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Armymutt

What should I expect in the CONUS OA?

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I did my Ordeal in 1993 and Brotherhood in 1994.  I was part of the Transatlantic Council, which covered Europe, essentially.  Our OA chapter was all of England, Ireland, Norway, and Iceland.  Needless to say, Chapter meetings were rare, and most of us didn't drive.  The only time the chapter got together was Ordeal weekends.  It was also a time of great upheaval with bases, and consequently, Scout troops disappearing left and right.  To sum up, I have no idea what a normal OA chapter or lodge looks like.  I'm finally getting back into Scouting with my first grader joining Cubbies.  I'd like to take an active role in the organization, if I can.  I'm just not sure what to expect.

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The Cub Scout program doesn't directly utilize the OA. If you are going to be supporting your pack as a leader, save the OA until your scout joins the older group. In the mean time if you're interested in getting to know your area lodge and chapter, ask any OA member (look for the OA flap on their uniform), or call your council for contact info. I'm sure your local chapter and lodge have web sites as well, for current info.

See you on the trail,

sst3rd

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I'd like to get involved as much as I can.  The websites are kinda thin.  What do OA chapters normally do?  Like I said, we were so geographically dispersed, it was really impractical to get together outside of Ordeal weekends.

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I'm in the same boat with a new Cub and I'm probably not going to be able to be super involved in OA for a while.  We're back in my home Council and amazingly they still had my Ordeal records from 2001, so I couldn't resist renewing my membership in the Lodge.  I figure my $20 annual Lodge dues are at least supporting the organization, and I'll try to pop in for the occasional service project or the annual dinner if I can.  Our Pack is really connected with our chartered organization's boys' and girls' Troops, so I thought it would be another way to support and motivate the older scouts, too.

Edited by BlueandSilverBear

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15 hours ago, Armymutt said:

I'd like to get involved as much as I can.

First thing, pay your dues for the OA and get an OA flap and sew it on your uniform. The 2 lodges I have been a part of have their chapter meetings the same night / time as roundtable. So, start attending. In my experience, don't expect a lot, but you are there to make it better. In our lodge, 2 of the lodge weekends a year are more chapter focused since we have 4 council camps, they divide the lodge in the spring and fall. Talk with the chapter chief and see where they need help. After talking with the chapter chief, then talk with the chapter adviser. See where they need help. Between the two, you could find a niche for yourself to start. 

Find a need and help resolve it. My plan, as my daughter begins to get involved with the OA (she just did her ordeal last month), is to see what she is interested in. Without specific direction from her, I am going to suggest helping to improve elections and move them from just elections to also help promote camp. For my Wood Badge ticket, I did a Where to Go Camping list of ~80 places for our troop. The lodge hasn't had a real Where to Go Camping guide for about 10 years, and I have offered to advice a group of members on getting that going. But, these examples are how I want to help.

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Right now, I'm waiting for BSA to process my son's application, and apparently by extension, mine.  I'm not sure how that works.  I submitted his last week, but no action seems to have been taken.  Is this something the unit has to act on?  Once I have that done, then I can submit the lodge transfer.  They want my Ordeal date, but TAC doesn't have records going that far back - it was only 1993.  The HQ has been in 3 different countries since then.

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49 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

Right now, I'm waiting for BSA to process my son's application, and apparently by extension, mine.  I'm not sure how that works.  I submitted his last week, but no action seems to have been taken.  Is this something the unit has to act on?  Once I have that done, then I can submit the lodge transfer.  They want my Ordeal date, but TAC doesn't have records going that far back - it was only 1993.  The HQ has been in 3 different countries since then.

The unit, in your case the pack, has to approve your son's application. The Cubmaster or a designee can approve the application.  If your pack is using online applications this is a matter of a few clicks, if you're using paper applications then it's signature from Cubmaster, then someone has to drive it to the local council office where an employee, the registrar, has to enter it into the computer.  all those steps could add up to some time.  Your adult application needs an additional couple steps, you have to also complete BSA's Youth Protection Training (YPT) before any thing can be processed, and your application has to be signed by the Chartering organization Rep (COR) who is often someone not nearly as involved in the unit and so that may add to the time.

As to joining the new Lodge.  Look at a calendar, use your best recollection of the date of your Ordeal and submit that to the new lodge.  My Ordeal was in like 1973 --- no records exist, my new Lodge was happy with the date I picked.  There are no records to transfer, it's just a date they have to enter in a database.

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Ok, you are talking the Black Eagle Lodge as it was when I was the Edelweiss chapter advisor.  Then everything was in Heidelberg Germany.  Since you can't get any TAC records with membership, you have to convince the lodge of your actual induction and membership.  Any old membership cards like we had in 93 would work.  Photos of you with uniform and sash and/or flap, personnel that can vouch for you, the real burden of proof is on you (not hard really).  They put the burden on you as there is "stolen valor" within the BSA, and a lot of it mostly with adults.  I'm sure you are familiar with the term used now.

You should be able to speak about your experience in the OA without a foggy memory as most it is pretty easy to remember.

As for  chapter and lodges, they are hit and miss.  In the past few years, the OA has taken a hit with membership and other issues.  They extended ordeal to brotherhood by 6 months to get more to commit.  Some lodges were/are only offering ordeals once a year.  Some troops are not even scheduling elections (one per year).  Chapters are more a geographical aspect more than anything else.  With merged councils and bigger footprints, chapters have often taken on a lodge role.  The biggest problem as I see it is the adults want to get into the running of the lodge rather than the 21 and under leaders.  Our seasoned adults should be more advisory, supporting, and getting to work with service.  You will get out of the OA what you put into it.   

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They seem to be pretty open right now.  My buddy was the chapter chief or clan chief - can't recall which now.  He's also still in contact with a guy who was a Scouter over there - about our age, but the other side of 18 back then.  Worst case, I can probably get one of them to write a memo.  I can definitely recall an interesting Ordeal ceremony I assisted in for a candidate that got sick during the day.  

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