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Eagle94-A1

Discouraged: A Very Poor Call Out Ceremony

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Should have been - That kind of thinking is what is making changes to the OA and is causing many to say "No" when selected.

 

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1 hour ago, sri_oa161 said:

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.

 

Unfortunately, that way of thinking is becoming more prevalent.  I am all for recognizing those who stand out, and whose troop feel are worthy of election, but too often I hear units being encouraged to elect everyone who is eligible.  Part of the rationale is 'we need numbers'.  When we elect everyone eligible, rather that only those that their troop feels are truly deserving, we are getting numbers on paper only. 

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1 hour ago, sri_oa161 said:

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.

Being "Called Out" was a public honor in the old days because the candidates was selected by his peers as the best of the best. Getting through "Ordeal" successfully was a personal honor because the candidate had to prove himself, or fail, under high physical and mental expectations.

OA has lost respect as an Honor Program because it has taken "honor" out of being selected as a member. Who would have thought that the day has come when saying "No" might be more noble. 

Barry  

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I admit, when I was a youth doing elections and as an advisor. I hated "sash and dash." But if National believes numbers are more important than quality, if the OA is now a "gimme" instead of a true honor society, if OA is now another check mark or line on the Scouting resume, then I will encourage my boys to go through  the Ordeal...and allow them to walk away.

And if the boys think it is pointless to join something that has no real meaning, and do not want to do the Ordeal, I am not pushing.

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This probably should be a different topic, but, did anybody attend/view the Thrive Webinar?  I was just looking at the website, https://oa-bsa.org/thrive, does it really say that in 2018 only 57% of units held elections, only 71% of those elected are completing their Ordeal, and only 30% ever come back?  

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10 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

This probably should be a different topic, but, did anybody attend/view the Thrive Webinar?  I was just looking at the website, https://oa-bsa.org/thrive, does it really say that in 2018 only 57% of units held elections, only 71% of those elected are completing their Ordeal, and only 30% ever come back?  

That's sobering.

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My son, despite getting Eagle rank earlier this month, has not achieved Brotherhood in the OA.  He's not even 15-and-a-half, so he has plenty of time.  However, he's not remotely interested.  Part of it is knowing he doesn't have the time to go to OA meetings due to sports, and part of it is his Scoutmaster nagging at him every couple of weeks to get his Brotherhood.  It turned him off to the whole thing.  So, I guess he's a Sash and Dasher.  I figured getting his Brotherhood and rising in the OA ranks might be a good next step for him, but as of right now, that's out.  I'm disappointed, but there's no sense in trying to force him.

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

This probably should be a different topic, but, did anybody attend/view the Thrive Webinar?  I was just looking at the website, https://oa-bsa.org/thrive, does it really say that in 2018 only 57% of units held elections, only 71% of those elected are completing their Ordeal, and only 30% ever come back?  

I bet those stats do not include those eligible who do not want to be part of the OA and declined to put their name on the ballots. Again my oldest declined when his name came up to be on the ballot the previous 3 years. Ditto my middle son last year. In fact thinking about it, the last time I witnessed an election, 1/2 of those eligible declined.

 

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2 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

This probably should be a different topic, but, did anybody attend/view the Thrive Webinar?  I was just looking at the website, https://oa-bsa.org/thrive, does it really say that in 2018 only 57% of units held elections, only 71% of those elected are completing their Ordeal, and only 30% ever come back?  

I would venture to say that some of that 57% number is due to the idea that troops should elect every eligible scout every year.  In some cases, that results in having no eligible scouts the next year.  The 71% ordeal rate is probably about right, especially considering that some troops do not give scouts the option to decline being on the ballot.  Sash and dash has always been around, and always will be.  I was inducted 50 years ago, and while retention rates were higher, there were still those who wore the flap, but never attended meetings or activities.  If it were as difficult to be elected today as it was 50 years ago, with election quotas and limits, we would probably see more of those elected considering it an honor rather than a right, and being more involved after completing their ordeal.

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59 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

 If it were as difficult to be elected today as it was 50 years ago, with election quotas and limits, we would probably see more of those elected considering it an honor rather than a right, and being more involved after completing their ordeal.

Absolutely. 

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2 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

...especially considering that some troops do not give scouts the option to decline being on the ballot.  

Apparently the chapter is no longer giving that option. My boys received their letters today. When I gave it to the oldest, he told me he is still not interested. He told the OA election team that, but they still left his name on the ballot. 

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Apparently the chapter is no longer giving that option. My boys received their letters today. When I gave it to the oldest, he told me he is still not interested. He told the OA election team that, but they still left his name on the ballot. 

Pure desperation on the OA's part.  The lodge's actions are completely contrary to everything we've be taught about our Order.

What would E. Urner Goodman and Carroll Edson say if they saw the OA today?

Edited by desertrat77
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31 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Pure desperation on the OA's part.  The lodge's actions are completely contrary to anything we've be taught about our Order.

What would E. Urner Goodman and Carroll Edson say if they saw the OA today?

That the members of the current Executive committee have "forgotten the faces of their fathers"

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8 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

This probably should be a different topic, but, did anybody attend/view the Thrive Webinar?  I was just looking at the website, https://oa-bsa.org/thrive, does it really say that in 2018 only 57% of units held elections, only 71% of those elected are completing their Ordeal, and only 30% ever come back?  

I did attend the Thrive webinar with our LEC.  The numbers are a bit sobering, and the context of it all was... correct on many levels that we need to be concerned, but missing the mark on some points.  The reality is that many units today in my part of the country camp only a handful of times a year.  Many scouts are taking 4-5 years to achieve the requisite # of camping nights to complete Camping MB.  I know units that do more indoor camping than tent camping in a year, and cancel outdoor activities and do day events to museums, indoor mini-golf, etc. if there is a hint that it will be a rainy weekend.  We have gone soft on outdoor program, and far too many of the youth in our program are not nearly devoted as the youth of 30-40 years ago.  We've had some spirited discussions this past year on the unit election participation rate in our council, and I come down on the side that we need to better understand the units that are not participating, and evaluate the amount of effort we out into trying to engage them.  if the unit doesn't participate, because the SM feels someone from the Lodge did him wrong 10 years ago, it warrants a conversation to spend 3 minutes to convince him those persons are long gone.  If after 3 minutes he doesn't show any signal of changing his mind, move on.  If the unit has adult leadership that were not involved in scouting as kids/were never in the OA, better chance to lead them to openness to have an election- but we need to be careful that we spend time to educate the adults and the youth on what we are.  I was told by other Advisers, from within my lodge and without, that we should use the basic script about the history of the OA and that is all.  To me, that only means we get mediocre engagement, and don't really emphasize the honor part of being a member.  I'd be OK with 57% and 71% statistics, if we got enthusiastic scouts that cared about the history of BSA scouting, and would see the OA as an expression of their dedication.  So, my focus is on how do we get that 30% number up, far before we worry about the first two statistics.  National wants a commitment from Lodges to address all 3, which, if we are getting 30% to come back, then probably only about 1/3 of those scouts are actually REALLY engaging and taking leadership roles (either as officers, chapter officers, ceremonialists, election team members, etc.), then we most definitely don't have the resources to spread ourselves thin over all 3 IMO.  

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@HashTagScouts, thank you for your insights!

It seems the root causes aren't OA unique, but extend throughout the BSA:  units don't camp as often as they should.  And if I can take it a step further, they don't camp as they should.  From my observation, there is almost no emphasis on patrol method, woodcraft skills, or adventure.  Camping is infrequent and usually at an improved campground with plenty of amenities and a giant horse trailer full of gear.  Not much of a chance for a scout to grow. 

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