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SteveMM

Troop Pressure for OA

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How appropriate is it for the higher-ups in a troop (in our case, the SM) to pressure Scouts to get their Brotherhood?  At our regular troop meetings, I've heard things like, "We don't want any sash and dash OA members, so if you don't plan be involved, don't do it."  Now, I guess this doesn't sound all that bad, as he's looking for Scouts who will be active OA members.  However, my son and others who are OA members but haven't yet gotten Brotherhood are regularly harassed as well.  At the latest meeting, our troop's OA representative reminded OA members that there was a ordeal weekend coming up.  The SM then jumped in and asked my son if he was going.  My son (who is kind of done with the guy) shrugged, probably knowing that he wasn't.  The SM then looked at his own son, who is our OA rep, and said, "take him out back and beat him until he says yes."  This type of "joke" has led to the son applying his own pressure to my son (verbally, mind you) whenever he gets a chance.

A little background: My son hasn't been the most active OA member, for sure.  He did his ordeal in the fall of 2017.  He balances Scouts with playing soccer, which sometimes doesn't leave time for much else.  He's done his ordeal, one service outing, and attended conclave this year, but he doesn't regularly attend OA meetings.  His soccer schedule is now loosening up a bit.  He has his Eagle CoH coming up next month, and I think his plan is to focus on advancing and being more active in OA after that.

I know the answer to this is to have a talk with the SM, but I'm wondering if this sort of thing is normal.

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This is not normal.  Being an older arrowman from my ordeal in Sep 1980, been an advisor for three different chapters in three different lodges and a defender of types like this gets me going.  I will try to keep this short.  Arrowmen are all equal in the lodge and brotherhood is done when and where the scout chooses.  Brotherhood just shows their commitment to the order and cheerful service.  As I understand, your son is just not ready to accept brotherhood yet based on other interests, ok.  I wish others had that insight rather than taking on everything half way.  It may be his passive resistance to not go in order to tick off the SM.

The SM statement "jokingly" is a worse issue.  Whether camouflaging his true intention with the "joke" as I see it, or a real joke as a motivator is inappropriate.  That is the bigger issue.  Whether this SM was an inducted youth, or adult may have some play on this.  I've seen inducted adults go hardcore OA on youth.  It is about the youth, not the adult members.  Maybe you have a chapter advisor, graybeard goat or nanny that can set him straight. 

 

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1 minute ago, Double Eagle said:

It may be his passive resistance to not go in order to tick off the SM.

This would not shock me.  My son has said several times to me that he's "done" with our SM for a number of reasons, including what I mentioned in the original post.  He still enjoys Scouting, thankfully, or receiving his Eagle might seem like a convenient way out.  Our ASMs are good and reasonable people, which helps.

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Some scouts get very active in the OA.  Others not so much.  It is their own personal decision.  With soccer thrown in the mix, sounds like your son has his hands full.  It is his decision to set his own priorities.

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SteveMM,

I can tell you as a formally active ceremonial team advisor for the chapter who still attends chapter meetings, our lodge is pushing "HARD", Brotherhood conversions. This appears to have happened shortly after the OA made it simpler to become a brotherhood member, mainly shortening the time required from having become an Ordeal member. An active adult member who has been a SM, Unit Commissioner, District Commissioner, and now our new Lodge Advisor (he's earned and deserves all of these positions), said since this rule change, the intent of the national  OA, is to push brotherhood conversions. So, scoutmasters have been getting the pressure applied to them from several directions. If I was still a scoutmaster, I would not change how we've applied the OA in our troop. Remember, the last requirement for a scout nominee to the OA, is the scoutmaster's approval. The scoutmaster ought to have an idea of how busy these scouts are, and if this scout can give more to the BSA through the OA. Life is a balance. So, go balance.

sst3rd

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Our SMs and ASMs keep lodge business out of the troop except to encourage the Chapter Representatives to fulfill their obligations. It's up to the CR to relay the vision of the lodge to the youth.

Our adult arrowmen have enough work exhorting adults like me to put some muscle behind he lodge.

@SteveMM, your son needs to be plain spoken (both to the SM and to over-zealous arrowmen) and reply "Sir, I have no intention to persue brotherhood this year."

A shrug is insufficient communication.

Learning to state your position clearly to these types of leaders is a good life lesson.

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Like Venturing, OA is another scouting program outside of the troop program. SteveMM’s SM is looking at it as a troop program, which adds pressure on the scouts. Pressure and boredom drive scouts away.

Barry

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