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Unit refuses to hold elections


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Posted (edited)

Something odd I just came across. My son is friends with a scout from another troop. Apparently that unit's committee chair and scoutmaster sent an email that from now on they will not hold any OA elections arguing that OA simply takes away from the troop and gives nothing back to the troop.

The scout has obtained the minimum number of camping nights and was interesting in being elected to OA, or at least having a chance, and is disappointed.

Is there anyway to work around this?

Edited by CynicalScouter
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Let me preface my comments by saying that as a youth, I was a Brotherhood member of the OA, and in my senior year was simultaneously SPL of my troop and editor of the Lodge newsletter, so I know from

My problem with OA today is that the program drivers (adult sponsors) don't plan a program where the activities practice growth toward the honor of serving others and camping. As a scout in the 70's,

As I recall my days in OA, the Scoutmaster begins the process by developing a list of scouts who are qualified for election, based on rank, # of nights camped, and last but not least, "Scout Spirit". 

Posted (edited)

There is a long thread on this very topic that I started in October of 2013. I think the title was  "Can a SM ban OA elections?" The short answer is he has three options.  1. Change the Scoutmasters mind.  2. Get the CoR to overrule the Committee and SM.  3 Change troops.

My son and friends ended up with option #3 after trying their best at #1 and #2.  

Edited by Oldscout448
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7 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

My son and friends ended up with option #3 after trying their best at #1 and #2.  

Thanks. Just found that thread. I figured as much. Now just got to recruit the scout into our troop (option #3).

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Posted (edited)

I never could figure where some SMs get that idea anyway.  When I look at the PoR patches at a chapter meeting they are 50% SPL or ASPL,. 30% PL, QM, or Scribe. With an occasional JASM or OA rep. These are the scouts who are doing the heavy lifting in their respective troops and for many the Order is one of the main reasons they stay in.

 

Edited by Oldscout448
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16 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

These are the scouts who are doing the heavy lifting in their respective troops and for many the Order is one of the main reasons they stay in.

I heard this exact thing talking to people at the Induction cracker barrel last night. 

I am the Scoutmaster of our Troop and I would never think about denying any Scout the opportunity to be in the Order of the Arrow. 

Very unfortunate for the Scout in question. 

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2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

they will not hold any OA elections arguing that OA simply takes away from the troop and gives nothing back to the troop.

The following discussion explains why. This strongly implies the Scouts WANT to work/serve/help. Perhaps the place to do these is in the OA, and their efforts  are not welcome in the Troop? 

Example of "Scout Led" vs "Adult Led"? 

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2 hours ago, tnmule20 said:

I heard this exact thing talking to people at the Induction cracker barrel last night. 

The tn in tnmule20 would not happen to refer to Tennessee would it, and if so, would you now be a newly minted member of Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge #111?

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My experience is adults who limit their program from typical scouting activities did not have a scouting experience as a youth. They see these activities, especially outside unit activities, as competition, not as additional program opportunities. They likely would not want their orders scouts to join a Venturing Crew either. And I agree, likely this is a pretty adult run program.

Barry

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Posted (edited)

I am betting there is another path.  

I've interacted ... "worked with" would over state my invovlement ... I've interacted with the local chapter adviser and youth lodge chief.   They have much more flexibility than officially published.  

If the scout really wants to be in OA, that scout should write a polite mail (or email) to the lodge chief and copy the lodge adviser.  State that he/she would be proud to be an OA member.  Explain his troop doesn't hold elections.  Communicate how he fulfills requirements (rank, nights camping, troop involvement, etc).  Further state why he/she would want to be a member.  IMHO, the perfect answer would be "to serve" and to learn from other scouts.  

My only fear is the scoutmaster response.  BUT, the ideal scoutmaster should say congratulations and let the scout explore OA.

I am betting the lodge adviser and lodge chief would find a path in for that scout.  

I'm not saying this would work every time, but I suspect it would work a good number of times.

Edited by fred8033
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3 hours ago, MikeS72 said:

The tn in tnmule20 would not happen to refer to Tennessee would it, and if so, would you now be a newly minted member of Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge #111?

Yes, my son and I went through the ordeal this weekend. Thanks to all that put on the weekend. 

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Originally with Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge.  I was elected and did my ordeal at Boxwell Reservation in 1969, and received the Vigil Honor there in 1972.  I am currently a member of Tipisa Lodge, Central Florida Council.

I still have many memories of OA events at Boxwell, and as a member of Anawaha Chapter in Cogioba District.  I hope you and your son enjoy your time with Wa-Hi-Nasa as much as I did.

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On 6/6/2021 at 7:22 PM, fred8033 said:

I am betting there is another path... 

...If the scout really wants to be in OA, that scout should write a polite mail (or email) to the lodge chief and copy the lodge adviser.  State that he/she would be proud to be an OA member.  Explain his troop doesn't hold elections.  Communicate how he fulfills requirements (rank, nights camping, troop involvement, etc).  Further state why he/she would want to be a member.  IMHO, the perfect answer would be "to serve" and to learn from other scouts.  

My only fear is the scoutmaster response...

I think that might work but also agree that the SM response might be problematic. If the belief is that OA takes scouts away from the troop, then a scout being in OA, by whatever means they happen to be inducted, would still be a problem with the SM. It also won't help if the SM feels that a scout went around them to get what they wanted.

That said, IF this happened in such a way, it could serve as an example of how scouts can serve in OA and also remain fully active in the troop. If the SM could be persuaded to see this as a bit of an experiment, maybe that could open the door for expanded involvement in OA for the troop.

And all of that said, frankly, I think it's a shame that anyone would deprive their unit of involvement in OA, a fully recognized and official part of the BSA program regardless of how anyone personally feels about it. If all else fails, I would probably have to encourage any scout in such a situation to strongly consider option #3 discussed above (look for a new troop).

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I hear this same thing about Sea Scouts and Venturing.   IMHO, if you are worried that another program is "stealing" your scouts then it is obvious the program in the troop needs to change.  These are all complimentary programs and can provide many great opportunities to youth that want to be activie in scouting.

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@MGinLA, I agree with most of what you said but I did things slightly differently. I still ran the elections. First, I had a couple if scouts that did find their place in the OA and they never would have known about it if I hadn't run the elections. I agree with you that the scouts know more about the scouts than the adults and our elections were much more about character than popularity as the popular scouts took longer to get elected than the quiet, helpful scouts. That said, I can also see certain personalities, if there were enough scouts like that, that would turn it into a popularity contest.

Oddly enough, I think the election process itself was really beneficial. It forced the scouts to evaluate all the other scouts. Would they be someone I want to go camping with? It was a tough lesson for a few that were real jerks when they were younger and that just stuck with them. It wasn't just one scout saying it, it was the whole troop. I had some difficult discussions with a couple of scouts. It's a lot easier to get a bad name than a good one. They grew a lot, even though a couple never got nominated. The best leader we had didn't get nominated until his last opportunity. It forced him to look out for others for so long that it became a habit.

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