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Eagle94-A1

Discouraged: A Very Poor Call Out Ceremony

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As some may know, I have been in the OA for a long time. I have served as an executive board member as a youth, and as an adviser in multiple lodges. Even when I stepped down as chapter adviser to focus on Cub Scouts, and working with a troop, whenever I was asked for assistance, I provided it. Especially when it concerned ceremonies. I know how powerful ceremonies can be, and want them to be the most meaningful and special for those in them, and watching them.

So last night I was very discouraged at the Call Out Ceremony I attended last night. An adult in uniform, stepped forward, read names off a sheet of paper, and lined them up. No youth were involved except those called out, no regalia, no mention of what it means to be elected into the OA. Nothing I have seen in the numerous ceremonies I've performed, wrote, coached, or saw to make the ceremony special was done. There were a lot of disappointed Scouts and adults present at that ceremony. To rub salt into the wound for me, my two oldest sons were called out.  They have been eligible for 4 and 2 years respectively BUT have had no interest in the OA, and always removed their names from the ballot.  I do not know what their SM said to them to agree to give the OA a try,  but I fear that last nite's disappointment may have gotten them uninterested in the OA again.

I found out what happened when the camporee chief, who not only had a son that was called out, but he himself was called out, apologized profusely for the ceremony. Apparently the Arrowman responsible for the Call Out Ceremony did not communicate with anyone about the need for the ceremony. He emailed the the camporee chief the list of new candidates and asked him to give the list to the other chapter's ceremony team, less than 2 hours before the ceremony. No one in that chapter knew anything about doing a Call Out Ceremony. As for my chapter, we no longer have a ceremony team because they no longer can do AOL and Cross Over Ceremonies, which is the bulk of what they did.

It seems as if the OA is slowly dying. "Sash and Dash" Arrowman are on the rise. One individual lamented that it appears that getting into the OA is a "gimme" nowadays; something to be checked off on the path to Eagle. It seems as if no one cares anymore as the OA has lost it's uniqueness.

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Eagle94-A1,

I dropped out several years ago as our chapter ceremony advisor. We still were expected to perform the national OA's approved call out ceremony at one of the Friday night closing campfires for summer camp. Six weeks of summer camp, six ceremonies. Each performed by a different chapter team. I'll admit that I still have possession of all of the regalia, but I can't seem to give it away. I'm still waiting for a new advisor to take over. Anyway, yes, when the AOLs and Crossovers were removed, it took the last wind out of our sails. So, although we keep promoting the need for a ceremony team for troop call outs, we've got nothing. We have good attendance at our chapter meetings, but no scout wants to commit to anything. At the very least, we want the chapter to have an active election committee. We can't get that. Our adult advisors don't know what to do. We can't make them do it.

So, the chapter advisor made the mistake of asking my opinion of things, and I said to shut the chapter down, and ditch the OA. I said it loud enough for the scouts at the chapter meeting to hear me. They had no reaction. Everything is done for them, and the adult chapter advisors are always begging them to sign up for service weekends (used to be called Ordeals but everyone became offended), Conclaves, NOAC, Trail Teams, and such. Other than the advisor's sons, no dice. 

I am old fashioned. Sometimes things don't need to change for the benefit of those wanting a kinder, gentler OA. I say, either do it 100%, or don't do it at all. But whose %100 are we talking about? It's not fun watching a once proud organization fail.

sst3rd

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That is what might happen if you overcorrect to solve problems.  Add to it the misunderstanding of many regarding OA and Native American cultures, and you end up with the proverbial milk-toast.  I have posted before that the main issue I see is, as you put it, the gimme and no limit elections.  But, it is mostly the lack of true mystique due to the fear of "secret societies"and the flack regarding regalia that seems most damaging.  Pure lack of pride also often seems present to me.  When we old guys were inducted, ceremonies not only had the regalia, but all of the players knew their parts without reading them.  Ordeals had consequences if candidates chose to violate the restrictions.  I have no answer though.  Maybe I am becoming too jaded.

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The true spirit of the OA, which sustained our great organization for decades, has indeed departed.

It's time to put out the campfire.

Edited by desertrat77
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The fire may indeed be dying down, but it won't be my hand that puts it out.  We are still fighting to keep it going here. Last weekend we did a full blown tapout ceremony for one ( yes just one) scout who's crew had their election too late for the spring callout and ordeal.  It was about 4 hours of work for 6 arrowmen to make it all happen.  But they did it cheerfully. i suspect National wouldn't approve of our little ceremony,  but we are way beyond caring or asking for permission at this juncture.   The scouts have this deep seated conviction that the order belongs to THEM.  (especially the 20 year old vigils)  Not some faceless bureaucrats in Irving Texas.

I mean  absolutely no disrespect,  I know you guys loved the Order as much as I did and that's saying something.  

I can read the writing on the wall, but I guess I'm just a stubborn old Irishman who's too thick to quit.

Oldscout   (Mikemossin Wunachk )

 

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2 hours ago, skeptic said:

 When we old guys were inducted, ceremonies not only had the regalia, but all of the players knew their parts without reading them.  Ordeals had consequences if candidates chose to violate the restrictions.  I have no answer though.  Maybe I am becoming too jaded.

Don't get me started.

Ok I admit, I used a cheat sheet of some sort for ceremonies with names involved, specifically Arrow of Light, AOL, and Call Out Ceremonies. I've used  scroll, hidden list on a fan, or my favorite arrows with names on them from a quiver. But Pre Ordeal, Ordeal, and Brotherhood Ceremonies were memorized. I was at one lodge's Ordeal, and they had candlelit podium for the principles to read their lines from. Another Lodge had the four principles, but only 3 spoke, reading their lines.

As for candidates violating restrictions, I was furious that we had to separate an adult candidate from the rest of the candidate group, and allow him to complete the Ordeal  despite him constantly talking and complaining.  But the worse was the group of 10-15 candidates who said they had enough cheerful service and basically sat down and refused to do work that rest of the afternoon. I was glad I had to leave the Ordeal weekend early and found out about that event after the fact.

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2 hours ago, Oldscout448 said:

The fire may indeed be dying down, but it won't be my hand that puts it out.  We are still fighting to keep it going here. Last weekend we did a full blown tapout ceremony for one ( yes just one) scout who's crew had their election too late for the spring callout and ordeal.  It was about 4 hours of work for 6 arrowmen to make it all happen.  But they did it cheerfully. i suspect National wouldn't approve of our little ceremony,  but we are way beyond caring or asking for permission at this juncture.   The scouts have this deep seated conviction that the order belongs to THEM.  (especially the 20 year old vigils)  Not some faceless bureaucrats in Irving Texas.

I mean  absolutely no disrespect,  I know you guys loved the Order as much as I did and that's saying something.  

I can read the writing on the wall, but I guess I'm just a stubborn old Irishman who's too thick to quit.

Oldscout   (Mikemossin Wunachk )

 

@Oldscout448, your endeavors are absolutely in keeping with the traditions of the Order, and as long as an ember is there, I too would keep fanning the flame.

However, there are parts of scouting where there is nary a spark from the OA and hasn't been for a long time.

Edited by desertrat77

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37 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

@Oldscout448, your endeavors are absolutely in keeping with the traditions of the Order, and as long as an ember is there, I too would keep fanning the flame.

However, there are parts of scouting where there is nary a spark.  It's painful to see these lodges--when you do see them.   It's difficult to see them represent our Order, because they perform no service, keep no traditions, and draw no respect from scouts.

Don't know what to say in cases like that. If there are truly no traditions and more importantly no service then in my opinion (and Allowats) they do not deserve to wear the arrow. I guess folding the teepee up and riding into the sunset might just be your only option.  

Do we raise a glass to the old days or just sit down and weep?

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1 minute ago, Oldscout448 said:

Don't know what to say in cases like that. If there are truly no traditions and more importantly no service then in my opinion (and Allowats) they do not deserve to wear the arrow. I guess folding the teepee up and riding into the sunset might just be your only option.  

Do we raise a glass to the old days or just sit down and weep?

I've been in several different councils as an adult (when I was active duty).  Over the years, I found one lodge amongst them that still resembled the OA as we knew it.  The others?  They were either so dead that the good candidates refused to join them, or they billed themselves as an exclusive social club, but not focused on service or brotherhood.

Even for the lodges that want to adhere to the old tried/true ways, there are national level polices that undermine their efforts.

Is it really the OA anymore? 

I'm all for raising a glass.  :)

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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Don't get me started.

Ok I admit, I used a cheat sheet of some sort for ceremonies with names involved, specifically Arrow of Light, AOL, and Call Out Ceremonies. I've used  scroll, hidden list on a fan, or my favorite arrows with names on them from a quiver. But Pre Ordeal, Ordeal, and Brotherhood Ceremonies were memorized. I was at one lodge's Ordeal, and they had candlelit podium for the principles to read their lines from. Another Lodge had the four principles, but only 3 spoke, reading their lines.

As for candidates violating restrictions, I was furious that we had to separate an adult candidate from the rest of the candidate group, and allow him to complete the Ordeal  despite him constantly talking and complaining.  But the worse was the group of 10-15 candidates who said they had enough cheerful service and basically sat down and refused to do work that rest of the afternoon. I was glad I had to leave the Ordeal weekend early and found out about that event after the fact.

I hear you brother, I'm constantly telling my team but if I can memorize all four parts for all three of the usual ceremonies plus the vigil they can memorize at least one.

I remember well how horrified I was to see a pre ordeal ceremony read, and read badly, by flashlight! 

It helps a lot if the older scouts have their parts down cold and "encourage " the younger scouts to up their game if they want to play on our team.

I am puzzled as to why the sitting candidates were allowed to go thru the ordeal ceremony.  If we had such a situation I very much doubt the team would perform with them in our ring.

Edited by Oldscout448

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3 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

 

I'm all for raising a glass.  :)

First round is on me.  18 year old Glenlevit work for you? 

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1 minute ago, Oldscout448 said:

First round is on me.  18 year old Glenlevit work for you? 

You bet! [looks around for canteen cup....]

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23 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

I am puzzled as to why the sitting candidates were allowed to go thru the ordeal ceremony.  If we had such a situation I very much doubt the team would perform with them in our ring.

They sat down during the work part of the Ordeal, not the ceremony itself. When I asked why they were not sent home, the lodge adviser told me sending candidates home fro violating the restrictions is considered hazing and is no longer allowed. A candidate has to willing quit and ask to go home. 

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9 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

They sat down during the work part of the Ordeal, not the ceremony itself. When I asked why they were not sent home, the lodge adviser told me sending candidates home fro violating the restrictions is considered hazing and is no longer allowed. A candidate has to willing quit and ask to go home. 

I got that bit. It's just that if we knew that a candidate or group of candidates had blatantly refused to complete their ordeal,  Kitch would probably not  lead them into our Circle. And Nut certainly wouldnt be letting them in if he did. If the adviser chose to give them their sash afterward then that is his prerogative to do so. But he would have quite a fight trying to persuade us to do a ceremony with them present.  

Hazing?  Heck, send 'em to sit in the mess hall and feed them ice cream. Anywhere they want. Just not in our ceremonies ring. That's reserved for them as deserve it.

Edited by Oldscout448
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Welcome to the New OA.  The Call-Out only has one Youth who speaks.  None of the actual principals are present and of course their names are not mentioned.  Candidates will hear those, maybe, at the actual Ordeal ceremony.

And while the ceremonies are open to any who desire to observe, some still consider them "secret".

Of course, no one can fail their Ordeal, no matter what they do or not do.  If they can come to the weekend and sit around and get their sash, that's so much better than having to work and earn it like the many before them.  If they are not willing to complete the requirements than they do not deserve the award.  But then how many youth are getting merit badges by only showing up for a class.

The OA has lost almost all of it's luster, but there is still some shining in places.  What has been good for over a hundred years is no longer good, according to many at National and now also many in the local Lodges.

We used to have a Lodge Advisor who stated that he felt that once a Scout reached First Class, then he should automatically be a member of the OA.

That time of thinking is what is making changes to the OA and that is causing many to say "No" when selected.

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