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Unit refuses to hold elections


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On 6/20/2021 at 5:13 AM, scoutldr said:

OA is what kept me in Scouting and on the trail to Eagle.

I'm glad to hear that. 

As a unit leader, I never explicitly seen an explicit OA benefit.   Perhaps it's inspiration and that's enough.  I can see that.  All too often we look for something tangible like a quality camp out or good training.  Without that benefit, OA does look mainly like an obstacle / interruption.  ... such as annual planning needing to avoid OA conclaves.  Perhaps inspiration is enough.

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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". 

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,

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On 6/6/2021 at 1:27 PM, Oldscout448 said:

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.  

So, to follow-up on this. It is looking like option #4: dropping the subject. I spoke with the dad and the scout and read the email they got from the SM (Committee Chair was CC) responding to the initial "We will no longer participate in OA" email.

It was a repeat of the same. OA was simply "taking senior scouts away from this Troop" and and "they [senior Scouts] need to be here in this Troop working with the younger scouts, not in OA". There was also some incident alluded to a year or so ago where there was an OA event the same weekend as a Troop campout, the OA members including the SPL and ASPL opted to pick OA event rather than that troop campout and that pretty much infuriated the SM and CC, so from now no more OA elections/no more new OA members.

This particular scout figures it isn't worth the effort to even ask about OA anymore.

 

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To my mind this is a crying shame.  The OA greatly enhanced my understanding of how the Oath and Law were supposed to guide a scout through out his life.  It also gave me a way to serve a larger scouting community than just my patrol or troop. As well as giving me ready access to other SPLs and JASMs when I needed to talk over an issue I was having with the new SM.  Many a Brother in the Order has told me much the same over a drink or two. ( Out of uniform of course)

It is a long established creed of the Order that an Arrow man's first obligation is to his troop and patrol.  So perhaps the old SPL and ASPL bear some of the blame here.  That said, I don't know the details. It may have been there was a long planned lodge event, commitments had been made, money paid, and the troop  then scheduled a campout for the same weekend.  It happens sometimes.

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@Oldscout448, I'm happy for you. It sounds like you had a great experience in the OA and it must have been a well run lodge. 

I wish more were run like that and more people would volunteer. That just doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.

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Being a member of the OA kept my Scout in Scouting.  He is a self professed nerd, and the OA Scouts are his people, much more so than his Troop members.  He took on a leadership role in his chapter and loved it.  He took Lodge Leadership Development, which was fantastic because his Troop leaders didn't even know what ILST was! His new Scoutmaster recently noted that he was an active OA member and commented that he was "trying to load his resume".  Too bad he doesn't really know what it's about..

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On 6/14/2021 at 11:07 AM, Eagledad said:

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.

No we don't plan programs like that. In fact, as adults, we do not plan any programs at all, other than those that Lodge Officers ask us to plan. That is usually relegated to food, and adult training tracks that run concurrently with what the youth planed. And that is about it. The Lodge Officers, Chairs and LEC plan the events. 

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4 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

No we don't plan programs like that. In fact, as adults, we do not plan any programs at all, other than those that Lodge Officers ask us to plan. That is usually relegated to food, and adult training tracks that run concurrently with what the youth planed. And that is about it. The Lodge Officers, Chairs and LEC plan the events. 

I understand how it works. And, I also know how much leverage adults can have in the process. I blame the adults in our lodge. In our case, it wasn't adults having fun running the program their way, it was  adults ignorant of how to let the scout lead the program. They were terrible. I was even recruited to fix the problem, but my one hour a week was all used up fixing other problems.

Barry

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On 6/18/2021 at 3:49 PM, David CO said:

I think you are all missing the point.  

The Chartered Organization has an obligation to protect its children.  The CO can protect its children while they are participating in unit activities, but the CO has no control over OA.  The CO cannot protect its children at OA activities.

Why would a CO want to have a "pipeline" from its unit to some other program whose leadership and activities are totally outside the CO's control?  It doesn't make any sense.  I understand why OA would want to have this "pipeline", but I can't see any reason why a CO would want it.

Even though the KC's are a Catholic organization, my church felt that it needed to have more direct control over Catholic scout units.  It ordered all KC councils to transfer their units over to the parishes.  If the bishops don't even trust the KC's to run scouting units, imagine how they feel about sending Catholic scouts to OA, which is completely outside their control.

I can easily imagine how a CO might someday be liable because it allowed OA elections.  But even if CO's aren't financially liable for issues arising from OA elections and OA activities, they still have a moral responsibility to safeguard the children in their units.   

Does that mean you are opposed Scouts going to high adventure bases, Jamboree's, NYLT, NAYLE, and other contingent or council based events? As staff and adult leadership is restricted by numbers, it is impossible for every CO to send adults to those type events. 

I think you are over extending the the CO's responsibility here. 

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On 6/20/2021 at 1:57 PM, David CO said:

If we have learned anything from the scandals and bankruptcy, it is that BSA cannot be depended upon to safeguard our kids.  The Chartered Organizations need to step up and take responsibility.  We can't rely on any other outside group to do it.  Safeguarding our kids is our responsibility.

This is a red herring. Having looked at the files, which have been public for a while now, the vast majority, dare I say 99+% of cases of abuse involved unit leaders that we selected and approved by the CO. Even recently, I have seen CO;s dig in for a fight when the council has rejected someone the CO has approved. 

 

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5 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

the vast majority, dare I say 99+% of cases of abuse involved unit leaders that we selected and approved by the CO.

Yep. The idea that COs "didn't know" isn't true. More accurate it "We COs didn't care. We just signed whatever adult applications were put in front of us." is more accurate. And now they are reaping the whirlwind.

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3 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Yep. The idea that COs "didn't know" isn't true. More accurate it "We COs didn't care. We just signed whatever adult applications were put in front of us." is more accurate. And now they are reaping the whirlwind.

The COs I know that signed off on applications did so because they didn't know the people and unit leaders asked them to. They did so because they trusted the unit leaders. 

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2 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Yep. The idea that COs "didn't know" isn't true. More accurate it "We COs didn't care. We just signed whatever adult applications were put in front of us." is more accurate. And now they are reaping the whirlwind.

CO's rarely know all the adults except for the leaders who suggest the approval. To say CO's dig in for a fight requires context because CO's don't like to dig in an fight in normal situations. There has to be more to the story.

I'm questioning how a CO would turn down an application that isn't checked for abusers. Aren't all applications checked now?

Barry

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12 minutes ago, yknot said:

The COs I know that signed off on applications did so because they didn't know the people and unit leaders asked them to. They did so because they trusted the unit leaders. 

And that is part of the problem. The COs abdicated their responsibilities and now their organizations are getting sued/threats of law suits.

Just take a look at the 1228 active pending lawsuits (not just claims, but honest to goodness lawsuits) filed.

https://casedocs.omniagentsolutions.com/cmsvol2/pub_47373/cb5441eb-c31d-4917-979b-f9bfc64b4833_189.pdf

I see a LOT of COs as named defendants because it was the COR's signature, it was the CO that promised as part of the annual charter to exercise control and oversight of the units.

"We didn't know" or "We didn't check" isn't going to save them.

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1 minute ago, CynicalScouter said:

And that is part of the problem. The COs abdicated their responsibilities and now their organizations are getting sued/threats of law suits.

Just take a look at the 1228 active pending lawsuits (not just claims, but honest to goodness lawsuits) filed.

https://casedocs.omniagentsolutions.com/cmsvol2/pub_47373/cb5441eb-c31d-4917-979b-f9bfc64b4833_189.pdf

I see a LOT of COs as named defendants because it was the COR's signature, it was the CO that promised as part of the annual charter to exercise control and oversight of the units.

"We didn't know" or "We didn't check" isn't going to save them.

You and others keep characterizing it as an abdication of responsibility. However, if a unit leader from a trusted legacy unit year after year waves the same paperwork under a COs nose and says, it's OK, sign here, we're the boy scouts, so you don't need to worry about anything because you know you can trust us, I think there may be questions. A lot of these people are elderly. Perhaps could even be proven to be mentally compromised. In most of the units I know, the COR is not a member of the CO, it is a unit volunteer filling that role as a warm body. At some point it can start to look kind of like an elder abuse scam.  I know that early in my scout involvement, I was guilty of form waving. We were under the belief that we should not do anything to upset our long term CO and elderly members. District and Council were only interested in membership and keeping the units alive. They knew what the "warm body" CORs were doing. 

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