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I think the BSA needs to be laser focused on getting kids out into the woods, on adventure, and on service.  Everything else is a distraction.

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I dont personally know anyone who is into ultra light backpacking.  There are some, but I  don't know any.  The OA is the one program that is youth run, at least in my lodge it is. This whole native american thing is just another unnecessary conflict. Our lodge has a native american member and local, real, tribal member native americans have an open invitation to attend any of our events to view our ceremonies and provide chritism.  Without exception, they are appreciative of our efforts to commemorate their culture.  I would suggest that adults let the voting members decide what they want and the adults provide the support that they need.

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27 minutes ago, ALongWalk said:

I think the BSA needs to be laser focused on getting kids out into the woods, on adventure, and on service.  Everything else is a distraction.

Completely agree. 

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Posted (edited)

ultralight backpacking isn't something new or far-out. The old-timers preached it. Any of the authors I posted earlier were extremely weight conscious. And not because all their gear was heavy stuff, or they didn't take anything and were miserable. It was all about skills, knowledge, experience,  and not taking extra stuff. In general folks carry heavier packs now than they did and that is with modern equipment. 

Edited by DuctTape
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The Order of the Arrow has nothing to do with Scouting Skills, advancement, or recognition.  It is the National Honor Society of Scouts.  Scouting itself SHOULD provide all of the opportunity needed for high adventure, backpacking,  and those things related to being outside.  I believe that one crucial mistake was removing the age requirement.  I would invite everyone to research the history of the OA and it's purpose.  It is an extracurricular activity and it helps keep older kids involved.  Like everything else money is a major consideration.  As membership dropped so did membership in the OA.  To increase membership, and money, the age requirement was rescinded and now the OA mixes 11 and 12 year old scouts with 14+ year old scouts and they just dont mix well.  I believe that the OA should reinstate the 14 year old age limit.  Each candidate should be First Class, and the camping requirement should be enforced. I also think that there should be a requirement where the candidate should seek this membership and be recommended by their SM.  It must be ACTUALLY run by the youth members with guidance from the Lodge Advisor.   The hardest job that a Lodge Advisor has is to keep the adult membership in check and out of the kids business.  I am not interested in comparing credentials, but I  speak from experience. The Order of the Arrow should never be transformed into something it's not and should function as the founders ment it to function.

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20 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

.  Each candidate should be First Class, and the camping requirement should be enforced. I also think that there should be a requirement where the candidate should seek this membership and be recommended by their SM. 

In theory, it's already that way...SM's are supposed to approve all scouts on the ballot.  What I've seen in practice is that it's pro-forma...unless there's a real good reason, as long as the rank and camping nights are met, the scout is eligible.  I think your idea is good, though...but we'd also need councils/lodges/advisers that would back up a SM who told just-turned-First Class-last-week Billy that he's really not ready for OA yet, when Billy's mom/dad throw a fit about it because they want Billy to get the OA box checked.

It really ought to go back to a process where you can't vote for every eligible candidate...or limit the number nominated from a troop per year by troop size, (say, 1 can be elected for every 10 troop members), something like that.

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Somebody mentioned that OA is the scouts All Stars. I think that's a good thought. For that to be true, though, you are talking about one or two kids out of maybe 15=20. The top ten to twenty percent. 

To get away from Native American imagery, but to still keep it focused on an outdoor related symbol that does not impinge on Eagle, what about Order of the Oak? Strength, durability, service, endurance, honor, liberty, faith, virtue, and camping and the out of doors... 

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I don't remember any age requirements for OA.

But I do remember tenure requirements for Tenderfoot Second Class, and First Class. I also remember "Master the Skill"  and "The badge represents what the Scout CAN DO, not what he has done" (sic) were the advancement standards to meet, and not "one and done." like today. I also remember being able to vote for 1/2 the number eligible. In my first OA election, they were 3 of us eligible. I could only vote for 2, and I did not myself as the other 2 were my role models and mentors.

I think the old standards produced a more mature, capable Arrowman. I also believe the prestige of being an Arrowman, being recognized by not only your SM ( he had to approve you name on the ballot) but also by your peers through the election.

Sadly it is not that way anymore in my neck of the woods. And with the OA hemorrhaging membership, I think it is nationally anymore

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When I was inducted a few minutes ago a candidate had to be 1st Class, 14 years old, and there was a camping requirement.  Unfortunatly the order has changed and I  know that many lodges don't operate like they should. It's difficult to tell well meaning and supportive adults that they have to take a back seat.  I gladly invite adults to attend our Lodge Executive Committee meetings and present any ideas, but then the final decision is up to the LEC.  It may be a go oil d thing that membership is declining and it may return to being an honor society. It really is a privilege to work with this caliber of young people.

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16 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

When I was inducted a few minutes ago a candidate had to be 1st Class, 14 years old, and there was a camping requirement. 

What year was that? When I was inducted, 31 years ago, there was no age requirement. Only first class, camping nights, and the tighter voting requirements (were at most 50-66% of those eligible could get in). 

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28 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

What year was that? When I was inducted, 31 years ago, there was no age requirement. Only first class, camping nights, and the tighter voting requirements (were at most 50-66% of those eligible could get in). 

That was how it was in the 80s. First Class, 15 days and night of camping, including 1 (and only 1) long term camp within the past 2 years, SM's approval, and voted in. Up to 50% eligible got in with an even number eligible. Odd number varied since they rounded up to the next even number, then divided by half. So 2 out of 3 could get elected, 3 out of 5 could get elected, etc.

That policy changed in the mid 90s, and a bunch of us thought it was a mistake.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

First Class, 15 days and night of camping, including 1 (and only 1) long term camp within the past 2 years, SM's approval, and voted in

Yes, but Mr. Jeff said you had to be 14. Was that a requirement? If so, when?

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14 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

Yes, but Mr. Jeff said you had to be 14. Was that a requirement? If so, when?

Must have been prior to the 1980s.

BUT I can tell you from my experience in my troop, everyone getting elected tended to be in the 15-17 year old age range. Not because of any age restriction, but because it was considered an honor and we had an active Leadership Corps I remember 1 14 year old getting elected, and he turned 15 prior to the Ordeal.

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Yes that was a requirement.  Please research the history of the Order of the Arrow.  There are great resources out there for those that are interested. And I  agree that the troop program is totaly up to the unit, therefore it is the responsibility of the individual unit to make Scouting a success, or a failure.  As far as the Scoutn Oath and Law, they were set aside when some people on some executive board attempted to increase membership by turning it into an activity for everyone.  Again, I'm not going to compare credentials, or argue the issues, but I  would invite everyone to look at the evidence and compare the timeline in reference to the current state of Scouting.

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9 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

 

Yes that was a requirement.  Please research the history of the Order of the Arrow.  There are great resources out there for those that are interested.

 

What era do you know for sure had an age requirement? I couldn’t find anything on it, so can you give a hint? Like “I was inducted in 1952 and you had to be 14”. I know for sure 1989 and onwards there was no age requirement. 
 

 

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