isn't the remedy to improve the program of lodges & chapters?

  • With all the changes around the Native American tie-in, feels like the national OA leadership needs to put some serious thought into what the OA is going forward.  
  • In parallel, there needs to be a concerted push on chapter & lodge quality.  What are their annual programs?  Are they well planned?  Well executed?  Engaging to their members?

An elite group of honor campers in Scouting is a really cool thing - but the OA needs to own making that happen.  

 

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Just the problem. It's not "elite." Not  much of an "honor."

 

 

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41 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

Just the problem. It's not "elite." Not  much of an "honor."

 

 

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.

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